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Discussion 1 to Meditation 291
Regarding Flew

by Carl Johnson

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Central to Flew's argument is the evidence for design, that no explanation exists for the formation of life on Earth. I'd like to respond to this quote which highlights Flew's thinking:

"It seems to me that Richard Dawkins constantly overlooks the fact that Darwin himself, in the fourteenth chapter of The Origin of Species, pointed out that his whole argument began with a being which already possessed reproductive powers. This is the creature the evolution of which a truly comprehensive theory of evolution must give some account. Darwin himself was well aware that he had not produced such an account. It now seems to me that the findings of more than fifty years of DNA research have provided materials for a new and enormously powerful argument to design."

To which I would answer:

First of all, Dawkins doesn't overlook Darwins unexplained origins, but points out that Evolution was never meant to account for origins in the first place. Explaining heritable traits requires existing organisms. It is Natural Selection alone upon which methodological naturalism depends. Secondly, the absence of a natural explanation for origins in Darwin's time does not preclude the discovery of furute natural explanations, such as the findings of DNA which were unknown in Darwin's day and provide the materials and enormously powerful natural arguments for origns (i.e. RNA as a precusor to DNA).