Friday, October 08, 2004

Dennett and Intelligent Design

Via Andrew Sullivan, Robert Wright claims that Daniel Dennett subscribes to a form of Intelligent Design theory:

Planet with a Purpose

Reading the article leaves me less than convinced that Wright is correct in charactersing Dennett's thoughts on this subject as support for ID. There appears to be a great deal of redefining of terms involved with Wright's argument in order for him to make the case.

And his case is essentially a restatement of ID, shifting from the level of the species to that of the ecosystem. It is still wrong. Just because the apparent watch is the size of a planet, not of a human, still does not prove the existence of a watch maker.

The idea that evolution "progresses" has been debunked many times. It is certainly true that there has been an increase in the complexity of life forms over the course of evolution, but by far the vast majority of life on Earth has remained not far from the earliest and simplest life forms. Life has remained close to the "left wall" as Dawkins puts it. Most life is still unicellular. The more complex organisms, such as ourselves, are rare and prone to failure (extinction) since the greater complexity leads to greater instability.

Still, Wright is a very good writer on the subject of evolution and this article of his is good background material.

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