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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Further thoughts: from that anti-Darwinian Toronto hack I was telling you about

From David Warren of the Ottawa Citizen, by private correspondence (but with permission), in response to comments from Darwinists:

Fear not, we (rational mediaevalists) only assign supernatural explanations to events which cannot be explained naturally. And really can't. We do accept all demonstrable facts. We are just more sceptical about the inferred ones. None of us has the fondest clue how God actually does anything, & our dogma indicates we wouldn't be able to find out if we tried. Hence our modesty, relative to the Darwinians. We're hardly likely to, say, publish a book entitled "The Origin of Species" that does not contain an explanation of the origin of species.

Once again I must remind you that Copernicus was a monk. (Like Mendel; like the 20th-century Belgian who "discovered" the Big Bang; & Galileo was a Catholic, too, whose patrons were all ecclesiastical; & Kepler for that matter; & Newton was a born-again Biblical literalist; & Einstein some kind of New Age fruitcake. Cosmology is not a field in which agnostics have made much of a mark. Whereas Darwin will rank among the great Victorian-atheist "system builders" -- e.g. with Freud & Marx.)

From my own experience, Warren is right about that. When I first encountered it, I was very much surprised by the extent to which Einstein and Bohr, in their conflicts about the fundamental nature of reality, were essentially arguing philosophy as well as science. It was not what I had been led to expect from the pop science media, which are currently obsessed by Darwinism, which truncates science from most philosophy. So, while I am here, let me shill another book, Shimon Malin's Nature Loves to Hide, whose first section provides an excellent account of that fundamental conflict.

In another post, Warren commented,

I continue appalled that a crude Darwinian materialism continues to be pumped by our schools into the heads of people too young to defend themselves. That it is presented as something morally and spiritually neutral, as “pure science”, when it is pure bluster.

Here is where a little autodidactic training in philosophy has served me better than any kind of scientific tutoring could have done. For I am able to spot the premise upon which the logical argument sits: and therefore grasp the argument’s circularity. Working from the premise that only strictly material causes are admissible in the study of biological effects, the Darwinians then demonstrate that all biological effects can be explained from strictly material causes.

But the human mind, which can tell the difference between something that is alive and something that is dead, finally rebels against this circularity. Darwinism provides no account whatever of the singular miracle of life. The very will to survive is inadmissable on materialist premises. Random collocations of atoms do not behave to a purpose. And as the physicists have realized -- such as Einstein, the man who said, “God does not play dice with the universe” -- the existence of material is itself a problem. The ultimate particle is not even a particle.

Conveniently, the whole of this essay is online.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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