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Natural Selection is a process that takes place in nature, so my argument is, natural selection is not a cause--it's an effect. As everything else that takes place, all things are effects.
Dawkins, in giving Darwinian evolution universal explanatory scope, takes the theory beyond it's intended object, as an explanation for the origin of species. But even this title is problematic on Darwin's part. Wouldn't it be more appropriate to call it how species change and adapt to their environments?
Personifying Natural Selection by referring to as a 'she' or otherwise, or by assuming that it's something that oversees nature, or regulates nature, scouring organisms everywhere to make sure they adapt, and survive, and replicate, raised natural selection to the level of a Transcendent Cause.
Yours is the logical conclusion of the fact. The "Origin of species" reads much better than "Natural Change of Species", it's an intended exaggeration to bring attention and funding for further research.
Steve3007 wrote:I think the title "Natural Change of Species" would be ok but would be slightly inaccurate because it would give the false impression that the the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is simply about the process of speciation by itself. But it is more than that. It doesn't provide any model for the way in which the first life forms came into being, but it does provide a model of the way in which those first life forms diversified.
I would agree with your objection to "The Natural Change in Kingdoms" as misleading but the "Natural Change of Species" is on point. On the contrary, the "Origin of Species" may be misleading, as some children may believe that Homo sapiens just sprung to existence as mammal from the chicken eggs, as some textbooks insist on calling "oocytes" as female eggs.
Steve3007 wrote:I don't see how calling it "the origin of species" would make people think that homo sapiens sprang into existence from chicken eggs. If, for some strange reason, they did think that they would be easily corrected.
Sure, humans and chicken share the Animalia Kingdom and Chordata Phylum but belong to a different Order, which is a long way from "Origin of Species". With that logic, we can trace the common ancestry to a rock or light for that matter
Except that, what Rayliikanen is trying to point out, the theory of evolution can't make that claim!
Natural selection is a process, hence, an effect.
But Dawkins goes off the track of science when he argues that the idea of a God/First Cause was done away with in 1849. It's these extreme statements that imply Darwinian evolution is a universal explanation that applies to all of creation. It's a particular explanation of a natural process, therefore it's part of the overall effect-the entire effect being the cosmos itself. Dawkins makes the mistake of taking a particular explanation and making a universally applicable conclusion out of it by insinuating Darwin gives us grounds to remove the possibility of a First Cause.
Rayliikanen wrote:I've used Socrates in the essay that will be in this month's issue of "Philosophy Now," to explain the problem with looking at natural selection as a cause--and not an effect that describes what happens in the natural world. Natural selection is a process, hence, an effect. It can work as a cause in higher organisms, like human beings, who can act as causes. But Dawkins goes off the track of science when he argues that the idea of a God/First Cause was done away with in 1949. It's these extreme statements that imply Darwinian evolution is a universal explanation that applies to all of creation. It's a particular explanation of a natural process, therefore it's part of the overall effect-the entire effect being the cosmos itself. Dawkins makes the mistake of taking a particular explanation and making a universally applicable conclusion out of it by insinuating Darwin gives us grounds to remove the possibility of a First Cause.
-- Updated September 11th, 2017, 7:57 am to add the following --
That's 1849, sorry ... the publication of "Origin of Species."
Dawkins wrote:.. my theologian friends returned to the point that
there had to be a reason why there is something rather than
nothing. There must have been a first cause of everything, and we
might as well give it the name God.
Dawkins wrote:To suggest that the first cause, the great
unknown which is responsible for something existing rather than
nothing, is a being capable of designing the universe and of talking
to a million people simultaneously, is a total abdication of the
responsibility to find an explanation. It is a dreadful exhibition of
self-indulgent, thought-denying skyhookery.
I am not advocating some sort of narrowly scientistic way of
thinking. But the very least that any honest quest for truth must
have in setting out to explain such monstrosities of improbability as
a rainforest, a coral reef, or a universe is a crane and not a skyhook.
The crane doesn't have to be natural selection. Admittedly, nobody
has ever thought of a better one. -The God Delusion pg 157
Dawkins wrote:The most ingenious and powerful crane so far discovered is
Darwinian evolution by natural selection. Darwin and his
successors have shown how living creatures, with their
spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design,
have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings.
We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living
creatures is just that - an illusion. - The God Delusion pg 158
OP, I completely agree with you. I've always said that Darwin's theory should be called the "Theory for How Life Changes Over Time" or something along that line. It in no way explains why life exists in the first place, or how it came into existence in the first place (although it can shed light on that). In other words, it cannot explain ultimate cause.
Rayliikanen wrote:Can an effect explain itself as it's own cause?
...he is confusing the explanation of an effect with the explanation of a cause... it is really the explanation of an effect that takes place in nature, therefore labeling it a cause is misleading. A cause is a cause and an effect is an effect.
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