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The Design Argument. Introduction. This proof always deserves to be mentioned with respect. It is the oldest, clearest, and the most accordant with the common reason of mankind. Immanuel Kant. Introduction.

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This proof always deserves to be mentioned with respect. It is the oldest, clearest, and the most accordant with the common reason of mankind

Immanuel Kant

  • Design arguments are concerned with the specific details of the universe: why does the universe possess the particular qualities that it does and how can we best explain them?
  • These qualities include many puzzling features that scientists, philosophers and theologians have noted, including:
  • The regularity and order of the world
  • The way that everything in the world seems to be designed for some purpose
  • The fact that life developed in the world at all
  • The way that living things appear constructed so as to suit their environment
  • The fact that conscious beings exist
key terms ideas relating to design arguments
Key Terms/Ideas Relating to Design Arguments
  • Teleological arguments are A POSTERIORI: because they are based on our experience they are categorised as a posteriori proofs.
  • Teleological arguments are INDUCTIVE: design arguments move from particular observations to a general conclusion about the whole world
  • ‘Teleology’ has its origins in ancient Greek thought: the word ‘teleological’ comes from the Greek telos, which means end or goal, and logos, which means ‘an account of’ or ‘study of’. Hence ‘teleology’ literally means the ‘study of final ends’.

The term ‘teleological’ has also come to refer to the view that everything has a purpose and is aimed at some goal

  • So teleological or design arguments draw on evidence that the world has been designed and has a purpose in order to conclude that God exists

There are 2 types of design arguments:

      • Arguments from analogy
      • Arguments to the best explanation
arguments from analogy
Arguments from Analogy
  • There is a tradition of teleological arguments which compare certain features of the universe with similar features of designed objects
  • These proofs argue from design in that they begin by examining design in human artefacts
  • Similarities, or analogies, can be found between these designed objects and the world around us, and this leads to a conclusion that the world has also been designed
  • From here it’s a short step to the final conclusion that God is the designer
arguments to the best explanation
Arguments to the Best Explanation
  • There is another type of teleological argument which seeks a different path to the conclusion that the world has been designed
  • Such proofs begin by noticing certain unusual properties of the universe in particular, its apparent order and purpose
  • They aim to show that naturalistic explanations for these properties are inadequate, and that the existence of a supernatural designer is the best explanation of these features
  • These are arguments todesign in that they try to demonstrate that these features are not the result of chance, but strongly point towards the existence of a designer: God