Chapter

Darwin and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

Niall Shanks

in God, the Devil, and Darwin

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780195161991
Published online January 2005 | e-ISBN: 9780199835058 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0195161998.003.0003
 Darwin and the Illusion of Intelligent Design

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Darwin’s response to apparent design in nature, in the form of the adaptation of organisms to their environments, is examined. It is explained how his theory of evolution by natural selection is able to account for organic structures and processes in terms of unguided, natural causes rather than the intelligent, supernatural ones to which Paley appealed. Darwin’s attitude to religion is discussed, and his concern that the manifest suffering in nature is inconsistent with the existence of an omnipotent, benevolent God is observed. It is argued that modern advances in our understanding of genetics and developmental biology reinforce the explanatory power of Darwin’s theory.

Keywords: Darwin; developmental biology; evolution; genetics; natural selection

Chapter.  17058 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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