He said in 2003:
My response is that when creationists talk about god creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds, or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, that’s going to make him blind. And I ask them, are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a god who’s full of mercy.
Note: Loa loa worm.
The obvious question is, why does Attenborough or anyone else think that the boy’s fate is noteworthy for any purpose or that he even has a fate? Let alone that it demonstrates something?
That is, if the boy is just an evolved primate, of whom some say there are far too many of us in the world, the critical question isn’t why this is happening but why Attenborough thinks anyone but the boy should care.
Not why they do care, but why they should. Why that’s somehow “right.” Put another way: Who told us we were naked? (Cf Gen 3:11)
The point of the question (God puts it to Adam and Eve when they attempt to make themselves clothes after doing something they know to be wrong) is that all judgements about what is right or wrong about the universe must come from beyond it. If Adam and Eve were merely animals, they would not have done wrong, known about it, or known that they were naked (= lacking a personal human identity).
If there is nothing beyond the material universe, judgments of right and wrong are no more informative than pan-hoots. If there is, Attenborough’s point is moot. That’s probably why he never fully committed himself to atheism. It actually creates more problems than it solves.
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