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2 - Intelligent design

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2012

Elliott Sober
Affiliation:
University of Wisconsin, Madison
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Summary

DARWIN AND INTELLIGENT DESIGN

The first edition of Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life (1859) begins with quotations from two philosophers:

But with regard to the material world, we can at least go so far as this – we can perceive that events are brought about not by insulated interpositions of Divine power, exerted in each particular case, but by the establishment of general laws.

(W. Whewell, Bridgewater Treatise)

To conclude, therefore, let no man out of a weak conceit of sobriety, or an ill-spirited moderation, think or maintain, that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God's word, or in the book of God's works; divinity or philosophy; but rather let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both.

(F. Bacon, Advancement of Learning)

William Whewell was Darwin's contemporary and rejected his theory of evolution, a result that Darwin probably anticipated when he wrote The Origin of Species. Francis Bacon wrote more than 200 years earlier. The two quotations are interesting because of what they reveal about Darwin's views on the relationship of belief in God and belief in evolution.

Bacon's remark harks back to an old distinction between the Bible (God's word) and nature (God's work). Sacred texts and natural phenomena provide separate pathways for learning about God.

Type
Chapter
Information
Evidence and Evolution
The Logic Behind the Science
, pp. 109 - 188
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2008

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  • Intelligent design
  • Elliott Sober, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Book: Evidence and Evolution
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806285.003
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  • Intelligent design
  • Elliott Sober, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Book: Evidence and Evolution
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806285.003
Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

  • Intelligent design
  • Elliott Sober, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Book: Evidence and Evolution
  • Online publication: 05 June 2012
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511806285.003
Available formats
×