Things in heaven and earth

Here are 2 radiant young female primates. Would you say they were intelligently designed? I don't know, but another thinker on these matters had a stronger opinion:
"I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance."

"...the extreme difficulty or rather impossibility of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity. When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist."

"[a man] can be an ardent Theist and an evolutionist"... for himself, he had "never been an Atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God". He added that "I think that generally (and more and more as I grow older), but not always, that an Agnostic would be a more correct description of my state of mind."
It is apparent that Charles Darwin hovered between Theism and Agnosticism, never touching Atheism but inclining towards Intelligent Design. Evolution (which convinces me) is considered evidence against ID, but not by Darwin.

The white house in the photo is Down House near London, where Darwin wrote The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man.

Comments

Alice Adams said…
What is actually apparent is that like most people with enquiring minds, Darwin’s thinking evolved over the course of his life.

Re your comment ‘Evolution is considered evidence against ID’, it is not evidence against it, rather it is a simpler explanation of the same phenomenon, apparent direction in nature, and is therefore by Ockham’s Razor more likely to be true and renders ID redundant.

Yours are very selective quotations are these; here are a few more:

"The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which seemed so conclusive, fails now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by a man”

“But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created that a cat should play with mice.”
mark said…
What is actually apparent is that like most people with enquiring minds, Darwin’s thinking evolved over the course of his life.

Thought evolves. So what? Alfred Wallace's (the co-propounder of Natural Selection) thought evolved towards spiritualism.

Re your comment ‘Evolution is considered evidence against ID’, it is not evidence against it, rather it is a simpler explanation of the same phenomenon, apparent direction in nature, and is therefore by Ockham’s Razor more likely to be true and renders ID redundant.

No more than a target ball falling in snooker falling into a pocket renders redundant the question of who played cue ball.


Yours are very selective quotations are these; here are a few more:

"The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which seemed so conclusive, fails now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by a man”

This doesn't conflict with anything to do with ID unless you re-interpret what I wrote as a claim that Natural Selection is wrong, when I wrote that it is right.



“But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created that a cat should play with mice.”

That's an argument against benificence (an emotional argument at that) not against design. Anyway the entire quote is this:

This is always painful to me. I am bewildered. I had no intention to write atheistically. But I own that I cannot see as plainly as others do, and as I should wish to do, evidence of design and beneficence on all sides of us. There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae [wasps] with the express intention of their [larva] feeding within the living bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other, I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe, and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance.
Alice Adams said…
"No more than a target ball falling in snooker falling into a pocket renders redundant the question of who played cue ball."

You're missing the point - I didn't say it rendered the question 'why does life exist' redundant, I said the theory of ID is redundant because there is a better explanation (evolution) available for the thing it purports to explain (apparent design in nature).

"This doesn't conflict with anything to do with ID unless you re-interpret what I wrote as a claim that Natural Selection is wrong, when I wrote that it is right."

I am not trying to show conflict between ID and natural selection. They are competing explanations for the same phenomenon - if one is accepted as true the other becomes redundant. The quote was intended to show that you cannot claim Darwin as a proponent of ID -he wasn't.
mark said…
It is not a competing explanation for the thing that Natural Selection explains since Natural Selection doesn't purport to explain 'apparent design in nature'.

Natural selection explains speciation of life forms on earth.
Intelligent Design is a basic thesis about the ultimate cause of organization in the universe.
Alice Adams said…
Wrong - natural selection *does* explain apparent design in nature. Those creatures best adapted to their environment are those who survive and go on to propagate their genes. Thus over time the world becomes populated by creatures which appear 'designed' to be well-adapted to nature, but actually this is simply the result of natural selection of the best adapted organisms.

Darwin himself made this very claim for natural selection.

"The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which seemed so conclusive, fails now that the law of natural selection has been discovered. We can no longer argue that, for instance, the beautiful hinge of a bivalve shell must have been made by an intelligent being, like the hinge of a door by a man."

Thus, if you accept natural selection, you no longer require an explanation for why things in nature appear to be 'designed' for their purpose, let alone one that postulates the existence of a supernatural being.

You can still ask what the meaning of life is, but you can't argue that apparent design in nature points to the existence of an 'intelligent designer'.
mark said…
How does natural selection explain Jupiter's rings? It doesn't purport to.
You confine the word nature to mean 'life on earth' which is a tiny portion of the organized universe.
Darwin's similar usage was in context, but he's clear that it doesn't explain the organized universe.
Alice Adams said…
Every statement of ID I've ever seen has it as the explanation for the complexity/apparent adaptation of life. Here's the classic statement of it:

"The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion."

http://www.intelligentdesign.org/

Creationists want it taught as an *alternative* to evolution in science lessons.

If you want to use it as a theory to explain only non-living phenomenon I suppose you could, but I don't think many people find it hard to conceive of all the non-living things in the universe being without design. Without living phenomenon, the argument is effectively neutered.
mark said…
I use it the same way Darwin used it and the way it makes sense. What caused speciation of life forms is a far less fundamental question than what caused organization in the universe.
Alice Adams said…
Evolution is not a theory of what causes speciation, it's far wider than that, explaining the apparent adaptedness to nature in lifeforms that leads people to detect organisation. I'll allow that it doesn't explain apparent organisation in non-living things, but this can be explained by probability, monkeys and typewriters etc.