The Design Argument for the Existence of God

The Design Argument for the Existence of God
Design arguments are A posteriori and inductive ? they seek to move from facts about the world to God and can only establish a level of probability never a philosophical proof. Early forms of the argument were put forward by Socrates and Plato (cf the Phaedo). There are various types of argument. 1. teleological arguments ? Arguments from a general pattern of order in the Universe- arguments qua regularity 2. teleological arguments ? Arguments which seek to show that the universe has direction and a goal -qua purpose 3. the argument from beauty Old forms of teleological argument tend to rely on arguments qua purpose and modern teleological arguments tend to rely on arguments qua regularity. Older forms often rely on analogy, such as those given by Aquinas and Paley. early teleological arguments ? qua purpose -???????????????????? St. Thomas Aquinas (1224-75) AquinasÂ? fifth Way is a form of the teleological argument: Â?Goal directed behaviour is observed in all bodies obeying natural laws, even when they lack awareness?But nothing lacking awareness can tend to a goal except it be directed by someone with awareness and understanding; the arrow, for example, requires an archer.
Everything in nature, therefore is directed to its goal by someone with understanding, and this we call God.Â? Aquinas is arguing that the world is like an arrow shot from an archerÂ?s bow. It has direction and purpose behind it and it is moving towards a goal. Every thing in nature operates in what appears to be a purposeful manner with a sense of direction. An acorn has the goal of becoming an oak tree and will behave in such a way as to fulfil this purpose. It has no intelligence of its own and must therefore have been designed to behave like this by an intelligent designer. This is God. Aquinas maintains that every inanimate thing is being directed towards some purpose or goal (he drew this idea from Aristotle) and from this he comes to the conclusion that God is responsible. The plausibility of this takes us back to the basic problem of the Cosmological argument: Is God or the brute fact of the universe the better ultimate explanation? Also, the whole idea of purpose is highly debatable and is certainly a premise that many opponents of the argument would reject. William Paley.(1743-1805) William Paley argues in a similar way but uses the analogy of a watch. If you were walking across a heath and found a watch you would notice how: Â?its several parts are framed and put together for a purposeÂ?. The purpose of telling the time. You would conclude that the watch was designed by an intelligent mind. Even if the watch was broken or damaged you would still conclude that it had been designed by and intelligent mind. Even if you could not understand all of its working parts and how they functioned together you would still conclude that it had been designed by an intelligent mind. There could be no naturalistic explanation for the watch. Just as the existence of a watch implies a watchmaker, so the existence of the world implies an even greater designer ? God. Notice that we do not need to know the purpose of the watch or the universe in order to infer a designer - simply that the design implies a designer with a purpose. This is the argument qua purpose. There have been two major sources of criticism of these arguments - the first by David Hume and the second stemming from the work of darwin. David Hume Note that Hume?s points were put forward 22 years before Paley?s - they were not after Paley. It is a mistake, therefore, to say that Hume was replying to Paley ? it is perhaps an indication of the gap between philosophy and theology that Paley does not seem to be aware of HumeÂ?s earlier work. David Hume?s dialogues concerning natural religion is one of the greatest works on Philosophy of Religion ever written. It is really worth reading Hume in the original. He uses three main characters: Â? cleanthes ? who believes in Natural Theology and argues a posteriori to God, Â? philo ? Who is their critic and who puts forward Hume?s own views. Â? demea ? Who puts forward arguments starting from a faith position and who is not directly relevant to the design argument. Cleanthes first puts forward a version of the Teleological argument: Â?Look around the world, contemplate the whole and every part of it: you will find it to be nothing but one great machine, subdivided into an infinite number of lesser machines.Â? â?? All design necessarily implies a designer, â?? A great design necessarily implies Greatness in the designer â?? There is clearly great design in the world which is like a great machine, therefore â?? There must be a great designer of the world. Notice how similar this is to PaleyÂ?s approach. Central to CleanthesÂ? whole approach is that like effects have like causes â?? he explicitly recognizes that his argument is based on analogy. He concludes that the Universe is like a great machine so the implication is that the creator of the world must be like the creator of a machine only far greater. Hume?s criticisms aim to destroy the argument of Cleanthes by mockery. Philo then replies with two arguments: PhiloÂ?s First Argument -?????????