Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The Check Is in the Mail: Why Darwinism Fails to Inspire Confidence

Author: Robert C. Koons, Professor of Philosophy - UT Austin

"Darwinism owes its present dominance to the widespread misperception that it has refuted the design argument." This is both the first sentence of this article, and its overarching argument. This is one of my favorite essays in the collection.

When he mentions the design argument, he is not talking about the rather recent movement known as Intelligent Design. Rather, he is mentioning the longstanding and natural human ability to recognize intelligence and design through ordinary sense data. His sources extend well into the annals of history. In fact, he makes the compelling argument for the fact that apart from our basic and rational mental ability to recognize intelligence and design we could not even recognize each other, or ourselves, as intelligent beings.

His main point, however, is that Darwinism, as a scientific project, has yet to empirically establish itself. Koons sets forth a five-step process by which Darwinism could legitimately, and empirically, defeat the design argument. He explains that Darwinism has only achieved the second step in that process and therefore has established nothing. To be fair, the Intelligent Design project has also only achieved the second step. Mankind is simply unable, at this point, to sufficiently explain genetics to empirically legitimize either theory. In the absence of such evidence, normal and rational human intellect identifies design in nature, Darwinism needs appropriate evidence to indicate otherwise.
"We're still waiting for Darwin's Newton: for a theorist who can take Darwin's proposal and produce even one hypothesis which specifies, step by step, the genetic changes that had to take place, the embryological alterations that these changes produce, and the quantifiable selective pressures that enable each new step to reach a significant proportion of the population."
Koons has done an excellent job in this article. This is well worth the read for anyone and everyone interested in this debate.

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