Darwin's Teleological Criticisms

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  • Darwin
    • Darwins theory described a way of understanding the natural world whereby its complex biological functions no longer require an intelligent designer
    • "...Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist" - Dawkins
    • Voyage of HMS beagle
      • Darwin studied a range of species found on the Galapagos
      • He noticed that finches on different islands were slightly different, the shapes of some beaches corresponded to the food they ate
      • Darwin realised that very small changes from one generation to the next, over time, would build up into large changes
    • Thomas Malthus
      • Secondly, Darwins insight came from the works of Malthus
      • He put forward the idea that if you start with a small population, it will grow with each child probably having more than one child themselves
        • As population grows, the food supply increases more slowly so the population gets too big for food supply so famine and diseases so then the population gets smaller and people die from disease
          • Food supply increases ARITHMENTICALLY and population grows EXPONENTIALLY
          • Of course with medicine available not as many people will die as Malthus predicted, challenging the idea of the earth regulating its own growth
      • Darwin realised species die if they reproduce in excess of food supply which led him to develop the idea that 'life struggles to exist'
        • If two organisms are competing for food and one organism has evolved in a way that makes it better at getting food, this species will thrive and the other will die out
    • Natural selection
      • If small variations in living organisms characteristic occur from one generation to the next, an organism with an advantageous characteristic will be an advantage over overs and will be more likely to survive
      • Natural selection raises a very important challenge as it explains how Paley's examples of regularity and order in the world, like an eye, can exist without referring to a designer
      • This poses such a challenge as natural selection has demonstrated to be true by numerous scientific studies




what does the malthus point mean?

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