For a little background Wright was a mathematician who also lectured in psychology and mathematical physics. He was known for defending Darwinian views and accepted only scientific hypotheses that were truly scientific and could be verified through experimentation.
Wright viewed religion as emotion based and religion has more to do more with feeling and faith than with thinking and reason, we are entitled to accept them on emotional grounds. Wright does not reject religion. Science and religion do not have to oppose each other but all things must have verification. He went against those who tried to use Darwinian Theory to explain behavior, occurrences, the universe, and the state of affairs that Darwin never intended to explain.
Wright was influenced by Darwin in the sense that the self-consciousness was uniquely human but was prefigured in a less complex and earlier animal species. Wright does not support the belief of unscientific men and women view of self-consciousness as a supernatural capacity that is situated in the immaterial soul.
Natural Theology as a Positive Science:
Natural history and anatomy are the ground bases of final causes. Final causes being divided into two forms (causes) structure and habits of the organic body and (effects) the well being and perfection of the organic life.
These two ideas are brought together to form a references know as a means to an end in the order of nature and brings the arguments and illustrations of natural theology.
Wright states you only have to look and see that the based on observation humans and other beings exist….the universe exists therefore natural science exists. Wright believes that theologians have overlooked that there is far too much evidence in science to consider that we are created by design.
Theologians argue that causes and effects make all things final (purpose and function) Wright says no that is an error because science and nature are proven to change. So the argument becomes then why do things exist if they are final?
Means ( natural cause) and effect (end). A means to an end equals intelligence
Theologians believe that intelligence is free, undetermined power of design. Because we are intelligent stands in the notion that there is an absolute order of existence that the universe exists by moral laws and that is proof of why we exist.
Wright says that a combination of means (natural causes) conspiring to a particular end (effect) implies intelligence, and that what science accounts for are (means and natural causes) exist for the sake of the effects which science accounts for the end.
Science and not religion can explain everything but the relationship infers intelligence the argument goes back and forth between science and religion but the fact is that a progress in religion is a progress in scientific ideas because the advancement of knowledge frees us from ignorance. That the hostility between both parties has escalated is due to the fact that theologians attempt to counter what science attempts to prove.
Evolution of the self-consciousness:
Man is part of the animal race and over time he does change. This concept is not difficult to understand if you take the "special creation factor" out of it. To explain self-consciousness as natural or supernatural does not qualify for Wright. Wright prefers evolution not the incorrect usage such as transitioning from one thing to another but adaptation.
" That new uses of old powers arise discontinuously both in the bodily and mental natures of the animal , and in its individual development as well as in the development of it race although these uses are small and of the smallest importance to life."
That the abilities are feeble they exist such as distinct usage of locomotion, swimming, climbing ect….this is the same of self-consciousness….it has an empirical notion.
Animal intelligence progresses through an extension and range of powers of men by memory or revived impression. And accumulation of these impression and memories cause consciousness or self consciousness. This is done with mental signs (inward thoughts) outward things) concepts become movements. When recognition of a sign takes place in the capacity of a sign it takes place as movement/recognition. Animals are conscious given the animal perceptions or purposes to its outward movements. This is how they know they exist.
- Rosa Biasi