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Outline the Design Argument for the Existence of God

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Outline the Design Argument for the Existence of God The design argument, or Teleological argument works on the theory that design, order, and regularity in the world is apparent evidence for the existence of God. Teleological comes from the Greek word Teleos meaning design, or order. It is a Posterioriargument, and dates back to the time of Plato, and flourished largely throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, while the descriptive sciences, Zoology, botany, anatomy, astronomy, were being developed. The descriptive sciences allowed teleologists to support their cases with many different examples in the world that might prove the existence of God. Basically, the argument is that as the world has evidence for design and order, within the trees, animals and other features of the world, and there are many features of life that are exceedingly complex, so there must have been someone or something to design it. The only explanation for this is God. All things that function have a specific purpose, so the argument questions why they do this, and who designed them to do so. The teleological argument can be divided into two equally valid parts. Design qua regularity, and design qua purpose. Design qua regularity, according to "Philosophy of Religion" looks at: "Design in relation to the order and regularity in the universe." The argument centres around the fact that the order in the universe, and the way everything works naturally, for example rotation of planets, is evidence for a divine designer. Design qua purpose, again according to "Philosophy of religion" looks at: "...the evidence of design in relation to the ways in which the parts of the universe appear to fit together for some purpose." It focuses on everything being built for a reason, and every individual thing being created with a purpose. These complex parts of the world suggest a designer. There are several different forms of teleological arguments, and many different supporters and critics. ...read more.


He concluded that as there is such regularity in the universe, that it is unlikely to be coincidence, and that it is most likely to have been designed. And if it was, then it was probably God. His theory came down to probabilities. Although a highly popular argument for the existence of God, still widely studied in modern day, there are also many critics of the teleological argument. It can be argued that the design argument fails due to its weaknesses. By studying some ideas of some of the critics of the argument, we can come closer to determining the success or failure of it. Possibly the most formidable critic of the teleological argument is David Hume, and the most famous criticism was put forth by him. Firstly, his opinions completely contradicted those of Paley. It is commonly believed that Hume was directly criticising Paley's argument, but this is incorrect. His thoughts were written in dialogues throughout his life from 1711-1776, and were not published until he died. They were published by his nephew, as if they had been made public within Hume's lifetime, his contemporaries would have shunned him, and it would cause outrage. Paley's book, "Arguments for the Existence of God" was not produced until 1802 so it shows that Hume could not have been criticising him. Hume made many different points within his criticism of the teleological argument. He made 5 main points. * The analogy between the world and any artifact is weak. * The design argument explains the order in nature by tracing its cause to a former order existing in the form of the creator. This does not explain the mentality behind the creator, and who developed him/her. * Any world will look designed no matter how it came into existence * The world could be the imperfect first attempt at creation by a minor deity. An imperfect world could surely not have had a perfect designer. ...read more.


Anthropomorphism is the idea that believers in God are creating an image of God having such human characteristics to achieve their analogy, that he it is removing his divine distinctiveness that makes him what he is. So what of the question of there being design in the universe? Is there really design, or do we just think that what we are seeing is design. There is no proof either way, just theories and probabilities. The teleological argument's success depends on the opinion of the individual, and comes down to nothing more than probabilities. We are unable to say "God created the earth" but a theist may say "It is probable that God created the earth." A very famous opinion on this argument was by Paul Davies. "This is really a question of your threshold of conviction. As the philosopher John Lesley has remarked, if every time we turned a rock over we saw the message 'Made by God' stamped on it, then I guess everybody would have to assume that we did live in a universe of his design. It has to be a matter of personal taste whether you regard the accumulated evidence as compelling enough to make that leap. But inevitably it's outside the scope of science as such." This means that whether the cases and arguments for the world having been designed are valid enough to prove the design theory right is down to the individual opinion. However, it is unscientific, but not everything has to be. While there is no clear cut proof to say the universe was designed by a God, there is also no conclusive evidence to prove otherwise. The teleological argument needs to take into account evil and suffering in the world in order to be a success. From the supporting theists' arguments, they do not appear to address these factors in great detail. So the design argument does fail partially because of its weaknesses, but is, to a certain extent, a success in pointing to the possibility of a divine creator, through evidence provided that cannot be totally contradicted or disproved. ...read more.

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