Physicist and Biblical scholar Schroeder (The Science of God, 1997, etc.) argues that the origins of life and the universe are God-driven.
As in his earlier works, the author invokes God (generally characterized here as wisdom) as the omnipotent force (or energy or idea) infusing the universe with information that explains, for example, some of the more bizarre phenomena of quantum mechanics. Thus, the photon in the double-slit experiment behaves as if it “knows” whether the other slit is open. Evolution, too, is directed by wisdom/information toward greater and greater complexity, culminating in the wonders of the human mind-brain. These arguments are nothing more than an updated version of 19th-century anti-Darwinian sentiments that invoked a Divine Watchmaker, since no watch could ever come into existence by chance. Indeed, Schroeder cites the complexity of cell-to-cell communication, cell division, and gene-driven protein production as too marvelous and miraculous to have come about by purely physical, self-organizing, mechanical, or random events. Others would argue that the very lack of understanding of the hows and whys of phenomena is what drives science and leads to new knowledge, as for example in the recent excitement at the discovery that the human genome numbers only 30,000 genes, just twice the number in the fruit fly, with many of these genes shared. Schroeder is a sophisticated and original scholar, and his approach will undoubtedly find a wide audience. But his explanations are not without problems. Neurons are not nerves, as Schroeder calls them, and one wonders what students of animal behavior would make of statements like, “The chimp knows there is a limit to that which a chimp can comprehend.”
For those seeking mystic union with the universe, Schroeder may provide some hints in the right direction—but he is not to everyone’s taste.