- Like effects imply like causes ? so we end of with a caricature of God, a God who is just a super-human designer, perhaps with the same kind of flaws and imperfections. If like effects produce like causes, then the logic is that God must be rather like a superhuman figure ? the result is an anthropomorphic God. Possibly, Philo says, there are many Gods, possibly they are male and female, possibly they are born and die, possibly they are imperfect. Hume is not denying the design argument works ? at least not explicitly. What he is saying in PhiloÂ?s first argument is that if it works it comes up with a limited, anthropomorphic and imperfect God and the theistic reader, for whom this is unacceptable, must therefore conclude that the design argument is a total failure. At best we come up with a limited God ? possibly this universe was the first rude attempt of a trainee god who then left it, possibly it is the creation of a senile god: Â? If we look at the imperfections in the world, particularly the extent to which nature is Â?red in tooth and clawÂ? and the incidence of natural disasters, earthquakes, tidal waves, disease and the like, this surely points to malevolence or inadequacy on the part of God? Â? If we saw a badly designed house we would have grave reservations about the architect ? the same applies to God. Many carpenters collaborate together to build a ship, why should there not be many Gods? Â? The first argument maintains that the closer the analogy between design within the world and design of the universe as a whole, the more the picture emerges of a God who is dissimilar to the God of Classical Theism. This criticism effectively exposes the weakness of arguments based on analogy. The closer the analogy works the less palatable the picture of God: if the analogy does not work then the argument fails anyway. Hume (through Philo) further attacks the analogical basis of the argument by criticising the inadequacy of the analogy: the world is not like a machine. It is more like a vegetable and therefore the creator of the world is probably more like a vegetable than the creator of a machine with an intelligent mind! Hume argues that our concepts of design are so limited that we cannot apply them to the creation of the world. The fact that a machine needs a designer is part of our experience of being in the world, but we have no experience of making worlds, Â?Have worlds ever been formed under your eye?Â? Hume is here attacking the inductive logic once more. The leap from an observation in this world does not justify a metaphysical conclusion about the creation of the world, of this we have no experience. How could a goldfish in a pond conclude anything about the process of pond making? It has no knowledge of pond making; whether the pond is a natural formation or the work of a clever gardener could not be known by the fish unless it had experience of pond making. Hume argues that without experience of the making of a world we cannot know whether it was designed or simply emerged. There is a leap in logic from seeing order in the world to concluding that the order is the result of intelligent design?we just cannot tell. Â??we have no data to establish any system of cosmogony. Our experience, so imperfect in itself and so limited both in extent and duration, can afford us no probable conjecture concerning the whole of things.Â? Hume is pointing to the fact that in an inductive argument the conclusion is not logically necessary. There is a leap in logic between the premises and the conclusion which means that to deny the conclusion does not render the objector irrational. Some early supporters of the teleological argument suggested that the incredible design of human beings and animals for their own needs required a designer. The human eye was used by Paley as an example of this claimed intricate design, as was the lacteal systems in mammals and the Â?designÂ? of a birdÂ?s wing. This sort of evidence was brought forward in support of the first premise of the argument that the world showed evidence of design qua purpose. A pig is designed with many teats because it brings many offspring into the world, it is so designed for the purpose of feeding its young. Hume objected to this premise and countered the evidence brought forward in support of it by claiming that animal adaptation cannot be used to prove that animals are designed by an intelligent mind for their own distinct purpose. If they were not suited to their environment they would not survive. It is not legitimate to use what could not be otherwise as evidence of intelligent planning. Â?I would fain ask how an animal could subsist unless its parts were so adjusted?Â? In other words it is not surprising that the human body is perfectly adjusted, if you had no lungs you could not breathe and you would die. Things are the way they are and if things were different then everything would be different. The way things are does not imply design or a designer. PhiloÂ?s second argument It is possible that the Universe resulted from chance Philo?s second argument can be summarized as follows: 1. The world is ordered. 2. This order either resulted from Design OR from Chance. 