Richard Dawkins’s recent piece titled Creationism: God’s Gift to the Ignorant has not met with full acceptance among UK scientists. Here are two letters by UK scientists who aren’t buying his latest attack on ID:
From Professor Andy McIntosh
Sir, By building a straw man of creationists (supposedly) misquoting Darwin and Lewontin, Professor Dawkins labels the lot as Ã¢â‚¬Å“ignorantÃ¢â‚¬Â and skirts the big issue Ã¢â‚¬â€ there is no hard evidence for molecules-to-man evolution.
Dawkins has long touted stories on how the eye and other organs came into being by supposed slow evolutionary processes, but there is no experimental evidence, even if one did accept the fossils as a record of such changes. Any serious thinker knows that the fossils of the Ã¢â‚¬Å“Cambrian ExplosionÃ¢â‚¬Â period, near the base of the geological column, include some of the most sophisticated eyes ever known to have existed Ã¢â‚¬â€ the compound eyes of trilobites have double calcite lenses, which defeat any slow evolutionary explanation, and, what is more, they have no precursor in the rocks.
The non-evolutionist side of the argument is growing not because of ignorance, but because of the rise of knowledge about the real facts of science without the fairytale additions of evolutionism. A growing number of academics on both sides of the Atlantic are attracted to the straightforward logic of scientific reasoning.
The logical, coded machinery of DNA and the information system it carries shout design to an unprejudiced mind. DawkinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s defence is based not on scientific facts, but on ideology. Evolutionary thinking is teetering as a way of looking at the evidence, not because of some isolated problems here and there, but because the whole structure is scientifically wrong.
ANDY C. McINTOSH,
(Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory),
Energy and Resources Research Institute,
University of Leeds,
Clarendon Road, Leeds LS2 9JT.
Evolving theory of intelligent design
From Dr Milton Wainwright
Sir, Like many biologists, Richard Dawkins (Weekend Review, May 21) views the theory of intelligent design merely as an attack on evolution when, being essentially identical to the anthropic principle, it has far wider implications.
Such ideas should not be dismissed simply because they have been hijacked by creationists. Despite DawkinsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s relentless propaganda, rational criticism of evolution and a distaste for biological reductionism do not equate to religious fundamentalism; bigotry should be resisted from whichever direction it comes.
Department of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology,
University of Sheffield,
Sheffield S10 2TN.
These letters are available here.