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Teleological Evolution

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Written by Basil on 09/5/2002 4:21 PM. Filed under:

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Answers in Genesis is an organization dedicated to proving that the Judeo-Christian creation narratives of Genesis are literally true, to the point of being appropriate as guides for scientific research. While looking at the blog at, I found an article that examines Richard Dawkins’ “Methinks it is like a weasel” program. Scott Maxwell has an example of the same basic concept applied as a Java applet.

I was quite impressed that the Answers in Genesis article did not try to overstep the boundaries of what they were actually able to demonstrate. Namely, they demonstrated that this experiment requires that an intelligent end be provided. It seems to me that this provides an excellent bit of support for the idea that scientific models of evolution (such as natural selection or punctuated equilibrium) do not make sense without an intelligent end.

The fancy 25¢ word for this is teleology. The Greek word telos means “goal or end.” St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, essentially found the “reason” of everything to be its telos or end. In the case of specific natures, the end of the creature is that for which it was created. Ultimately, the end of all creatures is God himself.

It is possible, in a meta-scientific manner, to posit that a mind capable of communion with God is the telos or end to which all of creation has been striving for billions of years since the initial moment of creation — the “Big Bang,” if you will. Such a thesis is meta-scientific: It is neither verifiable nor falsifiable by scientific inquiry. It provides a framework in which to think about scientific propositions.

Such a thesis enables acceptance of scientific inquiry on its own terms — as a discipline marked by methodological naturalism — while enabling rejection of the philsophical arguments that confuse the methodological naturalism of science with metaphysical naturalism.

Apologists for atheism, such as Dawkins, the late Steven Jay Gould, and the late Carl Sagan, believe that the visible world is all that is, was, or ever will be, to paraphrase Sagan. This naturalism rejects the possibility of a super-natural world which would include things like God, spirits, and ultimately minds. This is nothing at all like the methodological naturalism of science.

The scientific method is often described as being a methodological naturalism, because it excludes all explanations which are not natural explanations. In other words, the scientific method simply aims to explain the visible world in terms of the visible world. It makes no statement, however, about the existence or possibility of non-scientific knowledge. In fact, it should be noted that there are many scientists who are quite religious and do not see a conflict between their scientific pursuits and their faith.

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One Response to “Teleological Evolution”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    what hell?