3. It is entirely plausible that the world arose from chance, for: i) Matter and energy may well be everlasting. We know now, from Einstein, that the stock of matter and energy is constant â?? matter and energy are continually changing, but the total stock may remain the same. ii) If matter and energy are everlasting, then in an infinite number of combinations, every one will be realised (Aquinas implied this in his Third Way) iii) Once order has occurred, it will tend to perpetuate itself. Philo strengthens his argument by another point: 4. Animal adaptation cannot be used to prove a designer of animals since if they did not adapt to their environment they would not survive. It is not legitimate to use what could not be otherwise as evidence of intelligent planning. Philo does admit, however, that it is difficult to explain extra organs not needed for survival such as two eyes or two ears. PhiloÂ?s second argument was to be supported by the later work of Charles Darwin. Philo provides a challenge to the major premise of these early teleological arguments, that there is evidence of purposive design in the world. Hume says there isnÂ?t necessarily any such sign. PHILO?S conclusion IS that WE should suspend judgement ON the question OF whether there IS A god ? there is, he claims, no firm evidence for or against. HumeÂ?s arguments were supported by the work of Charles Darwin and have effectively destroyed the traditional formulations of the teleological argument, qua purpose. They also remain as forceful objections to modern formulations of the teleological argument although they have been challenged by modern supporters of the Teleological argument, such as Richard Swinburne. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) Even if the teleological argument succeeds, there are real questions as to the sort of God one arrives at. John Stuart Mill (Â?Three Essays on ReligionÂ?) raised this problem â?? maintaining that given the apparent imperfections in the Universe and the amount of natural evils that occur, the most plausible hypothesis was either to deny the Designer?s goodness OR to deny the DesignerÂ?s omnipotence. Mill chose to maintain God?s goodness and hence concluded that God must be limited â?? what or who by he could not tell. MillÂ?s book, like that of Hume, is very well worth reading. Mill is willing to accept there is a designer, but it is the attributes of the Designer he challenges. An imperfect universe implies limitation of the designer and hence Mill arrives at a limited God. Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) Immanuel Kant maintained that the teleological argument was inconclusive. His main reasons for this were: 1. The teleological argument is inductive and is based on experience of design and order within the universe, 2. Experience can never provide us with the idea of an absolutely perfect and necessary being. This idea puts God into a category of GodÂ?s own and one cannot arrive at this unique category from observations drawn from the spatial temporal universe to which God is held not to belong. either: a) God is the highest in a chain of beings, and in this case something higher can be postulated, OR b) God is separated from this chain and in this case the argument is massively weakened as it can no longer be based on experience. Kant makes two main criticisms of the Design argument. Firstly he insists that we cannot claim Â?Apodeictic certaintyÂ? for the conclusion of the argument. He is here objecting to the inductive nature of the argument. Apodeictic certainty is the degree of certainty that is final and absolute, the kind of certainty that attends mathematical proof. Secondly Kant points out that the conclusion of the argument is indeterminate with regard to God. It does not demonstrate GodÂ?s infinity. These are reasonable reservations: Apodeictic certainty is not available in science and even less so in metaphysics. The design argument is an inductive argument and will not give a philosophical proof. The design argument does not demonstrate GodÂ?s infinity: Hume previously pointed out these weaknesses. For Kant the design argument could never demonstrate the existence of God because it was based on information filtered by the human mind, and may be mistaken. Our minds may be imposing a picture of order and regularity onto the world outside of the mind. Charles Darwin In the mid nineteenth century, the interpretation of creation given by Genesis was the first area to be hit by Darwin?s work, particularly the idea that God created all animal species with their own nature (Aquinas?s position derived from Aristotle) or the Genesis account of a sudden, individual creation of each species in its present form directly by God. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce at a meeting of the British Association in 1860 said that: ?The principle of natural selection? is absolutely incompatible with the word of God.? Darwin?s theory obviously rejected literal interpretations of the Bible. DARWIN?s theory could be used to strengthen Philo?s argument as the theory of natural selection now provided a mechanism which would explain two eyes and two ears as being better suited for survival than one ? they increase the field of hearing and of vision and also provide perspective. Darwin considers that natural selection explains variation. As he puts it: ??not only are the various domestic races, but the most distinct genera and orders within the same great class ? for instances mammals, birds, reptiles and fishes ? are all the descendants of one common progenitor and we must admit that the whole vast amount of difference between these forms has primarily arisen simply from variability?. (Darwin. Variation of animals and Plants under domestication) Thus Darwin was seen to attack the first premise of the teleological argument that the world had