A nature and beauty depend on its and remove its The predominant aspect

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The predominant paradigm bequeathed to us by scientific materialism is nature-as-machine. We have grown used to thinking of matter as inert, dead, stupid stuff that gets knocked around by other matter, like balls on a billiard table. Modern physics has not improved on this metaphor (witness “quantum mechanics“).

One problem with this metaphor is that machines are tools for our whims. They do not transcend us, we transcend them.

Another problem is that traditionally matter was complemented by the intelligence of soul as well as by its designer, God. If you no longer believe in soul or God, then there is nothing but stupid, meaningless stuff all around. This lays the foundation for the famous quote by physicist Steven Weinberg: “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it seems pointless” (Weinberg, 1993).


The idea is that nature is inherently creative, producing marvelous patterns and complexity out of its own self-organizing propensities. It is not inert stuff, nor is it the tool of some other thing that transcends it. This grants nature inherent value. It also gives nature and humans something in common, namely creativity, without going so far as to turn nature into a personality. Finally, it tells us who we are: part of the great story of unfolding cosmic creativity.

“Creativity” is quite abstract, though, and it’s not very clear how we ought to live as part of this Creativity. It seems short on inferential potential. If a crop failure happens due to natural Creativity, then it must have a meaningful place in some emerging pattern. There is something inspiring in that idea, but it doesn’t seem to suggest much of a role for us in the matter other than perhaps to marvel in

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