Intelligent Design

Finnish author, Rope Kojonen, has two new books out, treating ID sympathetically

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Helsinki-based post-doctoral researcher Rope Kojonen’s new English-language book, The Compatibility of Evolution and Design (Palgrave), approaches evolution from a design perspective:

From the Publisher:

This book challenges the widespread assumption of the incompatibility of evolution and the biological design argument. Kojonen analyzes the traditional arguments for incompatibility, and argues for salvaging the idea of design in a way that is fully compatible with evolutionary biology. Relating current views to their intellectual history, Kojonen steers a course that avoids common pitfalls such as the problems of the God of the gaps, the problem of natural evil, and the traditional Humean and Darwinian critiques. The resulting deconstruction of the opposition between evolution and design has the potential to transform this important debate.

One endorsement is from Alister McGrath:

‘A remarkably helpful and important intervention in the long-standing debates about arguments from design, natural theology, and the impact of evolutionary theory on Christian theology and apologetics.’

—Alister E. McGrath, Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion, University of Oxford, UK

As an academic book, it’s a deep dive into the book budget ($US119.99). But Kojonen tells us that “the electronic version is 55% off with the code CYBER21SPA, valid until Nov. 30, 2021, which brings the cost down to 38 Euros (US$43.00).

His second new, Finnish-language, book is Luominen ja evoluutio: miten usko ja tiede kohtaavat, published by Finland’s prestigious science publisher, Gaudeamus (University of Helsinki). It’s an overview of a variety of positions in the debate, which criticizes scientism and defends such concepts as the Kalam cosmological argument, the fine-tuning design argument and the moral argument.

Kojonen is also the author of The Intelligent Design Debate and the Temptation of Scientism (2016).

Most sympathizers with ID would be happy for a book that simply doesn’t misrepresent the situation — and end by dumping on the nature of reality (“Anyway, what if, in another universe, it’s all different?”)

21 Replies to “Finnish author, Rope Kojonen, has two new books out, treating ID sympathetically

  1. 1
    Anaxagoras says:

    DR Kojonen has clearly explained that by Evolution he means macroevolution by neo-darwinian mechanisms, random mutations and natural selection.

    it is fair to assume that when you write a book to argue for the compatibility of evolution with… whatever…. it is because you assume that evolution is true, and you admit that all kind of biological forms have “evolved”, that is , they have emerged by strictly natural processes, just material and efficient causes, according to unguided and purposeless natural laws…

    Just to make clear what the book is all about: to argue that evolution is also an evidence for the existence of God

    https://youtu.be/w_t20IJUA4g
    https://youtu.be/5HO2_ojWENM

    Good Luck!

  2. 2
    chuckdarwin says:

    Post-doc researcher in what? Is this guy a bona fide scientist or another “philosopher of science”? None of his bio blurbs identifieswhat his doctorate is in. We already have too many books by philosophers and theologians about science, we need to hear from scientists. The last decent works in that genre were Heisenberg and Schrödinger’s books.

  3. 3
    Joe Schooner says:

    Lord Google says he has a post-doc in the faculty of theology.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Why am I not surprised?

  5. 5
    Rope Kojonen says:

    Howdy, just to respond to a few comments as the author of the book:

    1. On what my doctorate is in, no deception is intended. The back cover of the printed book correctly lists me as “a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki, Finland.” It’s also listed on the Palgrave page but you have to look pretty carefully, under “affiliations”. I am proud of my qualifications as a theologian specializing in the science and religion discussion, and think we need more theologians and philosophers talking about these things. They are needed not only for theology’s own goals, but also to challenge the good and bad philosophy and theology that is in in case presented by many, many scientists and other nontheologians in the debate. Thus, I would never want to hide my credentials.

    2. Regarding whether theologians might have anything good to say about this, I think it is pretty clear that the debate over ID is not just about science, but also about how to interpret science. And on all sides, theology and philosophy do affect this a lot – think about issues like the problem of evil, the definition of science, the criteria of a good argument, and so on, and how often they are invoked in the debate. Moreover, there are also lots of good arguments against scientism, the claim that the natural sciences are our only (or at least always the best) way of knowing about reality. Instead, it seems to me that we also need the humanities, philosophy and yes, even theology to properly understand reality. Maybe you will want to contest this. However, in so doing, you will be making a philosophical claim, not a purely scientific one. For some basics, see Rik Peels’ work, for example:

    https://www.academia.edu/12366886/A_Conceptual_Map_of_Scientism

    https://www.academia.edu/36101610/The_Fundamental_Argument_against_Scientism

    3. In the book, I argue that the claim “evolution and design arguments are incompatible” is likewise a philosophical, even a theological claim. This claim is made in the debate very often, and is an example of where philosophical and theological expertise is needed to properly evaluate its basis. The claim “evolution is unguided by any intelligence in any way” is likewise a theological and philosophical claim, and thus requires theologican and philosophical evaluation, whether people realize this or not. My argument for compatibility does require that this theological claim can be separated from the scientific content of evolutionary biology. Sure, I cannot really engage with the science theologically and philosophy without knowing the science as well. So I have had to do my best, over a long time, to get into the peer reviewed literature, and talk about the facts and their interpretations with scientists to make sure I understand things. Readers and reviewers can be the judge of how well I have done, and the discussion will hopefully improve our understanding of how evolution and teleology relate.

