HOW BIOLOGY CONFIRMS LIFE BY DESIGN

I have abbreviated the review by Joel Tray, Creation Ministries International, of the book Undeniable: How biology confirms our intuition that life is designed by Douglas Axe. For the full review go to http://www.creation.com.

undeniable

The book is written for the non scientist. For this reason, much space has been devoted to the use of elaborate analogies in order to simplify complex technical details. Interwoven between these analogies are personal stories and an overall narrative approach to the book. At times, this causes the book to come across as slow, repetitive and unnecessarily drawn out.

By comparison Jonathan Sarfati’s By Design (2008) is far more concise and easy to understand.—both books discussing design—the feel is that one chapter of Undeniable would have the same amount of scientific content as two or three pages in Sarfati’s book. Apart from the excessive wordiness, the science contained in Undeniable is sound, though it falters when it comes to its philosophy of science. However, this book will prove to be a challenge for those who hold to naturalistic evolution.

Unfortunately, as it is with most ID books, Undeniable comes across as somewhat naive from an epistemological  viewpoint. Axe correctly draws a distinction between creationists and the ID movement. At times throughout the book, Axe even appears to hold to contradicting philosophical positions. For example, he rejects scientism on the basis that our intuition tells us that design requires a designer (p. 49) yet at the same time rejects the inference to God by creationists since “Intelligent Design takes a minimalist view”, and there is a jump from intelligent designer to God (p. 50) that goes beyond science.

But if one cannot infer beyond science, then how is one not stuck with scientism? Either we infer beyond science, or we are stuck in scientism (which Axe also rejects). A naturalistic intelligent designer is still a designer within naturalism. But if the designer is not naturalistic, then one must infer beyond the boundaries of mere science. Worse, towards the end of the book, Axe himself does what he says creationists ought not to do, by saying that the designer only makes sense if it is God.

AN INESCAPABLE PROBLEM FOR EVOLUTION

All the machinery necessary to both make (in their entirety) and degrade (in their entirety) all the cell components is present in every normal living cell, and it must be so, otherwise waste products would accumulate and destroy cell function. And it must be so from the beginning, otherwise the first generation of living cells would have died from toxic waste accumulation. The inescapable consequence is that autopoiesis is, by definition, reversible, and this situation has logical consequences for life’s robustness in the face of resource limitation.

REVERSIBLE AUTOPOIESIS  IS A FOUNDATIONAL DESIGN PRINCIPLE FOR LIFE’S SURVIVAL

It must be present at the beginning in any theory of life’s origin. No simple-to-complex Darwinian scenario can meet such a standard and, once again, Genesis-style fiat creation is the only rational explanation.

active neurons

active neurons brain connections

Does John Lennon offer any answers in “IMAGINE”?

In the wake of the recent tragic terrorist attacks, a popular video on You Tube with nearly a million views shows an unnamed pianist before a crowd on the street in Paris playing a piano with a giant ‘peace sign’ painted on it. He’s playing John Lennon’s song, “Imagine”—a song with a strongly secular humanist, antireligious message. In the lyrics, Lennon writes:  Imagine there’s no heaven, It’s easy if you try, No hell below us, Above us only sky, Imagine all the people,  Paris-attack-John-LennonLiving for today …, Nothing to kill or die for, And no religion too, Imagine all the people, Living life in peace.

Lennon was blind to the implications of this humanistic worldview he was promoting. If there is no heaven or hell, that means there is no ultimate reward or punishment for anything you do while living on this earth. This was what the apostle Paul meant when he wrote, “What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.’” (1 Corinthians 15:32)

What does a world look like with no moral constraints from God? Far from the peaceful paradise that Lennon ‘imagines’, the history of the 20th century bore out the results, as the Marxist, atheistic communist regimes took over and committed murder and genocide on a mass scale never before seen in history. The simple fact is, the true morality of the Bible looks absolutely nothing like the actions taken by militant Islamists.

When terrible things like this happen, people always are moved to ask why a good God would allow such evil things to take place; but what people sometimes fail to realize is the very idea of ‘good’ and ‘evil’ that they are using to judge the situation comes only from God in the first place. Take this as an opportunity to share the Good News with those who are looking for answers!

