Scientists with an interest in developing design concepts and principles found in the natural world are not instinctively attracted by exhortations to expel design from Biology. However, developing a coherent academic framework that does justice to the design principles being studied has not attracted the attention it deserves. Consequently, many scholars in this field have absorbed views developed by people with a rather different agenda for design. McIntosh recognises there is a problem here, and sets out to provide an alternative perspective.
“Many have taken the view that design is only an illusion in living systems, arguing that such ‘apparent design’ and accompanying complexity can be explained by the neo-Darwinian paradigm. [. . .] However, [. . .] the inference to original design and intelligence is a perfectly valid alternative from direct analogy to designs within the man-made world.”
After providing an overview of different types of feather, McIntosh develops an argument based on “specified functional complexity”. There is a multifunctioning and multi-optimisation in feather construction – characteristics that apply to both modern and to fossil feathers – which is said to be “consistent with the design thesis”.
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This paper provides a helpful contribution to the development of multiple hypotheses in science. It deserves to be widely read and analysed by students of science.
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