as, it is worthy of further consideration (which is not the same as an endorsement).
I headline a comment:
[[Kojonen develops his case further:
I will . . . argue in this book that the teleological order of biological organisms can still, in a rationally permissible way, be understood as a sign of the divine reality, even in an evolutionary cosmos. [ –> a if not necessarily the main thesis] . . . .
According to [American Botanist, Asa] Gray (1860), evolution actually “leaves the question of design just where it was before,” because the biological design argument does not in any way depend on whether God created living organisms directly, through miracles, or through a secondary cause such as evolution. Seeing the end result, Gray claims, is still enough to create a compelling case for design . . . .
Many now believe that the scientific data also supports belief in at
least some directionality in evolution. It seems to me that now, with new work in the philosophy of biology, the philosophy of religion, and the natural sciences, it is again plausible to understand biological order as the supreme manifestation of the “wider teleology,” and thus as also indirectly revelatory of the Creator. The idea that biological nature provides us with evidence of design can thus be reclaimed for use within a theistic evolu-tionist understanding of nature. This promises to transform the debate over design and evolution, not only providing a defense of the logical compatibility of evolution and creation, but also moving beyond this mere compatibility by rehabilitating the idea of evidence for design . . . .
Mats Wahlberg (2012, 182), one of the contemporary defenders of the revelatory potential of biology, comments: “If it takes more wisdom to create through an evolu-tionary process than by hands-on-design, and if structures created by hand-on-design by humans are expressive of human intent and intelli-gence, why could not structures created by God in that more wisdom-demanding way reflect divine intent and intelligence?” . . . .
If we adopt the popular conception of science as methodologically naturalistic, then the question of design should be understood as nonscientific. Nevertheless, the features of the natural world, as studied by the natural sciences, will still be relevant for the argument. Some readers might even question whether philosophical and theological analysis could have anything to contribute to the discussion beyond what the natural sciences have to say . . . .
Questions like “when does one explanation eliminate
another,” “could the order of the world even in principle reveal a Creator” and “how does suffering fit with the idea of design” are necessary for the debate and require moving beyond just scientific considerations, to con – sidering the nature of explanation and broader metaphysical story we believe about the world. Moreover, the position that evolution and divine design do not fit together is also a philosophical and even a theological (or antitheological) conclusion, requiring just as much philosophical justifica – tion as the conclusion of compatibility . . . .
Suppose that the evolutionary mechanisms biologists study really
are able to generate the wonders of biology from hummingbirds to human brains. Is the production of such results then more plausible if those mechanisms were purposefully designed, or if they were not? Could the products of an indirect evolutionary process even in principle tell us some-thing about the rationality of the cosmos and the wisdom of its Creator? [Ch 1, p. 16 ff] . . . .
the fine-tuning design argument is based on the observation that
the laws, constants, and starting conditions of the cosmos allow for the existence of complex life. It appears that the requirements for the emer-gence of complex life are very stringent, requiring the right kind of forces to exist in the right portions (Geraint and Barnes 2016). While there is some amount of leeway, in many cases even very small changes would make the existence of life as we know it (or even the existence of stable elements) impossible. Four main types of evidence can be recognized (Collins 2009). First (1), the suitable types of laws and forces need to exist. If, for example, one of the four basic forces of physics were missing, then fine-tuning the rest would not suffice. Forces that interfere with these to prevent life should also not exist. Second (2), the strengths of the basic forces in relation to each other must be suitable for life. Third (3), the matter and anti-matter of the early cosmos must have the correct type of properties and proportion. Fourth (4), the result of these factors, then, should be the type of elements that are suitable to be “building blocks” for life. In addition to these factors, many other considerations important for life and scientific discovery have been cited, such as the features of the cosmos that allow for scientific discovery (Collins 2018). [p. 76, Ch 3]
It is obvious that Kojonen is a theistic evolutionist, but much of his biological argument is essentially a front loading argument, tied to cosmological design. Design that manifests itself indirectly through built in potentials and constraints that guide OoL band of Body plans down to our own is still design, and signs of design in life forms are real. In that context, the pivotal evidence is that of the fine tuned cosmos, set up in ever so many just so ways that facilitate C-Chemistry, aqueous medium, cell based, terrestrial planet in circumstellar and spiral galactic habitable zone life. While he aptly points to Gray, he would be even more tellingly able to point to a co-founder of evolutionary theory, Wallace, in his The World of Life, where we read in the preface:
. . . the most prominent feature of my book is that I enter into a popular yet critical examination of those underlying fundamental problems which Darwin purposely excluded from his works as being beyond the scope of his enquiry.
Such are, the nature and causes of Life itself ; and more especially of its most fundamental and mysterious powers growth and reproduction. I first endeavour to show (in Chapter XIV.) by a care-ful consideration of the structure of the bird’s feather; of the marvellous transformations of the higher insects ; and, more especially of the highly elaborated wing-scales of the Lepidoptera (as easily accessible examples of what is going on in every part of the structure of every living thing), the absolute necessity for an organising and directive Life-Principle in order to account for the very possibility of these complex outgrowths.
I argue, that they necessarily imply first, a Creative Power, which so constituted matter as to render these marvels possible ; next, a directive Mind which is demanded at every step of what we term growth, and often look upon as so simple and natural a process as to require no explanation ; and, lastly, an ultimate Purpose, in the very existence of the whole vast life-world in all its long course of evolution throughout the eons of geological time.
