Archive for January 31st, 2011

January 31, 2011

Purpose (5) – nature and purpose

by Neil Rickert

It seems obvious enough that purpose, as I have been describing it in this series of posts, is entirely natural.  However, some ID (intelligent design) proponents probably disagree.  In this post, I shall explain why I believe it to be natural.  I have already provided much of the basis for seeing that purpose is natural, in that I have connected it with measurement.  However, the examples that I have used, such as the thermostat, are man made.  In particular, the measurement aspect of the thermostat is the result of human design.  Thus we might expect some ID proponents to claim that they show the need for an intelligent designer.

In order to complete the picture, I need to provide examples of natural measurement.  For that, I want to turn attention to homeostatic processes.  To say that a process is homeostatic is to say that keeps itself in some sort of equilibrium.  Such homeostasis works on the basis of feedback, where the process is reacting to its own current state and modifying its behavior in ways that tend to keep it in a reasonably stable range.  That feedback is a form of self-measurement.  Thus a naturally occurring homeostatic process already exhibits natural measurement.

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