I have two primary objections to Darwinism. My first objection is that the best [and only] known source of information is mind (a positive case) and nature’s inability to sufficiently account for the origin of information (a negative case). My second objection is that everything, particularly humans, has a purpose and chance voids any initial intention and final intention. My focus here will be Darwinism within a theistic context. However, before I continue I would like to clarify one point. I’m not referring to evolution being change over time, which I agree with, or evolution being common descent, which I don’t hold to but I’m open to. These two forms of evolution are completely compatible with intelligent design. By Darwinism I mean that natural selection/mutation is the mechanism capable of creating new life forms.
Michelangelo's Creation of Adam
Initial intent is something that allows for design to be a legitimate inference by material or efficient causation (i.e. what it’s made of or what produced it respectively). This would include design being inferred by the origin of information within a cell, limits on population genetics, irreducible complexity, or epigenetic information and higher information processing in the cell [and an extrapolation of causes]. Theistic Darwinists would deny these as any purposeful acts or intentions by God because it’s an implicit contradiction to Darwinism by definition. Let’s consider final intention. Final causation answers the question, “For what purpose was this caused?” If the theistic Darwinist wants to maintain that humans have purpose then it’s only at best secondarily and a reaction of God’s [to give purpose to humans] in light of chance’s bringing about of humans. Consider these quotes.
An evolutionary universe is theologically understood as a creation allowed to make itself. -John Polkinghorne
Not even God could know… with certainty that human life would come to be. -George Coyne
Mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained… we are here… as an after-thought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out. -Ken Miller
It seems that once chance and nature bring about the existence of humans only then can God predicate any purpose. My problem with that is how can this really be final causation? How can there be final causation without material and efficient causes? If God set up the universe’s initial conditions to bring about the elements and conditions needed for the evolution of life to take place then that is still design. My favorite theistic Darwinist quote is Francis Collins’ when he says,
Evolution could appear to us to be driven by chance, but from God’s perspective the outcome would be entirely specified. Thus, God could be completely and intimately involved in the creation of all species, while from our perspective… this would appear a random and undirected process.
How is this not intelligent design? Even if ID proponents concede our ability to infer design by material and efficient causes that doesn’t mean Darwinism would then be true because God, as Collins points out, could be intimately involved in the creation of all species.
Digressing back to final causation, I suppose that God could have purpose for the universe by his initiative act of creation. This is categorically broad and the could not be any particular or individual purpose for humans since they are mere happenstance in the broader purpose of the universe. The universe’s purpose would be no different had humans [or anything] not existed. The purpose of a rock and human or equivalent. Each are accidental properties of the universe and thus, couldn’t really have any final causation predicated to accidental properties. (Posterior to God’s endowment of the Imago Dei on humans they may possess a greater purpose than rocks; however, prior to that endowment, they are still accidental properties and categorically equivalent.) The best inference would be that matter and energy exist for God’s purpose. That is as categorically defined as we can get. Any forms of the matter and energy are accidental properties, they were not originally intended. If God initially intended for the initial conditions of the universe to bring about any form is design.
This is my philosophical hurdle to Darwinism. Humans are accidental properties of the universe and my best guess to answer the question, “Why does anything exist” would be to speculate that God loves and enjoys matter and energy as broad as that is. The forms and byproducts of matter and energy were not originally intended because if they were, that would have been design. Perhaps someone can work this one out for me.