The Blind Watchmaker -truths & philosophical jumps

I’ll gladly leave. The constant lying about Dawkins is pretty tame compared to outright public slander of active scientists, which seems not to count as ‘deterioration.’

Peace out.

Please don’t go! But if you must, may I call on you if I need you?

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You know how to reach me. But if there aren’t enough people on this forum who think that public accusation against scientists is obvious deterioration–and I’m not talking about the casual fabrications about Dawkins, since I guess all the good Christians need their voodoo doll–then both of us are wasting our time. Email sounds good, especially if you see more ignoramuses writing that scientists are manipulating data. But it’s time for Christians to grow some character and make the forum worthy of its name. That’s not my job.


Unfortunately, slandering Richard Dawkins has gone on at BioLogos for years.

I have not read Dawkins “Blind watchmaker” but an familar with “The God Delusion” and various lectures and interviews on similar subjects.
Somewhere for some reason in his personal past he took an antithisis against religion in general and therefore seeks to promote a scientic reductionist view of the world, that excludes anything related to divine being. He sets up reductionist arguments as well as false accounts of God from his point of view.
It is possible to construct purely materialistic accounts of the world but in doing so we become cut off from our real purpose from God. For if God has possibly created the conditions of life that are also “self creating” and with evolutionary potential, that does not remove God from the process and His purpose in doing so. If God stands behind the natural proceses and causes in the world we would not know it, nor could we prove it. Thus the need for “revelation” and faith in it.

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Then address it. Proverbs 26:5

As the RCC says, we have disordered passions. Fundamentalism is driven by fear, ignorance, weakness: being human. So is overreacting to it, except for rhetorical reasons. It’s a game Stephen.

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Hi Vanessa. I may be of no help, as I’m neither expert in evolution or Dawkins’ book. I’m a little stronger in philosophy, not too much. Like you, I dip my toes in, listen, try to figure it out.

Yet I do see compelling arguments for God being the ground of all being. There are many physicists and those in other sciences - theists and atheists - who hold the same incredulity as you and I about consciousness and the complexity that has given rise to us. I also see others - theists and atheists - who shrug and think it inevitable as if what happened happened. You’ll meet both on this site. A lot of it is looking at the same evidence and reading it through presuppositions: Presuppose the inevitability of life in the and the story reads one way - of course it happened. Take away the inevitability and it can leave you incredulous.

I struggle to think an unconscious universe created conscious beings, and unapologetically consider consciousness as higher than unconscious stuff. From the beginnings of emergence of matter - fluctuations between sets of fields to form the simplest of particles that create a universe - and those fluctuations hold steady with chemical properties emerging in atoms and molecules, a generation of stars to turn hydrogen, helium into greater complexity, with supernovas and similar to required to created the more complex elements… all with the properties which, in the right form, mixes of these different atoms into chemicals with other properties - through to the conditions and environment life could emerge… and not just simple life but continuing in complexity until we sit here conscious of and able to describe things that occurred billions of years ago. And some here, who I respect, will pretty much say… of course it did. So what?

Let me refer to a non-theist (I think) some for the basics. Fine tuning probably isn’t new to you. I don’t know how to do a link to my previous post so sorry moderators for repeating. Here is an atheist looking at one small part of the long chain that leads to us. Just the first part really.

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There is no reason to assume the fossil record is a perfect record of life.

Biology dumped Darwinism a long time ago when it become quite apparent that neutral evolution plays an important role in evolution. It would seem that those who reject evolution are much more obsessed with Darwin than biologists are.


It’s apparent that many contributors to this Forum have rejected my views on the Darwin/Dawkins questions, not so much on the basis that I promote falsehoods @sfmatheson, but rather that they do not understand the paradigm shift that I am suggesting could (mostly) reconcile the opposing views. My basic premise states that, currently the only evolution that is being considered is Bio-evolution (which should leave a fossil record), while in fact Noo-evolution (evolution of ideas and information transfer rather than changes in DNA) is far more important in determining what changed an early Homo sapiens into a human being. This latter ‘event’ might have resulted in just how the 80 billion neurons in the Homo sapiens brain formed neural circuits that served as the world’s first Mind, and leaving NO fossil evidence.

In his book, “The Ancestor’s Tale”, Dawkins uses 600+ pages in an admirable defense of the position he first presented in “The Blind Watchmaker”: namely that, if given sufficient time, tiny chance mutational changes can give the appearance of design. In “The Ancestor’s Tale”, he devotes less than 2 pages to mention (but not explain) the evidence from paleontology that a Great Leap Forward occurred in the Homo sapiens (e.g. Cro-Magnon) that produced humankind.

