Secret origins

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George Byron (Letters, 5 November) has not found an error in my logic, but he engaged in fallacious reasoning himself.

If only design by an intelligent agent can account for purposeful complex systems of interrelated functional components, as I believe, this does not lead to an infinite regress of who designed the designer of the designer of …

Christian belief is that God is eternal and uncreated, so questions about his origin are misconceived. Every belief system must hit the explanatory buffers at some point by positing a brute fact that cannot be explained by more basic causes. For me, this is God.

What does Mr Byron regard as the ultimate explanation of the physical realm? Does he believe in an illogical infinite regression of physical causes?

Mr Byron’s assertion that I can’t assess the capabilities of unguided natural forces to produce complex functional systems because I wasn’t there to watch the origin of life is just silly.

Archaeologists routinely ascribe finds to human agency rather than natural forces, and no one offers the spurious objection that they were not there to see their creation.

Richard Lucas

Broomyknowe

Edinburgh

I regret to see that in his 4 November letter (regarding the Cambrian explosion), Richard Lucas will have reignited the irreconcilable dispute between creationism and “Darwinism”.

My response I limit to this request that he consider, firstly, that the epoch in question is measured in terms of tens of millions of years.

Why should this not be sufficient to permit natural selection an opportunity, given that we have seen various bacteria develop immunity to antibiotics in only some 70 years (as he would find to his cost were he unfortunate enough to contract MRSA or TB)?

Secondly, I would ask that he consider as just one splendid example of “intelligent design” the anatomy of the giraffe’s recurrent laryngeal nerve, where it takes 15 feet to bridge a gap of a few inches.

Malcolm Mackenzie

Relugas Road

Edinburgh 

I note with interest that Richard Lucas has now moved on to attempting to refute evolution via a focus on the “Cambrian explosion”.

He asserts that “vastly complex and sophisticated living organisms do not automatically pop into existence when the background conditions are favourable” and he is least partially right, insofar as no species “pops into existence” – rather they evolve, in the case of the Cambrian explosion over a 20 million year timescale.

A Nobel Prize awaits if evolution can be refuted. Good luck with that, Mr Lucas.

Robert Miller

Bracken Avenue

Falkirk

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