Monday, September 23, 2013

The appearance of design

Richard Dawkins has said:

Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.

In addition, some secular scientists have argued it's possible design doesn't actually exist. Rather design is a mere perception of the human mind.

I'm sure there are better answers others can give than I can muster, but for what it's worth, here are some exploratory thoughts:

  1. Of course, given naturalism and modern evolutionary theory, then I suppose that could be true. If Alvin Plantinga's Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism or something like it is right, then it's possible there's no direct correspondence between what we perceive and what's veridical since what's veridical doesn't necessarily aid in our survival. So by attempting to undercut design, the naturalistic evolutionist undercuts the basic reliability of human sense perception, which in turn undermines and arguably defeats a plethora of other arguments and ideas. Such as how we know modern evolutionary theory itself is veridical, or how we know naturalism is veridical. So at best it's a Pyrrhic victory. They "win" by losing.

  2. However, given the God of the Bible, the basic reliability of sense perception remains in tact, for the Creator created us to inhabit his world. We have access to and can know "the mind of God" (as Stephen Hawking might put it) via his revelation to us in the Bible.

  3. If a highly advanced extraterrestrial alien species happened upon the human brain and mind, it's possible these aliens would detect design in humans including the human brain and mind as well. If so, then the concept of design would not be an artefact of or otherwise limited to the human brain or mind and perception.

  4. A secular scientist subscribing to naturalism and modern evolutionary theory could push this back a step and ask if design is a perception of these alien minds too.

    It's possible the aliens themselves including their own brain and minds were designed by still more advanced aliens à la Ridley Scott's Prometheus.

    Eventually, I think, we come back to #1. Or so it seems to me.

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