Tuesday, January 5, 2010

First Things of 2010


Denyse O'Leary is a Catholic, Canadian writer who supports Intelligent Design Theory. She posts on William Dembski's blog, Uncommon Descent, and has lately been posing questions for commenters in contest form. In Contest 19, O'Leary has described a book review by David B. Hart in the magazine First Things. It is in the Jan. 2010 issue (no. 199) which I think will not be online for a few weeks until the Feb. issue comes out (I haven't followed FT lately but that's the way it sounds on the home page). The review is of Richard Dawkin's Greatest Show on Earth, about nature and evolution. This is the section of the review she quotes:

The best argument against ID theory, when all is said and done, is that it rests on a premise – irreducible complexity” – that may seem compelling at the purely intuitive level but that can never logically be demonstrated. At the end of the day, it is – as Francis Collins rightly remarks – an argument from personal incredulity. While it is true that very suggestive metaphysical arguments can be drawn from the reality of form, the intelligibility of the universe, consciousness, the laws of physics, or (most importantly) ontological contingency, the mere biological complexity of this or that organism can never amount to an irrefutable proof of anything other than the incalculable complexity of that organism’s phylogenic antecedents.

The reviewer apparantly has not considered mathematical probabilities, chemical laws and physical distributions of random atoms and molecules. He has taken the word of two major biology scientists. However, we have seen an inkling from the Climate-gate scandal that scientists have their own agendas and can (allegedly) bend the facts their way, helped especially by computer-shuffled statistics. One of the problems in evolutionary biology is that scientists for years have ignored these mathematical probabilities and physical and chemical laws when it comes to origin and evolution of life. They live in an insular world where there is the assumption, not the proof, of evolution. That is why the word "evolution" constantly appears in the journals. It is time for them to answer to this non-scientific behavior.

An important article by David Abel has appeared in a peer-reviewed journal, Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling that says scientific journals should no longer publish articles that propose speculations that are exceedingly implausible. If the chance of random formation of biologically sufficient molecules for a working system (like the bacterial flagellum) is less than one in all the quantum transitions a 14-year-old universe has ever experienced, any speculation that does not seriously answer that improbability should not be published. People usually accept the conclusions of scientists. What if they are false?

I hope in my posts to come, as in past ones, to help people understand. If we are not educated by others, we must educate ourselves. When scientists work harder at keeping facts from us than supplying them, we must ask why. This is especially sad when educators are involved, as in our public and university systems.

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