Information Origin Of Life

Origin of Life: A review of Paul Davies’ Demon in the Machine

Spread the love

A review of physicist Paul Davies’s book, The Demon in the Machine: How Hidden Webs of Information Are Finally Solving the Mystery of Life makes a key point about claims about solving the mystery of the origin of life.

Somewhere I had picked up the impression that Davies was sort of ‘on the ideological fence’ – a Materialist with reserved doubts about Materialism and therefore genuinely open to Theism. Maybe that was because Davies had been awarded the Templeton Prize. Whatever the reason, clearly my impression was wrong. As I progressed through Demon, I realized that if Davies was straddling the ideological fence this was being done solely for optics – perhaps to appeal to both camps. In fact, Davies is deep-seated in Materialistic Darwinism. Throughout Demon, Davies injects comments always in support of the Materialistic Darwinist position.

For instance, on page 61 Davies is speaking of RNA transcription and mentions the fact that there are occasional errors in that process. Davies comments, “Which is good: remember, errors are the drivers of Darwinian evolution.” Davies is referring to the Darwinist belief that errors generate variations and then natural selection ‘selects’ those variations that are ‘best fit’ (the “survival of the fittest” story).

Jorge Fernandez, “Review: Demon in the Machine” at Access Research Network

See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know about the origin of life.

6 Replies to “Origin of Life: A review of Paul Davies’ Demon in the Machine

  1. 1
    kairosfocus says:

    What is the only empirically observed cause of complex, coded algorithmic — so, linguistic and goal directed — information as is seen in the D/RNA of the cell? _______ Is there good, non question-begging, actual observation backed reason to believe that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity can create same? _____ Prediction, blank 1 is easy to fill but will be evaded by advocates of evolutionary materialistic scientism. Blank 2 they cannot soundly fill. KF

  2. 2
    jerry says:

    Does Davies endorse ID in his book? Apparently so. By presenting an extremely weak case for the progression of life and seemingly almost nothing at all about the origin of life, Davies is essentially saying that ID is a pretty good explanation for what happened.

    Remember absence of proof is not proof of absence. So the case for ID is not a certainty but it continues to look good. That applies to naturalistic mechanisms for the advancement of life as well as the origin of life. But after intense exploration for 160 years, there is nothing to show for naturalistic origins.

    He ends up using. the concept of the Judeo Christian God as his rationale for why ID is not valid. Why would the omniscient God have to constantly tinker? But if it is not the Judeo Christian God, his argument falls apart. And also his concept of the Judeo Christian God may be a mistaken one.

    It would imply a type of cosmic magician who sporadically intervenes, moving molecules around from time to time but mostly leaving them to obey fixed laws.”

  3. 3
    Dick says:

    I had the feeling reading Davies’ recent books, especially The 5th Miracle, that he recognized at some level that the old materialist religion was threadbare and preposterous, that the origin of life really did evince purposeful design, but that he’d been too committed to the faith for too long to apostasize now. Like a man in the process of losing his faith, he wrote as if he were trying to find something, anything to justify clinging to materialist orthodoxy, but no naturalistic explanation for abiogenesis seemed plausible. Even so, he went on in his books reciting the old creeds, but his heart didn’t seem to be in it.

  4. 4
    jerry says:

    An open comment box. Have to comment so the “shut down” demons find this thread.

    Are the atheists of the world getting their revenge for being proved inadequate? What’s it like being wrong about nearly everything you believe? It must be tough.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    I seem to remember Davies writing in the preface to one of his books that, like a lot of scientists, while he didn’t subscribe to any of the world’s major religions, he still felt that there was something mysterious behind it all. It was not a god in the Christian or other senses but, nonetheless, there was something there.

    Being atheist just means you don’t believe in any of the current range of gods on offer. It doesn’t preclude the probability that there is a lot out there that we have still to discover and which may be even weirder than quantum phenomena and may even include some vast intelligence. We’ll just have to be patient.

  6. 6
    Jorge says:

    As I wrote in my review of Demon, over the years I had picked up the impression that Davies was ‘straddling the ideological fence’. I no longer hold that impression. Davies is unquestionably a Materialist-Darwinist. Yet, as such people often do, he has many episodes of Freudian slips – their doubts are just too great to keep suppressed at all times. The “mysterious thing” that Davies believes is out there is one instance of this.

Leave a Reply