Friday, June 10, 2005

The Difference between Meaning & Implications

All sorts of problems arise when we do not take care in making arguments. Our topic here is what Darwin means and what he implied. Let us call Darwin’s own proposal ‘Classical Darwinism’ and the contemporary variations of evolutionary theories either Neo-Darwinism or Non-Darwinism. Most Neo-Darwinian models of biological evolution maintain Darwin’s argument that ‘natural selection’ is entirely devoid of any divine intent. On the other hand, many Non-Darwinians maintain a theory of evolution which replaces natural selection with either ‘intelligent design’ or some form of ‘divine direction’ amounting to a teleological view.
How are the words Darwinism and Evolution related. Darwinism is an example of a theory attempting the explain the scientific fact of biological evolution. We shall now attend to what each word means and what they do not. This is different from what each word implies and what they do not. Since these are scientific words, their meanings are always scientific in character but since their implications may extend beyond the boundaries of science, they may include non-scientific conclusions, such as philosophical and theological.
Hence the fact of biological evolution:
1) means that all life forms emerge from a common ancestor (scientific) but may
2) imply that the laws of physics evolve over time from a single theory of everything (philosophical) or that religious morality is an unnatural impediment to progress (theological).
In the same manner, the theory of Darwinism
1) means that Darwin believed natural selection is a sufficient explanation for evolution. When he then said that God was not necessary, it was
2) an implication from his theory, not part of the meaning of his theory. We need to discern what is a meaning and what is an implication of a fact and of a theory.
Any debate must begin by stating whether it is the meaning or the implications of either Darwinism per se or the theories of evolution that is at stake.

No comments: