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Saturday, April 13, 2013
Teleology and Chance
Sorry (again), for the long time between entries! I've been so busy. It sucks too because I've been trying to focus on reading a book I borrowed from a coworker and I haven't been prioritizing well and my Bible reading has been suffering.
Anyways, in the course of my listening to the History of Philosophy podcast, I've recently come across a couple recordings talking about Aristotle's ethics. Well, two of the ideas Professor Adamson has mentioned about Aristotle that I've enjoyed learning about are the ideas of chance and teleology. I'll cover chance first because it is the most interesting and in my mind the most controversial.
According to the podcast talks about Aristotle defining chance being only intelligible in the light a final cause or goal. In general, I enjoy this professor's impartiality, however, in this particular podcast Professor Adamson makes it abundantly clear that he is completely convinced that Darwin's theory of Evolution is completely true and unquestionable. Aristotle clearly believes in a teleological view of nature and that chance as something that is NOT the norm, incredibly exceptional. Aristotle wouldn't have any concept of how nature, which is uniform (in many ways) and has predictable processes, could come about through random chance, since chance is NOT normal. To this concept, Prof Adamson says that Darwin has since proven that random chance does lead to nature/life as we understand it. I'm sorry Prof but I have to disagree with you, no one has yet to prove that random natural occurrences/changes can lead to the diversity/complexity of nature. I'm not stupid, there appears to be some evidence, and I certainly don't have answers to all the evidence and some of my answers are based on faith, but it's certainly not proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. What bothers me is that Prof Adamson takes Darwin's ideas one-hundred percent on faith as truth.
The other concept that I can get behind from the lectures on Aristotle I've already somewhat alluded to, teleology. If you're not familiar the idea revolves around the concept of a sense of purpose. The main argument for God that comes from this concept goes like this. Do your eyes have a purpose? Do your ears? Do all you separate organs/body parts? How can it be that each disparate part could have a purpose and come together as a random assortment. Life does have purpose. I feel that Aristotle and so many others have missed that purpose, or as the Bible says "[they have] changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen." (Romans 1:25 KJV) I'm not usually one for ceremony but I like the way the Westminster Shorter Catechism states this final end for which man was made by God, "What is the chief end of man? Man's chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever. If one lives with that in mind the teleology of Aristotle is clear, that God made mankind with the purpose of loving God forever.