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The Design Argument for the existence of God.

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The Design Argument The Design Argument for the existence of God is often known as the Teleological Argument; telos meaning 'end' or 'purpose' in Greek. It is a posteriori argument based on observation of the apparent evidence of order, purpose and regularity in the universe, which makes the world appear to be designed. Such design implies a designer and this serves as a basis for the belief in God, the grand designer of the world, the universe and all that is in them. This argument makes the basic assumption that design does exist in the universe and that all things have a specific purpose and can be divided into two categories: design qua regularity and design qua purpose. Design qua regularity looks at design in relation to the order and regularity in the universe (e.g. cycles, seasons). Philosophers who support this argument consider that the order and regularity shown in the universe is evidence of a designer at work. Thomas Aquinas' Teleological argument argued from design qua regularity in the fifth of his Five Ways. Taken from the governance of the world, Aquinas argues that since those things that lack knowledge seem to innately act towards a beneficial end, and this is evident from the regularity seen in the universe - how things always or nearly always act in the same way to obtain the best result. Hence, it can be concluded that they reach their end designedly. Whatever lacks knowledge must be moved towards an end through the guidance and direction of an intelligent being; e.g. as the arrow is directed by the archer. This intelligent being must be God. Design qua purpose looks at the evidence of design in relation to the ways in which the parts of the universe appear to interconnect to fulfil a specific purpose (e.g. the human eye, ear). The universe may be likened to a man-made machine, such as a radio, in which the designer fits all the parts together to serve a particular function - the parts of a radio are fitted together to receive sound. ...read more.


ozone layer and the exact values of scientific constants without which the earth would never have formed. Even evolution is included in this theory, as the perfect way for God to create us. The chain of coincidences needed for human life to emerge, they say, make it clear that it was no coincidence at all. There certainly seem to be a lot of things in the world which fit this idea of design. Another form the argument often takes is to point to the order and regularity in the universe as evidence of design. Paley used the example of the uniform, perfect rotation of the planets, as did Thomas Aquinas in his fifth of five ways of proving God. Aquinas said that this regularity can only have come about at the behest of an intelligent being, as otherwise the fact that things obey uniform laws would just be the result of chance. Aquinas' original argument actually rested on a lack of knowledge of science, and the idea that the movement of the planets must be 'God's will' every single time rather than the result of natural laws, but the deeper question of just why these laws exist could still be asked. The regularity we see in the universe about us might be taken as evidence for God. People also sometimes point to beauty in the universe as evidence of God's work. Appreciating beauty has no survival value and the theory of evolution might make you think we should just be looking for food and mating constantly. The fact that we can instead see beauty in all sorts of things in the universe, from human art to nature, suggests a designer God. This is quite a neat example of how such a conclusion would see the universe as a fundamentally good creation of God, with a clear purpose and God's footprints everywhere. But is the universe really like this, when you look at it open-mindedly? ...read more.


It's hard to conceive this lengthy process, but that's just what Dawkins in The Selfish Gene calls an argument to personal incredulity. There is another type of order in the universe, that the Design argument says must be result of God, as it could not have come about by chance. This is the order we see in the laws of nature themselves. If you explain the world in terms of scientific laws, then you still have to answer the question of where these laws came from. This is undeniably a perplexing question. Saying "I don't know all we can say is that they're just there" [3] doesn't sound very satisfactory, but it may be all we can do. Saying God is the cause of all these fundamental laws doesn't really answer the question, as you can then ask what caused God and why he's there. Saying God created the universe just places the buck of explanation onto saying why God exists, and just what sort of thing he is. After all, an infinitely perfect, timeless, spaceless, transcendent being who created the universe and all the natural laws is a pretty hard idea to get your head around, and it's not even certain such a thing could really exist. People often use Occam's razor (the principle that you should pick the simplest explanation to satisfy the evidence available) to try and show that we should accept the fact that God designed the universe rather than saying it's a huge trail of coincidences, but God is pretty complex and unbelievable himself. And that's without the fact that if you want to use the Design Argument you have to supply a reason for the fact that this isn't the best possible world and, when you get past the desire to see purpose and design thoughout it (which leads to some pretty dodgy excuses for people like Britain's Royal Family), it doesn't really seem to be the kind of world God would create. ...read more.

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