What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

This offers the simplest “neutral” colloquial mixture of “design” and “evolution” that I’ve seen in a long time. The site is no longer maintained, but the language persists.

“As a designer it is important to understand where design came from, how it developed, and who shaped its evolution. The more exposure you have to past, current and future design trends, styles and designers, the larger your problem-solving toolkit. The larger your toolkit, the more effective of a designer you can be.” http://www.designishistory.com/this-site/

Here, the term “evolution” as used just meant “history”. The author was not indicating “design theory evolution”, but rather instead the “history of designs” themselves, which have been already instantiated.

The topic “design is history” nevertheless enables an obvious point of contact between “evolution” and “design”. They both have histories that can be studied. Present in the above meaning of “design” are the origin, processes and agent(s) involved in the “designing”. This differs significantly from the Discovery Institute’s version of “design theory”, when it comes to history, aim, structure and agency, since the DI’s version flat out avoids discussion of design processes and agent(s). The primary purpose of the DI’s “design theory”, meanwhile, is USAmerican religious apologetics and “theistic science”.

The quotation above likely didn’t come from an IDist, and it isn’t referencing “Intelligent Design” theory as a supposed “scientific theory”. The “designer” in the quotation above is a (more or less intelligent) human designer, not a Divine Designer. This fact distinguishes it “in principle” from the Discovery Institute’s ID theory, which is supposed to be (depends on who you’re speaking with in the IDM) about first biology, then informatics, and statistics. The DI’s ID theory is not actually focused on “designing by real designers”, but rather on apologetics using “design” and informational probabilism.

The Discovery Institute’s failure to distinguish or even highlight the differences and similarities between human design and Divine Design, and instead their engagement in active distortion, equivocation, double-talking, and obfuscation between them, are marks of its eventual downward trend to collapse.

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885 thoughts on “What mixture of “design” and “evolution” is possible as the IDM collapses?

  1. Alan Fox:

    CharlieM: Stephen L. Talbott has written a piece…

    He’s a proponent of “The Third Way of Evolution”. Denis Noble is another. They have a disclaimer on their website:

    It has come to our attention that THE THIRD WAY web site is wrongly being referenced by proponents of Intelligent Design and creationist ideas as support for their arguments. We intend to make it clear that the website and scientists listed on the web site do not support or subscribe to any proposals that resort to inscrutable divine forces or supernatural intervention, whether they are called Creationism, Intelligent Design, or anything else.

    Yes he has written a few criticisms of ID, one of them, this article, this article, “Why Can’t Evolutionary Biologists Quit Believing in Intelligent Design?”

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  2. CharlieM: The design of a purpose built mouse trap begins with a mind.

    Does a mind have a need to design a mechanism to trap mice before the existence of mice? I think it begins with a mouse.

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  3. Gregory: CharlieM, you have an opportunity at this moment to show you are not a “design universalist”.

    I am not a “design universalist” because I don’t believe that God was designed.

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  4. OMagain: If ID is science then would Behe’s claims regarding a scientific way to determine design be able to be put to the test? Can his filter be shown to actually work in a repeatable manner?

    The “Explanatory Filter” came from Dembski, not Behe.

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  5. Mung: I am not a “design universalist” because I don’t believe that God was designed.

    On what basis?

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  6. colewd: I don’t think it is a rival theory.

    Ha! Wake up Bill! That is how ID is [all too often] presented.

    Just look at the recent articles by Brian Miller at EN.

    colewd: It attempts to explain what evolution does not such as significant origin events.

    Evolution attempts to explain things such as the origin of Eukaryotes, or the vertebrate eye.

    Do you not consider those to be significant origin events?

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  7. Mung: You should read Dawkins. He detected design and wrote a program to show the steps to produce it. From that, a bright student could perform the calculations.

    Intelligent Design?

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  8. Allan Miller: If you are interested in persuading anyone else, it is worth going beyond what you, personally, believe. Otherwise, it’s just someone wibbling on the internet.

    Quoting other people isn’t allowed either, because then you’re just posting what someone else believes, which is just as bad. If not worse. 🙂

    Allan Miller: I didn’t even read the passage you quoted. I’m not interested in the words of people I can’t discuss the matter with. Argument by glove-puppet.

    LoL. I called that one for sure.

    Nice little fortress of solitude you’ve built there. How on earth did you ever learn anything?

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  9. Mung: And cats and birds are just glorified mousetraps. 🙂

    That appears to be the only design justification for the existence of cats.

