Origins & Science
Philosophical Naturalism (Blackwell: Dec 1993), Introduction.
At one level, the continuity of philosophy and empirical science is uncontentious. Many philosophical problems arise because of apparent tensions or conflicts within the assumptions which empirical evidence recommends to us. The most obvious examples are issues in the philosophy of science, such as problems about the interpretation of quantum mechanics, or the asymmetry of time, or the logic of natural selection. But other less specialist philosophical questions, like the existence of free will, also arise because of difficulties raised by empirical assumptions (in particular, in this case, by assumptions about the extent to which human beings are subject to the same laws of nature as the rest of the world).
"Nonliteralist Antievolution", AAAS Symposium: "The New Antievolutionism," February 13, 1993, Boston, MA
... an evolutionist, is metaphysically based at some level just as much as... some creationist... And to a certain extent, I must confess, in the ten years since I performed, or I appeared, in the creationism trial in Arkansas, I must say that I've been coming to this kind of position myself... I mean I realize that when one is dealing with people, say, at the school level, or these sorts of things, certain sorts of arguments are appropriate. But those of us who are academics, or for other reasons pulling back and trying to think about these things, I think that we should recognize, both historically and perhaps philosophically, certainly that the science side has certain metaphysical assumptions built into doing science, which — it may not be a good thing to admit in a court of law — but I think that in honesty that we should recognize, and that we should be thinking about some of these sorts of things... And certainly, there's no doubt about it, that in the past, and I think also in the present, for many evolutionists, evolution has functioned as something with elements which are, let us say, akin to being a secular religion ... And it seems to me very clear that at some very basic level, evolution as a scientific theory makes a commitment to a kind of naturalism, namely, that at some level one is going to exclude miracles and these sorts of things come what may.
Quoted by Paul Nelson in, "Thinking About the Theory of Design". A Report on the Symposium "Can There be a Scientific Theory of Intelligent Design?" (presented by the American Scientific Affiliation in 1993)
Dawkins, to explain LIFE apart from a designer, not only gives himself all the time Darwin ever wanted, but also helps himself to all the conceivable planets there might be in the observable universe (note that these are planets he must posit, since no planets outside our solar system have been observed, nor is there currently any compelling theory of planetary formation which guarantees that the observable universe is populated with planets). Thus Barrow and Tipler, in order to justify their various anthropic principles, not only give themselves all the time and planets that Dawkins ever wanted, but also help themselves to a generous serving of universes (universes which are per definition causally inaccessible to us).
Charles S. Pierce on Science said...
Reasoning and the Logic of Things (Harvard University Press, 1992), pp. 112,177.
We believe the proposition we are ready to act upon. Full belief is willingness to act upon the proposition in vital crises, opinion is willingness to act upon it in relatively insignificant affairs. But pure science has nothing at all to do with action. The propositions it accepts, it merely writes in the list of premises it proposes to use... Belief is the willingness to risk a great deal upon a proposition. But this belief is no concern of science, which has nothing at stake on any temporal venture, but in pursuit of eternal verities, not semblance to truth, and looks upon this pursuit, not as the work of one man's life, but as that of generation after generation indefinitely... The only end of science, as such, is to learn the lesson that the universe has to teach it. In Induction it simply surrenders itself to the force of facts. But it finds that this is not enough. It is driven in desperation to call upon it inward sympathy with nature... and nature is something great, and beautiful, and sacred, and eternal and real, the object of its worship and its aspiration.
Darwin on Trial, (InterVarsity Press, 1991), 144.
Darwinist scientists believe that the cosmos is a closed system of material causes and effects, and they believe that science must be able to provide a naturalistic explanation for the wonders of biology that appear to have been designed for a purpose. Without assuming these beliefs they could not deduce that common ancestors once existed for all the major groups of the biological world, or that random mutations and natural selection can substitute for an intelligent designer. Neither of these foundational beliefs is empirically testable...
Darwin on Trial, (InterVarsity Press, 1991), 154.
