EvolGenetic486_2010_lecture23 - Evolutionary Genetics...

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Evolutionary Genetics Lecture 23 1 1 Evolutionary Genetics Lecture 23 Read: Jones (2005) pp 1-2 Rennie (2002) 2 Teleology • Teleology is the viewpoint that there is purpose in the word and that things exist because they have a purpose • A teleological argument is an argument that says that some part of the universe was created with a purpose. • This is usually a religious position when talking about ultimate causes • Teleology seems reasonable (if not accurate) because of analogies to tools created by people – It can be said that a screwdriver has a purpose (i.e. that of the designer of the screwdriver) – so it might also be said that a living thing must have a purpose 3 Teleology in conflict with evolution • The theory of evolution is used to explain complex living things without invoking purpose • Living things, or parts of living things may be said to have evolved functions – Eyeballs evolved and serve the function of sight • But these functions are different from what is usually meant by ‘purpose’ • According to the theory of evolution, life did not evolve because of someone’s goals, or because of a creator’s intentions. • According to the theory evolution happens and it has causes, but evolution is not overseen with a goal or purpose in the mind of a creator • The theory of evolution does not say anything directly about creation, rather it is a theory that does not invoke purpose in order to explain how living things arise and change 4 The Argument from Design -1 • An argument for both the origin of complex living things, and for the existence of god • A few steps to the argument 1. Some feature of nature (e.g. a living organism, or a part of a living organism) appears to be to complex to have arisen by chance 2. It must have been designed 3. God must have been the designer 4. God exists
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Evolutionary Genetics Lecture 23 2 5 The Argument from Design -2 • The Argument from Design goes back into the depths of history • A very old idea that motivates religious belief • A very sensible idea • Some philosophers have claimed that the argument proves the existence of God. 6 The Argument from Design -3 • William Paley, in 1802 repeated the Argument from Design in terms of a watch 1. If you come upon a watch, and notice its intricate mechanisms, you would conclude that somebody had designed it 2. Similarly if you observe a living being, you cannot help but notice the exceptional complexity 3. Therefore, as in the case of the watch, we must conclude that a living thing has a designer. 7 The Argument from Design -4 But the Argument from Design is not a proof There are complex things in the universe for which there is no reason to invoke the hand of a designer • Snowflakes are complex • The solar system, with the spinning and revolving planets and moons, is complex The theory of evolution is a theory of the origins of apparent design, by which complex living things arise via evolution and natural
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EvolGenetic486_2010_lecture23 - Evolutionary Genetics...

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