The Festival of Science in Liverpool, organised by the prestigious British Association, has certainly produced some fireworks this past week.
Following Professor Reiss’s comments, Professor Robert Winston has now criticised ‘science delusions’ and a ‘deterministic’ approach to genetics. Winston is well known through the mainstream media in the UK as a leading geneticist. He accuses militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins of damaging science with their rhetoric, commenting that the new atheism is ‘dangerous,’ ‘irresponsible’ and ‘very divisive.’
Winston comments that; “Far too many scientists including my good friend Richard Dawkins present science as…factually correct. And actually of course that clearly isn’t true.” “I think that…it is actually…irresponsible. I think it poo-poos other people’s views of a universe about which none of us know clearly or absolutely”
A welcome frank admission, but Winston further rejects misplaced certainty in genetics, commenting that the traditional “deterministic” approach to genetics is ‘too simplistic.’
“We can’t any longer have the conventional understanding of genetics which everybody pedals because it is increasingly obvious that epigenetics – actually things which influence the genome’s function – are much more important than we realised. One of the most important aspects of what makes us who we are is neither straight genes or straight environment but actually what happens to us during development.”
Clearly such an approach to genetics calls into question the type of neo-Darwinian explanation involving ‘selfish genes’ favoured by Richard Dawkins. If there is such uncertainty as he suggests, then how can explanations involving intelligent design be properly excluded from science? This approach must open up a place for intelligent design because evolutionary explanations could never be established with any certainty.