… Anything Dennett Can Do, Scruton Does Meta | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
[Dennett] sets himself three main challenges here: to make sense of the idea of Design without a Designer that is so central to understanding evolution; to flesh out the concept of competence without comprehension, the key to much animal — and indeed human — thought and behaviour; to understand human consciousness as a natural, unmysterious, outcome of i) evolutionary design, ii) uncomprehending competence and, iii) a little something extra, shortly to be revealed. The overarching task is to enable us to understand ourselves, the intellectuals of creation, as the products of gradual, natural, processes, issuing out of dust yet eschewing the hand of God."… to make sense of the idea of Design without a Designer … to understand human consciousness as a natural, unmysterious, outcome of i) evolutionary design …." It seems to me we have more than a little begging of the question here. Aren't we assuming the truth of "design without a designer" in order to prove "evolutionary design," which would of course be "design without a designer," which itself is rather difficult to imagine, since the only demonstrable designs we know of are the work of designers.
… the effect of Dennett’s broad line of explanation for the way things are is to replace an ancient “mind-first” with a modern “mind-last” vision of creation." But mind just happens to be where it all did start. This still seems to me like trying to understand what someone is telling you over the phone in terms of the telephone's technology. And what's this "creation" we are said to have a vision of?
Actually, the whole business of design seems to me to muddy the water. What the mind perceives in being is order. Order, one might say, is a necessary corollary of mind. From that, it does not seem a very large leap to conclude that mind is logically prior to order.