• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Examine the main ideas and strengths of the design argument for the existence of God.

Free essay example:

Miss Natasha Hussain

Examine the main ideas and strengths of the design argument for the existence of God.

The design argument is based on the universe meaning its regularity and purpose. The universe appears to have an end or beginning (a Telos) towards which everything is working, and for which it has been designed.

The first philosopher I will talk about is William Palely. He was a famous 18th and 19th century philosopher. Palely was born in 1743 and died in 1805. Palely wrote a book called “Natural Theology”. This book written by Palely has been very influential. The argument put forward by Palely for the existence of God is known as a Teleological argument.

William Paleys analogy of watch and the watchmaker compares the world to a watch.

The watch has features of design, which make it unlikely that the watch has simply always been there. The watch has all these fabulous features which can not have just made its self or just appeared by chance so therefore, there must be a designer for this watch. I.e. the design needs a designer.

The designer of this watch must be intelligent as all the parts of the watch fit perfectly together and the watch was intended to fulfil a purpose. All of the parts of the watch work perfectly together, so the parts fulfil the function it was designed for.

Paley argued just like the watch that the world couldn’t have just came about just by chance so basically the world could not be random chance, there are loads of things in the world which suggest it has been designed by a designer e.g. birds.

As birds just have not came about by chance they suggest that they need a designer.

So the watch needed a maker; the watchmaker.

William Palely used natural theology to prove the existence of God.

Natural theology is studying nature to come to conclusions about God.

William palely looked around he world and came to the conclusion that there had to be someone who designed the world and that someone was God.

Rocks are simple objects and a product of the natural forces therefore they don’t require a designer where as a watch which is a complex object could not be a product of natural forces and therefore needed a designer.

The world is a complex place with mechanisms and processes e.g. water cycle, respiratory system, and the seasons.

Therefore the world must have a designer, which is God.

Designers are superior in knowledge/skill to the object they design.

The world designer must be superior to the world.

Existence of the world concludes us to believe that there has to be a world designer and that world designer must be God.

F.R Tennant was another philosopher who argued the design argument for the existence of God. Tennant was a 20th century philosopher and lived during the 1930s and his argument for the existence of God was wrote after William Paley.

Tennants argument takes into account the ideas put forward by other philosophers such as the theory of evolution (Charles Darwin) and also the Big Bang Theory.

Tennant uses probability in his argument; he said that the universe came into existence in another manner, not by chance. He also said there is an extraordinary list of physical conditions which have to be in place for every human life to be possible. He said that is it impossible to create life?

You could have all the primary conditions necessary for such life such as sunlight, oxygen, yet life cannot be possible, there is another factor that is required and that is likely to be God.

Tennant also said that the universe is not chaotic but instead he said that the universe had order, regularity, beauty, life and self-conscious beings. He also said that even if we accept life has evolved, there is still the problem of where that life has come from. Tennant used the evolution theory of Charles Darwin in his argument. He said, “The survival of the fittest presupposes the arrival of the fit”.

Tenant believed that the world is the way it is and that we are they way we are because of Gods guiding intelligence behind his creation e.g. Big Bang. It is this that leads him to the conclusion that there is no coincidence that everything on earth is just right for human existence: God intended it to be that way.

The world processes are not that complex and the world does not resemble a obviously designed object like a watch.

Even if the world did have a designer the world is finite and imperfect, therefore the world needs finite and imperfect designer.

The designer may have died or just abonded his creation.

Miss Collins

Philosophy of religion

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God section.

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Related GCSE Religious Studies (Philosophy & Ethics) Skills and Knowledge Essays

See our best essays

Related GCSE Existence of God essays

  1. Outline the Design Argument for the Existence of God

    In his 1943 book, "Footprints of God" he states that the o-zone layer is clear evidence for design. It's purpose, efficiency, and suitability to its job is clearly designed. "A wall which prevents death to every living thin, just the right thickness and exactly the correct defence gives every evidence

  2. T H E C O S M O L O G ...

    Z. Phillips, in a chapter 'From world to God' in his book Faith and Philosophic Enquiry, sees the Cosmological argument as an attempt to explain the world. In Dostoyevsky'sThe Brothers Karamazov, Dimitri asks why a baby is crying - he is not interested in the circumstances but in the larger question.

  1. Explain the Ontological argument.

    As soon as we take into consideration other peoples principles the law cease to be our objectively moral duty. If the law is no longer objectively duty, there is no need for God to underpin the system (against Trethowan and Owen).

  2. Free essay

    Comment on The Design Argument

    I believe that William Paley's theory of the design of the universe by a super intelligent being is correct as it is supported by the major world leading religions such as Islam, Christianity and Judaism. As a watch is designed with all the cogs and screws in certain places for

  1. Explain Paley's argument for the existence of God based on the apparent order and ...

    If the parts had been different, or fitted together in different ways, it wouldn't do its job. The chances of a watch being constructed by blind chance are small. Where we have something that's clearly been designed for a specific purpose, we can safely say that a Designer gave it that purpose.

  2. What are the key ideas of the cosmological argument for the existence of God? ...

    "The third way is taken from possibility and necessity. We find in nature things that are possible to be and not to be, since they are found to be generated, and to be corrupted, and consequently, it is possible for them to be and not to be.

  1. "The Design Argument fails because of its weaknesses" Examine and comment on this claim

    We are not aware of any variation to what we see now. We only know this world and what is around us and what we have seen, we have only seen all of this once so there is no evidence to claim it has been designed because we have only seen everything once.

  2. Outline the design argument for the existence of God.

    He felt that the great strength of the Design Argument lay in the 'temporal order' of the universe. A universal order, he thought, was too big for science to explain: all science can do is to assume the existence of natural laws and work within them.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work