I make observations and interpret what I see from my own personal perspective and world view. If I am, a creationist, a physicalist, a vitalist, a specialist, religious, atheist or whatever, my explanations will be fashioned accordingly to some extent. Some subjects are more contentious than others, and some people can take a more objective stance than others. The metaphors used in biology frequently demonstrate how life is thought of in mechanistic terms.
Many people may be surprised with the results of a survey discussed in the article, “First worldwide survey of religion and science: No, not all scientists are atheists”
Should the personal beliefs of scientists matter?
I watched the following video, “The Inner Life of the Cell” by Harvard and HHMI narrated by Carol Tydell, a lecturer in physiology. I noted how her descriptions of the cellular components and processes swung between anthropomorphism and a mechanistic viewpoint. (Incidentally, “component” originally used to mean one person within a group, now it more often than not refers to a part of a machine.) I would have preferred if some of the terminology used by Dr Tydell had been rephrased.
According to Tydell, the molecular components are depicted “entirely accurately”. I can assume that the depiction is as accurate as they can make it, but I would add that it’s relatively static and a very much simplified representation of the workings of a living cell.
When she talks about dynein complexes, mitochondria and ribosomes she likes to use terms such as, ‘these guys’ and ‘fellows’. While she may be anthropomorphizing at least she is referring to them as living beings. But she takes if further. Listening to Tydell it sounds like the cell is full of self-conscious, decision making entities with integral goals an desires. I don’t see any of these complexes showing sign of having consciousness on this level.
And at the other extreme, regarding those molecular complexes that are doing something, she says, “We don’t consider them to be alive. They are just proteins”. Would she also say, “Those things that build their mounds in Africa, Australia and South America, we don’t consider them to be alive. They are just termites.”?
She refers to proteins moving like some kind of dinosaur or some kind of machine. Which is it? Are they living or are they dead matter?
I consider protein that is active within organisms to be living substance, not dead matter.
Of all the pieces I’ve listened to or read on the subject of biology, quite a few of them are extremely mechanistic. Dr Tydell is much more even-handed here. Metaphysical naturalism is quite often the order of the day in areas where methodological naturalism is called for.