A useful metaphor for natural things

One way to harmonize the various disputes about design and its absence in nature is to see all natural things as analogous to the plug-and-socket arrangement we use in cars to recharge phones, run DVD players, etc. All the following claims become at least reasonable:

1.) The plug and socket are obviously designed.  There is a clear adaptation of means to ends and it is wrong to account for this order by mere chance.

2.) The plug and socket are obviously not designed. There is no adaptation of means to ends. The plug was not made to transduce electricity or power things, but to light cigarettes. If this adaptation is not designed, then others need not be designed either. Perhaps, to extend the metaphor, the lighting of cigarettes was also just an adaptation from something else.

3.) If it were designed, it would only show the incompetence of the designer. Who would design a phone to charge on one socket in homes and another in cars? Who would design a plug so easy to short out and get one’s finger stuck in?

4.) If it were designed, it would show the respect the designer had for the materials he worked with. The designer takes things as they are, respecting their structure and integrity. He doesn’t just redesign everything de novo every time he wants to introduce some new feature or development.

5.) If there were a designer, he could only be a limited or relatively weak one. A designer that could remake everything to run perfectly smoothly and in accordance with a rational structure, but who chooses not to, either doesn’t care or is too weak to do accomplish it – and charity demands we say it’s weakness.

6.) If there is a designer, he is one with unlimited intelligence and corresponding power. If we see this adaptation as a part of a plan, it must be one transcending the various uses of the individual things involved. This intelligence involved a rupture of the limitation of the various means-ends relations in things, and an ability to adapt them harmoniously to a whole transcending any of them. In the plug-and-socket example, this involves only the transcendence of auto-design and DVD construction, that is, it involves someone who co-ordinates between these two domains and is therefore not limited to either one.

 

 

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