    The argument for the compatibility of evolutionary mechanisms and design (as a philosophical argument or the rational perception of design in biology) is contrary to how both ID proponents and ID critics typically argue. Many have adopted Dawkins’ understanding of evolution as the “Blind Watchmaker”, that is by definition meant to counter any argument for design. As such, I understand if the argument for compatibility seems counterintuitive at first. Hopefully, the book can at least challenge people to think about this issue further even if you end up disagreeing.

    Unfortunately, I do not have time for explaining the book’s argument here, but hopefully this helps somewhat clarify things. The videos are free, and I have also uploaded free versions of several of my articles on this topic to Academia.edu. https://helsinki.academia.edu/ErkkiVesaRopeKojonen . All the best to everyone, and thank you for your comments.

  6. 6
    martin_r says:

    Dear Mr. Kojonen,

    i don’t want to be rude or something, but the fact is, that only engineers are qualified to comment on cell/biology design. Are you an engineer? Did you create anything ?

    Biologists, paleontologists, archeologists, philosophers, and this sort of people are NOT qualified to comment on design. It is ridiculous. Unfortunately, we see it all the time. Also, that is the reason, why Darwinists are always wrong – because they are not qualified … So far, all Darwinian ‘facts’ turned out to be false.

    Moreover, the cell design is something so technologically advanced, beyond human comprehension, that actually, no one on this planet is qualified to comment on this.

    What we can do, is to admit, that this technology is beyond our comprehension, and that we are unable to replicate even the simplest features of it … But sure, we can do telling stories and releasing books, but that is all what we can do …

  7. 7
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, warrant is not a debate over who studied what, where but on what are the material facts, linked reasoning and associated assumptions (as infinite regress is infeasible). KF

  8. 8
    Joe Schooner says:

    Folks, warrant is not a debate over who studied what, where…

    No, but it raises some serious red flags about the bias that some people here keep complaining about.

  9. 9
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, bias and similar loaded accusations or insinuations must not be made blindly; why not engage the substantial argument on facts, logic and assumptions, or is that too close to the first duties of reason you have derided and dismissed already. KF

    PS: Here, I look at something he is arguing:

    Proponents of ID argue based on what they think we
    know about intelligent causes, life, and the limits of natural processes,
    rather than based merely on our supposed ignorance of plausible natural
    explanations
    . However, it is true that they do see explanatory gaps in evo-
    lutionary mechanisms as crucial for their design argument. In contrast, the
    mainstream view is that we have good evidential support for the proposi-
    tion that current gaps in evolutionary explanations can eventually be filled
    in without supposing interventions by a designer (Kojonen 2016b).
    In contrast to ID’s argument, the salvaging operation developed here
    does not require gaps in the evolutionary processes. Nevertheless, the
    argument does require the possibility of rational non-naturalistic explana-
    tions—and some would see all theistic explanations as “Gods of the gaps,”
    no matter what area they are presented in. For the argument of this book
    to be possible, the natural explanations explored by science cannot be the
    only ones that are possible already in principle. Indeed, John F. Haught
    (2004, 238) argues that the problem with “God of the gaps”-style expla-
    nations is that they appeal to God “at a point in inquiry when there is still
    plenty of room for further scientific elucidation.” Putting the point in this
    way, the critique of the God of the gaps argument does not imply that we
    could not in principle find limits to scientific inquiry, or other bases for
    appealing to God as an explanation . . . [Ch 2, p. 15]

    Here, he corrects a typical strawman caricature put up by Dawkins, who I have found so predictably caricaturing of those who he despises as “ignorant, stupid, insane, or . . . wicked” that his honesty and scholarship come into serious question:

    Admissions of ignorance and temporary mystification are vital to good sci-
    ence. It is therefore unfortunate, to say the least, that the main strategy of
    creation propagandists is the negative one of seeking out gaps in scientific
    knowledge and claiming to fill them with ‘intelligent design’ by default. […]
    It is precisely the fact that ID has no evidence of its own, but thrives like a
    weed in gaps left by scientific knowledge, that sits uneasily with science’s
    need to identify and proclaim the very same gaps as a prelude to researching
    them. (Dawkins 2006 [i.e. The God Delusion. London: Bantam Press], 152–153)

    On this exchange, Kojonen wins hands down over Dawkins’ frankly dishonest strawman as Dawkins was in every position and had every duty of care to know and write better.

