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Natural Selection vs. Divine Creation

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  1. The Argument from Design
  2. Charles Darwin's opposition of Paley's ideas
  3. Paley's most classic example
  4. The complexity of the eye according to Darwin
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

From the beginning of the ideas presented by Charles Darwin in The Origin of Species, and their gaining support from the scientific community, the theory of evolution was been met with opposition. A great deal of this opposition came from religious groups who believed in a creation from a divine being. Perhaps the strongest defense for the possibility of divine creation came from the ideas of William Paley's Argument from Design. Darwin, who came after Paley, proposed that it was not any sort of Intelligent Design from a creator that led to people and other organisms having various functions, but natural selection. Darwin went on to specifically refute some of Paley's examples, such as the vertebrate eye. When looking at Darwin's theories and explanations, it is nearly impossible to believe that his work did not refute the work of Paley.

[...] One part of natural selection is the Principal of Population presented by Thomas Malthus. (Pg. 82) This states that population is exponential. Simply stated, population grows at a geometric rate, doubling itself, (i.e. two to four, four to eight, eight to sixteen) while the food supply for that population does not grow in this way. While the population grows in such a way that the time it takes for the amount of people to double continuously gets shorter, it is not possible to double the amount of land or food supply for that population. [...]


[...] 44) Darwin refuted Paley's comments about the eye through in Origin of Species: To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree. Yet reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a perfect and complex eye to one very imperfect and simple, each grade being useful to its possessor, can be shown to exist; if further, the eye does vary ever so slightly, and the variations be inherited, which is certainly the case; and if any variation or modification in the organ be ever useful to an animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, though insuperable by our imagination, can hardly be considered real. [...]

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