Argument From Design And Evolutionary Theory Philosophy
There is a long standing argument between Creationism and Evolution, and the strength of the argument for Creationism is theory based on faith, while Evolution bases itself on scientific fact and (or) theory. Both theories go about describing how our planet and the life on it came to be. Each takes a totally different approach to the explanation; one asserts that God created the world and life on it in 6 days (Genesis, The Holy Bible). While the other has a radically different explanation in that the planet was created by a mixture of gases, minerals and rocks all combining in one big explosion to create the universe and planet we live on. This explosion also facilitated the grow of cells and organisms that evolved to the point of life as we know it, or more precisely growing and changing to get to the point of life as we know it. This includes mankind, and is probably one of the most hotly debated points of the whole theory.
I wanted to take a look at these theories, those satalliting around them and compare. Arguments for Design or the existence of God can be pulled from scriptures from the Old Testament: The Book of Psalms, the New Testament: Romans of both Judaism and Christianity and even the Koran 31:20. While it's not totally clear about what of this world is evidence of Gods existence or intelligent nature, it supposedly becomes easy to see by anyone of a reasonably conscientious nature. Romans 1:19-21states:
"For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made. So they are without excuse."(The New Testament: the Book of Romans)
This passage in the New Testament would seem to verify God's existence and intelligence.
The earliest philosophical version of the design argument written by St Thomas Aquinas states:
"We see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that they achieve their end, not fortuitously, but designedly. Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is directed by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Article 3, Question 2).
Aqiunas's version seems to depend on the explanation for ends and processes, that the process can only be explained by the existence of an intelligent being that directs the process or system towards it end. Aquinas's theory states all natural bodies are directed to a specific end as a means of preservation, and can only be explained by the existence of an intelligent being.
Let's step to the right a bit, to a theory called Evolution. What we call The Theory of Evolution is actually "The Contemporary, Neo-Darwinian Theory of Evolution". The core thesis of the theory is that natural species are produced not by divine decree but by natural processes of variation, procreation, geographical isolation and the consequential survival of some but not others due to natural selection, or survival of the fittest. While this cannot be supported fully by empirical evidence, it does have empirical support. Contrary to many of its critics, the theory of evolution is more than a hypothesis, it is instead a theory with all the laws and principles that allow us to give explanations to a huge variety of phenomena. This in its own way is what makes Evolution more than just a hypothesis and puts it into the category of theory. The theory brings to the table consequences that if they were proven to be false, if the facts discovered by immunology, biochemistry and molecular biology had turned out less than supportive, the theory itself would have to labeled as false and the theory of evolution may well have been dismissed.
Is evolution a commitment to an account of how life began? No. In 1996 Pope John Paul ll "has proclaimed that the theory is 'more than just a hypothesis' and that evolution is compatible with Christian faith" (ChicagoTribune,Swanson,S1996). This comes from an odd article first published in the Tribune and later used by a website of the New World Order Religion "The Cutting Edge" to make a point in their own direction. Pope John Paul ll did write a letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences urging them to reflect and consider arguments on and about the origin of life and evolution.
"In his encyclical Humani Generis (1950), my predecessor Pius XII has already affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation, provided that we do not lose sight of certain fixed points."(etwn.com/library)
All this and more makes the argument of creationism and evolution being not so far from each other compelling and leaves us asking more questions that are answered with more questions. Are creationism and evolution really on opposite ends of the question, How was our world and life itself created? And where does evolution fit into the puzzle?
Recently another theory has caught the eye, "Intelligent Design". Intelligent Design "is the belief that empirical evidence supports the conclusion that the initial life on earth, and perhaps some of its present details, was deliberately designed by one or more intelligent agents; additionally, or alternately, it may include the idea that different empirical evidence supports a similar conclusion regarding the universe itself. "(ID:Definition:WordIQ.com). Intelligent Design or the idea of a cosmic designer has been around for centuries before Charles Darwin was born. English theologian William Paley created the famous pocket watch analogy, stating that " if we find a pocket watch in a field, Paley wrote in 1802, we immediately infer that it was produced not by natural processes acting blindly but by a designing human intellect". Likewise, he reasoned, the natural world contains abundant evidence of a supernatural creator. The argument from design, as it is known, prevailed as an explanation of the natural world until the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859(IEP)
Interestingly Michael J. Behe writes in his argument presented to a magazine Natural History:
" Some systems seem very difficult to form by such successive modifications-I call them irreducibly complex. An everyday example of an irreducibly complex system is the humble mousetrap. It consists of (1) a flat wooden platform or base; (2) a metal hammer, which crushes the mouse; (3) a spring with extended ends to power the hammer; (4) a catch that releases the spring; and (5) a metal bar that connects to the catch and holds the hammer back. You can't catch a mouse with just a platform, then add a spring and catch a few more mice, then add a holding bar and catch a few more. All the pieces have to be in place before you catch any mice. "
If we go back and read William Paley's allegory of the pocket watch it would seem that Mr. Behe has taken Paley's example and by switching the words exhibits the same as was presented to us over 100 years ago.
Phillip E. Johnson wrote and published a book "Darwin On Trial" in 1991 that set the Intelligent Design movement into motion. Mr. Johnson In 1996 declared: "This isn't really, and never has been, a debate about science. It's about religion and philosophy." So we are left in the same place as before, only this time Creationism has a new name . . Intelligent Design.
Evolutionist then and now stand on scientific information that is available. The difference is that in Darwin's time the information was not as refined as what we have today. Science has evolved itself into being able to see up close and personally what it is we are made of, theorize and research more deeply again. In Darwin's time there was no gene technology and no one knew anything about DNA or how important it is to our development. Yet Charles Darwin set things in motion that are today still being validated or at the very least questioned. These questions push us forward to find more answers, and the scientists of today have the use of advanced techniques and equipment Darwin in his time couldn't even imagine. An interesting thought is that perhaps with time, knowledge and our intense need for answers we may find that both Evolution and Creationism have a hand in what we are and where we are going.
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