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By Ric Machuga

Clockwork Origins? Part 1

Books discussed in this essay

Richard Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design" (Norton, 349 pp.; $10.95, paper, 1987 [first published 1986]).

Richard Dawkins, "River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life" (Basic, 172 pp.; $20, 1995).

Phillip E. Johnson, "Darwin on Trial," 2d. ed. (InterVarsity, 195 pp.; $10.95, paper, 1993).

Phillip E. Johnson, "Reason in the Balance: The Case Against Naturalism in Science," Law and Education (InterVarsity, 245 pp.; $19.99, 1995).

Richard Dawkins is absolutely confident that science will finally accomplish what philosophy has been unable to do in more than 2,000 years--make theism intellectually indefensible.

Dawkins, a fellow of New College at Oxford University and the author of several best-selling expositions of Darwinism, acknowledges that prior to Darwin, philosophers who rejected belief in a divine creator had no good explanation for the order and complexity of living organisms. An atheist like David Hume could only say to a theist: "I have no explanation for complex biological design. All I know is that God isn't a good explanation, so we must wait and hope that somebody comes up with a better one." According to Dawkins, Darwin supplied that better explanation and "made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

Dawkins is quite explicit that Darwinism is more than simply a scientific theory. In the preface to his most recent book, "River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life" (the title is taken from Genesis 2:10), Dawkins writes,

Not only does the Darwinian theory command superabundant power to explain. Its economy in doing so has a sinewy elegance, a poetic beauty that outclasses even the most haunting of the world's origin myths. One of my purposes in writing this book has been to accord due recognition to the inspirational quality of our modern understanding of Darwinian life. There is more poetry in Mitochondrial Eve than in her mythological namesake.

Indeed, Dawkins ...

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