Douglas Axe[i] recently published a book Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed[ii], in which he attempts to show how science, as well as our own experiences and observations, belie a world that is full of design and evidence of a designer. Though he is vilified by hard line Neo-Darwinists and others who cling to that tired model of life in spite of mounting evidence against it, others have recently acknowledged his contributions to science.[iii]
In the book and elsewhere, Axe highlights a phenomenon that he calls universal design intuition. According to Axe, pre-school age children on the whole look at the world and attribute it to a God-like designer.
He isn’t alone in this observation, and it isn’t just the advocates of intelligent design who confirm the phenomenon. This phenomenon has been recognized even by people who are not in favor of intelligent design.
People have likely fought ideological battles since people could communicate with each other. We have grown in intellect, our knowledge of the world and made significant technological advances (though men accomplished things millennia ago that we still can’t understand), but has our nature changed much?
Ideological battles seem to be the basic stuff of which culture and society are made. At the lowest level, it’s “us against them”, and “we” protect our turf like our lives depend on it. We pick our turf, and we defend it: new against old; right against left; science against faith; and on and on.
These ideological battles can be, but don’t necessarily have to be, the stuff of racism, bias and ignorance. We need reference points and bases from which to operate and categorize and contextualize the world, but dogmatic, rigid adherence to our reference points block progress, even if we are “progressive”. The inability or unwillingness to remain open-minded limits our opportunities for advancement. Continue reading
Photo by Randy Schoof
Before there was Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, there was Anthony Flew. For most of his career, Flew was a strong advocate of atheism …. But then he changed his mind.
He did not have any spiritual or near death experience. The decision for him was not an emotional one. It was a rational one based on the weight of the evidence.
Photo by Beth Drendel
Materialism is defined in in the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary as “a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter.” Science is the study of the material world, so it may come as no surprise that many (most?) scientists are materialists.
If materialism is reality (nothing exists but matter), then science is the study of everything that exists or cold possibly exist. In fact, that is what the scientific community, generally, claims, and many in the academic community have accepted that claim. But is that claim something that is proven by science?
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / kgtoh
As I work my way through Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, the pace slows as we go from basic information, concepts and analyses to complex ones. In my first article, I covered four chapters dealing with the fossil record, the Cambrian explosion and addressing some conclusory solutions to the problem it poses to the theory of evolution. In my next two articles, I took on chapters 5 & 6 and chapters 7 & 8 dealing with more complex solutions that, in turn, expose more problems.
Over the course of those chapters, we traversed the fossil record and got progressively deeper into molecular and biological minutia. In Chapter 9, we stood back and looked at the forest in mathematical and probabilistic terms. The problems that we encountered at the microscopic level reveal problems of cosmic proportions as we examined the complexity of DNA and the plausibility of random mutations leading to functional results on which natural selection could work among the dizzying number of possible outcomes. In Chapter 10, we go back in to the deeper evaluation looking at genes and proteins.
© Can Stock Photo Inc. / kgtoh
I am deep into the book, Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, and chronicling my way through it. The title of the book comes from the problem that the Cambrian explosion posed, and still poses, to evolutionary theory. In the first article, the problem that first appears in the fossil record is explained. In the next article, some possible solutions to the problems are explored and discarded. In the third article, we begin to look to genes for possible solutions, and that sets the stage for this article.
The origin of the animals that appeared suddenly in the Cambrian period necessarily required vast amounts of new functional information. Where did it come from and how did it arise? The discovery of DNA as information retaining and building mechanisms seemed to present great hope for a solution, but that is not the story the history of exploring this solution tells. In fact, the study of DNA has only accentuated the problem.