signs of design by suggesting that the apparent design was the result of a long process of natural selection. Only those animals which adapted to their environment successfully survived. The world is as it is by pure chance. Richard Dawkins is the leading modern Darwinian who has poured scorn on the design argument and his arguments are dealt with below. modern formulations; qua regularity The biting criticisms against the use of analogy disappear against modern formulations of the Teleological argument. The obvious weakness of using analogy, high-lighted by Hume, meant that there was no future in this as a starting point. Modern formulations of the teleological argument do not rely on analogy ? instead they rely on what is known as the Â?fine tuningÂ? of the universe or Â?anthropic coincidencesÂ?: I.The Universe is finely tuned for the creation OF life and demonstrates regularity in its laws of physics, without which life would not be possible. II.This cannot be the result of chance because there are too many coincidences for chance to explain it. iii.Therefore there must be a designer of the Universe and this is God. These arguments, qua regularity, depend on evidence that the world is finely tuned, and maintain that chance does not sufficiently explain this fine tuning. They are all post-Darwin and challenge the assumption that the work of Darwin rules out the Teleological argument. (N.B. If these arguments are successful they lead back to arguments qua purpose; if the world is designed, for what purpose was it designed?) [image] The existence of fine tuning was first Â?discoveredÂ? in the early 1970?s by cosmologist Brandon Carter. An anthropic coincidence consists of a feature of the laws of nature, the fundamental constituents of matter, or the initial condition of the universe that had to take a value within some interval in order for life to exist at all. Categories of coincidences I.Features of the fundamental laws of nature. II.Characteristics of the fundamental particles of matter.(e.g. Self-replicating life seems to depend on the co-existence of lighter and heavier elements such as hydrogen, carbon and oxygen.) iii.The rate of expansion of matter emerging from the big bang.(The speed at which bits of matter flew apart from other bits of matter soon after the big bang seems to be an example of fine tuning. Too rapid a rate of expansion would have overpowered the gravitational attraction of the various bits of matter to each other and no gases could have been formed, let alone the galaxies that the gases later became. Too slow a rate of expansion would have caused too much gravitational attraction and the universe would have collapsed back into itself billions of years ago. The expansion rate lies perilously close to the borderline between collapse into a total crunch and total dispersal of matter.) IV.Features of the solar system and of the earth.(Life seems to depend on the formation of stars and planetary systems, since no life could exist independently in space. Only if a star can form and later become a supernova can any of the heavier elements form.) If any of these features of the universe had been outside a narrow interval of values, then the existence of any sort of life would have been impossible. The degree of Â?fine-tuningÂ? can be quantified precisely, for example if the ratio of the electromagnetic force to the gravitational force were changed by one part in 10 to 40th power, star formation would have been impossible. The ratio of the total number of electrons to the total number of protons could not vary by more than one in 10 to the 37th power, without disastrous implications for galaxy and star formation. There are three possible explanations for this apparent fine-tuning of the universe: 1. God 2. Chance 3. The Many Worlds Hypothesis. Theists, such as John Leslie and Richard Swinburne argue against chance and the many worlds hypothesis. Against the argument that the world is as it is as a result of chance Richard Swinburne, uses the following story: Â?Suppose that a madman kidnaps a victim and shuts him in a room with a card-shuffling machine. The machine shuffles ten packs of cards simultaneously and then draws a card from each pack and exhibits all the ten cards. The kidnapper tells the victim that he will set the machine to work and it will show its first draw ? unless the draw consists of an ace of hearts from each pack, the machine will automatically set off an explosion which will kill the victim so he will not see the cards the machine drew. The machine starts and to the relief of the victim he sees ten Aces of hearts. The victim thinks that this extraordinary fact needs an explanation in terms of the machine having been rigged in some way. The kidnapper now reappears and casts doubt on the suggestion. ?IT IS hardly surprising? he says ?THAT the machine draws only aces OF hearts. you could not possibly see anything else for you would not BE here TO see anything AT all IF any other card had been drawn.? But, Swinburne says, the victim is right and the kidnapper wrong. There IS something extraordinary about 10 aces of hearts being drawn ? the fact that this is a necessary condition of anything being seen is not the point. The Teleologist?s basic point that the existence of order is extraordinary is still valid. John Lesley illustrates the same point by means of the Firing Squad analogy. A man is condemned to death by firing squad. The