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Assess the view that the design argument provides a convincing proof for the existence of God.

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Introduction

Assess the view that the design argument provides a convincing proof for the existence of God. (25 marks) The design argument can be used by theists, to provide evidence to support the existence of God, although there are many issues surrounding the validity of this theory. The basic argument consists of five main points, each of which can be used to suggest the need for a designer. It is the fact that these points merely suggest there is a designer, yet many theist philosophers leap from this, to the idea of the designer being God, which causes friction surrounding the argument. Firstly, there are regularities in the behaviour of world, and laws of nature seem to be a true and regular concept most of the time. This suggests the world contains order and structure. A an example of this can be seen with the formation of the human body, and how such a complex structure is created in a set way, each and every time. Swinburne believes in 'design qua regularity', meaning he believes that due to the design evident in the world, there must be a designer. Furthermore, he believed that the designer must be external, to enable him to impose this regularity without being part of it - the only being external to our world, which we know of, is God. So, for Swinburne, the evidence of regularity can support the idea of there being a God. ...read more.

Middle

Therefore, the eye has a definite, although varied, set of purposes, which it has been designed to fulfil. Aquinas had a 'design qua purpose' view to the design argument. He believed that when looking at the world, a clear level of design is evident and that everything within the world has a function - even when this purpose is unknown. Aquinas believed that these things carried out their function simply because they are designed that way. Thus, as everything is working towards an end purpose, God must be the 'driving force' (2) behind the world. Furthermore, most scientists are now happy to agree that the chances of the universe of being created, and then evolving, in the way that it has, by random chance or chaos is so small that its not worth calculating. This idea of probability can be seen in the instance of a storm. For a storm to have occur, all the elements with regards the atmosphere, have to correct - one could argue that the chances of this happening randomly are so slim that this provides evidence to support the idea of a designer. However, Hume argued that the world could have come about from a time of disorder, which would somehow explain the evident order within the world. However, Tennant would respond to this by accepting that a chaotic cause for the universe may have been possible, although the chance of all the conditions being ...read more.

Conclusion

However, one can easily argue that Hume has misunderstood this comparison. A watch is, indeed, a simplistic mechanism, however, despite this, it required a designer. Yet, the world is so much more complex that it is unimaginable to suggest that it could have come about without the intervention of a designer. Finally, Hume rejected the idea of there being just one designer, in favour of there being multiple designers. However, the principle of 'Ockham's Razor' can be taken into account to counter-criticise Hume. This principle basically rejects the idea of overcomplicating an issue, in this case, by increasing the number of designers - and thus Gods - needed to create the universe, particularly as one God, by definition, is capable of creating the world independently. To conclude, I believe the design argument is relatively successful in providing convincing proof for the existence of God. Although an atheist, like Hume, can easily come up with a number of criticisms of the argument, it is equally as easily to find enough evidence to dismiss these criticisms. However, the idea that this argument merely proves the need for a designer is understandable, as scholars have to make a leap in order to include God in the argument. Therefore, one could say this is an incomplete theory and it thus fails to conclusively prove the existence of a God. (1) 'Primary Evidence' handout. (2) 'Aquinas - a classical...' handout. (3) 'Versions of the Design...' handout. ?? ?? ?? ?? Religious Studies Date: 11/07/2008 ...read more.

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