the design argument

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  • Created by: launa
  • Created on: 08-04-13 15:14

what is the design argument?

the design argument attempts to prove the existence of god by reference to the process of creation , 

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A general summary of the basic form of the argumen

1) The world is full of orderly and complex things there is a lot of evidence of this for example the human eye .

2) the world is in some ways similar to orderly and complex things that humans make/ design  for example the watch 

3) 'like effects imply like causes' i.e if two things are similar,then the way in which they are made must also be similar 

4) if the world is similar to things that are designed by humans , then the world must be designed by 'someone '

5) the ' SOMEONE ' who designed the world must be god because onlyhe could create such an incredible world .

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key features of of the design argument !

  • the design argument is a posterior argument , because it makes use of empirical evidence , from our observation of the world in order to show that aspects of the universe seem to have been designed, as they are perfectly adapted to fulfil their function.
  • the Design Argument then goes on to suggest that such perfect adaption could not have come into existence simply by chance ,instead it appears to be the work of an intelligent designer i.e ' GOD ! '
  • supporters of the design argument argue that there are a number of crucial features that indicate the existence of an intelligent designer :
  • Order  - the laws of nature mean that the universe works in a well - ordered and definable way , which we are able to analyse and understand 
  • Benefit - 
  • the universe provides all that is necessary for life (eg the water cycle provides fresh water ) 
  • Suitability for life - conditions on earth are exactly as they need to be in order for human life to survive (e.g earth is the right distance away from the sun)
  • Aesthetic value - the universe is beautiful , and we are able to appreciate this beauty , this makes life more pleasent which a loving god would want for us 
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William Paley ( 1743-1805 )

William Paley is a christian minister whom believed that the argument truly proved the existence of GOD , Paley puts forward a version of the design argument based upon design qua regularity  . his argument is based upon the 'world -watch analogy ' ie .comparison on the grounds that both are orderly and complex . therefore if the watch requires a ' watchmaker ' then the world requires a ' worldmaker! ' 

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David Hume ( 1711 -1776 )

David hume set out a version of the design argument that was similar to paleys (though humes was published 1st) .Hume compared the world to machines that humans might design/make and like paley,used the idea that ' like effects imply like causes ' to show that the world was designed / made 

However Hume did NOT formulate the argument as an attempt to prove the existence of GOD. He first explained the steps in the argument , so that he could then demolish the argument and show why it doesn't in fact work as a proof of GOD's existence . 

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Richard Dawkins ( ' the blind watchmaker ' )

Richard Dawkins is a fierce critic of the Design Argument , and uses the idea of a ' blind watchmaker ' to show that order and complexity can come about from sheer chance . 

he says that if there is a "creator" of the universe , then perhaps he is more like a stupid and incompetent carpenter bundeling his work together by a trial and error process .

logically speaking there is no reason why incredibly complex things can't simply result from a chance process 

the old philosophical idea - if you set an infinite number of monkeys at an infinite number of typewriters and left them for an infinite length of time , then eventually one of them would type out the complete works of shakespeare ! 

that would just be one of the infinite combinations of letters / symbols they could produce , it may look as though it was intentional , but would infact be a complete fluke ( Unlikely chance occurrence)  this could be said for out universe ( there could have been many failed atempts that we are unaware of and will never know about )  

  • we dont know how many goes the creator had of the design but this creation could have been the best of them all
  • if something out there did create the world ,then eventually after a few atempts they will get it correct . 
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Charles Darwin ( Evolution not design )

many consider charles darwins theory of evolution to be the final nail in the coffin for the design argument . 

if dawin is correct , then there is no need to explain the complexity of things like the human eye by saying this could only be the result of design and not chance 

instead they would have developed in tiny steps ,over stages, over billions of years  although the end result may = remarkable the steps themselves may not be and could easily be the result of chance .

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strengths of the argument

  • modern science has shown that the universe is so perfectly suited to human life that the most sensible conclusion is that it was deliberately designed this way 
  • the argument has an emotional force to it ! , it just seems right in some ways because there is something impressive about the universe ! 
  • science might be able to explain how order develops , but it cant tell us why .theories like evolution should make us more amazed at the world .
  • there are things thats cant be explained by evolution .e.g. the ability to experience beauty . as we do not need this ability to survive so maybe it is a gift from god .
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weaknesses of the argument

  • the order and complexity in the world could just come about naturally or by chance ( eg evolution ) 
  • the argument is inductive not deductive .you dont have to accept the conlusion because there is no direct evidence of how the world was made . IT PROVES NOTHING 
  • the analogy is weak because the world isnt actually that similar to something like a watch so needn't have been made in a similar way 
  • how do we explain things like evil , natural disasters etc ? bad design or no designer ? either way this = evidence against god 
  • if the world maker is similar to a watch maker then does he have a body ? work in a team ? copy other designers ? this proves it isnt god 
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possible conclusions !!

  • the design argument proves the existence of GOD 
  • the design argument does not prove that god exists but it does show that he probably does .it can be added to other arguments inorder for the argument to build up gods existence 
  • the design argument is a waste of time as it fails to prove GOD existes 
  • we are unable to explain why the univeres is the way it is but nor do we need to . we should just accept it 
  • we cant say whether or not the design argument is a success or a failure because it is still being debated 
  • we can never hope to prove gods existence as he isnt an object or a thing . people have to choose whether to believe or not believe , despite the lack of proof 
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