Extracted from article by Paul Price http://www.creation.com

Answering an atheist on meaning and purpose of life

I hope this article “Answering a reasonable atheist on deep philosophical questions” from Creation Ministries International (CMI) 30th September, 2012 provides helpful answers for Christians and unbelievers as well.

To demonstrate that not all of CMI’s opponents are hostile and unreasonable, we publish feedback by Tim W. of the USA to our article – Answering the ‘new atheists’ (interview with Doug Wilson). In this, Tim W. sought to defend the proposition that atheism can provide meaning and purpose. Tim W.’s email is printed in its entirety  (red), and then followed by point-by-point responses by Dr Jonathan Sarfati.

This is an interesting article. I think you are on the right track when you suggest that modern atheists are worried at the resurgence of conservative Christianity in the United States. Frankly, it concerns me that so many politicians have anti-abortion views with which I strongly disagree. Part of my moral beliefs value limited rights of women to choose the fate of their unfertilized eggs, embryos and their own bodies. Similarly, I understand that Christians have legitimate reason to be concerned that unbelievers will influence a policy or social climate that permits the destruction of actual or potential human organisms. The stakes are high so it should be no surprise that the voices of atheism rise to compete with the voices of religion.

I also agree with the author, and with Hume, that one cannot infer what ought to be, in a normative sense, from what is, was or will be the case. In this way, it is reasonable to say that naturalism or ‘scientism’ cannot suggest a specific theory or morality. However, that does not mean that morality is not compatible with materialism, naturalism or atheism. It only means that morality must come from philosophy (ethics) rather than from theology. There is no reason why an atheist cannot have a more sophisticated ‘sense’ or theory of morality than someone who bases their beliefs of right and wrong conduct (or thoughts) on the teachings of a formal religion. My own beliefs are more consistent with a general sense of basic ‘fairness,’ than obedience to the demands of a deity.

Lastly, I don’t understand the basis of a statement such as “The atheist cannot put forward, within his own framework, a justification for why reasoning is trustworthy, or even worthwhile,” or “the atheist can’t account for reason if there is no God.” These are philosophical questions that do not seem to be contingent on the existence of a God. Is reasoning trustworthy or meaningful? Those are matters of epistemology, not theology. Moreover, I think it is far from obvious that neither life, nor anything else for that matter, can have meaning unless one believes in God. God may give your life meaning, but that does not mean that nothing can provide meaning for an atheist’s life. I can imagine an atheist saying that her daughter, for example, gives her life meaning. Would you call her a liar?

Response

Dr Jonathan Sarfati replies: Thanks (on behalf of CMI and the article author).

TW: I think you are on the right track when you suggest that modern atheists are worried at the resurgence of conservative Christianity in the United States.

JS: What is really striking is how many modern atheists have become such delicate little flowers. They are hurt and offended by plastic baby Jesuses at Nativity scenes and are in danger of having a stroke if they hear a student-led prayer at a football game. (But of course, anyone objecting to obscenity or porn should just look the other way or change channels.) Even leading atheist Richard Dawkins is not such a wimp; he joins in Christmas celebrations. What a contrast the modern activists are with the far more robust atheists of yesteryear who vigorously debated the formidable G.K. Chesterton, and remained good friends even after finishing second.

TW: Frankly, it concerns me that so many politicians have anti-abortion views with which I strongly disagree.

JS: It would concern me if we didn’t have that many. Once we dehumanize one class of humanity, there is no limit. See for example article – Unborn babies may “be planning their future”: What now for the abortion lobby?

TW: Part of my moral beliefs value limited rights of women to choose the fate of their unfertilized eggs, embryos and their own bodies.

JS: Well, there’s the problem: the unborn is not part of a woman’s body. A reductio   ad absurdum I’ve explained is: this would entail that a mother carrying a son must have a penis.

TW: Similarly, I understand that Christians have legitimate reason to be concerned that unbelievers will influence a policy or social climate that permits the destruction of actual or potential human organisms.

JS: Yes, that’s exactly the issue. Without the protection of life, no other right, real or assumed, has any meaning. ‘Rights’ to private property, housing, employment, medical care, or anything else, mean nothing if one is not alive to exercise them.

TW: The stakes are high so it should be no surprise that the voices of atheism rise to compete with the voices of religion.

