Shedinger, author of The Mystery of Evolutionary Mechanisms: Darwinian Biology’s Grand Narrative of Triumph and the Subversion of Religion (Cascade, 2019), offers some thoughts on origin-of-life theorist Paul Davies’ decades-long dance around design in nature:
No better advertisements for intelligent design exist than works written by establishment scientists that unintentionally make design arguments. I can think of few better examples than well-known cosmologist Paul Davies’s recently published book The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Solving the Mystery of Life (2019).
With a nod toward James Clerk Maxwell’s entropy-defying demon, Davies argues that the gulf between physics and biology is completely unbridgeable without some fundamentally new concept. Since living organisms consistently resist the ravages of entropy that all forms of inanimate matter are subject to, there must be some non-physical principle allowing living matter to consistently defy the Second Law of Thermodynamics. And for Davies there is; the demon in the machine turns out to be information.Robert Shedinger, “Hey, Paul Davies — Your ID Is Showing” at Evolution News and Science Today
It’s interesting how someone coming relatively new to a situation spots the polite avoidance of the obvious: Davies is talking about design in nature—and that level of design is not reached without an intelligence external to the design. Those who have dealt with scholarly evasions for decades, by contrast, view them as just part of the landscape. Davies has built a career out of stopping just short of admitting that.
At heart, the conflict is not about intelligent design vs. evolution but design, where intelligence as a real fact of nature vs. naturalism, where intelligence is an illusion.
Shedinger will doubtless find plenty of material for his next books.
See also: A Darwinian skeptic confesses. It’s not clear how much of modern Darwinism was ever about science, in terms of shedding light on the history of life, as opposed to casting it in specific terms.