Skip to comments.Ben Stein Exposes Richard Dawkins (Dawkins admits possibility of ID, Just Not God).
Posted on 04/21/2008 7:23:01 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
In Ben Stein's new film "Expelled," there is a great scene where Richard Dawkins is going on about how evolution explains everything. This is part of Dawkins' grand claim, which echoes through several of his books, that evolution by itself has refuted the argument from design. The argument from design hold that the design of the universe and of life are most likely the product of an intelligent designer. Dawkins thinks that Darwin has disproven this argument.
So Stein puts to Dawkins a simple question, "How did life begin?" One would think that this is a question that could be easily answered. Dawkins, however, frankly admits that he has no idea. One might expect Dawkins to invoke evolution as the all-purpose explanation. Evolution, however, only explains transitions from one life form to another. Evolution has no explanation for how life got started in the first place. Darwin was very clear about this.
In order for evolution to take place, there had to be a living cell. The difficulty for atheists is that even this original cell is a work of labyrinthine complexity. Franklin Harold writes in The Way of the Cell that even the simplest cells are more ingeniously complicated than man's most elaborate inventions: the factory system or the computer. Moreover, Harold writes that the various components of the cell do not function like random widgets; rather, they work purposefully together, as if cooperating in a planned organized venture. Dawkins himself has described the cell as the kind of supercomputer, noting that it functions through an information system that resembles the software code.
Is it possible that living cells somehow assembled themselves from nonliving things by chance? The probabilities here are so infinitesimal that they approach zero. Moreover, the earth has been around for some 4.5 billion years and the first traces of life have already been found at some 3.5 billion years ago. This is just what we have discovered: it's quite possible that life existed on earth even earlier. What this means is that, within the scope of evolutionary time, life appeared on earth very quickly after the earth itself was formed. Is it reasonable to posit that a chance combination of atoms and molecules, under those conditions, somehow generated a living thing? Could the random collision of molecules somehow produce a computer?
It is ridiculously implausible to think so. And the absurdity was recognized more than a decade ago by Francis Crick, co-discoverer of the DNA double helix. Yet Crick is a committed atheist. Unwilling to consider the possibility of divine or supernatural creation, Crick suggested that maybe aliens brought life to earth from another planet. And this is precisely the suggestion that Richard Dawkins makes in his response to Ben Stein. Perhaps, he notes, life was delivered to our planet by highly-evolved aliens. Let's call this the "ET" explanation.
Stein brilliantly responds that he had no idea Richard Dawkins believes in intelligent design! And indeed Dawkins does seem to be saying that alien intelligence is responsible for life arriving on earth. What are we to make of this? Basically Dawkins is surrendering on the claim that evolution can account for the origins of life. It can't. The issue now is simply whether a natural intelligence (ET) or a supernatural intelligence (God) created life. Dawkins can't bear the supernatural explanation and so he opts for ET. But doesn't it take as much, or more, faith to believe in extraterrestrial biology majors depositing life on earth than it does to believe in a transcendent creator?
Of course Derbyshire can believe in leprechauns, but not God. God, by definition, would have moral authority over Derbyshire, while leprechauns would not.
That being the case, there might be unpleasant consequences if Derbyshire lived in such a way that he did not please God, whereas he can offend the sensibilities of leprechauns all he wants without any real punishment therefore.
It’s like this: a person wants to speed. He has two choices: (1) he can accept that speed limits exist, but that he chooses to be a lawbreaker, or (2) he can delude himself into believing that speed limits do not exist and, therefore, that there are no moral issues or legal consequences for his behavior.
That is all.
Is the film suitable for kids?
No doubt He is having a good time. But He does have his regrets, as in regretting making humans after they rebelled. Reading the Old Testament, in a literal sense, one can't help but think that God doesn't always know what He is doing.....:) I say that tongue in cheek but still, give a careful slow read to Genesis.....from my humble meager human point of view, I sense a bit of bumbling. What this reveals though is how genuinely Free our Free Will really is.
Since when is 1 BILLION years considered quick?
