عنوان مقاله [English]
This study aims to present a new interpretation of the theory of evolution and its compatibility with intelligent design based on special views of Peter van Inwagen. This article which is conducted by descriptive analysis relies on library research findings. Peter van Inwagen, an American analytical philosopher and one of the leading figures in metaphysics and philosophy of religion, is a skeptical theist who defends compatibility between the theory of evolution and Darwinism and intelligent design. He maintains that he has presented a new interpretation of the theory of evolution and in this regard, proposes a kind of Darwinism called “weak Darwinism”. In his account, Van Inwagen admits basic principles of Darwinism such as common descent, random mutations, natural selection, and even the widespread acts of natural selection in nature, however, he restricts the acts of random mutation and natural selection with a sort of agnosticism in order to pave the way for explaining the universe through other mechanisms like intelligent design. As a Christian who has love and affection to God, he believes that the order in the universe is as a result of God’s guidance and wisdom, and although the order in the world is under the influence of random mutations and natural selections, all the past and current events could not have occurred randomly. Many research works have been conducted about the theory of evolution and intelligent design and we can point to the most recent ones entitled “Theological Argument, Evolution, and Accurate Arrangement: The Comparative Analysis of Swinburne and Mutahhari’s Viewpoints” by Ghazale Hojjati  and “Anthropological and Critical Analysis of Darwin Based on Transcendent Theosophy” by Faranak Bahmani and Ali Allah Bedashti . However, no article has been written in Persian yet on the theory of evolution and intelligent design from the perspective of Peter van Inwagen. The objective of this study is to shed light on Van Inwagen’s views on the theory of evolution and his theist defense from intelligent design as well as the compatibility between these two theories. Van Inwagen can be regarded as compatibilist in two sense: first, because he holds there is compatibility between free will and determinism, and also because he does not regard any inconsistency between the theory of evolution and theism. After he believed in determinism, Van Inwagen felt skeptical toward the theory of evolution as in his view, every event has causes and effects and it’s impossible to see something would occur randomly and through evolution some unwanted parts be omitted and put aside. Therefore, he presented a perception of the theory of evolution called “weak Darwinism”. He proposed an interpretation of compatibility in which, not only Darwinism is not against theism but also the theory of evolution can represent divine providence in the world. Accepting weak Darwinism, Van Inwagen holds that although random mutations and natural selection can explain major part of variety and complexity in natural creatures, natural selection is not the only mechanism to describe these complexities and there are phenomena yet unexplainable by natural selection. Furthermore, even if we assume this theory can justify order in the universe, why shouldn’t God make use of natural selection to create such a splendid system?
His total viewpoints on the compatibility between theism and theory of evolution can be summarized as follows: “We should distinguish between incompatibility of two theories and refuting one theory by another. If we hold that the theory of evolution and Darwinism are incompatible with intelligent design it does not convey that Darwinian theory of evolution nullifies intelligent design argument. There is no incompatibility between the theory of evolution and intelligent design; although the latter may be refuted by the former. Yet, it should be determined what is intended by refuting an argument, and what perceptions from intelligent design argument would be refuted by the theory of evolution? Inwagen states: “the assumption that a given argument may not be efficient in achieving certain results differs from the assumption that a given result is false. For example, when Shakespeare writes in his plays that Richard murdered the princess it cannot convince us that he really committed this act. Even if Darwinism refutes all the interpretations of intelligent design it does not harm my decisive theist beliefs. My faith to God and the perception that living creatures are by means of an intelligent design does not rely on theological argument as my belief on the existence of my wife does not rely on the argument that because there are other entities so my wife exists too, though it may seem an appropriate philosophical argument. Although theological argument, as a philosophical-Kalami argument perceived from philosophers’ minds, might be refuted through the theory of evolution,it is not incompatible with the basic principle of intelligent design in the universe. Having love and faith to God, one can accept the intelligent design and perfect system of being.”
The findings of this research indicate that Peter Van Inwagen claims that, by his new interpretation of the theory of evolution, he could have defended the compatibility between the theory of evolution and theism in a unique way. Through early studies on this theory it seemed that the foundation of his thoughts is based on physicalism and skepticism and in this regard, his thoughts have fundamental differences with Islamic thinking. The present research findings showed that he maintains weak Darwinism, though he does not present an appropriate criterion on its preference to Alism. In his theory, the effect range of natural selection and random mutations is restricted, and regarding some gaps in the theory of evolution, the way is open for the impact of contributing factors other than natural selection explaining order in the universe. Van Inwagen is a theist who confronts Alism skeptically. Considering principles of the theory of evolution as inadequate, he represents it in different statements, and finally, admits the outcome of this argument which is belief in the existence of an intelligent design for the universe, although he does not have any serious defense for the theological argument particularly some of its interpretations. He holds that, even needless to theological argument, one can believe in almighty and all-wise God through love and faith. In some certain domains, he limits the performance effect of natural selection and asserts that it is one of the most important natural mechanisms which can be a powerful device to determine divine creation, although God might have other devices as well. Apart from its drawbacks and important criticisms, Inwagen’s perspective is comparative to the views of Shahid Mutahhari as he is also a theist compatibilist and affirms that the theory of evolution-if true-can confirm theism, and it is a masterpiece in creation that through natural selection and random mutations, various creatures gradually evolve from a simple matter.
 Journal of Philosophical Essays, Spring & Summer 1396 S.H, No. 31, Research Paper, pp. 23-48
 Journal of Theological Thought, Spring 1396 S.H, N. 64, Research Paper/ISC, pp. 29-50