Cranes and Skyhooks, Lifting in Design Space

The most amazing of all is the tenacity of living things, the thousands of ways they have of clinging to life and reproducing, eking out a living against formidable obstacles, thanks to millions of ingenious devices and arrangements, from the convoluted cascades of protein machinery within every cell, to echolocation in bats, to the elephant’s trunk, to the capacity of our brains to reflect on every topic “under the sun” and many others as well. All that magnificent adjustment of means to ends requires an explanation, since it cannot be pure chance or happenstance. There are only two known possibilities: Intelligent Design or evolution by natural selection. In either case there is a tremendous amount of design work to be done, either miraculously by an Intelligent Designer or ploddingly, unforesightedly, stupidly—but non-miraculously—by natural selection. A convenient way to imagine the design work that needs to have been done is to think of it as lifting in Design Space. What is Design Space? Like the Library of Babel and the Library of Mendel, it can best be conceived as a multidimensional space. In fact Design Space contains both of those libraries and more, because it includes not only all the (designed, authored) books and the (designed, evolved) organisms, but all other things that are well described by the design stance (see chapter 18), such as houses, mousetraps, battleaxes, computers, and spaceships.
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Philosopher Daniel Dennett's Book Intuition Pumps