Saturday, September 09, 2006

The gods must be crazy if they call this intelligence #1

The gods must be crazy if they call this intelligence, Sydney Morning Herald, August 5, 2006.

[Graphic: "Unintelligent Design: Why God isn't as smart as she thinks she is," by Robyn Williams, Allen & Unwin: Sydney, 2006]

Robyn Williams insists the intelligent design movement is as sinister as it is wrong, writes Deborah Smith. I was going to buy Robyn Williams' (who is a man, despite his feminine-sounding name) latest book, "Unintelligent Design" and then critique it here on my blog. But it looked pretty shallow and I had better things to do at the time (although I will buy it eventually-I have six of his books, albeit all bought second-hand and only dipped into).

But I notice that there are at least two webbed articles on William's book, this one in the Sydney Morning Herald and another in The Australian, as well as an anti-ID item in William's The Science Show on Australia's `unbiased' public broadcaster, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, so I have decided to comment on at least one of those.

Williams' claim that "the intelligent design movement is ... sinister" is on a par with his fellow atheist Richard Dawkins' statement that "somebody who claims not to believe in evolution" (and by that he meant "nearly half the people in the United States") ... is ignorant, stupid or insane ... or wicked":

"`DO you realize,' said Don, `that nearly half the people in the United States don't believe in evolution?' ... It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)." (Dawkins, R., "Put Your Money on Evolution." Review of "Blueprints: Solving the Mystery of Evolution," by Donald C. Johanson and Maitland A. Edey. New York Times, April 9, 1989, Section 7, p.34)

That atheists like Williams and Dawkins deem as "sinister" (i.e. not only intellectually, but also morally, "wrong") those of us in the ID movement whose only crime is that we dare to oppose their atheistic worldview, shows that for them it is their religion, and an intolerant, fundamentalist religion at that!

ROBYN WILLIAMS'S heart sank this week when he listened to people from Toowoomba on the radio blithely rejecting the latest scientific evidence on the quality of recycled water in favour of the myths. This is the usual arrogant "scientific evidence" versus "myths" false dichotomy that scientism's secular `priests' like Williams use to try to marginalise and silence their opposition. I myself am in favour of drinking recycling water, but that does not mean that those who oppose it do not have rational, scientific grounds for their opposite viewpoint.

And as for "scientific evidence" versus "myths," when it comes to considering "intelligent design," Williams is an avowed atheist (indeed it says so further in this article), he was the 1993 Humanist of the Year and in fact is currently Patron of the Humanist Society of New South Wales. So as a committed atheist Williams has no option but to reject in advance the reality of design in nature irrespective of the evidence for it.

Indeed, Atheism (there is no God), like Materialism (matter is all there is) and Naturalism (nature is all there is), is a form of the Fallacy of Apriorism or Invincible Ignorance, where "no amount of evidence seems to be clinching. ... the facts are simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow deceptive, and the principles are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction":

"Apriorism: `invincible ignorance' Closing one's eyes to evidence alleged against something one believes in ... is frequently described as an attempt to deduce facts from principles, instead of inducing principles from facts. Reasoning a priori, `in advance' of the facts, is regarded as a fallacy. When Galileo invited learned men of his time to view the moons of Jupiter through his telescope, some refused on the grounds that, if they saw anything, it would be an illusion, no doubt diabolical, since the number of the heavenly bodies had already been fixed with finality by astronomy. This is the notorious text-book example. ... Whenever in science or ordinary life people predict from principles that something will or will not occur, they are in a sense `deducing' facts in advance. ... There does remain, nonetheless, a cast of mind which seems peculiarly closed to evidence. When confronted with such a mind, one feels helpless, for no amount of evidence seems to be clinching. Frequently the facts are simply ignored or brushed aside as somehow deceptive, and the principles are reaffirmed in unshakable conviction. One seems confronted with what has been called `invincible ignorance.' ... the cast of mind that clings with blind certainty to principles, even in the teeth of the facts." (Fearnside, W.W. & Holther, W.B., "Fallacy the Counterfeit of Argument," Prentice-Hall: Englewood Cliffs NJ, 1959, Twenty-fifth Printing, pp.111-113. Emphasis original)

It was as if science was just another choice of product on a supermarket shelf they could ignore at will, says the ABC science broadcaster. This is a case of "physician, heal thyself" (Luke 4:23 KJV). Williams and his atheist ilk think they can just reject God (and therefore design) "as if" He "was just another choice of product on a supermarket shelf they could ignore at will"! In fact they can ignore both design and God, but like the proverbial ostrich putting its head in the sand, that atheists refuse to look at the evidence for God (which includes design), does not mean He (and it) is not there.

"People simply say, 'I don't want to know that. It's inconvenient'." Which is an apt description of atheism! As St. Paul put it in "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge" (Romans 1:28 KJV). Indeed as that unusually self-aware atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel put it, he (and "many people in this day") suffer from "the fear of religion itself" (i.e. fear of God Himself) in that "It isn't just that" they "don't believe in God" but they "hope there is no God" because they "don't want there to be a God", they "don't want the universe to be like that" (my emphasis):

"The thought that the relation between mind and the world is something fundamental makes many people in this day and age nervous. I believe this is one manifestation of a fear of religion which has large and often pernicious consequences for modern intellectual life. In speaking of the fear of religion, I don't mean to refer to the entirely reasonable hostility toward certain established religions and religious institutions, in virtue of their objectionable moral doctrines, social policies, and political influence. Nor am I referring to the association of many religious beliefs with superstition and the acceptance of evident empirical falsehoods. I am talking about something much deeper-namely, the fear of religion itself. I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn't just that I don't believe in God and, naturally, hope that I'm right in my belief. It's that I hope there is no God! I don't want there to be a God; I don't want the universe to be like that." (Nagel, T., "The Last Word," Oxford University Press: New York NY, 1997, p.130)

But unfortunately for atheists like Williams and Nagel, it is simply irrelevant that they "don't want there to be a God." If in fact there is a God (which there is), then the only rational (and indeed scientific) attitude is to accept that fact.

Continued in part #2.

Stephen E. Jones, BSc (Biol).
Genesis 1:10. God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.