Prof. Dr. John Lennox

Is the Watchmaker Really Blind?

In his famous exposition of the design argument in the 19th century, William Paley argued that even if one did not know how a watch had come into existence, its complexity would demand the existence of a watchmaker who made it. Similarly, the existence of intricate biological mechanisms demand the existence of a Divine Watchmaker. The impression of design is so strong that Richard Dawkins's definition of biology is: ‘the study of complicated things that give the appearance of being designed for a purpose.’ Yet he asserts that there is no divine Watchmaker: ‘The only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics ... Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. ... it is ... the blind watchmaker.’ For Dawkins, atheism is the logical implication of Darwin's work: ‘Although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.’ Dawkins, Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, is the most vocal of a group of scientists whose materialistic philosophy is expressed in the famous words of the late Carl Sagan ‘The Universe is all that is, was or ever shall be.’ These materialists take a strongly anti-religious stance and represent religion as totally hostile to scientific endeavour and science as hostile to religion. Alasdair Palmer can write : ‘...it is not just the religious explanation of the world that is contradicted by scientific explanations of our origins. So, too, are most of our ethical values, since most of them have been shaped by our religious heritage.’ (Sunday Telegraph 1997.) In the name of modern science human beings are effectively stripped of their created dignity, sense of moral values, freedom and immortality. If science has done away with the transcendent Creator, who once defined such values, how and by whom will they be defined? Science versus Religion? What is our response to those who claim the authority of science for their attacks on religion?

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