Darwinists took the wrong view of science because they were infected with the craving to be right. Their scientific colleagues have allowed them to get away with pseudoscientific practices primarily because most scientists do not understand that there is a difference between the scientific method of inquiry, as articulated by Popper, and the philosophical program of scientific naturalism. One reason that they are not inclined to recognize the difference is that they fear the growth of religious fanaticism if the power of naturalistic philosophy is weakened. But whenever science is enlisted in some other cause — religious, political, or racialistic — the result is always that the scientists themselves become fanatics. Scientists see this clearly when they think about the mistakes of their predecessors, but they find it hard to believe that their colleagues could be making the same mistakes today.
"Is There a Case for Christian Theism?" in Does God Exist? (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1991), p. 190.
Scientific hypotheses are always tentative; they are designed to be held only so long as they conform to the evidence. Proponents of the theistic hypothesis, on the other hand, are already sure that their hypothesis is correct; they only seek evidence to buttress a foregone conclusion.
Alan Olding (Routledge: Dec 1990), 208 pages.
This work re-opens a controversial subject by calling into question how well theological views of human nature stand up to the discoveries of modern science. Alan Olding explores the question of whether the argument for the existence of God is fatally undermined. Emphasizing the metaphysical implications of biology, Modern Biology and Natural Theology takes up issues currently of concern to many thinkers, particularly those interested in the impact of Darwinism on natural theology. This book will interest not only professional workers in the fields of philosophy of biology and philosophy of religion and theology, but also students and laypersons, and is bound to provoke further debate on this controversial subject. ~ Product Description
Nature 345:765 (1990)
If any event in life's history resembles man's creation myths, it is this sudden diversification of marine life when multicellular organisms took over as the dominant actors in ecology and evolution. Baffling (and embarrassing) to Darwin, this event still dazzles us and stands as a major biological revolution on a par with the invention of self-replication and the origin of the eukariotic cell. The animal phyla emerged out of the Precambrian mists with most of the attributes of their modern descendants.
Stephen Hawking on Cosmology said...
A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 140-41.
The idea that space and time may form a closed surface without boundary also has profound implications for the role of God in the affairs of the universe. With the success of scientific theories in describing events, most people have come to believe that God allows the universe to evolve according to a set of laws and does not intervene in the universe to break these laws. However, the laws do not tell us what the universe should have looked like when it started — it would still be up to God to wind up the clockwork and choose how to start it off. So long as the universe had a beginning, we could suppose it had a creator. But if the universe is really completely self-contained, having no boundary or edge, it would have neither beginning nor end: it would simply be. What place, then, for a creator?
A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 136.
The quantum theory of gravity has opened up a new possibility, in which there would be no boundary to space-time and so there would be no need to specify the behavior at the boundary. There would be no singularities at which the laws of science broke down and no edge of space-time at which one would have to appeal to God or some new law to set the boundary conditions for space-time. One could say: 'The boundary condition of the universe is that it has no boundary.' The universe would be completely self-contained and not affected by anything outside itself. It would neither be created nor destroyed. It would just BE.
A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), p. 124.
The intelligent beings in these regions should therefore not be surprised if they observe that their locality in the universe satisfies the conditions that are necessary for their existence. It is a bit like a rich person living in a wealthy neighborhood not seeing any poverty.
Stephen Hawking on the Big Bang said...
A Brief History of Time (New York: Bantam, 1988), pp. 8-9.
Hubble's observations suggested that there was a time, called the big bang, when the universe was infinitesimally small and infinitely dense. Under such conditions all the laws of science, and therefore all ability to predict the future, would break down. If there were events earlier than this time, then they could not affect what happens at the present time. Their existence can be ignored because it would have no observational consequences. One may say that time had a beginning at the big bang, in the sense that earlier times simply would not be defined. It should be emphasized that this beginning in time is very different from those that had been considered previously. In an unchanging universe a beginning in time is something that has to be imposed by some being outside the universe; there is no physical necessity for a beginning. One can imagine that God created the universe at literally any time in the past. On the other hand, if the universe is expanding, there may be physical reasons why there had to be a beginning. One could imagine that God created the universe at the instant of the big bang, or even afterwards in just such a way as to make it look as though there had been a big bang, but it would be meaningless to suppose that it was created before the big bang. An expanding universe does not preclude a creator, but it does place limits on when he might have carried out his job!
