How convincing is the design argument as an argument for the existence of God?
In this essay I will attempt to prove that the design argument does little to tell us anything about the existence of God. I will examine the strength the analogy used in the argument as well as primary objections such as the notion of intent and evolution. Upon my findings I will conclude as to weather I am convinced that teleology provides sufficient grounds for the existence of God
The design argument or teleological argument attempts to prove the existence of God by explaining that the world, in its seemingly perfect and ordered state, could not have come into existence without a designer. The argument hinges on the supposition that complexity, order and purpose are not attributes that can occur randomly or by accident but must be deliberately implemented by a designer. Working in an analogous manner, the argument compares the way the universe, with all its diverse and complex componants, works together to achieve its purpose in much the same way as a car engine for example. A car engine has many different parts, all functioning in harmony to make the car go, however, it is not by chance that the parts of the engine work together in a functioning manner, we know that the engine must have had an intelligent designer who created it with the primary function of moving the car in mind. Followers of the design argument believe it is possible to make the same statement about the universe; the way in which the universe functions is so complex and purposeful that it too must have had a designer outside of the universe and that designer must have been God.
To asses the strengths of the Ontological Argument for Gods existence, we firstly need to understand what it entails. The Ontological Argument looks at proof ‘A Priori’, which is Analytical truth, reason based proof. This can be explained by saying 1+1=2. We know this to be true, as it is based on reasoning, and is a logical statement. This can be seen as a strength of the Ontological ...
The first point to consider when assessing the suitability of the design argument for the existence of God is the reliability of the analogy between the universe and products of human design. It is fair to say that in our experience of objects such as a mechanical engine and in the case of William Paley’ classic example of the watch, we know a priori that such objects were indeed designed. We have experience of engines being designed by engineers and watches by watchmakers, but what experience do we have of the universe? The normal condition of a sound analogical argument is that the shared characteristics cited truly are shared characteristics. However, it is an assumption that the universe shows order and purpose, we have no experience of this so we cannot say for sure, a point explored further by Mark Wynn “ We have no experience of the origin of worlds, and therefore no experiential basis for the thought that worlds like ours are more likely than not to derive from design” A Guide to the subject Philosophy of Religion, edited by Brian Davies, Mark Wynn – Design Arguments, p60
The analogy only works if we accept the assumption that the universe has order and purpose to be true.
But what happens if we refute this claim and instead suppose that human beings like to see order in arrangements where perhaps there is none. Is it not just as possible, considering the unreliable nature of the analogy so far, that assuming order and purpose in the universe merely helps us to make sense of a notion we could otherwise not fathom?
This leads on to the idea of intent. So far the design argument has combined the notions of order and purpose, implying that they go hand in hand. The argument presumes that because an object in nature may perform a function that it was made with this function in mind. But what evidence is there to support this presumption? Take the seasons for example. In our experience, the seasons provide a good indication of the time and temperature of the year. We divide them up into spring, summer, autumn and winter and each year into twelve months. From looking at the month we’re in and the temperate in that month, we can make a fairly accurate statement about which season we are in. With this mind, does it not now seem ludicrous to suppose that the weather changes throughout the year are for this sole purpose and further still, is this not yet more evidence of the human inclination to categorise and order things?
Explain the Strengths and Weaknesses of the Design Argument for the existence of God. The design argument, also known as the argument of teleology, is the argument for the existence of God, or some kind of intelligent creator. Derived from the Greek word ‘telos’ meaning end or purpose, it is an a posteriori argument, because it is based on experience, not on reason or revelation, using the ...
