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Leon Weiseltier, in an article at the New Republic, takes on the  Intelligent 
Design movement by citing the work of Kant. Good idea. This is a  welcome 
approach, and this writer deserves credit for this 'risky' tactic that  most 
Darwinists don't even bother with, oblivious to just how well Kant summed  up 
their confusions, not only those of the ID movement. Mr. Weisletier quotes  
chapter and verse from the Critique of Pure Reason, in one of the celebrated  
passages from Kant's famous work. The problem is that one has to be something  more 
than a part-time Kantian here, and go the full mile to see that Kant's  
methodology works as well on the empiricist presumptions of Darwinians.
Here  the issue is not the fact of evolution, which has a powerful, though 
not fully  adequate, empirical basis, but the theory of natural selection, which 
trespasses  into the metaphysical, and is in its own way a de facto 
'designer' argument in  reverse (in the sense of displacing explanation of unobserved 
complexity into a  mere abstraction), and which makes a host of assumptions 
about the nature of  science, and reality, that would not comfortably pass muster 
in a Kantian  critical discourse. The Darwin debate is almost specimen case 
of all the things  Kant warned of. The age of scientific positivism forgot all 
this, and actually  deluded itself in thinking science had swept away all the 
issues of philosophy.  This decline and fall into methodological idiocy goes a 
long way to explaining  the deadlocked character of the current evolution 
frenzy.
However, the point  is well taken, Kant exposed the metaphysical traps in 
much theological thinking.  The intelligent design movement is exploiting 
people's ignorance of the history  of design arguments, and Mr. Weiseltier's reminder 
is most apt. Kant's thinking  is a liberation for many from the direct 
exploitations of institutional religion  where proofs of the existence of god 
were/are the foundations of temporal  authority. That's not an historical curio, 
since evangelical business is Big  Business and the fire and brimstone wouldn't 
keep revenues flowing during the  organ music if it was diluted with Kant.
Mr. Weiseltier's words return on  themselves: 'The theory of intelligent 
design must be intelligently designed'.  So must any theory of evolution, and one 
thing is sure, Darwin's theory is a  bungled job. Not only divinity, but 
issues of 'soul' and 'free will', join the  list of confusions. Kant's point is the 
need to produce a science of metaphysics  to produce a science of evolution. 
Certainly Darwinists have not done that, and  therefore certainly have no such 
science. We should recall the reservations of  Kant, as to the hope ‘that one 
day there would arise a second Newton who would  make intelligible the 
production of a single blade of grass in accordance with  the laws of nature the 
mutual relations of which were not arranged by some  intention’.
Darwin’s theory, at least, does not resolve such doubt. The  resolution here 
must be more than what we are currently offered, and it seems  that the 
parties to the debate get the opposition they deserve, destined to tear  each other 
to pieces, for good Kantian reasons. Critics of intelligent design  (and I am 
one of them) often proceed in such a clumsy way with false certitude  about 
Darwin's theory, or Darwinian thinking, in the naive scientism that  competes 
with theological belief in its true-believing innocence. The sense of  design 
may not work as science, but then what does? Kant provided a disproof,  
successful or not, of the design argument, but we should recall Kant's  distinction of 
constitutive and regulative judgments and his sense that you  wouldn't 
decipher these questions at the boundary of physics using strictly  scientific, i.e. 
causal, arguments.
Regulative judgments, or a sense of the  'as if', provide a powerful, though 
inconclusive insight into the structure of  living organisms. Beyond that Kant 
suggested the existence of a 'natural  teleology' whose contradictions and 
obscurities were likely to defeat our  scientific reasoning. Surely the debate 
over the fine structure of DNA, for  example, gives evidence to the prophetic 
words Kant uttered several generations  before Darwin. Darwin's, or Behe's, 
'black box', is a clear case of the way this  teleological complexity gets 
mistreated by intelligent design impositions on the  data, data Darwinists can 
handle no better.
A whole school of thought in a  Kantian vein of biology flourished in the 
generation before Darwin and the  Darwinists swept it all away in the idiocy over 
natural selection. Histories of  biology don't even remember this history. 
The chickens have come home to roost.  In any case, it is hardly fair to cite 
Kant to skewer the intelligent design  group, then ditch Kant for Darwin, with 
the claim that his theory of natural  selection is the effective equivalent of 
the 'designer'. Current science put a  man on the moon, but otherwise it has 
succeeded in the 'trained stupidity' that  drives them into their just deserts, 
harassment by the Bible Belt All of this is  a reminder that Kant's 
skepticism about a theory of evolution has so far been  born out by the facts of the 
case of the intractable Darwin debate, a study in  metaphysical abuse on both 
sides.



John  Landon
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_http://www.history-and-evolution.com_ 
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Darwiniana:  
An Evolution Blog
_http://eonix.8m.com_ (http://eonix.8m.com/) 
World History 
And The  Eonic Effect
Second Edition