- Created by: mrmendes
- Created on: 21-02-19 15:51
- The Design Argument is ‘a posteriori’
- Suggests that certain aspects of the universe are so perfectly adapted to fulfill their
function that they display evidence of being deliberately designed.
- Such design can only be explained with reference to an intelligent, infinitely great
designer – God.
Basic arguemnt is...
- The universe has order, purpose and regularity
- The complexity of the universe shows evidence of design • Such design needs a designer
- The designer of the universe is God
Design qua regularity
Some philosophers believe that the order and regularity of the universe is proof of a design- er – this is ‘design qua regularity’ and supported by St Thomas Aquinas
The Fifth of his Five Ways
- Many objects do not have the intelligence to work towards an end purpose themselves. (Aquinas used the example of an acorn whose end was an oak tree)
- Therefore, they must be directed by something that does have intelligence.
- Whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it is directed by some
being endowed with intelligence.
- Therefore, there must be an intelligent being and this being we call God.
- Just as an archer (intelligent being) must direct an arrow (an object without intelli-
gence), God must direct nature.
Design qua purpose - William Paley
Other philosophers look at the way the parts of the universe fit together for a purpose or function. This is ‘design qua purpose’, supported by William Paley.
William Paley’s analogy of the watch has become the classic explanation of the Argument:
- The watch could not be explained by saying that it had always been there.
- The watch has the feature of a manufactured machine in that the parts fit together to
achieve a specific function (e.g telling the time).
- Manufactured machines are the result of intelligent design.
- Objects in nature are analogous to manufactured machines.
- Analogous effects have analogous causes.
- Therefore, objects in nature are the result of something analogous to intelligent design.
- The agent responsible for such design must be God.
Differences between Paley and Aquinas
- Aquinas looks at the regularity of action – that ‘natural bodies’ act in a regular fashion to accomplish their ends.
- The order in the world is proof of a designer.
- Paley looks at design and how things fit together for a purpose.
- Complex arrangements suggest an intelligent designer.
Modern version - Tennant
Tennant, in his book; ‘Philosophical Theology’ said that there must be a designer because;
- The universe perfectly fits the development of life.
- The universe is designed in a way that allows life to grow and develop. • Most importantly, it is designed to develop intelligent human life.
- This is the ‘Anthropic Principle’.
Tennant also spoke of the ‘Aesthetic Argument’ – that human beings can appreciate and enjoy beauty, music, art, literature – none of which is vital to survival, but is there to develop qualities of beauty and love.
Challenges - Hume
- Humans do not have enough knowledge to know if the world is designed or not.
- Our world is more organic than mechanical so would be better compared to a carrot
than a watch.
- Similar effects do not necessarily imply similar causes.
- The existence of unpleasant features of nature suggests that God is not just and good.
- The analogy makes God more human than divine - if God is to be compared with a hu-
man designer then it limits him.
- The presence of order could be explained in many ways without reference to God.
- Unless the universe was an orderly place, people would not be around to comment on
- The universe could have come about by chance (e.g. Epicurean hypothesis).
- There could be many creators – a committee of gods.
Challenges - Natural selection
- Natural selection gives the appearance of design – but it is blind, unconscious and an automatic process.
- The universe is purely mechanistic, driven by biological impulses.
- Evolution is carried on through random mutations in the genetic make-up of living
- This lead to a mistaken belief that there was a designer.
- The world is not designed.
- The universe exists and is not chaotic but orderly.
- The reasoning leading to the existence of God uses empirical principles. • It is a centuries-old argument supported by many philosophers.
- it is an a posteriori argument and therefore based on empirical evidence. • It supports many scientific notions.
- Similar effects have similar causes.
- Science tell us that laws exist but not why they exist.
- Nature seems to have laws that are constant.
- The universe seems fine-tuned for life for human beings.
- The universe could be the result of a lucky chance.
- It does not follow that the designer must be God.
- There is no way to verify the truth of design claims.
- The world resembles more a carrot than a watch.
- To know that the universe must arise from intelligence we would have to have experienced the origin of the universe.
- The analogy with machines makes God more human than divine.
- There are unpleasant features of nature such as earthquakes and disease.
- The universe is bound to have the appearance of design since there could be no uni-
verse if parts of it were not mutually adapted.
- If the universe were not orderly we would not be around to comment on it. So it is not surprising we find order.