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What are they key features of the design argument for the existence of God?

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Q) What are they key features of the design argument for the existence of God? Design arguments seek to move from facts about the world to the existence of God. As such they are inductive, a posteriori arguments. The Design argument is actually a broad title under which a number of arguments fall. Swinburne in his book 'The Existence of God' suggests three different groupings of these arguments. There are Teleological arguments which argue from what is seen as a general pattern of order in the Universe. Arguments from providence are those which seek to argue in favour of God's existence from the provision for the needs of conscious beings. The third type of argument is known as The Argument from Beauty. A clear distinction between these arguments can be drawn between those which argue from design and arguments to design. The former is close to the Teleological form of the argument whilst the latter is closer to the Arguments from Providence. William Paley is thought to have produced the most famous form of the Teleological Argument. Paley uses an analogy between a watch and the world. Looking at a watch one can see it has been designed for an intelligent purpose, it is suggested that design suggests a designer. Paley transferred this to the world claiming it showed the marks of design for an intelligent purpose, thus implying a designer, God. ...read more.


The Teleological Argument was described by Immanuel Kant as the oldest, clearest and most reasonable argument for the existence of God though he himself admitted to finding it personally unconvincing. Part of the argument's strength lies in its simplicity, it is a very simple argument to understand. One can relate to the argument as humans are by themselves designers by nature, take the watch for example, so it is natural for humans to think of things as having a purpose. The argument also makes use of analogy. Whether this is using a watch, an eye, or an acorn using concrete images to explain abstract ideas aids understanding of the argument by placing it within a context that can be easily understood. If the argument is easily understood as it follows its inductive course, it stands to reason that it will become a more convincing line of argument. Some have also cited that the argument's strength comes from its relation with scripture such as Rom 1:20 "For since the creation of the world his invisible attributes, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." This extract can be seen to have much in common with the Teleological argument which suggests that we can see design in the world which infers a designer, God. ...read more.


Hume also suggested that the designer(s) could be stupid or even downright evil, whatever the case may be it is hard to think of any of these properties could be proven. He also asked whether the order we see is imposed upon the chaos in which we live by humans, who insist upon finding a pattern and a meaning where non may exist. Indeed, in light of such considerations and criticisms, the recent forms of the Teleological Argument put forward by F.R Tennant and Richard Swinburne are less absolute than those proposed in the past. In short the success of the Design Argument rests upon probability and individual judgement. The Design Argument, as illustrated by the various criticisms of it, is by no means conclusive, if it was then everyone would know that God exists, as opposed to now when a significant number believe that God exists. If one believes that the universe is a product of blind chance then the Design Argument will not prove successful, as what it suggests as elements of design would instead be assigned as a product of chance. However, the idea of the universe just being here, a brute fact, a product of blind chance and nothing more is a personally unsatisfactory one due to the extraordinary nature of the universe and so whilst the Design Argument may not conclusively prove the existence of God it suggests that the existence of a Designer, who we know as God, is a more probable likelihood than not. Matthew Ebbs ...read more.

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