JS: The problem arises when voices of atheism try to silence the voices of Christianity. This includes university ‘speech codes’, ‘hate speech’, the persecution of Christians in atheistic communist regimes, and the GayStapo attacks on the Church and family. See Gay marriage, politicians, and the rights of Christians.

TW: I also agree with the author, and with Hume, that one cannot infer what ought to be, in a normative sense, from what is, was or will be the case.

JS: A key point.

TW: In this way, it is reasonable to say that naturalism or ‘scientism’ cannot suggest a specific theory or morality. However, that does not mean that morality is not compatible with materialism, naturalism or atheism. It only means that morality must come from philosophy (ethics) rather than from theology.

JS: It certainly can’t come from the axiom ‘God does not exist.’

TW: There is no reason why an atheist cannot have a more sophisticated ‘sense’ or theory of morality than someone who bases their beliefs of right and wrong conduct (or thoughts) on the teachings of a formal religion. My own beliefs are more consistent with a general sense of basic ‘fairness’, than obedience to the demands of a deity.

JS: But where does the notion of ‘fairness’ come from in an evolutionary world? Surely it’s just a delusion caused by certain neurochemical activity that happened to be useful for our ancestors to survive. Just like rape was useful to spread our genes, as two evolutionists seriously argued in a book (look how one squirmed to justify why rape should be considered ‘wrong’). Similarly, the article Bomb-building vs. the biblical foundation documents how leading atheistic philosopher/logician Bertrand Russell could not explain why right vs. wrong was any different from choosing one’s favourite colours.

Think of consistent evolutionist and atheistic philosopher Peter Singer, who justifies infanticide, euthanasia, and bestiality. It’s also notable that some critics of my article Abortion ‘after birth’? Medical ‘ethicists’ promote infanticide claimed that Singer was an anomaly among atheists. Yet I showed that his pro-infanticide views were shared by the Journal of Medical Ethics and the vocal antitheist P.Z. Myers. See also Bioethicists and Obama agree: infanticide should be legal. He also wrote the major Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Ethics (1992), and earlier this year, the Australian Government gave him Australia’s highest honour, Companion of the Order of Australia.

TW: Lastly, I don’t understand the basis of a statement such as “The atheist cannot put forward, within his own framework, a justification for why reasoning is trustworthy, or even worthwhile,” or “the atheist can’t account for reason if there is no God.” These are philosophical questions that do not seem to be contingent on the existence of a God.

JS: I would say they are, as natural selection explains only survival value, not truth and logic. In Canada, one atheistic philosophy professor argued that these things would have selective value. I responded that this is not necessarily so under his belief system. After all, he must regard theistic religion as one thing that evolved for survival value, yet he would regard this as false and illogical. Thus survival, under his perspective, can be enhanced by the false as well as the true.

TW: Is reasoning trustworthy or meaningful? Those are matters of epistemology, not theology. Moreover, I think it is far from obvious that neither life, nor anything else for that matter, can have meaning unless one believes in God. God may give your life meaning, but that does not mean that nothing can provide meaning for an atheist’s life.

JS: One of my colleagues wrote in Answering life’s big questions: Only the Bible provides the answers:

Today we are effectively told, in the evolutionary story, that life is a fluke, a cosmic accident. In this case our existence lacks any purpose, so life is a farce. And where are we going, in this view? Fertilizer! In short, life is: Fluke … farce … fertilizer.

Evolutionist Richard Dawkins said that we live in a universe that has “no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference”. The evolutionists’ universe has no purpose because it is an accident; a cosmic accident. With evolution so widely taught in schools and universities, is it any wonder that so many lack any purpose or meaning to their lives?

As Susan Blackmore, psychologist and disciple of Richard Dawkins said, “If you really think about evolution and why we human beings are here, you have to come to the conclusion that we are here for absolutely no reason at all.”

TW: I can imagine an atheist saying that her daughter, for example, gives her life meaning.

JS: But hardly ultimate meaning, since both mother’s and daughter’s entire lives are just a blink of an eye in the uniformitarian cosmic scheme. Bertrand Russell said in his anti-Christian book Religion and Science:

Man, as a curious accident in a backwater, is intelligible: his mixture of virtues and vices is such as might be expected to result from fortuitous origin.

