By Douglass Anele
As a matter of fact, the noted Oxford zoologist, Richard Dawkins, in his book, The God Delusion, debunked the logic behind the creationist argument, which in effect demonstrates that any reference to Hoyleâ€™s Boeing 747 metaphor is premised on ignorance of the mechanism of natural selection as a cumulative process.
Creationists always make the mistake of supposing that the alternative to design is pure chance. That is false, because natural selection is the real alternative.Â Of course, it is highly improbable that the complexity we observe in organisms is the product of chance.
But the design argument isÂ logically flawed too, since it raises the question which creationists are afraid to ask: who designed the designer? Creationists dogmatically believe in the existence of an undesigned designer (God) who just started decreeing things into being. But invariably, they fail to recognise that the truth of their belief is as improbable as, or more improbable than, the notion that complex organisms arose from chance.
The natural temptation to attribute the appearance of design to actual design itself is fallacious. Aside from the â€œdesigner of the designerâ€ problem, nature furnishes a bewildering array of phenomena which seem to have been designed but which are merely the manifestations of simple natural laws, for instance, the rainbow.
Erich Jantsch, in hisÂ Â book, The Self-Organizing Universe: Scientific and Human Implications of the Emerging Paradigm of Evolution, elaborated a vision based on the interconnectedness of natural dynamics at all levels of evolving micro- and macrosystems.
The central concept he developed in the work is â€œself-organisation,â€ an idea which, together with evolution, provides a powerful scientific explanation of the phenomenon of life without a designer. I suggest that creationists in Nigeria should wake up from their dogmatic slumbers and avail themselves ofÂ scientific information which clarifies the intricacies of evolution instead of resorting to lazy threadbare sermonisations devoid of real substance.
Towards the end of her essay, Wallace made unsubstantiated and false claims about mitochondrial Eve and about the implications of Darwinism on the social sciences, claims that actually establish her ignorance with respect to these issues.
Mitochondrial Eve, in fact, is an expressionÂ used by geneticists and biologists as a label for the hypothetical female ancestor of all humankind who lived around 200,000 years ago probably in Africa. It is based on mitochondrial DNA which is very useful for investigating recent genetic history because it mutates ten times fasterÂ than nuclear DNA, and in humans is inherited solely through the female line.
Hence, mitochondrial Eve implies that a female was the first human being, which contradicts the Genesis story of Adam being created before Eve. Apart from Olsonâ€™s book referred to earlier, Wallace should read The Language of the Genes by Steve Jones to learn more on mitochondria DNA.
About her claim that Darwinism dehumanises and depersonalises humans, Social Darwinism, which initially overstressed struggle, competition and aggressive relations between people has been radically modified along humanistic lines owing to biological discoveries concerning altruism and kin-selection.Â Furthermore, by far the greatest atrocities human beings have suffered on earth wereÂ committed by believers, most times in the name of one deity or another.
The same is true of countries dominated by religionists. Think of the Inquisition and Crusades, the Jihads, Slave Trade and colonisation, World Wars 1 and 2 and terrorism in all its ugly manifestations. The people (and nations) that perpetrated (and still perpetrate) some of these atrocities were mostly Christians and Muslims. Wallace did not do her homework well; else she would have known that Adolf Hitler, the greatest murderer of all time, was a Roman Catholic.
While not arguing that all believers are vicious or that atheism necessarily makes one a good person, I maintain that atheists tend to be humanists. The humanist tradition emphasises the good life whichÂ Bertrand Russell defined as life inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Humanists reject the idea of God, resurrection, hell and heaven and all the unscientific mythologies of religion.
I fully subscribe to the idea that intelligent hardwork and compassion, not reliance on an irascible temperamental deity, are what we need to make our lives worth living here on earth. Jim Herrickâ€™s work, Humanism: An Introduction, is a helpful window into the the humanistic world-view. On Olatunjiâ€™s article, all I stated about Wallaceâ€™s essay also apply to it.
But I still have to respond to the fallacies committed by Olatunji. To begin with, Olatunji argued that the primary evidence for the â€œfactâ€ of creation is contained in revealed scripture! Wow!
I cannot believe that someone who associated himself with a science-based discipline (Electronic and Electrical Engineering) can be as dogmatic and scientifically opaque as Olatunji. Which of the scripture was he talking about, anyway â€“Upanishads, Bhagava-Gita, Ifa, Torah, The Bible, Cabbala, Koran etc? Since the accounts of creation in these texts are contradictory, they cannot all be true.
Moreover, whatever God might be (let us, for convenience, represent the deity as male) it is clear he is nonhuman. Based on that, and on the fact that human beings are fallible, it is very likely thatÂ those allegedly inspired by him might have misunderstood, garbled, forgetten, misinterpreted or deliberately distorted the message from the deity.
It is not enough for a book to claim that its contents were divinely inspired: there must be independent evidence confirming that such inspiration actually took place and that what was written down is a faithful reproduction of the inspired message. Apart from the claims contained in scriptures, how can Olatunji and other believers differentiate between divine inspiration and other psychological processes that can be justifiably labelled â€˜inspirationâ€™?TO BE CONCLUDED