Wednesday, 22 August 2007


Daily Mail Article. "Arrogance, dogma and why science - not faith - is the new enemy of reason".
That's the title of the linked article, which criticises Richard Dawkins' attack on spirituality, and his rigorous support of science.

Melanie Phillips (for whom there is little evidence of conscious intelligence) says:
"Science cannot explain the origin of the universe...The most conspicuous example of this is provided by Dawkins himself, who breaks the rules of scientific evidence by seeking to claim that Darwin's theory of evolution - which sought to explain how complex organisms evolved through random natural selection - also accounts for the origin of life itself.

There is no evidence for this whatever and no logic to it. After all, if people say God could not have created the universe because this gives rise to the question "Who created God?", it follows that if scientists say the universe started with a big bang, this prompts the further question "What created the bang?"

Indeed, if the origin of life were truly spontaneous, this would constitute what religious people would call a miracle. Accordingly, this claim in itself resembles not so much science as the superstition that Dawkins derides.

Moreover, since science essentially takes us wherever the evidence leads, the findings of more than 50 years of DNA research - which have revealed the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce life - have thrown into doubt the theory that life emerged spontaneously in a random universe."


I almost struggle to untangle all the mixed up nonsense in this (long, sorry) quote. The "..then who created god?" idea is trying to express that the idea of God gets us nowhere in working out our origins. It's trying to say the god explanation is a bit absurd.
The "what created the big bang" question I am not qualified to answer, but there are some theories, and it's pretty amazing human thought has got back far enough to speculate on such an event. Not knowing how something occurs does not mean you automatically attribute it to God. It's too easy!! Humans started off explaining everything they didn't understand supernaturally... and very slowly we pushed the supernatural out of our lives. Just because we don't understand EVERYTHING just yet doen't mean "therefore god did it." No reason to think that at all.

The part about life occuring spontaneously constituting a miracle is frankly silly. You may well say that the start of life on Earth was a miracle, but I think you'd be using the word metaphorically, or at least loosely. And the speculative scientific theories about how life blossomed on Earth are quite amazing, but much more believable than some beardy guy throwing it all together in a few days.

Then to the last paragraph. To say that DNA research has thrown into doubt the 'theory that life emerged spontaneously in a random universe' is either dimwittedness, or willfull dimwittedness. Darwinian evolution certainly does explain how natural selection can create ever more complex organisms, and to say genetic complexity somehow threatens this is just wrong.

So, Melanie Phillips: it's not hard to learn about real science, all you have to do is pick up a few books - but you obviously couldn't be bothered to try, so you should stop writing about it. People like this are just rubbish, really. But they're all over the press!!

you should watch this, an oddity
...and you have only 6 days to listen to this.

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