TW: Would you call her a liar?

JS: Not at all. A lie implies intentional deception, not just falsehood. As you could see from searching our site, we are very sparing with accusations of ‘lying’ (although some evolutionists justify deception and are just being consistent), as opposed to having a faulty interpretive framework. (However, we won’t deny that this prior adoption of this faulty framework is culpable according to Romans 1:20 and 2 Peter 3:3–7 and foolish (Psalm 14:1). But the point remains that a valid deduction from a faulty framework is not a lie.)

Non Christian Professor recognizes that Creation demands a Creator

Natural God by Beth Houston

 

The author of NATURAL GOD – Deism in the Age of Intelligent Design, Beth Houston, is a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of California and several other universities. She covers a lot of material rarely reviewed in books critical of molecules to man evolution. What does she offer to the creation-evolution debate? The answer is a fresh approach, written in an engaging style, that reflects a good understanding of psychology, logic, biology and history. She stresses that science, especially Darwinism, has become a form of dogmatism the needs to be challenged.

One point documented is that Darwin’s central ambition was not to explore the world to let it reveal itself, but to become famous. Houston also carefully documents her position that evolution theory (no meaning, no purpose, no Creator) caused its developer to lose both his aesthetic sensibility and his appreciation of aesthetic beauty. Darwin openly admitted that his appreciation of aesthetics had dynamically changed.

“Up to the age of thirty ….poetry….such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, gave me great pleasure and even as a schoolboy I took great delight in Shakespeare. I have also said that formerly art and pictures gave me considerable pleasure and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry: I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also lost my taste for art and music.”

Darwin admitted that the ” loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probable to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of nature.”

Beth Houston concludes that what was wrong with Darwin was that “the dimension that gives life lived to the fullest its zing” was gone.

“By the time he had finished ORIGIN and certainly his later Autobiography, beauty had ceased to be beauty at all ….beauty was observed and used like a prostitute for a distant satisfaction of an immediate need, never for love of beauty for its own sake, never for the pleasure of intimate contact (with nature).

She goes on to say, “Mechanistic agnostics like Darwin…. know intellectually that nature is beautifully constructed while emotionally denying that it is. The aesthetic atrophies when the spirit does, or when the spirit lies dormant and inactivated. It is … mechanistic determinism and Darwinian natural selection.

There is never any death of God, only murder or suicide of the killer’s own God – given faculties.”

Houston speculates that: “Darwin’s insistence that natural selection is ultimately brutal is a projection of …. the brutal side of his own nature. Natural selection justifies brutality and sanctifies the guilt. The brutal cannot face a God who might not condone brutality. Therefore, religions create their gods in the image of their own brutality to justify and sanctify brutality, and science creates its god, natural selection, the shadow of civilized man, for the same purpose.

Summary: Professor Houston makes a convincing case that the natural world provides clear evidence for a creator. She also documents the adverse effects of Darwinism on society and persons using Darwin himself as a prime example.

Extract from book review by Jerry Bergman, Journal of Creation Vol 29, 2015

 

 

Darwin’s destructive influence on the world.

Apostate - The men

The fact that Christianity has lost an enormous amount of cultural influence in Europe, America and even Australia is without dispute. A recent book, Apostate – The Men who Destroyed the Christian West documents how and why the decline and fall of Western Christian civilization occurred.

Charles Darwin is of course the dominant person on the list of men who destroyed the Christian west.

Darwinian Evolution theories now dominate at least 99% of higher education in America, only 1% of all public and private universities maintain a God centered epistemology and metaphysics in the matter of origins. In 1850 (before Darwin and the Theory of Evolution) virtually all leading scientists and philosophers were Christian men. The world they inhabited was created by God. He had created wise laws that brought about the adaption of all organisms to one another and to their environment. The basic principles proposed by Darwin stand in total conflict with this worldview.

