Book Review: I Don’t Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist – Ch 6.1

6: NEW LIFE FORMS: FROM THE GOO TO YOU VIA THE ZOO? (PART 1)

We’re still not dealing with the specific claims of Christianity as a religion. I discussed the problems with claiming irreducible complexity in the last chapter. There is no way to test for irreducible complexity except to say that there is currently no observable mechanism that explains certain phenomena. By accepting intelligent design, the impetus to attempt to discover such mechanisms is removed. Therefore, this chapter consists of an attack on Darwinism rather than attempting to explain any of the mechanisms of intelligent design. I will take intelligent design seriously as a competing claim when a scientist can demonstrate the method used by a designer to change a DNA strand to create a new lifeform, including the way in which said designer can make a physical change without triggering any laws of reaction.  This is no more rigorous a claim than that which the author requests when desiring to see a materialist create life from inorganic matter.

The rebuttal that the author makes to the claim that intelligent design is not science is that science shouldn’t rule out intelligent causes, and that if intelligent design is not science then neither is Darwinism (p 156). Again, the problem is not that science rules out intelligent causes, but that these causes must be observable in some manner to be studied by science. The author attempts to compare metaphysics to forensic investigation, but in forensic science, conclusions are drawn based upon previously observed behavior or effect. There is no previously observed behavior that applies to anything outside the universe.

Further, the author claims that intelligent design is falsifiable while Darwinists do not allow falsification of their position (p 158). This appears to be a matter of opinion and personality rather than a statement that can be generalized to an entire group of people. I have met Christians who believe that god buried dinosaur bones in the earth to test our belief. There are materialist scientists who have been dissatisfied with the most popular theory of the big bang or with claimed mechanisms for evolution who attempt to find alternate explanations. It’s my opinion that even if natural laws were discovered to create specified complexity, intelligent design proponents would not consider their theory to be disproven. What natural laws or observations would satisfy you that there was no intelligent designer?

What follows is the main reason that it’s taken me so long to do any of the reading. I have an emotional problem, but it’s not the one that the author suggests. The author refuses to believe that anyone could fail to find his arguments convincing and gives four emotion driven reasons why he believes that Darwinists are actively committed to keeping god out. It appears that he is in complete denial that anyone could honestly believe that evidence for god is lacking. He claims that the real motivations of some Darwinists are to be able to claim highest authority over truth and over explaining causes, to keep financial security and professional admiration, and to avoid moral prohibitions (p 161).

There appears to be a double standard. The author surely would not consider it a valid case against Christianity to point out that some Christians are emotionally weak, want to feel morally superior to other people, afraid of death, hypocritical or divisive. Pointing out that some atheists have character flaws is a red herring.

But back to my emotional problem – at first when I began reading things like this, I did not hear a professional Christian apologist’s scorn for atheists; I put my father in the place of the writer. I felt that since he gave me these things to read, they must reflect his view of me. While I have tried to be fair and rational in all other approaches, this one was purely emotional, born of the fear that I was a disappointment to my family. I am not reading and writing as a generalized representative non-theist, but as an individual with personal beliefs and experiences. I had intended eventually to write a little about my personal situation, and I feel that this is a good opportunity to talk about why these jabs at some atheists fail to address any of my actual motivations.

** The next installment will cover some of how I’ve dealt with Christianity and agnostic atheism in my own life **

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: