21st February 2011

“An atheist before Darwin could have said, following Hume: 'I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one.' I can't help feeling that such a position, though logically sound, would have left one feeling pretty unsatisfied, and that although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”

Richard Dawkins

4 Responses to “21st February 2011”

  1. John Doe Says:

    I am rather certain that that is not a quote from Dawkins himself. That might have been Hitchens though.

  2. Edmond Says:

    I have an explanation for complex biological “design”. Nature, struggling for 4 billion years, to achieve a system where chemical reactions and molecular arrangements come together to consume matter and energy, inducing replication so that more matter and energy can be consumed. The “miracle” we call life is just an eating machine, striving to spread and eat more.

    Gods, being magical beings, would have no need of complexity. Humans would just be animated dust and mud, as it says in some books. The sky would actually be a firmament, the universe would be no larger than we need, not the endlessly vast vacuum that it is. Inexplicable simplicity, not complexity, would tell us that gods are in charge. Biological systems would run without obvious stimulus or support. There would be none of the laws of physics that constrain nature; gods obey no laws. There would be no sciences to explain any of it. There would be no such scientific method to discover the mechanisms behind our world; with the magic of gods running things, there would be no mechanisms of any kind.

    The presence of complexity in our universe tells us that nature has done her best to cobble together complex systems. Gods do things the easy way.

  3. Dan Says:

    I forget where, but I’ve read this sentiment in one of Dawkins books before, I’m sure. And it’s B.S. A brief survey of philosophers long before Darwin will show you that learned men have known for a long, long time that one doesn’t need fantastical explanations like those found in various religions.

  4. Simon Says:

    One way groups of atoms can become more stable is by forming complex organic molecules. This occurs naturally under a wide range of circumstances. At some point between 3 and 4 billion years ago, organic molecules formed that could reproduce very close copies of themselves. Slight reproductive variance inevitably leads to natural selection and natural selection leads to increased complexity. There’s no striving going on here, no plans, no purposes and no objectives just organic chemistry.