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Atheists Against Darwinism - Page 4

Validating the Wedge

It's easy to find scientists whose thinking validates Johnson's warning about the "prejudice that all phenomena can ultimately be explained in terms [of] unintelligent causes" leading to "endorsing naturalistic explanations for phenomenon - regardless of the facts." [33]  Geneticist Richard Lewontin admits:

It is not that the methods . . . of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the . . . world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our . . . adherence to material causes to create . . . a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counterintuitive, no matter how mystifying. . .[34]

"Moreover", says Lewontin, "that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door. . ."[35] Fodor affirms: "Getting minds in general, and God's mind in particular, out of biological explanations is a main goal of the adaptationist programme. I am, myself, all in favour of that?"[36]

Nagel observes:

The theory [of evolution] does not claim to explain the origin of life, which  remains a complete scientific mystery at this point. Opponents of ID, however, normally assume that that too must have a purely chemical explanation.[37]

Assume is the right word. Biologist Franklin Harold asserts: "Life arose here on earth from inanimate matter, by some kind of evolutionary process."[38] But he admits: "This is not a statement of demonstrable fact, but an assumption?"[39] Indeed, it's an assumption maintained in the teeth of contrary evidence.[40] Paul Davies calculates the odds against producing just the proteins necessary for a minimally complex life-form are "something like 1040,000 to one."[41] In the 50th Anniversary edition of New Scientist, Davies confirmed: "One of the great outstanding mysteries is the origin of life," and admitted that "nobody has a clue"[42] how it happened. Gregg Easterbrook asks:

What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn't given us the slightest hint. If anything, the mystery has deepened over time . . . if life began unaided under primordial conditions in a natural system containing zero knowledge, then it should be possible - it should be easy - to create life in a laboratory today. But . . . no one has come close . . . Did God or some other higher being create life? . . .Until such time as a wholly natural origin of life is found, these questions have power.[43]

Atheist Fred Hoyle (writing with mathematician Chandra Wickramasinghe) concluded that design is the only reasonable explanation:

the enormous information content of even the simplest living systems . . . cannot in our view be generated by what are often called "natural" processes . . . There is no way in which we can expect to avoid the need for information, no way in which we can simply get by with a bigger and better organic soup, as we ourselves hoped might be possible . . . The correct position we think is . . . an intelligence, which designed the biochemicals and gave rise to the origin of carbonaceous life . . . This is tantamount to arguing that carbonaceous life was invented by noncarbonaceous intelligence. . .[44]

Hoyle and Wickramasinghe didn't identify their "non-carbonaceous intelligence", but noted:

the scientific facts throw Darwin out, but leave William Paley, a figure of fun to the scientific world for more than a century, still in the tournament with a chance of being the ultimate winner . . . Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.[45]

As Michael Ruse warns: "A great deal of the underpinning of discussions on the origin of life have been more philosophical than anything based in brute experience."[46] In other words, Johnson was right.


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