Re: teleology in terminology

McCarrick, Allan (
Mon, 10 Aug 1998 14:34 EST

Paul Arveson wrote:

> "My hypothesis is that we persist in personifying nature...because our
own essence is personal, not impersonal."

I agree that Schaeffer would jump on this. One of his favorite topics
was the misuse of words - using familiar words that another generation
(meaning Christians or theists) used, but gutted of their original

The habit of attributing purpose and volition to "natural" systems is
almost universal in scientific literature. I think it is important to
consider the intended audience - assumed to be practical non-theists for
whom those words pass by without comment. Even references to "mother
nature" or "nature's design" or "nature's creativity" fall on readers
with "ears that cannot hear." It is right to call them on the carpet for
this. I have my students literally find all the references to "purpose"
or "design" etc. in a Scientific American article on Cambrian life in
order to impress them that this peculiar habit does occur.

Didn't Richard Dawkins attempt to define biology as "The study of systems
that appear to be purposely designed but are not." ?