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What are the strengths of the design argument for the existence of God?

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Introduction

What are the strengths of the design argument for the existence of God? Philosophers have been trying to find evidence for or against the existence of a God, and one of the oldest arguments trying to prove/ disprove this is the design argument. The classical form of the argument looks at what we can see in the world. Philosophers look at the order and balance in the world and conclude that it must be designed. They also look at the complexity of animals and human beings. Cicero is one of the oldest philosophers who used this argument to try and prove that there was a God. He believed that the fact we can predict future astronomical events from the movement of stars and planets meant that there must be design in the world. Aquinas also used the argument to try and show design in the world. In the fifth of his 'five ways' he argued that matter combines with other matter to make new things without any communication, and so the matter must have been designed to work that way, and a design needs a designer. Later on, in 1713 William Derham wrote books that argued that a world where everything is mutually dependant on everything else suggests design and a designer. It also suggests that because everything works together, it must all be designed by the same single designer. ...read more.

Middle

This is not something needed to survive. The concept of natural selection is the 'survival of the fittest' and this would not explain why we look after our sick and disabled. The modern design argument makes it possible for science to back up religion, and the concept of design makes the chance of the world developing as it has far more probable. Because of this, the modern design argument is strong in trying to prove a divine being. What are the weaknesses of this argument? The classic form of the argument had many loop holes and hidden assumptions that David Hume picked up on. Comparing his argument to Paley's (which was written later than Hume's works) we can see how it has been illogical in some places. Hume's first critique was that we cannot compare a watch to the world. The watch is something mechanical, not natural, and therefore they are not alike. He also pointed out that looking at the universe and concluding that order leads to design and a designer makes no sense, as a universe would have to contain order for it to be a universe (an A priori argument). He also pointed out that even if the world was designed, we cannot just assume it was the God of Christian theism. The world could have been a trial run, there could have been many God's designing the world and he/they may not necessarily fit the claims that Christianity makes of them. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some may say that the chances of the universe forming as it has are greatly increased if there is a designer. This would tip the balance to the positive side: that there is a God. Others may look at the world and say that it could have occurred by chance, and that the problem of evil would tip the scale to the negative side: there is no God, or God is imperfect. One could say that we simply cannot know if there is a God from this argument, because the universe could have happened either way. The modern arguments against the design argument have some assumptions, for example, in Kant's argument he assumes we have an incorrect sense of order. The suggestion that beauty is in the eye of the beholder also has no more proof than us having a natural sense of beauty. Because faults appear on both sides of the argument, the idea that they are equally convincing is probably sensible, and so people must make their own minds up about what to believe. When comparing the strengths and weaknesses we can see that both could be true, and so it depends on a person's perception of the reality of beauty and order. If we take the approach that we cannot know what reality is, we could find neither argument convincing, as they are based on our senses and emotions which potentially are incorrect... ...read more.

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