Sunday, 21 August 2016

Natural Selection

All appearances to the contrary, the only watchmaker in nature is the blind forces of physics . . . A true watchmaker has foresight: he designs his cogs and springs and plans their interconnections, with a future purpose in his mind's eye. Natural selection, the blind, unconscious, automatic process which Darwin discovered, and which we now know is the explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, has no purpose in mind. It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If if can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.
 From "the blind watchmaker" by Richard Dawkins.
So the organised complexity of our bodies was not designed, it was purely the blind forces of physics operating. I'm not in a position to say whether this is possible but I'll trust those evolutionary biologists like Dawkins here who claim this.

But when Dawkins says that the complexity of living creatures is achieved in an entirely different way to human inventions such as a watch, he concedes there is design in nature -- namely human artefacts such as watches. Darwinian evolution surely entails there is no design whatsoever. So human beings cannot be part of nature, or alternatively the mainstream evolution position is falsified?

I confess though I haven't read Dawkins' book. Or any of his books although I've read articles by him. But he just bangs on about God in those articles and doesn't address the shortcomings of naturalism/materialism


  1. Where in the piece you quote does Dawkins state that the 'complexity of living creatures is achieved in a completely different way', or 'concede' that 'there is design in nature'?

    Those statements - which are not Dawkins' - are quite contradictory.

    Design is the process of invention, evaluation and modification *with a purpose in mind*. Nature's purpose in living creatures - including their organs - appears to be limited to survival and self-replication. Similarities with the actual design process come down to questions of efficiency.

  2. If watches are designed, and organisms are not designed, then their complexity has come about in a wholly differing manner.

    And if consciousness is natural, and consciousness sometimes designs things (such as watches), then that entails there is design in nature.

    So either naturalism is false, or it is false there is no design in nature. I'm not sure what your issue is. All this is abundantly clear.


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