The Dawkins’ Disclosure
In a recent post, I mentioned that Richard Dawkins freely discussed the possibility that evolution may have been the result of an “intelligent designer.” I got some flak, understandably so perhaps, because Dawkins has repeatedly said that he doesn’t believe in Intelligent Design. Of course, what he discussed with Ben Stein calls into question how strongly be believes in that belief system. What follows is a transcript of the interview that he did with Ben Stein. So, you decide.
Stein: How did it (the universe) get created?
Dawkins: By a very slow process. We know the kind of event that it must have been. We know the sort of event that must have happened for the origin of life.
Stein: What was that?
Dawkins: It was the origin of the first self-replicating molecule.
Stein: How did it happen?
Dawkins: I told you. We don’t know.
Stein: So, you don’t have any idea how it started.
Dawkins: Nor does anyone.
Stein: What do think is the possibility that intelligent design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in evolution?
Dawkins: It could be that at some earlier time somewhere in the universe some civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology and designed the form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now that is a possibility and an intriguing possibility. I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence of that when you look at the details of our chemistry or molecular biology of some sort of designer. That designer could well be a higher intelligence than elsewhere in the universe. That higher intelligence would itself had to have come about by some inexplicable process. It couldn’t have just jumped into existence spontaneously.
The remainder of the interview dealt with questions about things like the existence of the gods of religion so I did not bother to detail it here, although you can watch the entire interview on YouTube if you so desire.
So let’s recap, what Dawkins said.
Dawkins on the origin of life: It comes from a self-replicating molecule. However, no one knows how it happened.
Comment: Nor can science even trace life back to a self-replicating molecule. So, if no one knows how it happened, then you can’t say with any confidence what the origin was. Ergo, the concept of a self-replicating molecule is based on an ideology. That is, as Dawkins said, “We know the sort of event that must have happened for the origin of life.” To be more precise, Dawkins knows the kind of event which is consistent with his own ideology. As Paul Feyerabend, a well-known philosopher of science, once said, “Thus science is much closer to myth than a scientific philosophy is prepared to admit… it is inherently superior only for those who have already decided in favour of a certain ideology, or who have accepted it without having ever examined its advantages and its limits.”
Dawkins on an “intelligent designer”: An intriguing possibility.
Comment: So intriguing, in fact, that he laid out a whole scenario of how it could have happened.
The Dawkins scenario: Possibly due to a highly advanced extraterrestrial civilization which seeded life onto this planet.
Comment: Sound familiar? It should because it’s the Directed Panspermia Theory of Francis Crick.
Dawkins: “That designer could well be a higher intelligence than elsewhere in the universe.”
Comment: Dawkins admits that the origins of life (the first self-replicating molecule) are unknown but that it might have been caused by an extraterrestrial civilization. Bottom line – Dawkins admits that evolution is not a fact.
Dawkins: “…it’s possible that you might find evidence of that when you look at the details of our chemistry or molecular biology of some sort of designer.”
Comment: Yes, Dawkins used the dreaded “d” word (again).
So, perhaps there is a disconnect on what Dawkins has said and how it has been interpreted. After all, it was Dawkins who said at a recent TED conference that now he has proof that evolutionary theory is correct. The implication is that he must not have been certain in the past even though he said that he was. Based on the Stein interview, Dawkins may not “believe” in Intelligent Design but he certainly acknowledged the possibility of it, even referring to it as intriguing. After all, we’re talking about theories as to the origin of life. You may believe in one theory and yet acknowledge the possibility of other theories. The point is that, in this case, none of these theories have yet to be proven.
So, evolution is still just a theory, not a fact. Does that sway anyone to change their support of evolution? Probably not. After all, ideology is virtually unassailable. Interestingly enough, though, atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel, in his book Mind and Cosmos, does argue that the materialist neo-Darwinian conception of nature is almost certainly false. Disclosures can sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Just ask Richard Dawkins.
Jim Gates, a theoretical physicist and a pioneer of supersymmetry, has found that scientific equations which describe the fundamental nature of the universe contain embedded computer codes. The same thing could be said for DNA, as Bill Gates readily admits. So, if DNA and the laws of nature contain computer codes, where’s the programmer?
“A scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written.”
– H. P. Yockey, physicist and information theorist