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Outline the design argument for the existence of God.

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Introduction

1 (a) Outline the design argument for the existence of God. The Design Argument for the existence of God has a pre-Christian pedigree, having originated with the Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato and also having been developed in the Middle East. It is an a posteriori argument, making it also synthetic and inductive. The Design, or Teleological Argument, is actually made up of many different arguments - either arguing 'design for' or 'design from', however the most well known argument is that put forward by William Paley at the very beginning of the nineteenth century. Paley basis his argument on Aquinas's Fifth Way. Their argument (also seen as the classical one) observes that the universe has purpose, order and regularity: indeed, the complexity of the universe shows evidence of design. In the opinion of some theologians, such design implies a designer, whom Aquinas and Paley identified as the Christian God. To illustrate this, Paley used the analogy of discovering a pocket watch upon a heath. Even if you didn't know what it did, he said, you could still see that it was so intricately designed that it could not therefore just have formed, like a rock, but must have been fashioned by a designer. If we see the universe as this pocket watch, it follows that similar effect has similar cause, and therefore the universe must have a designer, 'this being we call God.' (Aquinas). ...read more.

Middle

is unsound, as the world and universe in which we exist, for whatever reason, is clearly not a machine, but an organic vegetable. It is therefore wrong to use such an analogy, as any conclusions drawn from a machine will not cohere with that of a vegetative universe. The weaker the similarity of the analogy, the weaker the argument. In addition to this, Hume argued that similar effects do not necessarily imply similar causes. No one has seen the cause of a universe. Is it not wholly possible for similar effects to be the result of different causes? Also, we know that a machine has been built, as we are able to see it, and there fore know it has a designer. However, we have no knowledge or evidence of creation of other universes, and therefore do not know that there is a designer behind the universe. Hume also argued that it was wrong to see the necessary driving force of the universe to be that of an intelligent designer, when it could just as easily be generation, gravity, etc instead. Indeed, why not have a different governing motion for each part of the world? Similar to his first argument, Hume asked why should not other analogies be possible? Hume argued that 'the world plainly resembles more an animal or a vegetable than it does a watch or a knitting loom' does it not follow, therefore, that there is greater reason to compare it to a vegetable or fruit? ...read more.

Conclusion

By including Darwin's theory, this means that the argument has added scientific impetus. Richard Swinburne accepted the Anthropic Principal, but thought that the universe could just as easily be chaos (as mentioned above). As it is not, it is more probable that there is a Designer. In mathematics (another science) higher probability has the stronger argument, and by also using Ockman's Razor, whereby the simplest explanation is the most likely, the existence of a God is much strengthened. Thirdly, Tennant also put forward the Aesthetic argument. It is based upon the human ability to appreciate beauty, art, music and literature. Beauty is in abundance in this world, and it clearly has no necessary function. Beauty is pleasing to intelligent life, but is not always the most practical or easy way for something to be. Beauty in this world suggests that this world has been designed, and therefore points to a designer who is outside of time as we know it, who Christians would identify with as the Creator in the Book of Genesis. There are many more arguments for and against design, however, such an argument can go on and on ad infinitum. In my opinion, I think that the Design Argument is a very strong argument, however, I think that once the critics have had their part to say, the argument is too full of holes to stand up, and consequently neither succeeds or fails, but can be used in weak support of other arguments, such as the Cosmological. ...read more.

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