A Man Needs A Fish Like A Woman Needs a Bicycle
Thursday, February 10, 2005
INTELLIGENT DESIGN: OR WHY WE HAVE AN AGENDA EVEN WHEN WE SAY WE DO NOT HAVE AN AGENDA--Well, the issue of intelligent design came up when I read this interesting article by the Grand Poobah of ID himself, Michael S. Behe. His claim is essentially:

"[t]he theory of intelligent design is not a religiously based idea, even though devout people opposed to the teaching of evolution cite it in their arguments. ... And intelligent design itself says nothing about the religious concept of a creator. ... The strong appearance of design allows a disarmingly simple argument: if it looks, walks and quacks like a duck, then, absent compelling evidence to the contrary, we have warrant to conclude it's a duck. Design should not be overlooked simply because it's so obvious."

What should also not be overlooked is the disingenuous nature of this claim. After all, if we conclude that something was designed by some "intelligence" than we have to think why they/it/she/he designed the thing. Behe has a lot in common with Aristoteleans and especially Aristototle's notion of four-fold causation. He argues there are four types of causes that together explain someting's existence. They are:

1. "The material cause of something is "that out of which a thing comes to be and which persists." In other words, it is that of which the thing is composed. Aristotle gives the example of bronze as the material cause of a statue.

2. Something is what it is because it has a certain form (eidos) or structure; in other words, it has a formal cause. Aristotle says, "In another sense the form or the archetype, i.e. the statement of the essence, and its genera, are called 'causes'...and the parts in the definition." That which makes something what it is in terms of its definition or classification is the formal cause.

The third cause is the efficient cause. It is through the agency of something that another thing becomes what it is. Aristotle calls this cause, "the primary source of the change or coming to rest...what makes of what is made and what causes change of what is changed." The agent or instrument that causes something else to be what it is, is the efficient cause. [For example] the efficient cause of a table is a carpenter, and the efficient cause of a song is the song writer.

The final cause is the end or goal towards which something moves. Aristotle says, "Again in the sense of end or 'that for the sake of which' a thing is done, e.g. health is the cause of walking about. ('Why is he walking about?' we say. 'To be healthy', and, having said that, we think we have assigned the cause.)" "

I let the author continue: "Now the assignment of final causes is readily applicable to human activity or production, since, in such cases, the final cause is defined by the intention or the "for the sake of which" something is done or produced."

And that is the point of all this. Intelligent design, i assert, has a de facto teleology (or final cause). Why does an intelligence design something? For some purpose? What purpose? Well, last time I checked, when I spoke of some intelligence with the power to create something or design it, with the aim of fulfilling some as yet to be known purpose, I was talking about ....


For Heaven's sake Dr. Behe!
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