In his book, “The God Delusion”, Dawkins “flies in the face” of this evidence. Can any contributor to this Forum direct me to later publications where he modifies or retracts this position?
Al Leo

Obviously, the flaw in my comment is that I see it see it such way because of my an existing bias, but—I still wonder if it was done so intentionally. To some, the universe presents evidence and to others, it is lacking. I wonder if it was created just so as a means to preserve free will (please don’t y’all start arguing about free will here—I still believe in it with limitations). It would be hard for freedom of choice and being to co-exist with a blatant presence…

Transmission of ideas is right up my alley. Love this. Thanks.

On a side note, it may be helpful to communicate without phrases like, “wipe the egg off his face.” The such can send a message different than the one intended and hamper communication—which is such a gift!

Kindly and warmly,


Thanks, Vanessa, for pointing out my inappropriate use (on this forum) of “wipe the egg off his face” referring to Dawkins’ failure to follow his own rules in evaluating scientific evidence. Some time ago I had used it in a presentation to an Adult Confirmation class in a discussion of the Times magazine coverage of the Dawkins/Collins debate. The majority of the confirmandees thought that Dawkins had bested Francis Collins, and I was still irate that Dawkins’ own words were not used against him.

Would “hoisted on his own petard” been more appropriate for th BioLogos forum?
Al Leo


I don’t think a presupposition is necessarily an existing bias. I’ve done some thought experiments to try to see the same evidence through different world view presuppositions:

  • Atheistic materialism
  • Pantheism/panenthism
    I’ve found all three can rationally fit the evidence, so i defend them all as rational.

Ultimately I don’t need evolution and the origins of the material universe to provide proof of the existence of God. I only need to know they don’t rule God out. My faith didn’t emerge from this - it emerged from my encounters with a spiritual God. Is this a bias? But since God is truth, I have no fear of science and embrace it.

(On free will… I won’t start a discussion here as requested, and besides, it will lead off track, so I won’t respond to anyone on this thread. But don’t apologise for it. There has been much poor or simply headline-grabbing science reporting on the neuroscience, which confuses System 1 thinking (which creates an illusion of choice - hence the studies) and System 2 thinking - complex thinking. And there are also quite convincing philosophical arguments that free will exists. No, really. You can pm me if it’s a topic that interests you.)


:joy: I like “hoisted up” :joy:

Pantheism is not rational at all. Panentheism is allowed, but only because of the most outrageous, unbelievable claim, made by the Church. It is otherwise excluded by physicalism, which wants for nothing.

They don’t rule Him in. Neither does philosophy free will.

How does one judge rational schemata?

As best as one can. Dispassionately if possible - given our penchant for cognitive bias. I try to strip things back to an essence to see if it works at that level. And I assume the usefulness of rational thought to test rationality. Rational doesn’t mean true.

  1. What is the world view (I mean that from philosophical/cultural perspectives), the presuppositions, the a priori assumptions behind the view? It’s my first port of call in most discussions, because people’s interpretation of the details is hidden inside here. So are these hidden assumptions reasonable per se, and how well do they fit with evidence that we have? (You did express some disdain for evidence, which I don’t really understand.) Virtually all world views ‘work’ in their narrower context. The explanation I was given in PNG for why salt water crocodiles aren’t dangerous certainly works:
    “They’ll only kill you if you’re cursed.”
    “Ok, so how do I know if I’m cursed?”
    They answered as though this was obvious and uninteresting:
    “You get eaten by the crocodile.”
    True story.) But explaining croc deaths in Australia where we don’t curse (in that sense) might be problematic.
  2. Is the internal logic of the main propositions sound? For something like a religious view, I tend to strip it back to its basics. So the best version of pantheism, for example, at its simplest essence - stripped of stories of local gods in a village in India, etc. You see it as illogical - the idea that all existence is a manifestation of God - not one I agree with but I don’t see it as irrational. My view is that God is imminent and transcendent. I don’t see ‘soul’ in a rock.
  3. Similar to step 1 - how well do the main propositions fit with reality as we know it?

Not complex, really. The reality is, my ability to comprehend what I don’t observe is another question. But we have to wrestle with life with what we have at our disposal.


That is what science said about survival of the fittest also. How does one know if they are fit? If they survive. How does one know if they are not fit? If they do not survive.

Smart fellows these Aussies!

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