The Argument from Design - Fact, Fantasy or Wishful Thinking ?
Tell me why the stars do shine,
Tell me why the ivy twines,
Tell me why the sky's so blue.
Then I will tell you just why I love you.
Because God made the stars to shine,
Because God made the ivy twine,
Because God made the sky so blue.
Because God made you, that's why I love you.1
Tell Me Why
In Darwin's Dangerous Idea Daniel Dennett wistfully recalls this simple melody from his youth, but does not lament the demise of its literal meaning at the hands of the hero of his book. No thinking adult could still cling to the myth of the loving God who fashions each of us from earth and breathes life into us. There is no future in myths, no matter how sacred. If there is one thing the authors of Genesis got right, it is that we are inherently curious beings.
Knowledge of the truth is amongst our most precious values. Few things are more sacred. We may outgrow the answers that follow the question of our melody, but we will never outgrow the question itself : Why?
The Argument from Design
Aristotle was probably the first person to seek to classify our questions about the universe we live in by delineating between various explanations - or causes. The fourth of these causes was what he called its telos - its purpose or goal or end. Thus, we ask : Why is this thing like this? What is it for? What is its raison d'etre. Therefore, a teleological explanation is one that explains the existence or occurrence of something by citing a goal or purpose that is served by the thing. Aristotle's "final cause" - his ultimate answer to any teleological...