Charles Darwin, Intelligent Design | Charles Darwin's Theory of Evolution by natural selection

Charles Darwin, Intelligent Design

Darwin's theory of intelligent design

Vanity Fair Caricature of Charles DarwinIt is hard to miss the debate over evolution and intelligent design, particularly over their place in education. In most cases, the term “intelligent design” has replaced “creation, ” the relatively newer term being a more broad term for directed development and creation of life, since there are several theories on just how a Creator may have carried out the creation of life as we know it.

Among those varied theories of intelligent design is that the creator worked by improving his original creation with a method of constant improvement:

"It is scarcely possible to avoid comparing the eye with a telescope. We know that this instrument has been perfected by the long-continued efforts of the highest human intellects; and we naturally infer that the eye has been formed by a somewhat analogous process. But may not this inference be presumptuous? Have we any right to assume that the Creator works by intellectual powers like those of man?

"In living bodies, variation will cause the slight alteration, generation will multiply them almost infinitely, and natural selection will pick out with unerring skill each improvement. Let this process go on for millions of years; and during each year on millions of individuals of many kinds; and may we not believe that a living optical instrument might thus be formed as superior to one of glass, as the works of the Creator are to those of man?"

Evolution Display at the Field Muesum in Chicago. Photo Courtesy of Waldo Jaquith.Surprisingly, this theory belongs to none other than Charles Darwin, and is explained in his book The Origin of the Species. In fact, Darwin refers specifically to a Creator nine times in Origin of the Species, each time referring either to the origin of life or the directed progress of change over time.

Had Darwin written Origin of the Species today, it would likely not be allowed in American public schools. Imagine trying to get a board of education to approve a book by a former seminarian and med student that ascribed the origin of life to a Creator, and that over time the changes in species were owed to the directed efforts of an intelligent designer.

In concluding his controversial work, Darwin closes with a tribute to what he saw as the ultimate Origin of the Species: “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone circling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved.”

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So then, one might wonder, what do all of these Intelligent Design people really want? "The Wedge Strategy," which was leaked by the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, the main group supporting Intelligent Design, and a subsidiary of the conservative Christian think-tank, the Discovery Institute. The document starts:
"The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West's greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences

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