Reinventing the Sacred argues that Reductionism the philosophy based on the work of Galileo, Descartes, Newton and their followers that everything can ultimately be understood by reducing it to laws of chemistry and physics has been the basis of our scientific worldview for nearly 400 years and is the foundation of modern secular society. Using arguments grounded in complexity theory, he argues that it is time to break this Galilean spell, since the reductionist approach is inadequate to explain the infinite possibilities of evolution and human history. Instead, Kauffman argues that the highest levels of organization are the result of the unpredictable process of emergence.
Its not that we lack sufficient knowledge or wisdom to predict the future evolution of the biosphere or human culture. Its that these things are inherently unpredictable because we can never prestate what all the possibilities might be, he says. Can a couple walking in love along the banks of the Siene really be reduced to the interactions of fundamental particles" No, they cannot.
The book then argues that the process of emergence can provide the platform for reinventing what humankind considers most sacred. It also discusses why arguments for intelligent design fail in the scientific realm and how complexity theory can build a bridge between the traditionally opposed views of science and religion.
God is the most powerful symbol we have and it has always been up to us to choose what we deem to be sacred, Kauffman said. To me, the idea that we are the product of 3.8 billion years of unpredictable evolution is more awe-inspiring than the idea than the idea th
|Contact: Grady Semmens|
University of Calgary