Follow the evidence?

The following is a transcript from a fascinating informal debate between John Lennox and Peter Atkins, which can be viewed here. This particular section starts around the 1hr 4min mark. The following exchange betrays Atkins a priori presupposition of atheism in the face of conflicting evidence.

Lennox: Do you think it’s an illegitimate thing from a scientific perspective, Peter, to see whether scientifically one can establish whether intelligence needs to be involved … in the origin of life.
Atkins: I think the scientific method is Occam again, to see whether you can account for everything that is reliably known, without elaborating the hypothesis. So, let’s just take the laws of nature … and seeing that letting them run free in the environment that we can speculate existed – and we’ve got evidence of the type of environment existed billions of years ago, seeing whether that sort of process leads to life and if it does that seems to me to abnegate the need for the imposition of intelligence.
Lennox: And, if it doesn’t?
Atkins: Then if we go on trying – we may have to try for 100 years – but if we, in the end, come to the conclusion that an external intelligence must have done it, then we will have to accept that.
Lennox: Would you be prepared to accept that?
Atkins: No.

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