squad are all good shots and never miss a target. They shoot at the man but all miss. When asked to explain this extraordinary coincidence the man replies that it is not at all surprising because he wouldnÂ?t be here to answer the question if he had been shot. This is the same kind of argument used by those like Bertrand Russell who want to argue that the world is a Â?Brute factÂ? and requires no explanation. These two illustrations are trying to indicate that this is not a good enough response to the evidence for anthropic coincidences. Fred Hoyle supports this view: Â?A component has evidently been missing from cosmological studies. The origin of the Universe, like the solution of the rubik cube, requires an intelligenceÂ?1 Â??. properties seem to run through the fabric of the natural world like a thread of happy accidents. But there are so many of these odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to account for themÂ? 2 The idea that chance is a valid explanation for the regularity of the Universe, and that chance is a good explanation for the infinitely small window of opportunity within which the universe exists and permits life is undermined by the degree of probability against it. I. David HumeÂ?s objection against the inductive nature of the argument does however still stand. We can only conclude that this egg was probably laid by a chicken on the basis of many observations of eggs being laid in the past. Since we can never observe the making of a universe we are in no position to comment on what sort of thing caused it. Swinburne would argue that it is God because God is the more probable hypothesis. He claims that God would have reason to create a universe with finite creatures who have the chance to grow to knowledge of him and he has reason to make an orderly universe that human beings could learn from. So Swinburne concludes3: II. A priori it is very improbable that a universe could just happen to exist, and iii. By virtue of God?s postulated character, this is the sort of universe he would have good reason to make. Swinburne therefore maintains that whilst the Teleological argument by itself does not make it probable that God exists, the argument does serve to increase the probability of God?s existence. Swinburne?s argument may be unpersuasive ? unless one believes in God already. In other words the inductive nature of the argument means that the conclusion is not logically necessary and even if an atheist is prepared to acknowledge the anthropic coincidences as remarkable the conclusion that God is the designer of the world is not compelling. There may be another explanation. Richard Dawkins Richard Dawkins in ?The Blind Watchmaker? follows Hume and describes approaches like Swinburne?s as ?Arguments from personal incredulity?. He effectively says that the fact that a Professor of Philosophy of Religion sitting in his study at Oxford and never having studied biology cannot off the top of his head think of a reason for polar bears, does not entitle him to say that God is the best explanation. DawkinsÂ? view is that the hypothesis of God is entirely superfluous and that order is due to natural selection alone â?? a blind, unconscious, automatic process which is completely without purpose â?? hence the title of his book: ?Evolution has no long term goal. There is no long distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criterion for selection? The criterion for selection is always short term, either simply survival or, more generally, reproductive success? The ?watchmaker? that is cumulative natural selection is blind to the future and has no long term goal.? (p. 58) Richard Dawkins in Â?Out of EdenÂ?4 says: Â?We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor callous Â? but simply callous: Indifferent to all suffering, lacking all ideas of purpose.Â? He quotes Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who, in a seminar at Windsor Castle addressed by Dr. Peter Atkins said Â?You scientists are very good at answering Â?howÂ? questions. But you must admit that you are powerless when it comes to the Â?whyÂ? questions.Â? Dawkins rejects this ? there is no why, except that anything that happens can be explained in evolutionary terms. There simply is no wider meaning or purpose. Theologians claim that there must be an answer to the mystery of, for instance, innocent suffering, but for Dawkins it is not a mystery at all Â? there is no meaning and, therefore, no answer to the question. However what science and evolution can explain is the mechanisms which bring about states of affairs ? for instance a female digger wasp lays her larvae in the live body of a caterpillar, grass hopper or bee and ensures that its tendrils go into the nerve endings of the prey to keep it alive while it is eaten from within. To the person who recoils with horror at how a good God could allow this, Dawkins says that the question is nonsense. There is no reason Â? it is just an effective way of the female wasp passing on her genes. Â?Now they swarm in huge colonies, safe inside gigantic lumbering robots, sealed off from the outside world, communicating with it by tortuous indirect routes, manipulating it by remote control. They are in you and me; they create us, body and mind, and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence. They have come a long way, these replicators. Now they go by the name of genes and we are their survival machines.Â?