Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Intelligent design and Dawkin's designoid

A God-given intelligent design is or has the same form as a randomly-given, Dawkinian designoid or mere appearance of a design. A life-form given to us through an act of divine design has the same form viewed as a product of random selection. On that, Dawkins and the creationists must be agreed: both refer to the same object in contention, to the same form.

Both parties then turn to a misbegotten idea. Their wrath, their passion, is mailed to both a Creator and random Nature, but delivered to a mechanic. Their idea is that a material assembly identifies a design or appearance of a design, and that by examining how the materials are assembled a divine design can be distinguished from a mere appearance of one.

There is a greater design problem that short-circuits the intelligent design debate. Who or what creates the forms of objects? Dawkins and the creationists ignore this question. However, simply by engaging in the intelligent design debate and its assumption of form Dawkins and the creationist commit themselves to animism, to the idea that forms announce or identify themselves.

Objects in nature do not, unlike some cartoons, have outlines drawn around them. An assembly, a design, a form, identifies the materials which constitute each. For example, without the framework (or, after Wittgenstein, form of life) or concept of entertainment we would not be able to distinguish a TV from the carpet it stood on. Without the form of a bridge, we are unable to distinguish a bridge from a river. To notice a fish's eye we must apply the form of a fish's eye upon the unidentified sensory flux that greets us in physical reality, for a fish's eye does not identify itself. Physical objects, like our fish's eye, require identifying conditions, such as a physical template, or a cultural practice, or a personal understanding, to draw the physical limits upon the physical world such that objects may be seen, may have physical limits proper to objects, may arise.

The tables are turned. Now it appears that it is the creationist who is, after all, promoting the hegemony of a physical reality tasking, and found at the heart of, a displaced God. Now it appears that it is Dawkins, after all, promoting the hegemony of a non-random supernature, making sense and found at the heart of, chaotic physical reality. Each argues for the other.

This meeting of minds between Dawkins and the creationists is missed by both parties. Both parties, through the confusion of their respective positions must allow that objects, like the fish's eye, identify themselves. This is grand animism - the idea that objects take on characteristics that are normally given only to living things, life. Animism unites them.

Stepping back from the charge of blinded conspiratorial animism we can simply address the confusion over their ontological premises. The creationists regard the fish's eye as a design itself, and the Dawkinians regard it as an appearance of a design. Here, both are wrong:
1) The creationists are wrong because they cannot assert that the fish's eye is itself a design - we do not have a faculty of being able to see how something is in itself, even assuming that "something is in itself" or that a self-identification is a legitimate conceptual tool that can be employed in the construction of objects.
2) Dawkins is wrong because he needs a design template or identifying condition to identify a fish's eye, whether or not this eye is a mere appearance of a design. This makes a designoid more than mere empty appearance - the designoid's "apparant" design is used to identify a real, particular, random structure.

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