Eliminating God from science enabled Godlessness to prevail everywhere, in classrooms, media, entertainment and politics. Charles Darwin’s naturalistic materialism has so changed the Western metaphysics that the average person hardly senses God’s providential interaction with the world, let alone His existence. The Southern Baptist denomination reports 88% of children raised in Christian families leave the church as soon as they leave home (p. 254)

Swanson concludes: “the impact that Charles Darwin has had on the lives of hundreds of millions of Christian families is overwhelming. It is an undeniable fact that the Christian faith was far stronger 150 years ago in Europe and America. Now their 21st century grandchildren are pagans, atheists, homosexuals, witches and atheist scientists. The sheer number that will be in hell because of Charles Darwin’s commitment to ‘murder God’ is too much – and too tortuous to fathom.” (p. 142).

The other men Swanson says played a role in the decline of Christianity, Hitler, Karl Marx, John Dewey, Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, , Friedrich Nietzsche were all powerfully influenced by Charles Darwin.

As stated in my last post, sadly leaders of the largest Church denominations have unwittingly accepted Evolution as fact and distorted Scripture to fit, with disastrous consequences. Fortunately, God has raised up organisations such as Creation Ministries to equip His Church with powerful resources such as the recent “Evolution’s Achilles’Heels” to counter this threat. Check out this valuable resource on http://www.creation.com.

 

Pope Francis leading Catholics astray on evolution.

Pope-Francis

Sadly Pope Francis on October 27th, 2015 in the Pontifical Academy of Sciences address in Italian clearly indicated he accepts evolution and the billions-of-years timescale. This is not surprising, since the Catholic church has accepted evolution for about fifty years now.

The Vatican quotes Pope Francis:

“When we read in Genesis the account of Creation, we risk imagining God as a magus, with a magic wand able to make everything. But that is not so. (Pope Francis is saying here that God is not able to create ex nihilo as He so clearly claims). He created beings and allowed them to develop according to the internal laws that He gave to each one, so that they were able to develop and arrive at their fullness of being. …(through natural selection, survival of the fittest, pain and death). And so creation continued for centuries, millenia and millenia until it became which we know today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or conjurer but the Creator who gives being to all things……..”

The Bible clearly states that the world was perfect when God created it with Adam and Eve present at the beginning of creation. There was no death in the world until Adam and Eve sinned. Pope Francis however contradicts the clear reading of scripture by accepting evolution’s death and suffering before Adam and Eve.

Unfortunately for Catholics, their sole authority isn’t Scripture, but the Church, which is the only ‘infallible interpreter’ of Scripture according to their theology.

And yet when we look to Peter who they consider their ‘first pope’, we see that his attitude toward the biblical account of origins is very different to that of Pope Francis his supposed successor.

“…scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation’. For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and that the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and then perished. But by the same word the heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly” 2 Peter 3:3-7.

In Peter’s proclamation we see first of all a complete acceptance of the biblical history of the world. And Scripture is his starting point, not other ideas in the culture. Peter points us to Genesis which states that the world was created from water by the Word of God. The world was destroyed by God with a world-wide flood. We know from creation geology models that a catastrophe of this scale would account for the geological layers containing all sorts of fossils with evidence of carnivory, cancer and thorns – because it’s a record of the post – Fall world. And if a year-long global catastrophe explains the majority of the fossil record, there is no room for millions of years of earth history.

In contrast to Pope Francis, Peter stands on the firm foundation of Scripture. I hope you and your church do so as well.

Extract from article by :Lita Cosner on The Pope on Evolution 1st Nov 2014, http://www.creation.com

EXCITING DOCUMENTARY – EVOLUTION’S ACHILLES HEEL

EAH-premiere-banner

This 96-minute documentary interviews 15 Ph.D. scientists about the greatest weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory. The public generally only hears one side of the origins debate, but with stunning animations and dramatic footage, Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels presents a powerful ‘warts and all’ critique of textbook evolutionary orthodoxy. You’ll also discover just how much this debate impacts your view of yourself and the world around you.

“Never before have this many scientists been brought together for a project of this type. … Visually stunning 3D animations and dramatic footage help to show how the theory’s supposed strengths are, in fact, its fatal flaws—Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels.
CFDb (Christian Film Database)

“If we could award Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels more than five Doves, our best rating, we would! … the fifteen experts in this film blow open the door for God’s foot, the Grand Designer, to walk in boldly.”
The Dove Foundation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TEkJezGRJPc

You need to get the video when it becomes available in November from http://www.creation.com

SCIENTISTS COPYING DESIGN IN NATURE (Biomimetrics)

7757Stuart-Burgess7757drive-shaft

Prof Stuart Burgess & intricate design of the Envisat ESA satellite drive shaft – nothing compared to the design in nature.

