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February 28, 2006

ID Revisited

Science, Just Science - News

This is a reprint from Natural Science from 2002. But is certainly worth another look.

Intelligent Design?

A special report reprinted from Natural History magazine

Darwin's evidence convinced scientists that natural selection can better explain life's complexity than intelligent design (ID).

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."
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