Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Lessons in Bad Philosophy: Dawkins Edition (part 3)

In this, my third post in this series, I'll address Dawkins' last three premises in his argument against God, and then in the fourth and final post I'll sink my teeth into his conclusion that "God almost certainly does not exist."

Let's jump right in.

4) The most ingenious and powerful explanation is Darwinian evolution by natural selection.
Now, Dawkins is an evolutionary biologist and deserves some respect for his years of study and decades of experience, so I won't speak as forcefully against this premise as I do the more philosophical examples. I will, however, offer two quick points which illustrate that at the very least Darwinian evolution is NOT the most powerful explanation for anything, and at best, it is pseudo-science which belongs in the history books rather than the science books.

The first is that Darwin himself predicted the fossil record would be overflowing with transitional species by now, and yet science has yet to offer a single unchallenged "missing link" between any species and another. If Darwinian evolution were true then the fossil record would be absolutely teeming with these transitional species. In fact, there should be far, far more of these than of the fully-formed species we find in all corners of the record. So, even if there were a handful of fossils which science categorized as transitional species, which there is not, it would still be inadequate evidence for a system of speciation which requires hundreds or thousands of in-between stages for each fully-formed species.

Secondly, Darwin stated: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." The field of biochemistry alone has demonstrated this very thing. In fact, there is no organism that could have been formed in this way because every organism contains organs, processes, and other aspects which are irreducibly complex - meaning that they absolutely cannot lose a single feature of their construction without being rendered useless, which would have caused them to be rejected by natural selection. A few examples of irreducible complexity in nature are the human eye, the blood clotting factor, and cilia. For more on this get your hands on Michael Behe's fantastic book, Darwin's Black Box
5) We don't have an equivalent explanation for physics.
Let's see if I understand what he is saying here. It seems like Dawkins is trying to tell us that there are no antiquated, unfounded, unscientific, wildly speculative, marginally theoretical explanations for physics. I guess I disagree here as well, since physicists such as Stephen Hawking seem to be absolutely overflowing with these sorts of ideas. 
6) We should not give up the hope of a better explanation arising in physics, something as powerful as Darwinism is for biology.
This is nothing more than the blind faith of a committed atheist. This kind of thinking is ironically (and hypocritically) identical to the "God-of-the-gaps" fallacy atheists are so quick to accuse proponents of intelligent design of committing. See, physicists have yet to come up with any explanation at all for the physical world (i.e., the time-space-matter continuum), so otherwise intelligent atheists like Dawkins commit the "no-God-of-the-gaps" fallacy by inserting a yet unknown naturalistic explanation into gaps like this. The really sad part is, unlike theists of old who had no explanation for natural phenomena like lightning and such, who then attributed these phenomena to God, these atheists are so intellectually and/or emotionally committed to atheism that they purposefully exclude what seems to be the most logical explanations for things like a highly-ordered, extremely fine-tuned, indescribably massive, energy-laden, life supporting universe, the irreducible complexity of every living organism, the existence of an undeniable moral code, and plenty of others. 

These guys can maintain hope that someday they will find all the naturalistic explanations they've been dreaming of, but if they are smart and sincerely desire truth above all else, perhaps some of them will finally see the insurmountable heap of evidence for design as... well, evidence for design!

Next time: Does God almost certainly not exist?

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