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Friday, September 30, 2005

Catholic blogger on the Darwinoids: Shut up, he explained

Blogger Mark Shea, who gets way more mail than I do, and responds to it more faithfully, answers the Darwinoids who camp on his list. He says, among other things.

We *never* look at the text of Hamlet, or Michaelangelo's David, or the code for Windows XP and try to give an explanation for these things as products of non-reason. The only time we do it is when we look at the staggeringly specified complexity of living systems. And we do so in obedience to a dogmatic philosophy of materialism. Here alone, in obedience to the priesthood of the Atheism of the Gaps, acolytes must crush their normal tendency to intuit the obvious by repeating the Spiritual Exercises of St. Francis Crick and reciting the creed: "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."

Note that word, "rather". It speaks volumes about the metaphysic being promulgated.

As to examples of specified complexity in biology, there are not ten but ten billion. There is no living system that is *not* highly complex and highly specified.

Then I get a mysterious question: "Isn't a rattlesnake fang/venom system complexly specified? Yes or no? Do you know? Does the DI? Do they care?"

I'm not sure what that means. Is my interlocutor suggesting that this system is *not* enormously complex and extremely specified? Is he saying that a good God would never make venomous snakes? Beats me. Then, in crowning incoherence, DI [Discovery Institute, an ID think tank] is compared to Jimmy Swaggart. But that's not an ad hominem argument or anything.

Mark provides some useful responses from the Catholic philosophical tradition.

(Note: "Shut up, he explained" is from a Ring Lardner short story. It is often used as a sort of Zen koan to teach writing skills. A person who doesn't "get it" should not try to make a living as a writer. Their connection to the rest of humanity, while it may be both broad and deep, is not mediated through language.)

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