Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New age "intelligent design"

It's not just fundamentalist Christianity that promotes a fraudulent "intelligent design" theory of how life developed. The "new age" crowd is also into it, but with a quite different spin. A prominent spokesperson for this point of view is Deepak Chopra. He's a frequent contributor at The Huffington Post.

Chopra explains his version of "intelligent design" here: Intelligent Design without the Bible and here: Rescuing Intelligent Design -- but from Whom?

There are many reader comments on both these messages, but another commentator, Michael Shermer of Skeptic Magazine provides some of the best rebuttal: Skyhooks and Cranes: Deepak Chopra, George W. Bush, and Intelligent Design

Then Chopra replies in a counter-rebuttal: Getting off the Skyhook: A Reply to Michael Shermer

A little later, Jaron Lanier (a pioneer of "virtual reality") provides his own take on the shortcomings of "new age intelligent desigh: Intelligent Design and the Quest for a Survivable Spirituality.

One way to sum up the whole discussion is that any viable theory of how homo sapiens, as well as life itself, became what it is needs to be based on "natural ingredients" rather than supernatural beliefs -- in Lanier's words:

The path forward, I think, must include a renewed sense of spirituality that doesn't depend (or at least depend very much) on supernatural beliefs. We should demand that our spirituality be made of natural ingredients, and there should be warnings about non-natural additives.

We need a survivable spirituality.

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