Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?

From: Robert Schneider <>
Date: Sun Oct 16 2005 - 22:37:55 EDT

One of the assumptions that seems to be prevalent in the ID literature that
I have read is that God engineers design in organisms the way human beings
design machines. In theology the argument from analogy has been used to
infer attributes of God from human attributes. The 16th c. Thomist
philosopher Cardinal Cajetan, for example, so argued in his treatise "De
Analogia." But is such a use of analogy (human design analogous to divine
design) valid in science? Cajetan's conclusions remain in the realm of
faith, and his treatise is an example of "fides querens intellectus."
Mechanical metaphors, as we know, have been used to characterize nature (the
world machine) and the human body (I have a beautifully illustrated 1986
book about the human body entitled "The Incredible Machine," a title I have
never liked). But a metaphor is one thing and an analogy is another.

Unless I am mistaken, the argument for design based on the presumption of
irreducible complexity depends upon the analogy between human and divine
engineering. But while we can determine how a human being designs a machine
with all parts necessary for its function, is it valid to conclude from such
a design that God's (excuse me, the intelligent Designer's) modus operandi
is the same as a human being's?

Any thoughts?

Bob Schneider

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pim van Meurs" <>
To: <>
Sent: Sunday, October 16, 2005 9:11 PM
Subject: Re: Directed evolution: evidence for teleology?

> --- Cornelius Hunter <>
> wrote:
>> George:
>> Couple of points probably worth making:
>> 1. The ID claim is that the evidence points to a
>> designer, not necessarily to God. This is (I think
>> it is safe to say) a consensus within ID.
> The inference to a transcendent designer is quite a
> bit different from the inference to a ordinary
> designer. In the latter case we have independent
> evidence which constrains the designer. In case of a
> designer God, there are no constraints and appeal to
> such a designer explains anything and thus nothin.
>> But what does this mean exactly? Much to say here,
>> but what I think everyone can agree on is the
>> obvious: if there is a valid design inference, then
>> there will be some who reject it, and others who
>> accept it.
> Or alternatively, lacking a valid design inference
> there will still be those who accept it or reject it.
> In other words, rejection of the design inference may
> or may not point to its failure. But from a scientific
> perspective there are good reasons to reject ID's
> arguments.
>> 2. Regarding the design inference, I wouldn't put it
>> as you state it above. It is more like how Paley
>> described it. We know what things designed look
>> like, so when we see something like that we make the
>> design inference.
> We have NO familiarity what God's 'designs' may look
> like. We may 'speculate' but to argue that we 'know
> what things designed look like' is begging the
> question, especially in biology where 'design' is so
> rampant and so well explained by prevailing theories.
>> How to make this objective? This is one facet of
>> ID.
> On the contrary, the 'specification' part of ID is
> inherently subjective.
>> 3. Another facet of design theory is that it makes
>> way for new types of scientific research.
> Begging the question. So far we have seen little
> evidence of such beyond some vague claims.
>> For example, in biology we can compare species
>> according to many criteria (such as design) rather
>> than restricting to an evolutionary tree.
> Even though the evolutionary tree best describes the
> data? What/how would ID have to contribute here
> specifically>
>> We can look for patterns that evolutionists do not
>> look for, since they restricted to common descent
>> and fitness as the drivers (not that ID rejects
>>common descent--it doesn't, though some IDs do).
> Evolutionists are not restricted to common descent and
> fintness as the drivers. That's a flawed argument.
> Lot's of speculations but little concrete examples.
> Which explains my statement that ID is scientifically vacuous.
Received on Sun Oct 16 22:40:07 2005

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