Science & Faith
3/10/12 at 08:44 PM 22 Comments

Aping Mankind: An Atheist Professor of Medicine Exposes Weaknesses in Darwinian Tales about the Human Mind

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Raymond Tallis, who is an atheistic Professor of Medicine, and a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences, recently published Aping Mankind: Neuromania, Darwinitis, and the Misrepresentation of Humanity (Acumen, 2011). In this book he voices concern about the overuse of materialistic explanations of all things human. But also he desires to maintains his atheistic worldview in the face of such nagging doubts about whether Darwinism today is really as "intellectually fulfilling" as it is popularly declared.

While largely accepting Richard Dawkins' characterization of the Darwinian natural selection process as a blind watchmaker, Tallis admits that the purposeful, goal-directed traits of human consciousness seem to defy Darwinian explanation:

Darwinism, therefore, leaves something unaccounted for: the emergence of people like you and me who are indubitably sighted watchmakers. If there are no sighted watchmakers in nature and yet humans are sighted watchmakers, in the narrower sense of making artefacts whose purpose they envisage in advance, and in the wider sense of consciously aiming at stated goals, then humans are not part of nature: or not entirely so. To put this another way, isn't there a problem in explaining how the blind forces of physics brought about (cognitively) sighted humans who are able to see, and identify, and comment on, the "blind" forces of physics, even to notice that they are blind and deliberately utilize them to engage with nature as if from the outside, and on much more favourable terms than those that govern the lives of the animals? On the Origin of Species leaves us with the task of explaining the origin of one species that is indeed a designer. (p. 212)

Casey Luskin, in an engaging commentary on Tallis' book, explains how some Darwinists like Tallis feel unsatisfied by many of the Darwinian explanations on offer for the origin of the human mind.

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