New Oxford Review Likes Darwin's Doubt
Darwin's Doubt receives a fine write-up in the current issue of the New Oxford Review, in which Terry Scambray puts his finger on a key problem that seems to bother many Darwinian evolutionists about Stephen Meyer's conclusion in the book. It's the evidently immaterial nature of the force, the intelligence, behind the design in life.
From Scambray's review:
So Meyer, a geophysicist with a Cambridge PhD in the history of science, shows in this book that all mindless, materialist forces don't pan out as explanations of life's origins and development. Such explanations have invariably turned out to be intellectual fool's gold.
Yet a tradition of reasoning that we all use in assessing the causes of past events does exist. It is called "abductive reasoning," a concept Meyer borrows from the American philosopher Charles Pierce. The father of modern geology, Charles Lyell, for example, relied on such a process when he reasoned that the forces that sculpted the crust of the earth are the same forces that are still at work; AKA "the present is the key to the past."
Relying on Lyell's dictum, Meyer asks: What in our common experience is the source of the complex, specified information that is observed in the organic cell? Intelligence is the only source responsible for such information, not an accidental un-intelligent force like blind, Darwinian evolution.
But mind is an "unseen force," materialists argue who, like 19th century phrenologists, yearn for an explanation that they can physically lay their hands on. But gravity is invisible, yet it remains a fundamental part of the scientific edifice precisely because, like intelligence, we constantly witness its effects.
That's well said. Materialism is an antique philosophical prejudice that blocks adherents from considering the evidence of biology and paleontology objectively. Yet accepting that an immaterial force, intelligence, has been at work in the history of life should be no more scandalous than acknowledging the workings of gravity, something else you also cannot lay your hands on.
Mind, will, intention -- as we're familiar with them from our own constant waking experience -- are not physical entities, though they interact with the physical world by the medium of our brains and bodies. Yet even in a best case scenario, Darwinism can only explain material phenomena. This observation is basically how Thomas Nagel became a Darwin critic.
The origins debate is not simple and this book may appear imposing and complicated. But Meyer is a talented writer with an easygoing voice who has blended interesting history with clear explanations in what may come to be seen as a classic presentation of this most fundamental of all debates.
Emphasis added. Read the rest here.