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Intelligent design -Nat Hist Mag

Intelligent design -Nat Hist Mag - Intelligent...

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biodiversity environment genomics biotechnology evolution new frontiers education Introduction Prepared by Richard Milner & Vittorio Maestro, senior editors of Natural History The idea that an organism’s complexity is evidence for the existence of a cosmic designer was advanced centuries before Charles Darwin was born. Its best-known exponent was English theologian William Paley, creator of the famous watchmaker analogy. If we find a pocket watch in a field, Paley wrote in 1802, we immediately infer that it was produced not by natural processes acting blindly but by a designing human intellect. Likewise, he reasoned, the natural world contains abundant evidence of a supernatural creator. The argument from design, as it is known, prevailed as an explanation of the natural world until the publication of the Origin of Species in 1859. The weight of the evidence that Darwin had patiently gathered swiftly convinced scientists that evolution by natural selection better explained life’s complexity and diversity. “I cannot possibly believe,” wrote Darwin in 1868, “that a false theory would explain so many classes of facts.” In some circles, however, opposition to the concept of evolution has persisted to the present. The argument from design has recently been revived by a number of academics with scientific credentials, who maintain that their version of the idea (unlike Paley’s) is soundly supported by both microbiology and mathematics. These antievolutionists differ from fundamentalist creationists in that they accept that some species do change (but not much) and that Earth is much more than 6,000 years old. Like their predecessors, however, they reject the idea that evolution accounts for the array of species we see today, and they seek to have their concept—known as intelligent design—included in the science curriculum of schools. Intelligent Design? Natural History magazine a special report reprinted here by permission » en español article highlights Three proponents of Intelligent Design (ID) present their views of design in the natural world. Each view is immediately followed by a response from a proponent of evolution (EVO). The report, printed in its entirety, opens with an introduction by Natural History magazine and concludes with an overview of the ID movement. The authors who contributed to this Natural History report are: z Richard Milner and Vittorio Maestro, ed. (introduction) z Michael J. Behe, Ph.D. (ID) and Kenneth R. Miller, Ph.D. (EVO) z William A. Dembski, Ph.D. (ID) and Robert T. Pennock, Ph.D. (EVO) z Jonathan Wells, Ph.D. (ID) and Eugenie C. Scott, Ph.D. (EVO) z Barbara Forrest, Ph.D. (overview) Darwin’s evidence convinced scientists that natural selection can better explain life’s complexity than intelligent design (ID).
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