Foundering Rocks, Part V

Pure Speculation

Michael Behe wrote Darwin’s Black Box in 1996.  It caused quite a stir amongst molecular biologists and others passionately committed to Darwinism.  It was regularly ridiculed, misrepresented, and cavilled over.  Behe must have anticipated that his book advocating intelligent design drawing on his years of research as a molecular biologist, would be controversial.  [Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, 10th edition (New York: Free Press, {1996}, 2006).] 

He ended the first edition with a chapter entitled “Science, Philosophy, Religion”.  In it he discussed the increasing tendency of scientists to slide off into pure speculation.
  Prominent amongst them is Stephen Hawking.  Having been made uncomfortable by mounting evidence of design and the increasing number of zeroes needing to be added to keep alive the probability that the universe just came into being by chance the more the complexity of matter and of being becomes evident, things have begun to get a bit desperate.  Hawking has proposed an infinite number of universes existing in parallel.

Another idea is that infinitely many universes exist, and that the universe in which we find ourselves just happens to have the narrow conditions required for life.  This idea was popularized under the name of the “anthropic principle.”  In essence the anthropic principle states that very many (or infinitely many) universes exist with varying physical laws, and that only the ones with cnoditiosn suitable for life will in fact produce life, perhaps including conscious observers.  (op cit., p.247)

Behe rightly points out that such postulates have nothing to do with science.  They are religious beliefs which are beyond scientific analysis and not subject to refutation.

No experiment has been done to support the notion of bubble universes, imaginary time, or the zillion anthropic universes.  Indeed it seems that no experiment could detect them in principle.  Since they or their effects cannot be observed, then they are metaphysical postulates, no more accessible to experimental investigation than an admittedly supernatural being.  They do science no good.  Their only use is as an escape hatch from the supernatural. (Ibid.)  

Science can produce an evergrowing mountain of evidence of design of the universe.   But the blindness of man’s heart, the malevolence towards God means that men would rather cling to foolish speculations than face up to the truth that is before their very eyes.  As the Bible declares:

For what can be known about God is plain to [men] because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made.  So they are without excuse.  For although they knew God, they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.  Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. (Romans 1: 19-23) 

So Hawking and others will foolishly speculate, denying the evidence that is daily before them.  Others will not allow themselves to think about it.  They prefer to ignore the obvious.  They just don’t want to know, to face up to the truth.  Such is the purblind effect of sin, of being born in rebellion against God.  But those whom God calls have their hearts renewed.  They are born again by the sovereign work of the Spirit of God and their eyes are opened and they are willingly drawn to God. In the immortal words of John Newton, “I once was lost, but now am found, was  blind, but now I see.”  

Another observation made by Behe ten years ago is that some evolutionists have got downright ornery. 

Refusal to give others broad latitude for their defining beliefs has led time and again to disaster.  Intolerance does not arise when I think that I have found the truth.  Rather it comes about only when I think that, because I have found it, everyone else should agree with me.  Richard Dawkins has written that anyone who denies evolution is either “ignorant, stupid, or insane (or wicked–but I’d rather not consider that.)”  It isn’t a big step from calling someone wicked to taking forceful measure to put an end to their wickedness.  John Maddox, the editor of Nature, has written in his journal that “it may not be long before the practice of religion must be regarded as anti-science”.  In his recent book, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, philosopher Daniel Dennett compares religious believers–90 percent of the population–to wild animals who may have to be caged, and he says that parents should be prevented (presumably by coercion) from misinforming their children about the truth of evolution, which is so evident to him. (Ibid., p. 250)

Ten years later, Behe wrote another chapter for the tenth edition, entitled “Ten Years Later”.  In it he reviewed his critics and offered rejoinders.

Not unexpectedly there were no scientific rebuttals to be considered.  There were philosophical arguments, which Behe discusses.  There were the normal ad hominem frothings which are not worth wasting time on.  Some of the more interesting observations in the afterword, written ten years later, will be discussed in our next and final post on his book. 
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