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    Mung
  10. newton: That appears to be the only design justification for the existence of cats.

    Cats are cheaper to build and more efficient at controlling the mouse population.

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  11. newton:

    CharlieM: The design of a purpose built mouse trap begins with a mind.

    Does a mind have a need to design a mechanism to trap mice before the existence of mice? I think it begins with a mouse.

    Well as kantian Naturalist has pointed out, if you disregard the actual mouse trap itself it begins with the birth of the universe.

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  12. Kantian Naturalist: Mechanistic explanations of holistic structures and processes consist of showing how relations amongst parts give properties to the whole that cannot be found in the intrinsic properties of the parts. So it’s false that holistic phenomena cannot be mechanistically explained.

    I think I’m in agreement with you up to a point. What happens when we start asking if that mechanistic explanation is true and complete, or even plausible?

    Or you come across someone who argues that it’s the only mechanistic explanation available, therefore it’s the best explanation available?

    Are there non-mechanistic explanations that can be considered “natural,” or must all natural explanations be mechanistic?

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  13. Mung: Why is there something rather than nothing?

    Why is an un-caused cause less absurd then an infinite regress of causes?

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  14. OMagain: All they have to do is go ahead and actually ‘detect design’ with one of the many flavours of their design detection filter they claim works. Show each step in turn, how everything was calculated.

    Mung: You should read Dawkins. He detected design and wrote a program to show the steps to produce it. From that, a bright student could perform the calculations.

    OMagain: Intelligent Design?

    ?

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  15. Mung: Cats are cheaper to build and more efficient at controlling the mouse population.

    If they choose to be.

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  16. Allan Miller: Rival theories need to explain everything evolution explains. As yet, they don’t.

    I don’t see ID as a rival theory. I think ID and evolution can co-exist, unless one defines evolution in such a way as to exclude ID, which I do not.

    Allan Miller: Three (at least) distinct ID approaches being peddled here. Mung suggests that the mechanism may be designed. Which would mean evolution was correct, but designed (which Mung also appears to oppose: evolution is not correct. But then consistent inconsistency is a bit of a trademark).

    I suggested that mechanism can bring about something that appears to be designed. That Bill should not place the two in opposition, as he is doing. Design doesn’t have to mean direct creation.

    Regarding mechanism and evolution, I don’t accept your assumption that there is but one mechanism of evolution.

    As far as inconsistency, if by evolution you mean evolution without design, then your statement “which would mean evolution was correct, but designed” is nonsensical.

    I think that too much ID thinking is based on false dichotomies which I try to avoid.

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  17. OMagain: Why is an un-caused cause less absurd then an infinite regress of causes?

    Why are people who believe that something can begin to exist out of nothingness with no cause, or who believe in infinite regresses, more rational than people who have decided that there must be something which exists by necessity rather than by contingency?

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  18. Mung: Why are people who believe that something can begin to exist out of nothingness with no cause, or who believe in infinite regresses, more rational than people who have decided that there must be something which exists by necessity rather than by contingency?

    Neither are rational. Those that claim to have rational positions on these issues are deluding themselves.
    Your belief in an uncaused cause is as irrational as belief in an infinite regress, no more or no less. Neither can be decided upon.

    I’m content with I don’t know. And that perhaps, one day, we can figure out the how and the why of the universe. But even if we do somehow manage that it won’t be because of the efforts of the ID crowd or navel gazers like yourself that have already decided on the answer.

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    Entropy
  19. Mung: Design doesn’t have to mean direct creation.

    Heads it’s directly created. Tails it’s indirectly created.

    All science so far!

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    Entropy
  20. CharlieM,

    Did you read any of the Talbott piece?

    No. I tend not to follow links, nor wade through the endless screeds of others, unless the subject is what they said. What kind of discussion is that? Should I link a book on genetics, or dump the musings of Professor X on genetics? As I say, it becomes argument by glove-puppet: duelling sources.

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  21. CharlieM: I can disrupt my TV’s output by fiddling with the remote, that does not mean that the remote is the cause of the output.

    Bad analogy.

    In my opinion instinctive behaviour within species is an indication of group consciousness. Just as the source of the overall design of termite mounds are not to be found in any individual, the instinctive behaviour of web building does not have its source in the individual, although individuals do improvise.

    So how’s that implemented? Oh, you don’t ‘do’ mechanism. How convenient. It frees you to just say stuff.

