The Design Argument - as Level

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a. Outline the Key Concepts of the Design Argument [21 marks]

The design argument is also referred to at the Teleological Argument stemmed from the Greek work ‘Telos’ meaning end or purpose. It is an ‘A posterior’ argument (from experience) based on our empirical senses and it is synthetic meaning that it is from observation. The argument is also inductive meaning there a number of possible conclusions. The main basis of the Teleological argument is based on a designer commonly known as ‘the classical God of theism’ (hereafter referred to as God)

The outline of the design argument is that the universe has order and purpose and is regular, the complexities of the universe demonstrate some form of design, a design requires a designer, and this designer is God. This however is an inductive leap meaning that the Design argument is valid but not sound. The key concepts of the argument are that the universe has order, there are laws and regularities, the universe has purpose, and therefore the objects in the universe appear to work towards and end or purpose. The universe has benefit, meaning that it provides all that is necessary for life and more and finally, the suitability for human life, as the Universe provides ideal environments and conditions for human life to exist and flourish. Like the cosmological argument, the design argument goes back to Plato, who stated that the human body, with all its particles and elements, must owe its origin to ‘the royal mind soul and mind in the nature of Zeus’.

The theory of the Design argument was first put forward by Socrates who was a Greek Philosopher who lived in 400 BC, one of the main strengths of Socrates proposing this theory is this means it is a Pre Christian idea and also that it has withstood the test of time. Socrates said ‘With such signs of forethought in the design of living creatures how can there be any doubt that they are the work of choice or design.’

Thomas Aquinas who lived in the 13th century furthered the idea of Socrates Design Argument; he wrote a book called the ‘Summa Theologica’ and was strongly influenced by Aristotle. Aquinas rejected the possibility of an infinite regress of movers and causes to explain the existence of movers and causes to explain the existence of mutable beings. Aquinas proposed 5 ways to prove the existence of God, the unmoved mover, the uncaused case, Possibility and Necessity, Goodness Truth and Nobility and the Teleological Argument. He called these the fifth way and is ‘’from the governance of things’’. Aquinas also proposed the theory of design qua regularity, ‘That we call God’. Aquinas maintained that since such behaviour patterns rarely change, and their end result is beneficial, there must be a purpose to them, and if non-rational beings can work towards such a goal, something must be directing them to do so. ‘Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless directed, and this being we call God.’ He also championed the Analogy of the arrow directed by the archer showing that in order for something to end somewhere, there must be someone causing the movement, the arrow could not have ended us on the board on its own.

William Paley, an 18th Century Philosopher continued to develop the principles of the Design argument, showing many more extended features to Socrates original concept. Paley championed the theory of design qua purpose and that a design requires a designer. ‘’The world is too complex and well-designed to have come about by chance. It seems to have been planned by an intelligent mind for a special purpose.’’ For Paley, the world is like a machine made up of intricate parts, all of which worked towards an end for the benefit of the whole. Paley proposed the analogy of the watch and the watch maker. ‘’Suppose you had never seen a watch before. One day when you are out walking, you find one on the ground. You would instantly see how complex it is.’’ His theory was that if you came across a...
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