A world expert on biomimetrics (imitating design in nature),  Prof. Stuart Burgess, BSc, PhD(Brun), CEng, FIMechE, is Professor of Engineering Design, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol (UK).

Dr Burgess is the author of over 40 papers published in secular science journals, and another 50 conference proceedings. He has also registered 7 patents.

Is it more difficult for engineers—who spend so much time considering designed objects – to embrace Darwinian evolution than it is for biologists?

Stuart explains: “Yes, for two reasons. Firstly, since the design by human beings is not limited by the step-by-step change that evolution is limited by, human engineers should produce designs which are far more sophisticated than those found in nature. Yet the opposite is true. Nature has by far the most sophisticated designs. A second reason is that engineers know that you cannot design by making random mistakes. If you randomly change a single parameter in a car engine it will always result in a retrograde step. Design improvements always require careful planning and careful changing of many parameters at the same time.”

Stuart has ample experience of this, including working on the design of a solar array for the hugely expensive Envisat ESA satellite, as he explains:

“The Envisat satellite cost £1.6 billion4 and has hundreds of thousands of components and several million separate pieces of design information, like dimensions and material properties. It would only have taken one or two errors in the design information and the whole mission would have failed. This kind of project illustrates how difficult design is and how design does not happen by chance.”

This brings us to the nub of the issue—whether or not we are the purposeful Creation of Almighty God?

Stuart explains how his Christian faith connects with the work he has been involved in all these years.

“Engineering is a great profession for a Christian because it involves creativity. Man’s ability to create is one aspect of our being made in the image of God. The difficulty of designing and building things that are relatively simple makes you realize how great is the wisdom and power of God who has made all things.”

What would he say to those who argue that one’s Christian faith and convictions about the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ are largely separate from the issue of origins, and separate from the meaning of the text in the early chapters of Genesis?

“The doctrine of Special Creation is important because it helps remind people there is a personal Creator who was involved in the detailed design of man. Believing in Special Creation also helps people to appreciate God’s skill in creating such a vast array of intricate plants and creatures. I think it is very important to believe in a historical Adam and historical Eve. If you start to compromise by, for example, accepting evolution and ape-men, then the theological problems are very serious. If Adam and Eve were descended from an ape-like creature, then you have to argue that their immediate ancestors, though looking completely like humans, were not actually made in the image of God. This goes completely against what Genesis teaches and it also goes against the fact that God has the supernatural power to create in an instant. When Jesus turned water into wine and gave sight to the blind, He used His supernatural power to do this in an instant. I think the key to accepting Genesis as a literal account is to remember that God is infinite in wisdom and power. When you really grasp this, then you realize that creating the world in six days was never a problem for God.”

Go to http://www.creation.com for the complete article on Professor Stuart Burgess by Phillip Bell.

 

Toe the line on evolution or else

Thomas-Nagel (1)Mind and the Cosmos

 

Philosopher Thomas Nagel, who made a serious challenge to materialism in his book Mind and Cosmos,1 is still the focus of heated debate.

At a gathering of philosophers and scientists that included Daniel Dennett and Richard Dawkins, a workshop on naturalism turned into an all-out attack on Nagel, a Professor of Law and Philosophy at New York University.

Nagel’s claim that materialists’ conception of nature is wrong was too much for the workshop participants, according to Andrew Ferguson, a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

In an article titled ‘The Heretic’, Ferguson discussed what happened in the workshop and also considered why Nagel’s book so angered his critics.2

His report is challenging reading, he asks probing questions of his own about materialism in general while sometimes poking fun at philosophers and scientists.
Ferguson is taken by what he sees as Nagel’s challenging approach:
His working assumption is, in today’s intellectual climate, radical: If the materialist, neo-Darwinian orthodoxy contradicts common sense, then this is a mark against the orthodoxy, not against common sense. When a chain of reasoning leads us to deny the obvious, we should double-check the chain of reasoning before we give up on the obvious.
Tellingly, Ferguson points out:
Nagel’s touchier critics have accused him of launching an assault on science, when really it is an assault on the nonscientific uses to which materialism has been put.
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