Â?5 Dawkins understands human beings strictly in terms of biology ? we have about 5 billion cells each containing 46 chromosomes and 23 base pairs. Each chromosome contains tens of thousands of genes. Dawkins describes dna as follows: Â?It is raining dna outside. On the banks of the Oxford canal at the bottom of my garden is a large willow tree and it is pumping downy seeds into the air?. not just any dna but dna whose coded characteristics spell out specific instructions for building willow trees that will shed a new generation of downy seeds. These fluffy specks are literally, spreading instructions for making themselves. They are there because their ancestors succeeded in doing the same. ItÂ?s raining instructions out there. ItÂ?s raining programmes; itÂ?s raining tree-growing, fluff spreading algorithms. This is not a metaphor, it is the plain truth. It couldnÂ?t be plainer if it were raining floppy discs.Â?6 Peter Williams agrees that there is a strong analogy between dna and a computer disc but he maintains that as we know that computer programmes come from minds, we should similarly assume that dna comes from a mind ? the mind of God.7 Similarly he says that scientists look for extra-terrestrial intelligence by looking for coded signals which are ordered and non-random from space. dna is a coded signal of incredible sophistication and complexity and it, too, points to an intelligence which was its originator.8 Williams quotes: Â?DNA exhibits too much Â?design workÂ?? to be the product of mere chance yet?. no known physical laws.. Produce the right kind of ordered structure; one with high information content.Â?9 Williams maintains that a supernatural origin is required not for the dna itself but for the processes which bring the dna about. This is precisely what Dawkins rejects as he considers that DarwinÂ?s principle of the Â?survival of the fittestÂ? can explain increasing complexity. Dawkins and Williams agree in much ? they both accept evolution but where they differ is that Williams insists that there must be an intelligence that brings the processes that cause evolution about: Â?To say that Darwinian evolution cannot explain everything in nature is not to say that evolution, random mutation, and natural selection do not occur; they have been observed (at least in the case of microevolution) many different times ? I believe the evidence strongly supports common descent. But the root question remains unanswered; what has caused complex systems to form?Â?10 Science falls silent when asked for an explanation for the ultimate nature of the natural laws that give rise to order and that generate the processes that bring dna about. As Behe says: Â?Â?If you search the scientific literature on evolution, and if you focus your search on the question of how molecular machines ? the basis of life ? developed, you find an eerie and complete silence.Â?Â?Â? For example, the Journal of Molecular Evolution was established in 1971, and is dedicated to explaining how life came to be at the molecular level. None of the papers published in jme has ever proposed a possible route for a single complex biochemical system to arise in a gradual step-by-step Darwinian process.Â?11 Critics of this very reasonable argument hope for some naturalistic explanation to emerge for the existence of the mechanisms which are necessary to generate dna ? but whether this will emerge is still debatable. This brings the debate back to the key assumption of the Cosmological argument ? whether God or the brute fact of the Universe and given, ultimate physical laws is the better ultimate explanation and it is on this issue that theist and atheist differ. Dawkins claims that our coming to self-consciousness through the activity of these genes so that we can understand ourselves is wonderful. The spotlight of consciousness shines not just on the here and now (as it does with animals such as dogs and cats who are aware of the here and now) but in the case of humans consciousness enables us to place ourselves in a broader setting. Â?The spotlight passes but, exhilaratingly, before doing so it gives us time to comprehend something of this place in which we fleetingly find ourselves and the reason that we do so. We are alone among animals in being able to say before we die: Yes, this is why it was worth coming to life in the first placeÂ?Â?12 On this basis, we can come to understand the truth about ourselves and for Dawkins this consciousness that has arisen in us is a thing of wonder. It has no purpose but we can understand why we are here and this is something at which we may wonder and about which poets can muse. Indeed Dawkins thinks there are close links between science and poetry ? both can express wonder and awe at the beauty of the Universe which we are beginning to understand. Dawkins waxes lyrical about the wonder of being able to comprehend something of the incredible Universe in which we live: Â?After sleeping through a hundred million centuries we have finally opened our eyes on a sumptuous planet, sparkling with colour, beautiful with life. Within decades we must close our eyes again. IsnÂ?t it a noble, enlightened way of spending our brief time in the sun, to work at understanding the universe and how we have come to wake up on it.