In my most recent post on the science of purpose, I described how the phenomenon of emergence illustrates the irreducible complexity of life. I asked whether the undeniably purposeful behavior of biomolecules was foundational, i.e., intentional, versus accidental, i.e., random. I was building upon previous posts, where I pointed out that scientific atheism is based on the notion that structure randomly generates function, thereby justifying the belief in “life-as-accident.” My conclusion was that function cannot exist without a whole self, so that structure alone can never generate purpose on its own.
Tying It Together
Now it is time to tie all of these concepts together. To be sure, the greatest mystery in life is its origin. Despite billions of dollars spent on research at countless labs, no one has been able to come even remotely close to describing how the first whole organism emerged from the essential atoms of CHNOPS, basting in the so-called primordial soup. Why is this?
The answer unlocks a whole host of other mysteries that have eluded materialist science. Simply put, if you keep looking in the wrong place for something, you will never find it. Br’er Fox would never find Br’er Rabbit until he finally looked in the briar patch.
An Upheaval in the Paradigm
There have been several times in the history of science when an entire upheaval in the reigning paradigm was necessary to correct the course of human understanding. We have seen this in the cases of Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, Einstein, and others. Realizing at long last that we can never understand life by the reductionist approach, we must now be ready for another giant leap, and create an upheaval of our own.
The fundamental flaw in the conventional approach to understanding life is that we think we can fully understand the whole by looking at the individual parts. This is how engineers build great machines. But the basic idea illustrated by emergence is that, for life, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. That is, you can never understand the whole just by analyzing the parts. The even greater fundamental fact is that, in order to realize the upheaval we seek, we must admit to a radical, albeit ancient, concept: when it comes to life, there really is no such thing as individual parts. There is only the whole.
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