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Darwin and Design: Does Evolution Have a Purpose?

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  22 Ratings  ·  3 Reviews
The intricate forms of living things bespeak design, and thus a creator: nearly 150 years after Darwin's theory of natural selection called this argument into question, we still speak of life in terms of design--the function of the eye, the purpose of the webbed foot, the design of the fins. Why is the "argument from design" so tenacious, and does Darwinism--itself still e ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published September 30th 2004 by Harvard University Press (first published May 1st 2003)
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Mike Smith
Jul 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
You have probably heard or read that a certain bird's beak was "designed" to crack nuts or catch insects, or that the eye is "designed" to focus light. This manner of speaking seems to imply that we all believe or accept that evolution has a purpose, that it might even have a designer. This book examines these habits of language to explore whether evolution really can be said to have a purpose.



The author begins by examining the history of the philosophical subject of "final causes", wherein a fu
...more
John Nelson
Many parts of a person's or animal's body seem to be perfectly designed for what they are used for, and nothing else. Moreover, it is difficult to imagine how they could have evolved in that fashion if evolution is driven solely by a neutral force such as natural selection. Hence, the question of "design" has been particularly vexing for evolutionists since Darwin's time. This book discusses the competing scientific, philosophical, and religious views on the question of "design" in evolution. It ...more
Scott
This was written in 2004, and basically addresses the question of “What do biologists mean when they say that the bird’s beak has this function?” and therefore, the biologist implies design. It pretty much gives the standard answer, i.e. “Design as Metaphor” (as was the title of one of the chapters), but the majority of it gives a history essentially from Descartes and Plato to modern biology, which is quite fascinating to read. It also brings up subjects like imperfect design and the role of ad ...more
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Michael Ruse is a philosopher of science who specializes in the philosophy of biology and is well known for his work on the relationship between science and religion, the creation-evolution controversy and the demarcation problem within science. He was born in England, attending Bootham School,York. He took his undergraduate degree at the University of Bristol (1962), his master's degree at McMast ...more
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