In a soon-to-be released book, an atheist professor has argued that the critiques of the Theory of Evolution by intelligent design defenders should "be taken seriously."
- (Photo: REUTERS/Jose Manuel Ribeiro)
Thomas Nagel, professor at the Department of Philosophy at New York University, argued this in a book titled Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False.
"Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously," wrote Nagel in chapter one.
"I believe the defenders of intelligent design deserve our gratitude for challenging a scientific world view that owes some of the passion displayed by its adherents precisely to the fact that it is thought to liberate us from religion."
Mark Looy, co-founder and chief communications officer for Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, told The Christian Post that a book like Nagel's is welcomed to the debate.
"We find it encouraging that philosophers like Nagel, and even some secular scientists today, are using their critical thinking ability and are recognizing the massive scientific problems with Darwinian evolution," said Looy.
"It is not often we come across atheists who are willing to look carefully into arguments that challenge their worldview, and then take the next step of making their views known in a public way."
Roy Speckhardt, executive director of the American Humanist Association, told The Christian Post that he felt the book was merely a "philosopher's musings."
"Scientists are still exploring the mechanisms of evolution and fine tuning our understanding of the process of natural selection, but there aren't serious competing models, nor is there likely to be among scientists of any stature," said Speckhardt.
"To try to counter the enormous evidence that exists in support of our general understanding of the evolutionary process would take more than a philosopher's musings which is all this book is."
Michael Zimmerman, founder and executive director of The Clergy Letter Project, told The Christian Post that he felt Nagel's argument wrongly tried to remove materialism from the scientific method.
"Materialism is central to science, though, and you can't get away from it," said Zimmerman, whose organization seeks to promote Evolution Theory as sound science and compatible with religious belief.
"To posit that there is something beyond the material that is responsible for the patterns we see, whether that be mind or anything else, takes us well beyond science."
When asked about what impact the book could have on the origins debate, Zimmerman told CP that he felt that Nagel's views would not influence the direction of the issue.
"Promoting intelligent design will not, in any way, influence the creation-evolution debate because intelligent design has been categorically found to be an intellectual dead end," said Zimmerman.
"The beauty and power of science is that it makes absolutely no difference what the personal beliefs of a person positing an idea are; the idea has to stand on its own."
Looy, on the other hand, told CP that Answers in Genesis hoped that Minds and Cosmos would do much to influence the creation-evolution debate.
"AiG hopes that the book, put out by a prestigious publisher, will encourage many evolutionists to reconsider their belief system and will also cause them to examine the research that AiG and other groups have done in support of creation," said Looy.
Published by Oxford University Press, Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False by Thomas Nagel will be released in September.