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A poet’s take on Darwin

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American poet Robert Frost (1874–1963) wrote a poem, “Accidentally on Purpose,” first published in In the Clearing in 1962, commenting in verse on the failings of Darwinism:

“Till Darwin came to earth upon a year
To show the evolution how to steer,
They mean to tell us, though, the omnibus
Had no real purpose till it got to us.
Never believe it. At the very worst
It must have had the purpose from the first”

Frost closes the stanza with “We were just purpose coming to a head.”

He sounds like a panpsychist, especially if you read the whole poem. He certainly “gets” the problem with Darwinian naturalism. Naturalism provides no reasonable account of purpose, let alone intelligence and information, and yet they are everywhere.

See also: Are our minds just an extension of the minds of our cells? A prominent philosopher and a well-known biologist make the case, offering an illustration. Daniel Dennett and Michael Levin ask us to imagine that a model car has arrived and must be assembled according to instructions.

2 Replies to “A poet’s take on Darwin

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    Michael Levin ask us to imagine that a model car has arrived and must be assembled according to instructions.

    Imagine how our distant ancestors must have felt, finding themselves adrift in a universe which, if it was designed, came without a user’s manual. Everything we have found out about it we have had to discover for ourselves.

  2. 2
    polistra says:

    The whole poem (after sorting through the LONG interspersals in that website) is distinctly Christian. A panpsychist wouldn’t talk about the Incarnation.

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