First, by “Darwinistic” I mean “atheistic-materialist neo-Darwinist”, which includes the view that even the origin of life can be explained by reference to chance and natural law.
As Alan Fox points out, many of those here are “laymen” when it comes to evolutionary biology. Most of us are not specifically schooled or trained in that arena – by “us”, I mean anyone who is interested in the debate about Darwinian evolution vs ID-inclusive evolution. I, like many, have informed myself to a moderate degree about Darwinistic claims and the ID argument, but I’m certainly not a professional scientist, nor a philosopher with any formal academic training.
IMO, a reasonable layman would be highly skeptical of claims that matter, chance & natural law can by themselves produce the sophisticated software/hardware nano-systems and architecture found in each self-replicating cell, much less produce consciousness, teleological will, intelligence, and imagination. A reasonable layman would be much more likely to hold – until convinced by a good understanding of compelling evidence otherwise – that consciousness, intelligence, teleological will and imagination most probably come from that which has them or something like them already, and that highly complex, hierarchical, interdependent, organized, functional machinery that is operational through physically encoded instructions is only known to be originally produced by intelligence via teleological planning. No one – to my knowledge – has ever witnessed unintelligent natural law, chance, and brute materials originate such devices and mechanisms. There is no good reason to believe that they can.
So I ask pro-Darwinistic, anti-ID laymen, like Alan Fox: without a professional understanding of the biology, philosophy or logic involved, nor of information systems and theory, chemistry or bio-engineering, why on Earth would you accept that highly complex, hierarchical, interdependent, functional, self-replicating machines; consciousness, intelligence, teleological will and imagination can be produced (eventually) by the happenstance interactions of brute matter via law and chance? What is the rational basis for accepting such a view, especially if you admit that you do not really even understand the evidence/arguments pro or con because you are “just a layman”?
It seems to me laymen who do not feel qualified to argue the logic and the evidence on their own but instead prefer to defer to “experts” are in a situation where they should just remain skeptical of such claims, and certainly shouldn’t be cheerleading one side and dismissing the other.