The Design Argument

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  • Created by: amelia
  • Created on: 18-04-14 09:28


·        Sometimes called the teleological argument (from the Greek word ‘telos’ meaning end or purpose)

·        It attempts to prove the existence of God by reference to the process of creation

·        The design argument is one of cause and effect-claims certain phenomena within the universe display appear to have been designed (cause) in so far they have been perfectly adapted to fulfil their function

·        Cannot come by chance=can only be explained with reference to an intelligent, personal designer

·        Therefore we can draw an analogy between the works of human design and the works of nature

·        Sufficient similarities between the two to suggest the same cause and effect=design leading to function or purpose

·        The works of nature are far greater than the works of humanity=an infinitely greater designer must exist=points towards the existence of God

·        Scientific explanations for the creation and order of the world are not complete explanations

·        Does not mean scientific explanations of the universe and its features are to be rejected but rather like an analogy they point us towards the truth but are not the whole story

·        For believers only God can offer a complete explanation

·        Richard Swinburne= “Note that I am not postulating a ‘God of the gaps’, a god merely to explain the things which science has not yet explained.’

Key features of the design argument

·        It is an a posteriori argument=uses empirical evidence from our observation of the world to show that aspects of the universe seem to have been designed because they are perfectly adapted to fulfil their function

·        Suggests that such perfect adaption could not have come into existence simply by chance= the work of an intelligent, personal designer, whom some people call God

·        The first form of the argument=analogical=drawing an analogy between the world or its parts and objects of human design

·        The second form of the object=inductive=takes the perspective that the universe demonstrates regular order and motion both in its parts and in the whole

·        Supporters of the argument suggest that there are a number of crucial features that indicate the existence of an intelligent designer:

1.      Order-objects and scientific laws operate in a regular way

2.      Benefit-the universe provides all that is necessary for life

3.      Objects within the universe appear to be working towards an end or purpose

4.      Suitability for human life-the universe provides the right environment for human life

5.      Appearance-the beauty of nature and the universe suggests that it is intended for something more than basic survival

·        Richard Swinburne= “these phenomena are clearly things too big for science to explain…I am postulating a God to explain what science explains; I do not deny that science explains, but I postulate God to explain why science explains.”

St Thomas Aquinas

·        Catholic theologian (1225-1274)= was a…


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