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'Darwin's theory of Evolution undermined the Argument from Design'. Is this true?

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Introduction

'Darwin's theory of Evolution undermined the Argument from Design'. Is this true? The Argument from Design assumes the existence of a Higher Intelligence who designed the universe with a sense of purpose. Pre Darwin, it was thought that this was evident in the apparent design of nature. Darwin's discovery of natural selection explained the complexities of the adaptive qualities evident in nature without the need to postulate an Omnipotent being. This became the more persuasive alternative. Post Darwin, the revised Argument from Design claims that; although Darwin probably gave a correct account for the process of evolution, it is not an ultimate one: The ultimate explanation and simplest hypothesis is that the process was masterminded by a designer God. William Paley (1743-1805) believed that human and animal bodies were like extremely complicated machines and such beautiful organisation could not be produced by chance. He famously coined the analogy of a watchmaker to demonstrate this argument: ".....every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference on the side of nature, of being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation." ...read more.

Middle

Anthony Kenny asserts that Darwin may be correct that the natural system is mechanistic in structure, but it can still operate teleologically: "The argument was only that the ultimate explanation of such adaptation be found in intelligence; and if the argument was correct, then any Darwinian success merely inserts an extra step between the phenomena and their ultimate explanation ". (Destiny, Purpose and Faith, p.72) For an ultimate explanation, there must be an account as to why and how the laws of evolution occurred in the first place. Dawkins assumes that we must just accept that they came about by some fortuitous coincidence. Most advocates of the Argument from Design do not dispute that Darwin was correct about natural selection, only that it cannot be assumed that there is not a Higher Intelligence responsible for guiding the evolutionary process. And furthermore, can use modern scientific research to support this. Physicist and theist, Russell Stannard puts forward the reviewed argument; in order for evolution to happen the characteristics of the physical world and the conditions under which they met were of such remarkable precision that it is practically impossible to believe they were subject to chance and not controlled by a Mind or Designer. ...read more.

Conclusion

God is the only unknown quantity in the theists' argument as oppose to the infinite unknowns in the infinite universes theory. But God is an entirely unknown entity, immune to empirical investigation, whereas the universe is physical in nature so at least, in principle, can be studied. Although for theists' like Stannard and Swinbourne God is not an unknown. The believer feels validation of God's existence in their everyday human experience. To ask someone of religious persuasion to accept that this God was ultimately responsible for fine tuning the universe is not asking them to accept anything new and is surely the ultimate and the only explanation which they seek.. For atheists like Dawkins though, there is no sufficient reason to postulate a designer God to explain the existence of the universe. However, Dawkins is also unsuccessful in concluding that Darwin completely undermined the Argument from Design. In light of Darwin's discoveries, Paley was wrong to assume that the existence of a designer God could be inferred from the apparent purpose serving order of the natural world. Yet, evolution theory fails to account for the mysterious series of coincidences under which the fabrics of the universe were formed. Neo-Darwinians have not provided enough evidence to disprove that a Higher Intelligence was ultimately responsible. Therefore Darwin's theory of evolution does not completely undermine the Argument from Design. ...read more.

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