TITLE

Darwin's Arguments in Favour of Natural Selection and Against Special Creationism

AUTHOR(S)
Nola, Robert
PUB. DATE
February 2013
SOURCE
Science & Education;Feb2013, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p149
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
In many places in The Origin of Species, Darwin compares his own theory of Natural Selection favourably with Special Creationism which comes off as a bad second best. He does this using some version of the argument form known as 'Inference to the Best Explanation'. The first part of this paper is methodological. It considers Whewell's notion of consilience, that is, the way in which theories can get additional confirmation through unifying otherwise disparate and independent facts. Then it considers various forms of inference to the best explanation. The second part of the paper applies these methodological considerations to an analysis of some of the many passages in Origin where Darwin presents his case in favour of Natural Selection. This gives a far superior explanation of biological facts compared with Special Creationism which provides either an inferior explanation or no explanation at all. Contrary to the view that Creationism should not be taught, the passages from Darwin show at least that it should be understood if only to show that it offers no explanation of a wide range of obvious biological facts. As such the passages in Origin in which Darwin presents his case against Creationism can serve as a series of excellent exercises in getting students to think about Natural Selection as opposed to Creationism. For this reason alone they ought to be better known. In addition, Darwin's point in these passages can only be understood using principles of scientific method, such as inference to the best explanation, which are essential in showing that Natural Selection is to be preferred to Creationism.
ACCESSION #
85434455

 

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