Here's my point of view. I'll go ahead an add the disclaimer that I'm an atheist. (But unlike typical atheists like Dawkins, I have no problem with people who believe in a religion. Everyone has their own way of dealing with the stresses of life, and religion seems to work well for the majority of people, just not me. To each his own.)
There seem to be two major camps in the intelligent design or creationist crowd. One claims that everything came developed the way that science has hypothesized, but it was started by God. Of course, since God is all knowing, he knew full well what the end result would be. I've always heard these people called Old Earth Creationists (OEC.) The other claims that everything was created exactly as described in the bible, about 6000 years ago. This camp would be the Young Earth Creationists, or YEC.
As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with the OEC point of view. I may differ with them on our beliefs of how it all started, but we seem to agree on what happened after that initial spark.
On the other hand, there are the YECs. I cannot even begin to fathom how they believe that the Earth is only 6000 years old. After a significant amount of research, I think I've figured out the problem. The idea that the Earth is very young is refuted over and over by carbon dating. Yet the YECs seem to deny this. The only argument I've EVER heard from the YEC side is that carbon dating doesn't exist. They don't provide any evidence, not even a basic attempt at a thought experiment. They simply state that it doesn't exist. I once watched a three and a half hour video of a lecture given by a YEC, and he spent about 7 words on this major flaw in his argument. All he said was, "And carbon dating, well, that doesn't exist."
Until someone can show me even a scrap of evidence that carbon dating is false, I will never understand the Young Earth Creationist point of view.
PS. About the whole alien thing. As others have pointed out, this theory suffers one major flaw: where did the aliens come from? Sure, there might be a very small chance that life on Earth was placed here by aliens, but that seems a little far fetched to me. And of course it still doesn't answer the question of how life comes into being from non-life, which is the major question that everyone is trying to answer.
It's "The Old Ones" ... a venerable SF device.
Sagan took it to the next level, though, with the message encoded in the decimal expansion of pi. ( Actually in some other base, I think. ) This was the signature of some truly transcendent being, tantamount to God.
Dawkins is a pretty darn good thinker and writer on the mechanics of evolution.
However, as a philosopher of science or epistemology, he’s an adolescent at best. Embarrassingly so.
His error in inferring religion from science, a freshman mistake.
Evolution needs a better debater for their standard-bearer on this issue.
I assure you he does. He has used me.
No, God DID create the Universe and He DID create the first lifeform(s). Man and Woman. He did not use evolution. That word is not in the Bible.
I also saw the movie and he is not misrepresenting what was said.
It could have been any day. Stein asked the questions that Dawkins has never responded to before. That made it a good day.
What function does religion serve then?
My daughter often asks me if i think there is inteligent life in the universe, and i say, yes I do but, I also tell her that it could be we are the first, because someone has to be first.
It is suitable for kids but I really believe that boredom by them may lead to their distracting you.
Many, but in this context: Search for Truth beyond that which can be known using the tools of science and philosophy (reason/logic). This is primarily where Dawkins, and scientism in general, makes the epistemological error.
You are ignoring the absurdity self-evident to the audience in Dawkin’s “seeding” hypothesis:
“What do the turtles rest on?”
“You can’t trick me! It’s turtles all the way down!”
Carbon dating is not used to establish geologic time scales, being limited to tens of thousands of years. Of course, you are using it as a shorthand for radioactive dating methods in general.
Some creationists are versed in these methods, and exercise some ingenuity in discounting them. When I debated Duane Gish, I had read some of his comments about this, and so I included an explanation of Rubidium-Strontium dating using several slides I had carefully drawn up myself. Rb-Sr dating uses a comparison among several species as a self-check against contamination etc.
Gish was not caught unawares. He knew of the method, and said so, although he confined himself to saying it was also susceptible to misreading without really going into it. It is kind of complicated, and I don't think I really scored any points with this one.
I think ID skates close, sometimes crossing into the same error. Where it doesn’t it provides some interesting possible avenues, science to science. This is the debate I’d like to see.
But both sides would need in both science and philosophy to conduct it.
So far I haven’t seen it, though I’m not completely informed on all of ID, just the basics. As I said before Dawkins is immensely ill-equipped for it. I hope someone else comes along, it could be very elevating for the field and for the culture.
Evolution is at God’s discretion!
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