Agassiz, Louis – Essay on Classification – The argument for the existence of an intelligent Creator
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A description of the experience
ESSAY ON CLASSIFICATION By LOUIS AGASSIZ
The argument for the existence of an intelligent Creator is generally drawn from the adaptation of means to ends, upon which the Bridgewater treatises, for example, have been based.
But this does not appear to me to cover the whole ground, for we can conceive that the natural action of objects upon each other should result in a final fitness of the universe and thus produce an harmonious whole; nor does the argument derived from the connection of organs and functions seem to me more satisfactory, for, beyond certain limits, it is not even true.
We find organs without functions, as, for instance, the teeth of the whale, which never cut through the gum, the breast in all males of the class of mammalia; these and similar organs are preserved in obedience to a certain uniformity of fundamental structure, true to the original formula of that division of animal life, even when not essential to its mode of existence.
The organ remains, not for the performance of a function, but with reference to a plan, and might almost remind us of what we often see in human structures, when, for instance, in architecture, the same external combinations are retained for the sake of symmetry and harmony of proportion, even when they have no practical object.
The source of the experienceAgassiz, Louis
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