God is Random: A New Perspective on Evolution and Creationism

Partly based on my essay: God is Random: A Novel Argument for the Existence of God,
European Journal of Science and Theology (2016). I had the original idea in around 2005 but could not get a chance to present it as an essay until recently.

Featured on islamicity.org and iviews.com.

The perennial debate between the two camps of Creationism and Evolution is based on a fallacious assumption about chance, randomness, and God.

The creationist, by whom I mean the anti-evolution type, shuns the ideas of chance and randomness, as for him/her they are the antithesis of what the concepts of God, order, harmony, and “intelligent design” are all about.

Very often when creationists assault Darwin’s theory, they do it by pointing out how it is all based on random chance mutations, and thus an anathema to the notion of God. “How can order of high complexity come out of chance and randomness?” they rhetorically ask.

The dislike for randomness is not limited only to the creationist mentality. Some people seem to have a kind of a noetic aversion toward randomness and disorder. I have a philosopher, and non-religious, friend who also disputes the theory of evolution. I suspect that this is to do with him being a Platonist. He says something to the effect that the theory of evolution is hinged on chance and randomness, and thus it excludes “God” from the picture.

On the contrary, the atheist, by whom I mean one who holds that evolution obviates God, loves randomness for the exact same reason, that is, they also hold it as an antithesis of God. They seem to expect an ordered and comprehensible pattern in every facet of nature, if it were truly “created” by a God. But as the mutations of biological evolution and the micro world of quantum physics, which ultimately governs those mutations, seem to be ruled by chance and probabilistic events, the idea of a God –to the atheist– seems to be an improbable and irrational proposition.

Richard Dawkins, the renowned champion of a relentless atheism and evolution campaign of recent years, points in his book, “The Blind Watchmaker,” to arbitrariness and “blindness” of natural events. He, for example, draws attention to seemingly “distorted” organs of certain species, like the skull of flatfish, to “prove” that such an “imperfection” cannot be the result of a “design” of a supreme intelligent being.

So the creationist camp rejects the notion of evolution –as proposed by Darwin– because it is based on chance and randomness. And the evolution camp rejects the notion of God because they believe it is incompatible with the observed, albeit incremental, chance and randomness in nature.

I beg to disagree with both sides!

The random nature of nature seems to be inexorably unpredictable, and hence singular. Nature seems to create perfect randomness as opposed to pseudo-randomness, which in principle is decodable and predictable. Classical physics-based (i.e., algorithm-based) computers can only simulate pseudo-randomness, not the actual randomness.

The physical world is much more complex than that. Random nature of quantum physics –which comprises our current and very successful understanding of the microscopic physical world-- is, as the eminent late physicist John A. Wheel put it, “primordial,” irreducible.

To both camps, randomness seems to be something of no inherent value. Indeed, they consider it a worthless and meaningless concept/entity. However, I will posit that randomness is closely linked to intelligence. For example, the more intelligent and sophisticated we humans become the better pseudo-random numbers we can generate. Only an intelligent computer program, or agent for that matter, would make sure that the same random result is not repeated over and over again like a broken record. Put another way, it is more difficult to ontologically and epistemically make a “true” die than to make a loaded die.

In the same vein, the more knowledgeable and intelligent we become, the less “random,” nature will appear to us. A portion of the noncoding (Junk DNA) might appear to us so only for the duration of our ignorance regarding its true function.

Thus I will propound that generation and “understanding” of absolute randomness requires infinite intelligence. I will dare to speculate that true randomness observed in nature is a strong indication, if not the “proof,” of the existence of an infinitely intelligent entity (God). Absolute randomness is a telltale sign of God.

One way of seeing this is as follows. Perfect randomness is when the result of an event is independent of the past and future influences. That means the event is not determined by any physical cause although it transpires in our physical universe, but rather by what I will call a ‘transcause,’ a cause originating beyond our phenomenal level. 


Furthermore, the independence of such random behavior of the past and future influences---a sort of memorylessness---is, I assert, indistinguishable from having a timeless omniscience, as the knowledge of the past and the future must really be known to truly render a correlationless behavior. Thus the introduced ‘transcausality’, by virtue of its having infinite computational wherewithal, implies the existence and intervention of a metaphysical and categorically-different intelligence, which I will name ‘transintelligence.’ 

‘Transcausality’ necessarily implies non-locality, which is a fundamental feature of quantum mechanics. Furthermore, the discontinuous and seemingly non-algorithmic character of wavefunction collapse also dovetails well with the idea of ‘transcausality.’

This ‘transcausality’ and ‘transintelligence’ can also possibly explain the seemingly impossible genius moments of giants such as Einstein and Ramanujan as a sort of “revelation.” Ramanujan, for example, is said to have figured out about 3900 mathematical results without proofs[1]. Most of these have been proven to be correct. So he must have done it non-algorithmically as proofs require a mechanical and algorithmic process. 

Roger Penrose avers that human thinking process is non-algorithmic, i.e., incomputable[2]. David Bohm also believed that the thinking process is not a logical process and, in fact, he likened the production of new ideas to a quantum jump[3]. We are familiar with the fact that groundbreaking ideas and thoughts are not readily achieved by mere logical reflection, otherwise they would occur much more frequently than they do in reality as we have billions of otherwise healthy human brains available.

I thus posit that the information-laden perfect randomness observed in nature at the microscopic level entails the existence of an “oracle,” a transintelligence, namely, an omniscient being. To further identify this Being with God--who is conceptually defined as omniscient, omnipotent, and morally perfect--is not facilely accomplished, albeit such identification is not uncommon[4]. 

The transintelligent being inferred in this article must be omniscient and omnipotent due to the proposed ontological (creation/selection of quantum events) and epistemological (information-theoretic nature of the irreducible randomness of the quantum world) connection. Linking omniscience/omnipotence to moral perfection, as assumed or done in various forms of ontological argument (e.g., in Plantinga’s modal argument[5]), is beyond the scope of this article[6].

If God is, by definition, infinite, absolute and singular, then, generally speaking, in what other pattern will a finite being---such as a human being---perceive Him other than randomness?

The decay of a radioactive nuclide or mutation of a gene appear to us, and are indeed, probabilistic and random. It could not be otherwise. Microscopic physical world and molecular biological mutations are random to us because God’s “decisions” and “plans” are imperceptible to us, and beyond our hacking. Randomness is the “veil” of God.

The creationist fails to recognize the existence and reality of irreducible randomness, but embraces an infinite intelligence.

The atheist fails to recognize the existence and reality of an infinite intelligence, but embraces –or has no problems with—irreducible randomness.

They don’t realize that they paradoxically reject and embrace one and the same thing.

Serkan Zorba



References

[1] C. S. Calude and K. Tadaki, “Spectral Representation of Some Computably Enumerable Sets With an Application  to Quantum Provability,” arXiv:1303.5502 [quant-ph] (2013).
[2]  R. Penrose, Foreword in A Computable Universe: Understanding and Exploring Nature as Computation. Ed. H. Zenil. World Scientific (2012).
[3]  D. Bohm, “Quantum Theory,” Dover (1989).
[4]  B. Reichenbach, "Cosmological Argument," The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2010).
[5]  A. Plantinga, “The Ontological Argument from St. Anselm to Contemporary Philosophers,” Doubleday (1965).
[6]  K. E. Himma, "Ontological Argument", The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (2005).