Essay on Explain the Key Ideas of the Design Argument

Submitted By philknox
Words: 1549
Pages: 7

a) Explain the key ideas of the design argument
Intro –
The Design argument tries to prove the existence of God by saying that because different aspects of our universe are so perfectly able to fulfil functions and seem to have their own purpose they must have been the cause of design. As the Universe is so complex, beyond anything that a human could have created, it must have been designed by a designer of much greater intelligence, God. In relation to this, Richard Swinburne, a modern theistic philosopher, observes ‘So there is our universe. It is characterised by vast, all persuasive temporal order … These phenomena are clearly things too big for science to explain … I am postulating a god to explain what science explains’. The Design Argument follows these issues to try and conclude why the universe is as it is. The universe seems to have order and regularities such as seasons, it provides for us all the things necessary for our survival, it has purpose and it is suitable for humans to live and it shows beauty which is not necessary but shows that it could be intended for something more than survival.
St Thomas Aquinas (1224 - 1274) was a Dominican priest, theologian, and philosopher. He created the ‘Five ways’ and his fifth way is the Teleological argument. The argument is very empirical as it draws on its premises from observation of the world around which is based on experience; this makes it a posterior argument. In the ‘Fifth Way’, Aquinas talks about the universe and the order of nature. Aquinas states that common sense tells us that the universe works in such a way, that one can conclude that is was designed by an intelligent designer, God. In other words, all physical laws and the order of nature and life were designed and ordered by God, the intelligent designer. Aquinas argues that natural bodies are not intelligent enough to be able to act towards an end purpose themselves; therefore they must be being directed by a more intelligent supremacy. ‘We see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always in the same way … Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence and this being we call God.’ The premises for this argument are that there is order which benefits us and such order like this cannot happen by chance. Objects which do not have intelligence are able to work towards an end purpose, as they themselves are unable to do this they must therefore be being directed by something with superior intelligence, therefore God must exist as the explanation for beneficial order.
William Paley, (1743-1805), gave a very influential contribution to analogical argument in his book Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, which was first published in 1802. In his work he writes about ‘crossing a heath’.
“Suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there: I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place. I should hardly think of the answer I had before given-that, for anything I knew, the watch might always have been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone?”
Paley concludes that parts of the watch are obviously put together to make something incredible "When we come to inspect the watch we perceive that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose e.g. that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day" Paley suggests, that the universe is like the watch and must be intelligent and work