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By William A. Dembski

Presents a complete balanced assessment of the talk touching on organic origins.

summary: offers a complete balanced evaluation of the talk referring to organic origins

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Extra info for Debating design : from Darwin to DNA

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What theologians once termed an established order of creation is rather a natural order that dynamically creates, an order for creating. The order and newer accounts both concur that living creatures now exist where once they did not. But the manner of their coming into being has to be reassessed. The notion of a Newtonian Architect who from the outside designs his machines, borrowed by Paley for his Watchmaker God, has to be replaced (at least in biology, if not also in physics) by a continuous creation, a developmental struggle in self-education, where the creatures through “experience” becomes increasingly “expert” at life.

For this reason, whereas Plato’s teleology is sometimes spoken of as “external,” meaning that the emphasis is on the designer, Aristotle’s teleology is sometimes spoken of as “internal,” meaning that the emphasis is on the way that the world – the organic world, particularly – seems to have an end-directed nature. Stones fall. Rivers run. Volcanoes erupt. But hands are for grasping. Eyes are for seeing. Teeth are for biting and chewing. Aristotle emphasizes the first part of the argument from design.

At another level, Darwin obviously pushed adaptive complexity sideways somewhat. It was very much part of his evolutionism that not everything works perfectly all of the time. And some features of the living world have little or no direct adaptive value. Homology, for instance – the isomorphisms between organisms of very different natures and lifestyles – is clearly a mark of common descent, but it has no direct utilitarian value. What end does it serve that there are similarities between the arm of humans, the forelimb of horses, the paw of moles, the flipper of seals, the wings of birds and bats?

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