Darwinism Intelligent Design

Richard Dawkins: The Final Scientific Enlightenment

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Dawkins on enlightenment:

I am optimistic that the physicists of our species will complete Einstein’s dream and discover the final theory of everything before superior creatures, evolved on another world, make contact and tell us the answer. I am optimistic that, although the theory of everything will bring fundamental physics to a convincing closure, the enterprise of physics itself will continue to flourish, just as biology went on growing after Darwin solved its deep problem. I am optimistic that the two theories together will furnish a totally satisfying naturalistic explanation for the existence of the universe and everything that’s in it including ourselves. And I am optimistic that this final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue deathblow to religion and other juvenile superstitions.

Gil on enlightenment:

I am optimistic that physics, information theory, and biological science will one day demonstrate beyond any doubt that the universe and living things are the product of design. I am optimistic that biological science will flourish, as never before, despite the fact that Darwinism led us down a false path for a century and a half. I am optimistic that this final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue deathblow to materialism and other juvenile superstitions.

29 Replies to “Richard Dawkins: The Final Scientific Enlightenment

  1. 1

    Well put, Gil, and a nice juxtaposition to Dick’s nonsense.

  2. 2
    IDist says:

    Gil,
    I agree with you and I’m almost certain that this will happen (if not already happened, but people like Dawkins are refusing to admit)

    But I want to comment on one point.
    It is clear that Dawkins is living in 19th century.
    They imagined that they explained almost everything and that scientific advances will just complete the picture.
    Eternal universe, Newtonian mechanics, Freud, Marx, and ofcourse Charles Darwin.

    Now what happened?
    Revolution in almost EVERYTHING!
    Even the original darwinisim was refuted, and neo-darwinisim came along to rescue.

    Don’t we learn?
    Every time we think that we KNOW, it ends up that we don’t know, and only the idiot will think that a scientific theory can explain everything.

    A unifying theory might be discovered, but it will never be the “final” theory.

    And this applies to Darwin’s theory as well, it was a theory that might have explained the origin of species, could be right or wrong, it changed our understanding of living things, but it is in NO WAY the final theory of biology, nor it explains everything.

  3. 3
    mstreet says:

    Dawkins is either dreaming or parodying. This was a serious answer to a serious question, so he must be dreaming.

    Ironically, Gil did exactly what I was thinking. Reverse the statement and it equally represents the ID position.

  4. 4
    gpuccio says:

    Gil,

    very well said. I would humbly add that I am optimistic that science will never be able to explain everything, but that it still will go on explaining more and more, and that each new level of understanding will be deeper and more satisfyinf to the human soul, not only because more is understood, but also because new, deeper, more beautiful mysteries will become perceptible. In that process of real, unexhaustible progress, all arrogant and totalitarian views will be short-lived, because a humble spirit of inquiry will be recognized as the highest scientific virtue.
    I remember that I read somewhere that, at the end of the nineteenth century, one of the fathers of quantum mechanics (maybe it was Plank, but I am not sure) asked to graduate with a thesis in physics, and his professor tried to discourage him arguing that physics was a dead, completed science, because everything important had already been discovered, while chemistry was the science of the future. Well, a few years later quantum mechanics and relativity would come…
    On that subject, I found an interesting intervention by Steve Grand, an AI researcher, on the same web page which hosts Dawkins’ optimistic statement. Maybe Denyse could be interested in it for her blog on the mind.

  5. 5
    Jehu says:

    I would like to know what philosophical or metaphysical basis Dawkins has to prefer one outcome over another.

  6. 6
    idnet.com.au says:

    It seems that Professor Dawkins’ pulled essay is available in full for us to read here http://edge.org/3rd_culture/da.....index.html at the Edge

  7. 7
    Mats says:

    Where is Eugenie Scott when we need her? Doesn’t Dawkins know that only bkz you have a naturalistic explination it doesn’t meant that God did not create? Where are those Darwinists who, like Jack Krebs, are “concerned” with what ID is doing to other Christians?
    What ever happened to N.O.M.A. ?!!

