[Taxacom] teleology example

Curtis Clark lists at curtisclark.org
Mon Mar 11 11:34:43 CDT 2013

On 2013-03-11 3:30 AM, John Grehan wrote:
> The real nature of the problem may be that there is this a 
> pervasive and explicit language of teleology in evolutionary biology 
> that is perfectly at home with theologically based approaches such as 
> intelligent design and creationism.

I would go further and say that is is pervasive in English (and probably 
other natural languages as well), that we are biologically predisposed 
to seek teleological arguments, and that a different view of the world 
must be learned.

> But in this case the teleological statement was so explicit and direct 
> that it was worthy of notice.

And I contend that a single statement is not an accurate enough measure 
of the underlying state to be adequate for analysis (as contrasted to 
hand-waving). It seems that the best example is not one where an 
evolutionary biologist's thought processes *could* be explained by 
teleology, but rather one in which they cannot be explained any other way.

> My personal view is that for many biologists, evolution has become a 
> substitute for traditional religious belief - which would explain a 
> lot of the hostility that arises in evolutionary biology when 
> certain fundamental 'truths' are challenged, and the sometimes deified 
> or saintified  state given to Darwin.

I totally agree. I would never put a "Darwin fish" on my auto, because 
evolution isn't my religion. A relative told me that she "doesn't 
believe in science", and I responded that I don't, either: "belief" 
plays no useful role in science (beyond the belief that there is a 
consensus reality).

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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