Monday, June 16, 2008

Nyquist's Comments on Anthony Flew's "Conversion"

I recommend reading Greg Nyquist's latest post titled, Objectivism and Religion Part 13, Deism on Anthony Flew's book, There is A God. Here is a key quote.

Whether this argument advances the case for theism, even of the minimal, deist sort, is open to question. But even if it doesn't advance the cause of theism, it does manage to provide a strong case against any version of militant atheism. Confronted with arguments such as this one, I cannot see how any Objectivist can continue to regard belief in God as patently irrational. Indeed, if you compare the claims of atheism with those of rational theism, it's not easy to determine which view is more rational. The rational theist argues that, because it's grossly implausible to assume that a coded chemistry could have emerged spontaneously from inorganic matter (see this article for greater explication of the point), it is not unreasonable to assume that life has its origin in some sort of intelligence or understanding that is beyond human comprehension. The atheist, on the other hand, argues that life emerges out of matter spontaneously, by "chance," as it were—that in other words, we all evolved from rocks. Is this really the more plausible view?
I posted this in reponse.

Greg, I’m glad someone has finally raised the issue of Flew’s “defection” and broached the subject of intelligent design. It’s something I want to write about on my blog one of these days. (Actually, I did post something a while ago comparing Michael Behe’s The Edge of Evolution to Sean Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful.) I’ve read several books by Dembski, Behe and others. I don’t find them to be whim-worshipping mystics who refuse to face the facts. If anything it’s the supposed defenders of reason (Dawkins, Carroll and others) who resort to sarcasm, sneering and ad hominem arguments to defend their position and to deride the opposition. Dembski makes an interesting case for his position in The Design Inference while Behe is famous for his coining “irreducible complexity.” Yes, their agenda is to build a case a designer (i.e., God). Flew claims he followed where the evidence lead him.

Dembski and others also claims that Darwinists have not addressed how the incredible complexity of life all the way down to the cellular level can be explained by chemicals bumping into one another.

I believe they make good points even if you ultimately might not accept their solution hook line and sinker. I also believe we need to face the facts without prejudice. If the facts seem to indicate the possibility of some kind of intelligence so be it. It still is a big jump from saying there are signs of intelligence in the structure of life or in the conditions that exist in the universe that make life possible to the traditional religious concept of God as an omniscient, omnipotent designer and creator of everything. At the very least Dembski and crew have pointed out chinks in the Darwinian armor that should be acknowledged and addressed instead of using faulty arguments to spackle the holes in their arguments.