This Purpose, which alone throws light on many of the mysteries of its mode of evolution, I hold to be the development of Man, the one crowning product of the whole cosmic process of life-development ; the only being which can to some extent comprehend nature; which can perceive and trace out her modes of action ; which can appreciate the hidden forces and motions everywhere at work, and can deduce from them a supreme and over-ruling Mind as their necessary cause.
For those who accept some such view as I have indicated, I show (in Chapters XV. and XVI.) how strongly it is sup-ported and enforced by a long series of facts and co-relations which we can hardly look upon as all purely accidental coincidences. Such are the infinitely varied products of living things which serve man’s purposes and man’s alone not only by supplying his material wants, and by gratifying his higher tastes and emotions, but as rendering possible many of those advances in the arts and in science which we claim to be the highest proofs of his superiority to the brutes, as well as of his advancing civilisation.
From a consideration of these better-known facts I proceed (in Chapter XVII.) to an exposition of the mystery of cell-growth ; to a consideration of the elements in their special relation to the earth itself and to the life-world ; while in the last chapter I endeavour to show the purpose of that law of diversity which seems to pervade the whole material Universe. [ The World of Life: a manifestation of Creative Power, Directive Mind and Ultimate Purpose, pp. vi – vii, preface, 1914 UK Edn.]
That said, I think design theorists ever since Thaxton et al in TMLO (now re-issued as a 2nd edition), have carefully distinguished between an inference to design as key causal factor of phenomena such as functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information [FSCO/I] in the world of life and the ontological status of designers of observed life. As I have put it over the years here at UD, a molecular nanotech lab several generations beyond our state of the art per Venter et al, would account for what is in the cell. Namely, coded, complex, algorithmic information in R/DNA, i.e. language and goal-directed stepwise processes with associated molecular nanotech execution machinery. It is in fact origin of a fine tuned, finitely old cosmos that definitely points to an extra cosmic designer, just as our responsible, rational, morally governed freedom and associated pervasive first principles/duties point to the moral nature of the necessary being root of reality. This last point is an argument that goes beyond science to logic of being.
Such noted, I think it is appropriate to also note that there is no good reason per empirical warrant, to hold that blind chance and/or mechanical necessity accounts for the copious FSCO/I in the cell and in body plans including our own. Once complexity exceeds 500 – 1,000 bits, a sol system of 10^57 atoms or an observed cosmos — the only actually observed cosmos BTW — of 10^80 atoms and ~ 10^17s with chemical interaction rates for organic reactions generously topped out at 10^-14s, just does not have enough resources to credibly search more than a negligible fraction of relevant configuration spaces. 2^500 = 3.27*10^150 and 2^1000 = 1.07*10^301.
Design inference in regards to the cell and major body plans requiring 10 – 100 million base pairs of incremental information, is well warranted. Whatever the ideologues trying to straight-jacket science through question begging, institutionally embedded a priori evolutionary materialism may imagine. As for the even grosser error of scientism, suffice to note that the claim that science [as straight-jacketed] monopolises or dominates knowledge, is a fallacious philosophical or even ideological assertion. It refutes itself.
So, the design inference can stand on its own two feet and trade punches.]]
Food for thought. END
PS: It is also worth considering what William Paley went on to say in Ch 2 of his Natural Theology (which tends to be overlooked), starting with the thought exercise of a self-replicating watch:
Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch [in a field and stumbled on the stone in Ch 1 just past, where this is 50 years before Darwin in Ch 2 of a work Darwin full well knew about] should after some time discover that,in addition to
[–> here cf encapsulated, gated, metabolising automaton, and note, “stickiness” of molecules raises a major issue of interfering cross reactions thus very carefully controlled organised reactions are at work in life . . . ]
all the properties [= specific, organised, information-rich functionality] which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself [–> i.e. self replication, cf here the code using von Neumann kinematic self replicator that is relevant to first cell based life] — the thing is conceivable [= this is a gedankenexperiment, a thought exercise to focus relevant principles and issues]; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose [–> it exhibits functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information; where, in mid-late C19, cell based life was typically thought to be a simple jelly-like affair, something molecular biology has long since taken off the table but few have bothered to pay attention to Paley since Darwin] . . . . The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art
[–> directly echoes Plato in The Laws Bk X on the ART-ificial (as opposed to the strawman tactic “supernatural”) vs the natural in the sense of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as serious alternative causal explanatory candidates; where also the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is intelligently configured configuration, i.e. contrivance or design]
. . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use [–> i.e. design]. . . . . We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn ; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was. What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. [–> points to intelligently directed configuration as the observed and reasonably inferred source of FSCO/I] The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch . . . .
Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was. Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat ; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order [–> better, functionally specific organisation], without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it — could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before. Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series . . . ,
And the question which irresistibly presses upon our thoughts is. Whence this contrivance and design ? The thing required is the intending mind, the adapted hand, the intelligence by which that hand was directed. This question, this demand, is not shaken off by increasing a number or succession of substances destitute of these properties; nor the more, by increasing that number to infinity. If it be said, that upon the supposition of one watch being produced from another in the course of that other’s movements, and by means of the mechanism within it, we have a cause for the watch in my hand, namely, the watch from which it proceeded — I deny, that for the design, the contrivance, the suitableness of means to an end, the adaptation of instruments to a use, all of which we discover in the watch, we have any cause whatever. It is in vain, therefore, to assign a series of such causes, or to allege that a series may be carried back to infinity; for I do not admit that we have yet any cause at all for the phenomena, still less any series of causes either finite or infinite. Here is contrivance, but no contriver; proofs of design, but no designer. [Paley, Nat Theol, Ch 2]