Darwin's dangerous idea : evolution and the meanings of life by Daniel C. Dennett

By Daniel C. Dennett

In a e-book that's either groundbreaking and obtainable, Daniel C. Dennett, whom Chet Raymo of The Boston Globe calls "one of the main provocative thinkers at the planet," focuses his unerringly logical brain at the idea of traditional choice, displaying how Darwin's nice concept transforms and illuminates our conventional view of humanity's position within the universe. Dennett vividly describes the idea itself after which extends Darwin's imaginative and prescient with impeccable arguments to their usually spectacular conclusions, hard the perspectives of a few of the main well-known scientists of our day.

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Why, we might ask Davies, would its being a by-product of mindless, purposeless forces make it trivial? Why couldn't the most important thing of all be something that arose from unimportant things? Why should the importance or excellence of anything have to rain down on it from on high, from something more important, a gift from God? 1 Although at the outset Wallace was much more forthcoming on the subject of the evolution of the human mind than Darwin was willing to be, and stoutly maintained at first that human minds were no exception to the rule that all features of living things were products of evolution, he could not see the "strange inversion of reasoning" as the key to the greatness of the great idea.

Supergod? And who created Supergod? Superdupergod? Or did God create Himself? Was it hard work? Did it take time? Don't ask! Well, then, we may ask instead whether this bland embrace of mystery is any improvement over just denying the principle that intelligence (or design) must spring from Intelligence. Darwin offered an explanatory path that actually honored Paley's insight: real work went into designing this watch, and work isn't free. How much design does a thing exhibit? No one has yet offered a system of design quantification that meets all our needs.

77 earlier, slower evolutionary processes. If the creationists were right that mankind is a species unto itself, divine and inaccessible via brute Darwinian paths, then genetic engineering would not be a crane after all, having been created with the help of a major skyhook. I don't imagine that any genetic engineers think of themselves this way, but it is a logically available perch, however precarious. Less obviously silly is this idea: if the bodies of genetic engineers are products of evolution, but their minds can do creative things that are irreducibly nonalgorithmic or inaccessible by all algorithmic paths, then the leaps of genetic engineering might involve a skyhook.

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