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: On the basic design inference on the world of life, which is NOT an inference to extra-cosmic cause, we observe functionally specific coded and in key parts algorithmic information well beyond 500 – 1,000 bits storage capacity in the form of D/RNA. this is code, so language, and algorithms so goal directed stepwise process. A cosmos of 10^80 atoms, or more specifically a solar system (our effective cosmos) of 10^57 atoms and timescale of 10^17s with fast organic atomic interactions at about 10^14/s, could not have sampled more than a negligible fraction of the relevant config space for that much info carrying capacity, making it maximally implausible that complex, functional organisation as code (and we have also execution machinery) could have originated on that gamut in that time. However, intelligent language using agents — and manifestly we do not exhaust the possibilities for such! — routinely can and do produce such. We have trillions of cases in point, just on the Internet. On inference to best explanation, the plausible cause of said code is design. Going onward, and pondering a cosmos that is massively fine tuned for life, starting with element abundances, we have reason to also plausibly infer that the observed cosmos is in Hoyle’s terms, a put-up job, someone monkeyed with physics. At this point, given the sort of antics I have seen in objection over years, I have declared intellectual independence and hold these conclusions to be effectively conclusive, pending only convincing empirical demonstration to the contrary. Pretty much, the same reaction I have to proposed perpetuum mobiles.

  11. 11
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, bias and similar loaded accusations or insinuations must not be made blindly;

    It was not an accusation. It was a statement of fact. Bias influences everyone’s arguments. Some more than others. It would be foolish not to acknowledge this. You yourself often preface your responses to people with a statement of what you think their worldview is. This action is an accusation of bias.

  12. 12
    jerry says:

    I haven’t listened to the video but from the comments including the author’s I concluded that the author has committed the logical fallacy of begging the question. ID doesn’t deny new species have appeared, just that the mechanism for these appearances are unknown. And that the process of micro evolution which is admitted to by ID is extremely unlikely or even impossible to be this mechanism.

    If the author points to micro evolution as the mechanism for the appearance of new life forms he has committed a serious fallacy and has subscribed to the DNA model for Evolution. The latter seems by the best science to be Irrelevant to the Evolution debate.

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, bias as you full well know is a loaded accusation especially in a context of trying to dismiss without consideration. I put some actual arguments on the table, you ducked. The problem of hostile projection without warrant is confirmed. Unsurprising, given what you have already said about first duties of reason. Credibility, negative. KF

  14. 14
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, bias as you full well know is a loaded accusation especially in a context of trying to dismiss without consideration.

    No, bias is a statement of fact, especially given that there has been no attempt to dismiss.

  15. 15
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, negative credibility confirmed. Notice, a key argument is on the table and he refuses to address it to substantiate accusation of bias, but wants to continue drumming on that loaded word. Potential for bias is part of subjectivity and it is why careful warrant through right reason thus objectivity is a priority. I have not forgotten attempts to trash objectivity, now the other shoe drops: wishing to smear and dismiss without addressing merits. For shame. KF

    PS: There is an argument on the table in outline, if it is defective show why and explain why there has been so little self policing by objectors to the sort of argument Dawkins made to which Kojonen is responding.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    Jerry, you are raising substantial issues, which is what we need. KF

  17. 17
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, negative credibility confirmed.

    Which raises the question, why bother to respond?

  18. 18
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, when you derided and dismissed the first duties of reason, you defined your potential credibility. Your onward comments, regrettably, confirm it. All that is needed to move beyond a toxic dismissal by prejudice would be to address what is on the table on the merits, whether in the OP or the excerpts in 9 above — notice, too, my own substantial outline at 10. You have patently refused to do so, demonstrating that you have not been engaging issues in good faith. You have continued to double down on toxic distractors. That suffices for us to draw a fairly strong inference, that you know you have no cogent answer on merits but are ideologically committed to a hostile agenda so you try to attack people through resort to ad hominems. That speaks for itself, in the end. KF

    PS: Lewontin’s cat out of the bag moment seems relevant:

    . . . to put a correct [–> Just who here presume to cornering the market on truth and so demand authority to impose?] view of the universe into people’s heads

    [==> as in, “we” the radically secularist elites have cornered the market on truth, warrant and knowledge, making “our” “consensus” the yardstick of truth . . . where of course “view” is patently short for WORLDVIEW . . . and linked cultural agenda . . . ]

    we must first get an incorrect view out [–> as in, if you disagree with “us” of the secularist elite you are wrong, irrational and so dangerous you must be stopped, even at the price of manipulative indoctrination of hoi polloi] . . . the problem is to get them [= hoi polloi] to reject irrational and supernatural explanations of the world [–> “explanations of the world” is yet another synonym for WORLDVIEWS; the despised “demon[ic]” “supernatural” being of course an index of animus towards ethical theism and particularly the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition], the demons that exist only in their imaginations,

