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'God did it' explains nothing

Posted by Ben on Thursday, September 01, 2005 | Permalink

Richard Dawkins is one of my heroes. Intelligent Design is one of my bugbears. There is frankly no chance on earth that I'd fail to link to an article by the former (and Jerry Coyne) about the latter. Even the title - One Side Can Be Wrong - warms the old heart-cockles. It can't be said enough, that sentence: one side can be wrong. The answer doesn't always lie halfway between two extremes.

In an article full of excellent points, there's one I want to highlight:

...there is a hidden (actually they scarcely even bother to hide it) "default" assumption that if Theory A has some difficulty in explaining Phenomenon X, we must automatically prefer Theory B without even asking whether Theory B (creationism in this case) is any better at explaining it.

Why is God considered an explanation for anything? It's not - it's a failure to explain, a shrug of the shoulders, an 'I dunno' dressed up in spirituality and ritual. If someone credits something to God, generally what it means is that they haven't a clue, so they're attributing it to an unreachable, unknowable sky-fairy. Ask for an explanation of where that bloke came from, and odds are you'll get a vague, pseudo-philosophical reply about having always existed, or being outside nature. Which, of course, explains nothing.

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