  8. 8
    Mats says:

    Dawkins preaches:

    I am optimistic that the physicists of our species will complete Einstein’s dream and discover the final theory of everything before superior creatures, evolved on another world, make contact and tell us the answer.

    Dwkins attacks faith but he himself is a mam with great faith. Who told him that “superior creatures evolved on another world” ?

    I am optimistic that, although the theory of everything will bring fundamental physics to a convincing closure, the enterprise of physics itself will continue to flourish, just as biology went on growing after Darwin solved its deep problem.

    The only ones who had “problems” in Biology, prior to Darwin, were atheists, since they were not intelectualy fullfilled.

    I am optimistic that the two theories together will furnish a totally satisfying naturalistic explanation for the existence of the universe and everything that’s in it including ourselves.

    I have been here before. Didn’t Sir Julian Huxley said something similar in 1959?

    And I am optimistic that this final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue deathblow to religion and other juvenile superstitions.

    Or not!

  9. 9
    IDist says:

    idnet.com.au,

    I decided to read what this man has to say.
    I was reading until I found this

    First, most of the traditional arguments for God’s existence, from Aquinas on, are easily demolished. Several of them, such as the First Cause argument, work by setting up an infinite regress which God is wheeled out to terminate. But we are never told why God is magically able to terminate regresses while needing no explanation himself. To be sure, we do need some kind of explanation for the origin of all things. Physicists and cosmologists are hard at work on the problem. But whatever the answer — a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it — it will be simple. Complex, statistically improbable things, by definition, don’t just happen; they demand an explanation in their own right. They are impotent to terminate regresses, in a way that simple things are not. The first cause cannot have been an intelligence — let alone an intelligence that answers prayers and enjoys being worshipped. Intelligent, creative, complex, statistically improbable things come late into the universe, as the product of evolution or some other process of gradual escalation from simple beginnings. They come late into the universe and therefore cannot be responsible for designing it.

    RUBBISH!
    I couldn’t continue to read more into this non-sense

  10. 10
    shaner74 says:

    Dawkins never ceases to amaze me. He constantly uses the sophomoric argument: “If God exists, then who made God?” and his followers cheer this type of nonsense on. If I’m not mistaken, Christian philosophers have dealt with the infinite regress “problem” in great detail.

    “But whatever the answer — a random quantum fluctuation or a Hawking/Penrose singularity or whatever we end up calling it — it will be simple.”

    He needs to stick to zoology…oh my mistake, to writing books, because “that’s what Oxford professors do”

    “Complex, statistically improbable things, by definition, don’t just happen”

    Like trillions of universes popping into existence and randomly one is generated that can harbor life as we know it? Like a living cell, in all its marvelous complexity being created randomly from chemical reactions?

    “They are impotent to terminate regresses, in a way that simple things are not.”

    Like a Simple Being perhaps? I doubt Dawkins has ever read the philosophers whose arguments he claims are so easily “destroyed”. But hey, I guess when, from the start, you rule out Mind in favor of matter you have no choice but to make rather foolish decisions. We don’t even know what matter *is* never mind how it all got here. Dawkins really is straight out of the 19th century.

  11. 11
    mike1962 says:

    Dawkins is suffering from a basic malady called human pride and arrogance. His pronouncements are merely emotional and wishful, and thus irrational.

    The defensive hurt little boy inside of him, the one who apparently hates God and the very idea of God, just can’t stand the idea that some transcendent, and therefore unexplanable, reality exists that is the source of the universe; a reality that is not dependent of the “laws” of spacetime but is their source. Waa waa waa! Surprising that the little boy puts so much faith in Hawkings. I guess he was impressed with Hawkings’s idea about a four dimensional static reality in imaginary time. Sure thing, pal. That really explains it all. Except of course, how conscious entities such as ourselves are “flowing” (and are thus really and truly temporal) through this putative static spacetime. Oops!

    Well, let the philosophically sophomoric little boy rant if it makes him feel better. I think I’ll just turn off my hearing aid and read a few Psalms.

  12. 12
    Joseph says:

    I apologize if this is an interuption but now when I see or hear “Richard Dawkins” all I can envision is South Park‘s episodes featuring “him”.

  13. 13
    tribune7 says:

    I am optimistic etc. . . .

