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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Apparently, someone out there knows what the word "teleology" means

Teleology means the reason for something, as opposed to a mere cause (I think).

For example, one of my long-departed cats used to position himself so that people would step on him, and then demand a treat - which he always received from the mortified human.

You could say that the cause of his bruise was the foot he threw himself under but the reason was the smoked salmon pate he enjoyed later (taken home by an exhausted human from a working dinner at some dreary downtown office).

Was it worth it? How would I know? He was a cat, and is long dead. I do know that it was difficult to avoid stumbling over him and then providing him with a treat. For one thing, he would immediately limp to the fridge.

Anyway, AWR Hawkins writes, in "The War on Common Sense" in The American Thinker,
A Darwinian worldview now dominates the classroom. When was the last time the word "teleology" was used in a university classroom in a non-pejorative sense? Teleology, the study of the evidence of order or design in nature, was once a staple in classic Western education. Perhaps it is still used in philosophy when studying the thought of Thomas Aquinas or by the rare but much needed conservative professor, but usually the word is not employed unless it is being used to mock the ignorance of someone who claims to see design (and by extension the evidence of a Designer) in nature.

That old cat knew implicitly the difference between causes and reasons, even though he didn't otherwise have a grain of sense in him. Too bad if no one else does.


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