21. Darwin anticipated the argument for intelligent design
In the latter years of the 20th century, the argument of intelligent design emerged, with some arguing that evolution is in fact the unfolding of creation as an act of intelligent design, not only of species, but of the entire universe down to the minutest detail. It was an argument presented in Darwin’s day, by astronomers who studied the heavens and naturalists who studied the earth. Darwin considered the argument, and in his autobiography wrote, “There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings and in the action of natural selection, than in the course which the wind blows.”
Asa Gray, the botanist who arranged the publication of On the Origin of Species in the United States, corresponded frequently and at length with Darwin. Gray wrote of Darwin that he had addressed secondary causes in his theory of natural selection, not primary causes, that is, Darwin wrote of how organisms changed over time, not how they had come into being. The issue of creation was not a part of his work, which covered only change. Darwin himself did not believe that acceptance of his work required the rejection of a creator, nor of religion, nor of the Bible. The division was designed by those opposed to the idea that humanity evolved from lesser beings.