    That is what is called faith.

    just as biology went on growing after Darwin solved its deep problem.

    That is what is called delusion. And I mean the psychiatric definition: a fixed false belief that is resistant to reason or confrontation with actual fact

    Think about it what deep problem did Darwin solve? The existence of the cell? The coding of the gene? The Law of Biogenesis (hee hee)?

    All he did is to provide a plausible explanation (for the time) as to why lifeforms resemble some lifeforms more than others. Objectively, he established little that can be conclusively shown via the scientific method.

  14. 14
    scordova says:

    I am optimistic that the physicists of our species will complete Einstein’s dream and discover the final theory of everything

    Actually, the final theory of everything may have been discovered by pro-ID physicsts. The existence of the Ulitmate All Powerful Intelligent Designer may be the most fundamental principle of reality. See: Peer-Reviewed Stealth ID Classic : The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987). Ironically, it is called the Final Anthropic Principle.

    How can finite man know such truths. Not ultimately by man’s ability, but according to renowned physcist John Polkinghorne, “by God’s gracious disclosure.” (see, his Gifford Lecture on the Nicene Creed).

  15. 15
    tribune7 says:

    Dawkins is an opti-mystic 🙂

  16. 16
    Fross says:

    in the past religion and science have butted heads over describing the things around us. I can’t think of any example where the religious view ultimatley won, but I do know that those religions were able to adapt to the new knowledge and still exist. I think Dawkins is wrong and has a very shallow view of God if he thinks that the more we discover around us, the less need there is for belief in God.

    ID’ists are wrong in hanging their hopes on what we don’t know, as if that’s positive evidence for design.

  17. 17
    Rude says:

    But Fross,

    ID is based on what we do know. We do know about design. We are designers. We witness it every day. We can study it. Darwinism is based on what might happen over long stretches of unobservable time.

  18. 18
    dopderbeck says:

    Substitute “I have faith” for each time Dawkins says “I am optimistic” and this statement will make more sense. He has more faith in human capabilities and progress than probably any other public intellectual alive today. Just a little study of history ought to shatter that kind of naive faith.

  19. 19
    tribune7 says:

    I can’t think of any example where the religious view ultimatley won,

    That the universe has a beginning and life cannot spontaneously generate would be two biggies.

    But science itself is ultimately based on the Judiac-Christian view that superstitious idolotry i.e. magic is sinful.

  20. 20
    GilDodgen says:

    On the subject of Dawkins’ constant harping on the infinite regress theme: It is now known that all of physical reality — matter, energy, space and time — had a point of origin in the finite past. Thus, when it comes to the cause of the universe, whatever it is, the question of its origin is meaningless. For something to have an origin (a past from which it came) it must exist within the time domain — that is, on the time line of the physical universe. But the source of the universe could not have existed on the time line of the universe because the time line did not exist. This seems like an obvious conclusion to me, and makes the infinite regress argument totally irrelevant.

  21. 21
    tribune7 says:

    This seems like an obvious conclusion to me, and makes the infinite regress argument totally irrelevant.

    Exactly. It ulitmately comes down to faith and the the faith of the atheist is far less founded on reason than one who accepts a Creator.

  22. 22
    russ says:

    “And I am optimistic that this final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue deathblow to religion and other juvenile superstitions.”

    Is it really reasonable to call religion “juvenile” when it is studied and pondered and reasoned out by lots and lots of intelligent, mature and learned adults, and barely understood by most actual “juveniles”?

  23. 23
    StuartHarris says:

    Check out the Wall Street Journal article today on Dawkins and the other New Atheists:
    http://www.opinionjournal.com/taste/?id=110009482

    Stu Harris

  24. 24
    Joseph says:

    In support of the Rude comment (#17):

    “Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
    In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed” Pg. 72 of Darwinism, Design and Public Education

    What is it that prevents tried-n-true design detection techniques from being used in biology?

    What is it that is preventing us from using our knowledge of designing agencies, coupling that with our knowledge of what nature, operating freely, is capable of and reaching a reasonable inference? An inference like all inferences which can be either confirmed or refuted with future research.

