Joined: April 2005
A thought occurred to me in the shower this morning. (That's where a disproportionate number of useful thoughts tend to occur to me.)
The gist of Paleyism (or "intelligent design", as the repackagers of the old argument have liked to brand it) goes something like this:
"Wherever you find a complex thing with multiple interacting parts (etc. etc... substitute here your favorite Behe-ian, or Dembskian, or Hovindian formulation) and can know how it originated, it can be ascribed to an intelligent, purposeful consciousness (which happens to be human in every case we can name, but that's supposed to be beside the point). Therefore, it's 'logical' to ascribe the constructs we recognize as living things - which match whatever Behe-ian/Dembskian/Hovindian formulation we've used - to an intelligent, purposeful consciousness."
By the same logic, though: Wherever we find intelligent, purposeful consciousness (and I take a very generous definition here, including not just human, but animal behavior, even - as Lynn Margulis has pointed out - microbial behavior), i.e. wherever you find what could by even the most generous definition be called "will", it is inextricably associated with a physical assembly of atoms. Would we not be justified in making the extrapolation that the existence of a "noncorporeal will" is a pretty dubious proposition?
I have to admit, that while I find the first, Paleyan, proposition less than compelling, I find it harder to dismiss the second proposition. Does this mean I'm an atheist first, and seeker of wisdom second (at best), or is the second proposition more sound than the first?
Anyone care to discuss?
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.