Klaus Dose on the Origin of Life said...
The Origin of Life: More Questions Than Answers, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 13 (1988): 348-56; p. 348.
More than 30 years of experimentation on the origin of life in the fields of chemical and molecular evolution have led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on Earth rather than to its solution. At present all discussions on principal theories and experiments in the field end either in stalemate or in a confession of ignorance.
Paul Davies on Design said...
The Cosmic Blueprint: New Discoveries in Nature's Creative Ability To Order the Universe (New York: Simon and Schuster:1988) p.203.
There is for me powerful evidence that there is something going on behind the universe. The impression of design is overwhelming.
S. Lovtrup on Darwinism said...
Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (London: Croom Helm, 1987), p. 422.
Micromutations do occur, but the theory that these alone can account for evolutionary change is either falsified, or else it is an unfalsifiable, hence metaphysical theory. I suppose that nobody will deny that it is a great misfortune if an entire branch of science becomes addicted to a false theory. But this is what has happened in biology: ... I believe that one day the Darwinian myth will be ranked the greatest deceit in the history of science. When this happens many people will pose the question: How did this ever happen?
S. Lovtrup on Gradualism said...
Darwinism: The Refutation of a Myth (Croom Helm Ltd: Beckingham, Kent, 1987), p. 275
...the reasons for rejecting Darwin's proposal were many, but first of all that many innovations cannot possibly come into existence through accumulation of many small steps, and even if they can, natural selection cannot accomplish it, because incipient and intermediate stages are not advantageous.
Holmes Rolston III, in The Christian Century (December 3, 1986), pp. 1093-1095
Both astrophysicists and microphysicists have lately been discovering that the series of events that produced our universe had to happen in a rather precise way—at least, they had to happen that way if they were to produce life as we know it. Some might find this fact unremarkable. After all, we are here, and it is hardly surprising that the universe is of such kind as to have produced us. It is simply a tautology to say that people who find themselves in a universe live in a universe where human life is possible. Nevertheless, given the innumerable other things that could have happened, we have reason to be impressed by the astonishing fact of our existence. Like the man who survives execution by a 1,000-gun firing squad, we are entitled to suspect that there is some reason we are here, that perhaps there is a Friend behind the blast.
"Science and Religion" in Bertrand Russell on God and Religion (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1986), p. 167.
In recent times, the bulk of eminent physicists and a number of eminent biologists have made pronouncements stating that recent advances in science have disproved the older materialism, and have tended to reestablish the truths of religion. The statements of the scientists have as a rule been somewhat tentative and indefinite, but the theologians have seized upon them and extended them, while the newspapers in turn have reported the more sensational accounts of the theologians, so that the general public has derived the impression that physics confirms practically the whole of the Book of Genesis. I do not myself think that the moral to be drawn from modern science is at all what the general public has thus been led to suppose. In the first place, the men of science have not said nearly as much as they are thought to have said, and in the second place what they have said in the way of support for traditional religious beliefs has been said by them not in their cautious, scientific capacity, but rather in their capacity of good citizens, anxious to defend virtue and property.
Richard Dawkins on Simulacra said...
The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton, 1986), p. 316.
We cannot disprove beliefs like these, especially if it is assumed that God took care that his interventions always closely mimicked what would be expected from evolution by natural selection. All that we can say about such beliefs is, firstly, that they are superfluous and, secondly, that they assume the existence of the main thing we want to explain, namely organized complexity. The one thing that makes evolution such a neat theory is that it explains how organized complexity can arise out of primeval simplicity.