    IOW the anti-ID promissory notes have been called in…

  25. 25
    terrylmirll says:

    The fossil record is a wonderful testament AGAINST the notion of Darwinian gradualism, so if you are to believe in Darwinism, you need only have faith that “someday” the scores of missing transitional forms will finally turn up.

    In other words, you have to believe in the existence of scores of creatures for which there is not one shred of fossil evidence (or any other kind).

    Aaaaaaaand… What do you call “the evidence of things not seen”?

    Faith. Which is why Darwinism is a religion.

  26. 26
    mentok says:

    I am optimistic that the two theories together will furnish a totally satisfying naturalistic explanation for the existence of the universe and everything that’s in it including ourselves. And I am optimistic that this final scientific enlightenment will deal an overdue deathblow to religion and other juvenile superstitions.

    Let’s concede for a moment that a “theory of everything” is actually possible and not just a sophmoric pipedream. For now there are many theories, often conflicting, on how and why the laws of physics work. Imagine if you could an archaeologist who finds some pieces of stone on Mars which may have been crafted by intelligent beings but which are the source of much debate because they could also have been crafted by random natural causes. If someone was able to come up with a theory that established in no uncertain terms that the pieces of stone were the result of random natural events, could that discovery then disprove the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence? If we can show how the mechanics of the universe work through a single theory does that really disprove god? If so, how? What Dawkins hasn’t figured out is what many atheists and evolutionists have figured out; you cannot disprove god by being able to explain how nature works anymore then you can disprove that aliens don’t exist because you haven’t seen one. Maybe how the universe works can be explained with one theory. But that will not disprove god anymore then an ant in an ant farm can disprove that there are larger more intelligent beings taking care of it even though it knows every corner and every speck of dust within it’s ant farm.

    Dawkins other complaints about the origin of everything is absurdly reductionist. To say that mind is too complex to have been the original substance, even if that were true, does not in any way whatsoever invalidate that a universal mind exists. What I find amazing is that his own evolutionist philosophy proposes a solution to what he sees as an insurmountable philosophical problem for positive belief in the existence of god. According to his reductionist evolutionary paradigm the human mind is a product of the human body. With our human mind we are able to do things which are utterly incomprehensible to living things without human minds. To an ant we are like gods. No other form of life can take what is available to us in this natural world and utilize it using their minds to create such wondorous things of astounding complexity and sophistication that humans have done. Everyone knows this. So even if the mind of “God” was not the original substance and in fact the original substance was much simpler, that doesn’t disprove that God didn’t come into existence as the simple morphed into the more complex any more then our intelligence and mental ability can be disproven to exist if they are not the source of our bodies and the natural world around us.

    What came first is irrelevant. What exists now is.

  27. 27
    Jaz says:

    Maybe “atheist” isn’t the right word for someone like Dawkins, but “anti-theist” is.

  28. 28
    avocationist says:

    Mentok,

    So even if the mind of “God” was not the original substance and in fact the original substance was much simpler, that doesn’t disprove that God didn’t come into existence as the simple morphed into the more complex any more then our intelligence and mental ability can be disproven to exist if they are not the source of our bodies and the natural world around us.

    The logic of your points seems valid, but if you entertain the above, then God would be an emergent property — of –what? Matter? So matter is its own cause and gives rise to ‘God’? Doesn’t that make matter another kind of God, at least equal, if not actually greater?

  29. 29
    mentok says:

    Avocationist what you wrote is a different point then what I was making. The question you raise does not necessarily follow if god is an “emergent property”. If god wasn’t the original substance whatever created god could have become god, whatever that was doesn’t have to be matter. For an analogy let’s say that the original substance changed into a more complex substance kinda like the way water changes properties when it is frozen or heated. Or the original substance could have have been some unknown type of substance which caused the mind of god to come into being in some other fashion. Matter could have been created by god at a much later point in time. Whatever the answer is the point I was making is that Dawkins attempt at pointing out an insurmountable philosophical problem with the origin of the mind of god is something I would expect junior high students to be able to easily show as a complete fraud. So either Dawkins thinks everyone else is easily fooled by his moronic rhetoric, or he’s a moron.

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