Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A N Whitehead Vindicated


I like these ideas and this guy. I like the ideas because they are deeply Whiteheadian. Compare to the following from my unpublished book on the Holy Spirit:

Another vital theological movement of the 20th century, one I reflected on in a limited way in my last book, that will play a significant role in my own thinking, is process theology. Process theology began as a philosophical movement started by Alfred North Whitehead, a mathematician and philosopher. Alfred North Whitehead was an agnostic before he began his quest to develop a comprehensive worldview that could make sense of the scientific revolutions taking place at the turn of the century. Whitehead thought that the mechanistic model of reality, seeing the world as a giant clock whose workings could be perfectly described through math and science, had about run its course. It no longer served to push the cause of science and humanity forward, and some new thinking was going to be required if we were to engage in the big paradigm shifts that the future looked like it would be forcing on us. Whitehead thought the line between life and non-life, as well as the line between the world of the mind (the human condition) and the world of the unminded was blurry, at best. Rather, the world and the things that make it up are lifelike and mindlike, and all of reality could be modelled this way. The world by Whitehead's lights was a realm of freedom, and the laws of physics were descriptions of the regularities in the behavior in the use of this freedom. What's more, all things are themselves only societies of other things, all things are organic and societal, this is one reason why his philosophy is often called "The Philosophy of Organism". Strange as this may sound, not long after Whitehead's theorizing about metaphysics, physics itself started to turn in this direction. Quantum mechanics changed our view of the world as something hard, fast, material and determined. Later, influenced by Whitehead and others, a new field of science called systems theory started to permeate all branches of science, from biology and chemistry to physics and even social science. Systems theory very much treats reality and the things that make it up as lifelike and often even mindlike. I personally believe that in time, Whitehead's influence in science will be as great or greater than even Albert Einstein.

I like the guy because he believes in God and sees the limits of science. He knows science isn't everything. We need the 'next Darwin' to be a guy like this one. It would be good for the culture.

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