    I was just watching a documentary on Welsh wildlife. Grebes part for the winter, then reacquaint through a distinctive dance. How does every grebe access this behaviour, if it has no root in genetics? Similar applies to many bird species – experienced birders can tell the species by the gait, or the flight, or the call. It’s shared by all members of the species, but not members of other species. It’s not learnt – cuckoos for example grow up without encountering other members of their species, but still head off to Africa and return in spring, distinctive call and behaviours in place. So: Why? How? In general terms, I mean. If not genetics, what are they tuning in to? Could we devise a machine to tune into it?

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  22. Mung: something can begin to exist out of nothingness with no cause

    A “cause” doesn’t help resolve the apparent absurdity. If things can’t begin to exist out of nothingness, they can’t. Period. So those who believe that God created the universe out of nothing are the ones being irrational.

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  23. Mung: I am not a “design universalist” because I don’t believe that God was designed.

    That’s the single exception for all IDists. It shows at the same time that they are obviously looking for a “god’s-eye-view” of nature.

    A bit more effort, and we might see Mung start listing what else he doesn’t think is “designed”. Anyone holding their breath for Mung to add content?

    Yet you prioritize talking about Divine Design instead of God’s Creation. Is this why you either don’t join or don’t do well at sites like BioLogos & Peaceful Science? They are mainly interested in speaking directly about theology in relation to natural science. They’re doing it exactly for people like you, Mung, who are evangelicals having a difficult time with their “science & faith” balance when confronting natural science (which you’re not trained in & just seem to conceive “like a programmer”).

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  24. dazz: A “cause” doesn’t help resolve the apparent absurdity. If things can’t begin to exist out of nothingness, they can’t. Period. So those who believe that God created the universe out of nothing are the ones being irrational.

    Yes, we’d be the considerable majority; those who believe God created the universe and us in it. Choosing to call us “irrational” for our beliefs, while posing as the bastion of rationality, doesn’t help. More “irrational” would be the belief that “nothing came from nothing and ends in nothing … and life as we know it has no meaning beyond ourselves.” The nihilism virus is a spiritually vicious one, indeed.

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  25. Gregory: What would be more “irrational” would be the belief that “nothing came from nothing and ends in nothing … and life as we know it has no meaning beyond ourselves.”

    I think it’s somewhat arrogant to assume that “life” is of any importance at all and has any meaning in this vast, vast universe. I suspect it’s more an aberration. To think that your life is of more significance or has more meaning then, say, a sunspot is absurd.

    Gregory: The nihilism virus is a spiritually vicious one, indeed.

    I’d rather face that actually. The idea that life has meaning beyond ourselves is poison that has enslaved untold generations. Suffer the pain now for your reward in heaven.

    Gregory: Yes, we’d be the considerable majority; those who believe God created the universe.

    Just the one?

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  26. Mung: Quoting other people isn’t allowed either, because then you’re just posting what someone else believes, which is just as bad. If not worse.

    LoL. I called that one for sure.

    Nice little fortress of solitude you’ve built there. How on earth did you ever learn anything?

    My basic problem with it is that, in a discussion forum, it’s lazy, and demands that opponents themselves put far more effort in than the paster does. Copy-paste takes a few seconds, then the opponent has to both read the stuff, and then compose a rebuttal to order – not even to the interlocutor, but to their third-party authority. At the end of it all, the proxy isn’t even there to hear one’s critique, to respond or clarify.

    How To ‘Discuss’ the ID Way … copy, paste, copy, paste. Here’s Richard Dawkins on … this is what Larry Moran thinks … as Carl Zimmer was saying only the other day … you’d soon get sick of it.

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  27. Gregory,

    My point is that the negation of “God poofed the universe out of nothing” is not “The universe poofed itself out of nothing”. Why do so many believers fail to grasp this simple fact? It’s your worldview that depends on creation ex-nihilo, not ours. And please, don’t lecture me on magical efficient causes and stuff like that, I really don’t care anymore.

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  28. Mung,

    Regarding mechanism and evolution, I don’t accept your assumption that there is but one mechanism of evolution.

    I don’t have that assumption.

    As far as inconsistency, if by evolution you mean evolution without design, then your statement “which would mean evolution was correct, but designed” is nonsensical.

    By ‘evolution’ I mean mainstream evolutionary theory, which has no component that an ID proponent would recognise as ‘design’. I took you as saying the mechanisms recognised within conventional evolutionary theory could be designed, without any additional guidance of the processes once set in motion.

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  29. Gregory: and life as we know it has no meaning beyond ourselves.” The nihilism virus is a spiritually vicious one, indeed.

