Design Argument

  • Created by: Chantal
  • Created on: 24-04-13 15:19

Design Argument

  • A posteriori- through senses
  • Inductive argument- moves from observations in the world to conclusion
  • Aquinas (Fifth Way) (Arguments by Design Based on ‘Regularity’)
  • Paley (Arguments by Design that are Based on the Idea of ‘Purpose’)
  • Darwin Criticism
  • Mill’s Criticism
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  • Order, regularity and purpose are seen as marks of design- God must be the source of that design
  • Telos= ‘end’ or ‘purpose’
  • A Posteriori argument- through senses
  • Inductive- move from observation of the world to God
  • Aims to prove the existence of God Infers the existence of God from a particular aspect or character of the world, namely presence of order, regularity and purpose
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Aquinas- Fifth Way (Order)

  • Last of his five ways (Order):
    • When you look at the natural world you can see that everything in it follows natural laws, even if the things are not conscious, thinking beings
    • If things follow natural laws they to do well and have a purpose
    • However, if a thing cannot think for itself it does not have any goal or purpose unless it is directed by something that thinks eg an arrow reaches its goal by someone such as Legolas
    • Concludes everything in the natural world that does not think for itself heads towards its goal/purpose because it is directed by something which does think. That something we call God
  • Human beings think for themselves the reason why human beings exist has to be explained as human beings are not immortal
  • Everything in the natural world is directed to some goal, whether intelligent or not
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Aquinas- Argument by Regularity

  • Argument by regularity:
    • Regularity of succession= he bases his argument on the fact that things in nature follow certain laws that lead to certain results
    • An arrow hits a target even though it does not have a mind of its own (an effect)
    • The archer (someone with a mind of their own) shot the arrow (a cause)
    • Things in the natural world follow natural laws even though they do not necessarily have a mind of their own (an effect)
    • Someone with a mind of their own caused the natural world to behave in this way. We call this someone God (a cause)
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Aquinas- Weaknesses

  • Weakness’ in Aquinas’ argument:
  • Aquinas assumes that things in the natural world have some purpose and are aimed at some goals. He never provides examples. But he does explain this point in much greater depth in a separate book
  • Id it correct to assume everything follows a general law set down by a designer?
  • Richard Swinburne has pointed out Aquinas’ argument is not entirely satisfactory
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Paley- Watch Analogy

  • If you went for a walk and found a rock you could conclude it had been there forever. If you found a watch you could examine it and find it had moving parts which demonstrate that-
    • The watch was for a purpose the parts work together  for a purpose
    • The parts are ordered in a certain way to make the watch function
    • If parts are arranged in a different way the watch does not work
  • Concluded the watch had a maker who ‘must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificers or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction and designed its us
  • Suppose the watch had another imaginary function, producing other watches
  • If this were the case admiration for the watchmaker would be increase
  • Concluded any person finding such a watch would conclude that the design of the watch implies ‘the presence of intelligence and mind’
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Paley- Watch Analogy Conclusion

  • Just as the watch being designed necessitates a designer to explain why it exists so all of nature requires a much greater designer
  • The complexity of nature is far greater than any machine humans can make
  • The whole of nature requires a grand designer. That designer is God
  • Also comments on complexity of human eye
  • Concluded It is mechanistic, assumes the natural world is too
  • Paley’s argument is only as strong as his analogy

  • Natural world is not mechanistic in the sense of a man made machine

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Aquinas and Paley

  • Paley= arguments by design that are based on the idea of ‘purpose’  whereas
  • Aquinas= arguments by design based in ‘regularity’ claiming tat features of regularity and order must be caused by something
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Darwin Criticism

  •  Evolution has caused things to be as they are
  • Revolutionised thinking about the way in which species including humans developed
  • Darwin provided an alternative explanation for the design of the world without reference to God
  • Saw the process of natural selection as gradual and ingoing- the reason of natural and random processes
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Mill's Criticism

  • Cruelty of nature:
    • Mill feels that observation of nature does not logically lead to the conclusion that it is designed for human good
    • The 2 cruellest things that humans do are to take life and to deprive someone of their livelihood. These 2 things are done by nature regularly via natural disasters
  • Mill’s observations of nature lead him to conclude that it is not set up for the good of humans or any other creatures.
  • The ‘good’ that is in the world is largely due to human effort
  • Mill notes that if a human beings were to do some of the things that nature does then they would be charged with murder.
  • What also strikes Mill is the indiscriminate nature of these events. The noble and wicked are alike punished. There is no justice
  • The theistic argument that evil exists to lead to a greater good or prevent a worse evil is sarcastically dealt with doesn't convince Mill
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