Unexplained Aspects of The Natural World
It is frequently argued that a great weakness of evolutionary theory is that it does not, or cannot, explain a certain aspect of the natural world. Although there is broad agreement that certain aspects of life remain unexplained, creationists argue that evolution should be abandoned altogether because of the phenomena it does not explain. It is argued that an alternative explanation, such as intelligent design, can explain the things which evolution cannot. For example, Michael Behe has argued that current evolutionary theory cannot account for certain complex structures, particularly in microbiology. On this basis, Behe argues that such structures were "purposely arranged by an intelligent agent" (see argument from incredulity).
In addition to complex structures and systems, among the phenomena that critics variously claim evolution cannot explain are consciousness, hominid intelligence, instincts, emotions, metamorphosis, photosynthesis, homosexuality, music, language, religion, morality, and altruism (see altruism in animals). Most of these, such as homosexuality, hominid intelligence, instinct, emotion, photosynthesis, language, and altruism, have been well-explained by evolution, while others remain mysterious, or only have preliminary explanations. However, supporters of evolution contend that no alternative explanation has been able to adequately explain the biological origin of these phenomena either.
Creationists argue against evolution on the grounds that it cannot explain certain non-evolutionary processes, such as abiogenesis, the Big Bang, or the meaning of life. In such instances, evolution is being redefined to refer to the entire history of the universe, and it is argued that if one aspect of the universe is seemingly inexplicable, the entire body of scientific theories must be baseless. At this point, objections leave the arena of evolutionary biology and become general scientific or philosophical disputes.
Famous quotes containing the words natural world, world, natural, unexplained and/or aspects:
“For my own part, I commonly attend more to nature than to man, but any affecting human event may blind our eyes to natural objects. I was so absorbed in him as to be surprised whenever I detected the routine of the natural world surviving still, or met persons going about their affairs indifferent.”
—Henry David Thoreau (18171862)
“All of the valuable qualities ... like helping in the development of otherswill not get you to the top at General Motors, were that path open to women.... The characteristics most highly developed in women and perhaps most essential to human beings are the very characteristics that are specifically dysfunctional for success in the world as it is.... They may, however, be the important ones for making the world different.”
—Jean Baker Miller (20th century)
“The eye of genius has always a plaintive expression, and its natural language is pathos.”
—Lydia M. Child (18021880)
“Youre neither unnatural, nor abominable, nor mad; youre as much a part of what people call nature as anyone else; only youre unexplained as yetyouve not got your niche in creation.”
—Radclyffe Hall (18831943)
“I suppose an entire cabinet of shells would be an expression of the whole human mind; a Flora of the whole globe would be so likewise, or a history of beasts; or a painting of all the aspects of the clouds. Everything is significant.”
—Ralph Waldo Emerson (18031882)