The title of this new post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog is quite revealing: The Materialist Narrative and the Power of Bias. It suggests that there are two “narratives” for describing the universe: (1) materialism, a somewhat fuzzy term; and (2) supernaturalism.
It was written by Brian Miller — and this is the first time we’ve discussed an article by him. The Discoveroids’ bio page for him says:
Dr. Brian Miller is Research Coordinator for the Center for Science and Culture at Discovery Institute. He holds a B.S. in physics with a minor in engineering from MIT and a Ph.D. in physics from Duke University. He speaks internationally on the topics of intelligent design and the impact of worldviews on society.
Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Scientists in Western cultures have been trained to see the world through a materialist metanarrative where the only acting players are matter and energy. In other words, the universe is a closed system where no higher power or non-material forces are believed to interact.
Fair enough. The scientific view of things excludes any influence by a “higher power” — i.e., a deity. But this isn’t an arbitrary preference. Rather, it’s because of the absence of any method for verifiably observing or testing supernatural influences — see Bring Me An Angel Detector!, where we discuss this at length. We also quoted the Discoveroids’ wedge document, which says:
[T]he Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its cultural legacies. … [T]he Center explores how new developments in biology, physics and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have re-opened the case for a broadly theistic understanding of nature.
Okay, now that we know what Brian is talking about, let’s read on. He says:
Those inculcated with this way of thinking see nature through a lens where all evidence for design is assumed to be an illusion, so all arguments for design are treated a priori as false. In contrast, those operating from a non-materialist viewpoint typically see the world though a design-tolerant lens. From this perspective, the materialists appear to demonstrate as much bias and disregard for empirical evidence as they accuse design proponents of exhibiting.
As an example, the evidence for design is found ubiquitously throughout life, and an extremely strong case is made that it can be objectively detected through the same methods used in such disciplines as archaeology, cryptography, SETI, and forensics. This point should be obvious considering that even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that life looks designed.
[*Groan*] We want evidence, and all the Discoveroids have is endless invocations of the Watchmaker analogy. After that, Brian tells us:
Materialists dismiss all of this evidence [Hee hee!] by simply appealing to the perceived unlimited power of natural selection, which even leading evolutionary theorists increasingly question. A primary reason for such doubts is that the genetic variation in every species is only sufficient to allow for changes in superficial features, and observed mutations which could potentially expand the range require altering an organism’s basic architecture during development. But such mutations are always harmful.
No need to comment. He continues:
Materialists also ignore that a general feature of life found at every organizational level is irreducible complexity [blah, blah, blah].
Unfortunately, for many the materialist narrative has so suffused their thinking that evolutionary theory has become hopelessly intertwined with anti-religious sentiment. We would do well, then, to encourage materialists to look past their assumptions, to objectively examine the evidence for design. They might then discern the reality of intelligent involvement in nature, resulting in a collapse of the materialist philosophical framework. They would then have the freedom to consider the reality beyond the material world.
As soon as the Discoveroids present us with evidence, we’ll be happy to examine it.
Brian ends his post with a paragraph devoted to Günter Bechly, about whom we’ve already written too much. See, e.g., Discoveroid Günter Bechly Has Been ‘Erased’.
So there you are, dear reader. Brian has exposed your foolish bias. Why — oh why? — won’t you open your mind to the endless possibilities of Oogity Boogity?
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