    [ –> as in, to think in terms of ethical theism is to be delusional, justifying “our” elitist and establishment-controlling interventions of power to “fix” the widespread mental disease]

    and to accept a social and intellectual apparatus, Science, as the only begetter of truth

    [–> NB: this is a knowledge claim about knowledge and its possible sources, i.e. it is a claim in philosophy not science; it is thus self-refuting]

    . . . . To Sagan, as to all but a few other scientists [–> “we” are the dominant elites], it is self-evident

    [–> actually, science and its knowledge claims are plainly not immediately and necessarily true on pain of absurdity, to one who understands them; this is another logical error, begging the question , confused for real self-evidence; whereby a claim shows itself not just true but true on pain of patent absurdity if one tries to deny it . . . and in fact it is evolutionary materialism that is readily shown to be self-refuting]

    that the practices of science provide the surest method of putting us in contact with physical reality [–> = all of reality to the evolutionary materialist], and that, in contrast, the demon-haunted world rests on a set of beliefs and behaviors that fail every reasonable test [–> i.e. an assertion that tellingly reveals a hostile mindset, not a warranted claim] . . . .

    It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us [= the evo-mat establishment] to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes [–> another major begging of the question . . . ] to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute [–> i.e. here we see the fallacious, indoctrinated, ideological, closed mind . . . ], for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door . . . [–> irreconcilable hostility to ethical theism, already caricatured as believing delusionally in imaginary demons]. [Lewontin, Billions and billions of Demons, NYRB Jan 1997,cf. here. And, if you imagine this is “quote-mined” I invite you to read the fuller annotated citation here.]

  19. 19
    Joe Schooner says:

    JS, when you derided and dismissed the first duties of reason, you defined your potential credibility. Your onward comments, regrettably, confirm it. All that is needed to move beyond a toxic dismissal by prejudice would be to address what is on the table on the merits, whether in the OP or the excerpts in 9 above — notice, too, my own substantial outline at 10.

    Seems like a pretty extreme and over-the-top reaction to someone who simply responded to a query about someone’s publicly available credentials. Perhaps you would be best advised to take a deep breath before responding to comments that you, for some bizzare reason, take an emotional dislike to, and take the time to read them for comprehension. You might then find that they are pretty innocuous.

  20. 20
    kairosfocus says:

    JS, evasion and projection, you know your track record and your dismissiveness to duties to truth, right reason, fairness etc. Your rhetorical pattern has fitted with that and in another thread you here have evaded evidence on the sort of socialism being widely promoted in the US and the sort of capitalism that it is antagonistic to. That is sufficient to identify its culture form marxist extremist nature and utter want of intellectual integrity (think, Project 1619, NYT, educators, warped curricula and siccing FBI on parents objecting etc), and the existing system in the US identifies the capitalism they seek to overthrow by subversion, not merely reform. The focal issue for UD is, the betrayal of duty of the intellectual class since 1989 – 91, which shows that we are dealing with a widespread, multiple subject — here, think, Critical Theories deriving from the Frankfurt School and spread all over the academy — ideological debasement of the life of the mind across the US and the wider Civilisation. What happened across much the same time-span to the design inference and the involved ruthless dishonesty of attack on that inference is part of a vastly wider breakdown of integrity of our civilisation’s intellectual culture and the academy. We really do need to go back to the self-evident first duties of reason and reform from the roots. Meanwhile, here at UD we will continue to contribute to fostering a counter-culture of sound reformation. Including, by looking at what this author has unearthed. KF

    PS: Duly noted that again you have ducked addressing an actual specific argument on the table in outline to double down on the insinuation of biased incompetence. That tells us you have no sound answer on merits but wish to taint, deride and dismiss. And BTW, just for record, such academic credentials as Darwin had were in Theology. Should we apply the same standard and dismiss his work and those who followed it as tainted from the roots — Project 1858 or the like — without consideration on merits? Double standard? Selective Hyperskepticism by ad hominem? But of course, consistency is part of the right reason you have dismissed as a first duty of responsible reason.

    PPS: For cause, I take exception to the ad hominem fallacy as evading substance to attack the man instead. I have long since identified a fallacious trifecta: distractive red herrings dragged off at a tangent from a substantial discussion, led to a strawman caricature soaked in ad hominems and set alight to cloud, choke, poison and polarise the atmosphere. That is, for violations of right reason. Your attempted projection of emotive reaction shows just how debased your rhetoric is. And you still have yet to deal with the substance in 9 above. That strongly suggests, you cannot.

  21. 21
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: 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.

    KF

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