    I don’t think one needs to believe in God to ascribe meaning to our lives beyond ourselves. I don’t think believing life has no meaning beyond ourselves leads to nihilism.

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  30. Gregory: Choosing to call us “irrational” for our beliefs, while posing as the bastion of rationality, doesn’t help.

    Neither “rational” nor “irrational” is well defined.

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  31. I don’t regard secular faith as more rational than religious faith.

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  32. Mung: Which is why we have cats.

    Exactly ,the existence of cats proves there is God with a decidedly weird sense of humor, or cats are god. One or the other.
    .

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  33. Mung: Why are people who believe that something can begin to exist out of nothingness with no cause, or who believe in infinite regresses, more rational than people who have decided that there must be something which exists by necessity rather than by contingency?

    Maybe because that something is an uncaused cause which we have no way of knowing is more or less probable than something from nothing.

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  34. Allan Miller:

    In my opinion instinctive behaviour within species is an indication of group consciousness. Just as the source of the overall design of termite mounds are not to be found in any individual, the instinctive behaviour of web building does not have its source in the individual, although individuals do improvise.

    So how’s that implemented? Oh, you don’t ‘do’ mechanism. How convenient. It frees you to just say stuff.

    I was just watching a documentary on Welsh wildlife. Grebes part for the winter, then reacquaint through a distinctive dance. How does every grebe access this behaviour, if it has no root in genetics? Similar applies to many bird species – experienced birders can tell the species by the gait, or the flight, or the call. It’s shared by all members of the species, but not members of other species. It’s not learnt – cuckoos for example grow up without encountering other members of their species, but still head off to Africa and return in spring, distinctive call and behaviours in place. So: Why? How? In general terms, I mean. If not genetics, what are they tuning in to? Could we devise a machine to tune into it?

    Group memory. As humans become more self-conscious, they lose the group consciousness with all the shared wisdom that this entails. Human have had to sacrifice this collective consciousness in order to attain to the sharply focused consciousness confined within each individual. The wisdom employed in building structures like Stonehenge, pyramids, the Nazca lines, and the sphinx of Giza, was more in the nature of a group wisdom rather than any individual inspiration.

    As self-consciousness develops what was once known instinctively has to be individually learned. A dragonfly knows instinctively how to hunt its prey, a lion has to learn by example and play.

    You could no more devise a machine to tune into it than you could devise a machine to experience what you are experiencing.

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  35. CharlieM: The wisdom employed in building structures like Stonehenge, pyramids, the Nazca lines, and the sphinx of Giza, was more in the nature of a group wisdom rather than any individual inspiration.

    I find it hard to believe there was not originally a single person at the top of the pyramid organising what was happening in all those cases, directing people to make their vision happen.

    They even have a name for the supposed architect of the sphinx! Hemiunu.

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  36. Gregory:
    Yes, we’d be the considerable majority; those who believe God created the universe and us in it. Choosing to call us “irrational” for our beliefs, while posing as the bastion of rationality, doesn’t help.

    I doubt most here would call you irrational for such belief. The belief is irrational, but so can be other things we accept and haven’t stopped to think about. Being irrational about some things doesn’t make a person completely irrational. What can make many creationists look pretty irrational is their resistance to understand when an answer is given or explained to them only to go on and repeat something previously dealt with.

    Gregory:
    More “irrational” would be the belief that “nothing came from nothing and ends in nothing …

    Do you think atheists think so? I certainly don’t, and I lean pretty hard towards strong atheism.

    Gregory:
    and life as we know it has no meaning beyond ourselves.” The nihilism virus is a spiritually vicious one, indeed.

    Life as we know it has no meaning beyond what ourselves make of it regardless of the existence or lack thereof of gods. Gods don’t make life meaningful unless you like the idea of the existence of such gods. In other words, it’s you who finds the existence of some god to give life meaning beyond you. I feel the opposite way. When I was a believer I found the whole thing horrifyingly empty and meaningless. So, meaning and nihilism is always in the eye of the beholder, regardless of gods.

    It amazes me how easily people accept the idea that gods give objective meaning. They just don’t. I doubt anything does. It’s a loaded assumption that few care to explore.

    Anyway, that it’s up to us makes is so much better. It feels great to take responsibility for ourselves, our growth. I find life precious precisely for being tiny and finite. You might find that meaningless instead. See? Eye of the beholder.

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  37. Allan Miller: to Mung

    Mung: Quoting other people isn’t allowed either, because then you’re just posting what someone else believes, which is just as bad. If not worse.

