Dawkins bashing? (The atheist delusion)

by George Jelliss ⌂ @, Crewe, Thursday, January 01, 2009, 16:41 (4202 days ago) @ David Turell

Some responses to the McGraths' ten points:

1. "A filter (e.g. natural selection) which was formed by chance ..."

No evolutionist says natural selection was "formed by chance". It is the necessary outcome of circumstances. If variation occurs then it will be subject to natural selection.

2. "Naturalism's god-of-chance is always called upon to do the job."

Does this mean that in McGrath's world view chance does not occur? Is everything preordained?

3. "biological stability and conservation would imply that creation events had taken place since the original creation of the universe."

By creation events here I take it he means acts of God. But natural selection events leading to evolution of a new species could also be regarded as a form of creation.

4. "Creation preceded Evolution anyway."

This is just semantics, word play. Evolution in its original sense can apply to the changes experienced by anything over time, whatever the mechanisms involved.

5. "natural selection clearly cannot account for the arrival of the fittest."

Total piffle. Ernst Mayr's interpretation of Blyth's work is correct. This appears to be a old-style misunderstanding of what survival of the fittest means, namely survival of those best fitted to the environment at the time, not those "fittest" in some absolute sense.

6. "Darwin admitted that based upon the data published in his Origin of Species, one could come to "directly opposite" conclusions."

Darwin was a modest and honest man. He was correct that the volume of data could not be presented within the confines of his little book.

7. "Natural selection better describes biology's "ordinary rules of stability" than major evolutionary change."

This is just trying to use Gould's ideas as a lever against Darwin. But he was fully a supporter of Darwin's ideas and helped to advance them.

8. "the Cambrian explosion established virtually all the major animal body forms"

This is an exaggeration, but the Cambrian explosion is perfectly in accord with Darwin's theory. Great variation was possible because there were no existing species to compete and to overcome.

9. "Given that all of major groups of life appear suddenly in the fossil record and the "ordinary rules of stability" act in such a way as to inhibit major evolutionary change, it is rational to conclude that they were the result of progressive creation"

This is just god-of-the-gaps stuff. The idea that a creature rather like a whale developed and then God made it extinct just so he could then create one more like a whale is just absurd.

10. "The ultimate origin of Nature itself cannot be natural. Either Nature or a Natural Law Giver has always existed. Nature has not always existed."

This is a rather naive argument. Augustine did much better. Time is part of nature. So nature has "always" existed, i.e. since the beginning of time. To talk of existence before time is self-contradictory nonsense.

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