Perhaps the greatest opponent of teleology is the theory of evolution. Evolution proposes that certain species have over time become extinct, but surely this undermines the notion that that each animal has been designed to flourish in its respective environment? Evolution does not fit in with the concept that everything in nature was designed to work in conjunction with the earth, if so, then why do some species flourish and some die out? Further more evolution provides solid grounds for supposing that the world in which we live is not in fact perfectly designed but has seemingly gone through a process of trial and error to come to be in its current position. Wynn too considers the problem of evolution in relation to the design argument “ …From the perspective of evolutionary theory, we may wish to say that the adaptedness of creatures to their environments, which so impressed Paley and others, is best understood not as a matter of contrivance, but in terms of a random exploration of possibilities” A Guide to the subject Philosophy of Religion, edited by Brian Davies, Mark Wynn – Design Arguments, p61
Evolution also provides sound explanation for the apparent order and purpose of things in nature, there is no room for a designer within the evolutionary theory, nature has worked out its most successful way of functioning over millions of years through trial and error. Furthermore the theory of evolution suggests that this process continues in nature as we speak. Plants and animals will continue to change and adapt alongside their environments for the foreseeable future. Evolution provides not only explanation for how the natural world came to be, but also for how it will be in the future, a notion to which it proves difficult to stretch the design argument.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT First of all, I am grateful to the Almighty God for establishing me to complete this project. I wish to express my sincere thanks to SOTERO H. LAUREL Librarians, for providing me with all the necessary facilities and books that I need to be able to carefully analyze all the topics that have been discuss in philosophy of human existence. I also thank Professor Josefina C. Perez, one ...
One theory of those who adhere to the design argument is that the conditions necessary for the earth to be habitable are so precarious that it could not have been by chance that such conditions were met i.e. a designer had to have implemented it, that designer being God. An example of such a condition could be; the distance of the sun from the earth, if it were nearer or farther or more or less powerful our planet would be inhabitable. They might argue that the odds are a billion to one that all the right conditions could be met in order for the earth to be habitable, but surely since we are here and functioning in the world, the odds are 100% that it can indeed happen. The fact that the odds were high for the right conditions to occur is still not indicative of the universe having a designer. As we have no experience of the universe, we could just as plausibly conclude that the wrong sequence of conditions occurred for millions of years until the right one finally happened.
Finally the design argument fails to examine the nature of God Himself. If we are trying to conclude as to weather the argument provides sufficient grounds for Gods existence, should we not first consider just what God is? The Judeo – Christian God to which the argument refers is defined as being omnipotent, omniscient and omnibenevolent. But even if we accept that the universe was indeed designed by some greater most powerful being, this does little to illustrate that beings goodness and knowledge. For if the being is all knowing, then why could he not foresee natural disasters such as earthquakes that cause devastation and stop them?
And furthermore if the being in question is all good, then why did He not design the world in a way that such things would not occur in the first place?
The problem of evil is one that persists in presenting itself in any argument concerning theism. One cannot consider the possibility of the design argument being sufficient to prove Gods existence, without examining the problem of evil. The nature of the Judeo – Christian God, cited as being all powerful, all good and all knowing suggests that if such a being existed, evil could not co-exist alongside it. Even if we eliminate the problem of man made horrors such as genocide, which theists would explain through the theory of mans free will, we are still left with natural phenomena such as tsunami that cause devastation and death in the world. If our world’s designer is omnibenevolent, how could He let such horror occur?
Carolyn Nystrom • Illustrated by Sandra Speidel Before I … THE GOD’S DESIGN FOR SEX SERIES Sample from Before I Was Born / ISBN 9781600060144 Copyright © 2008 NavPress Publishing. All rights reserved. … God’s Design for Sex is a series of books you can read with your children at ages three to five, five to eight, RESOURCE LIST: SEX EDUCATION – Focus on the Family: Helping … ...
Upon examining all the points raised in this paper I find little evidence to conclude from the design argument that there is proof for the existence of God. The argument seems to be functioning on an assumption, that being, that things that appear ordered and purposeful have a designer. Combine this with the weak analogy between the universe and man made products and the lack of evidence for the nature of the God in question, leads me to the conclusion that the design argument is not sufficient in evidence to prove Gods existence, or even that any being designed the universe.
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