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The New Atheists today scoff at people of faith. Richard Dawkins has even urged his followers to mock people of faith. The same people bristle at the suggestion that they, themselves, have faith.
Dawkins is sweeping in his statements, defining faith for the masses and allowing no prisoners. But his definition of faith is loaded with his assumptions about what faith is, ignoring the evidence – even the evidence right in front of him. This the conclusion I reach as I consider his first debate with John Lennox.
I would even go so far as to say that Dawkins is guilty of the very same charge he levels against Christians and other people of faith. Let me explain.
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.
It’s incredible that in the wake of financial crises and populist movements around the world anyone would wonder whether a glitzy awards gala and lavish prizes would help improve the public’s view of science, yet that is one proposal to boost the public’s opinion in the wake of floundering financial support. […]
via How to make science great again — SixDay Science
Sarah Salviander provides some much needed perspective on the state of science today and its relationship to the American populace. I encourage you to read it before or after my comments. She provides an insider’s perspective, looking out on the audience, wondering where science is going wrong.
As an outsider looking in, I applaud her, not just because she is looking out, but I think she is right.
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
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I recently read the book, Darwin’s Doubt, by Stephen C. Meyer, a Cambridge University Ph.D. in the Philosophy of Science. The book uses Darwin’s acknowledgment that the Cambrian Explosion was a significant problem to his evolutionary theory of the origin of life as a springboard to explore in detail that problem which Meyer aptly names “Darwin’s doubt”.
I have summarized the first ten chapters of the book on a different Blog, Perspective, starting with a summary of the first four chapters of the book. If you want to read a summary description of the detail that Meyer explores without buying the book, though I strongly suggest buying the book if your are interested.
In this blog, I want to provide an overarching description of the basis for Intelligent Design, which is ultimately the theory that Meyer espouses. For Meyer, the key basis for Intelligent Design is 1) the argument from biological or genetic information and 2) the argument from physics or cosmology. Both arguments can be summed up in the statement that we live in a universe of irreducible complexity that could not have happened by chance or unguided “natural law”.
Meyer focuses on the biological argument, observing that, to build the complex biological machines that we see, there is a need for prior information, and any discussion of that complexity begs the question: where did that information necessary to build the protein parts out of which the complex structures are made come from in the first place? What cause is capable of generating that information? Meyer argues that we can use the same scientific method that Darwin used to infer that the cause had to be conscious mind or intelligence.
© 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.