    LoL. I called that one for sure.

    Nice little fortress of solitude you’ve built there. How on earth did you ever learn anything?

    My basic problem with it is that, in a discussion forum, it’s lazy, and demands that opponents themselves put far more effort in than the paster does. Copy-paste takes a few seconds, then the opponent has to both read the stuff, and then compose a rebuttal to order – not even to the interlocutor, but to their third-party authority. At the end of it all, the proxy isn’t even there to hear one’s critique, to respond or clarify.

    How To ‘Discuss’ the ID Way … copy, paste, copy, paste. Here’s Richard Dawkins on … this is what Larry Moran thinks … as Carl Zimmer was saying only the other day … you’d soon get sick of it.

    I post plenty of my own thoughts here, to which you can reply without bothering to follow any of the links I provide or read any of the quotes from these links.

    I just give these quotes and links in order to clarify, and hopefully help you, and anyone else who is interested, understand my own position, but it isn’t essential that you read them. I will continue to do this in the future but feel free just to skip over them if and when you reply to any of my further posts.

    I am always tempted to include much more links and quotes than I actually do but I try to keep them to a reasonable level. In my opinion if I was being lazy I would include everything, I would not be so selective.

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  38. OMagain:

    CharlieM: The wisdom employed in building structures like Stonehenge, pyramids, the Nazca lines, and the sphinx of Giza, was more in the nature of a group wisdom rather than any individual inspiration.

    I find it hard to believe there was not originally a single person at the top of the pyramid organising what was happening in all those cases, directing people to make their vision happen.

    They even have a name for the supposed architect of the sphinx! Hemiunu.

    You find it hard to believe because you are judging by today’s standards. There is very little in the way of written records about the inspiration and construction of the sphinx. What do you know of Hemiunu’s involvement?

    The sphinx is an ancient mythical figure of which the ancient populations of various cultures will have learned about through the traditional stories. In the Gaza monument this common ancient myth has been set in stone. The same myth, in its various forms, that gave rise to the sphinx gave rise to the four creatures associated with Ezekiel and the Gospels.

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  39. OMagain:

    CharlieM: You find it hard to believe because you are judging by today’s standards. There is very little in the way of written records about the inspiration and construction of the sphinx. What do you know of Hemiunu’s involvement?

    I imagine people then were much as people now. Probably surprisingly so.

    https://kashgar.com.au/blogs/history/the-bawdy-graffiti-of-pompeii-and-herculaneu

    I suspect that the majority of the population in those days couldn’t write and would only have had basic reading skills, if any. And the pyramids were at least two thousand years prior to those times.

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  40. CharlieM: I suspect that the majority of the population in those days couldn’t write and would only have had basic reading skills,

    OK. So much like today then…

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  41. CharlieM,

    Group memory.

    Evidence? You immediately started talking about humans – the only significant organisms on earth, according to some IDists…

    So many questions … How is this ‘group memory’ accessed? As cuckoos diverged from their common ancestors, did their ‘group memories’ diverge too? Why do we need ‘group memory’ to account for the call of the cuckoo, but not (I presume) for their egg colouration or feather pattern?

    What about the behaviour of plants? When sunflowers track the sun, or clematis shoots spiral in apparent search for a support, what ad hoc alternative to a genetic basis do you invent to explain this?

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  42. Allan Miller: So many questions … How is this ‘group memory’ accessed? As cuckoos diverged from their common ancestors, did their ‘group memories’ diverge too? Why do we need ‘group memory’ to account for the call of the cuckoo, but not (I presume) for their egg colouration or feather pattern?

    Reminds me somewhat of ‘objective morality’. All the same questions apply, or very similar ones.

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  43. OMagain:

    CharlieM: I suspect that the majority of the population in those days couldn’t write and would only have had basic reading skills,

    OK. So much like today then…

    Your remark may have been tongue in cheek but it highlights an important point. Today any child who is given a decent education is learning things that in days gone by was closely guarded knowledge retained by the priestly elite and elders, not for general consumption by the masses.

    Literacy

    While only 12% of the people in the world could read and write in 1820, today the share has reversed: only 14% of the world population, in 2016, remained illiterate. Over the last 65 years the global literacy rate increased by 4% every 5 years – from 42% in 1960 to 86% in 2015

    You don’t have to go back very far into the past to picture the thinking of the average person, and to see that their understanding of the world and reality was entirely different from our understanding today.

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