Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Literary Creation

Intelligent Design Creationism defined:

"It is demonstrable," said he, "that things cannot be otherwise than as they are; for as all things have been created for some end, they must necessarily be created for the best end. Observe, for instance, the nose is formed for spectacles, therefore we wear spectacles. The legs are visibly designed for stockings, accordingly we wear stockings. Stones were made to be hewn and to construct castles, therefore My Lord has a magnificent castle; for the greatest baron in the province ought to be the best lodged. Swine were intended to be eaten, therefore we eat pork all the year round: and they, who assert that everything is right, do not express themselves correctly; they should say that everything is best."

- Dr. Pangloss, Candide by Voltaire

It might be worth pointing that Voltaire is parodying Leibniz. The interesting thing about Leibniz is that, while he did hold that the world is the result of an intelligent and benevolent deity, he most certainly did not think that this principle could be derived from empirical science. He was extraordinarily clear on the distinction between a posteriori science and a priori metaphysics, and unlike intelligent design folks, did not so much as even pretend that metaphysical principles could be grounded in empirical science. (Interestingly, he thought that empirical science must be grounded in rational metaphysics, but that's another issue for another day.)
Good points. Thanks.
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