Â?13 Some biologists such as Stephen Rose, Richard Lewontin and Jay Gould reject DawkinsÂ? view ? they maintain that whole organisms and species have a clear priority over our genes. However in a book published at the end of 1996, Matt Ridley (Â?The Origins of VirtueÂ?) considers that DawkinsÂ? opponents have misunderstood the idea of the Selfish Gene and he attempts to make the position clearer. Ridley maintains that whilst human genes are undoubtedly selfish, humans have developed so that we have the ability to over-ride our nature and to act virtuously. Effectively Ridley is saying that although we are, in essence, depraved due to our essential biological and genetic nature, we have evolved to the point where we can overcome this nature. Ridley says: Â?The first thing we should do to create a good society? is to conceal the truth about humankindÂ?s propensity for self-interest, the better to delude our fellows into thinking that they are noble savages inside.Â? John Cornwall, in a review of RidleyÂ?s book in Â?The Sunday TimesÂ? of November 3, 1996, says that, for Ridley: Â?Selfishness is underpinned by science at the level of the molecules; whilst virtue is founded on make-believe?. But Ridley overlooks the strength of the central Judeo-Christian paradox; that each individual is simultaneously fallen and exalted, each individual capable of vice and yet authentically endowed with dignity.Â? Certainly the idea of humans being fundamentally evil yet being able to overcome this could fit well into traditional Christianity. Richard DawkinsÂ? approach has been amplified by a former pupil of his - Daniel Dennett. Dennett, in a book entitled Â?DarwinÂ?s Dangerous Idea ? Evolution and the Meaning of LifeÂ? strongly affirms the power of evolution as an explanatory tool. He says: ?To put it bluntly but fairly, anyone today who doubts that the life on this planet was produced by the process of evolution is ?.. inexcusably ignorant, in a world where three out of four people have learned to read and write." Dawkins claims that all human emotional, thinking and other activities can be explained in mechanistic terms. He rejects any attempt to Â?cordon offÂ? consciousness as an area which science will not be able to explain. He argues that those studying the mind make no distinction between what he terms Â?easy problemsÂ? and Â?hard problemsÂ?. Easy problems are those concerning the mechanics or nerve and brain cells whilst hard problems are to do with what philosophers term Â?qualiaÂ? - the way things look or smell or feel to us. Dennett maintains that: ?Once all the Easy Problems are solved, consciousness is explained? In other words he says that the seemingly Hard Problems are solvable by solving the Easy Problems. Dennett is scathing about what he terms Â?skyhook explanationsÂ? such as those provided by religion which rely on what he regards as imaginary supports to describe the way things are. Instead he favours concrete, mechanistic explanations: ?The traditional idea of a sacrosanct pearl of genius that is outside the realm of the mechanistic and is the source of creativity is just a hopeless idea, a fantasy"? "I know that some people find this notion offensive, but that is too bad for them. My job is to cajole them out of their squeamishness." However Dennett insists that this is not a bleak view of what it is to be human as some critics have suggested. He strongly affirms human creativity and human freedom but maintains that these are brought about by the mechanistic processes of evolution: ?Look how creative it (evolution) is!? It has created every life form of the planet, If it can make a skylark, then it can make KeatsÂ? poem Â?Ode to a NightingaleÂ?. The skylark is at least as wonderful as Ode to a Nightingale and the processes that have produced the skylark are, in the end, mechanical, algorithmic." Freewill has, claims Dennett, evolved in much the same way as language has evolved. In his book Â?Consciousness explainedÂ? he claims that many people are frightened of seeing human beings in this way, but this fear needs to be faced and understood. Dennett says: ?I want to say to them Â?You are absolutely right?. Human freedom is the most important thing there is. But the way to protect it, to understand what it is and preserve it, is not to try to dig a moat round it and protect it from science, but to see how it evolves and see how it is perceived in a computational way. Dennett acknowledges that religion provides comfort for people, but he considers that the trouble with this comfort is that it is based on misrepresentation. There have been replies to DawkinsÂ? approach and to others who dismiss God, not least from Arthur Peacocke (a physical biologist and a theologian writing in ?Science and the theology of creation?). He claims that even if a complete explanation, a unified theory, could be found, this does not rule out God. There is still a need to explain ?..how our universe came into being..? and ?..why there is only one set of physical laws..?. God is still possible as some sort of ground of being. John Polkinghorne maintains that God chose to create a universe governed by chance and law: The universe that we actually perceive with its balanced and fruitful interplay of chance and necessity, novelty and regularity, is a world that one might expect as the work of a creator both loving and faithful, for it incorporates the two gifts of freedom and reliability?. (One World â?? the interaction of science and religion. p. 92) Stephen Hawkins In ?A brief history of Time?, Stephen Hawkins recounts a story about a woman who interrupts a lecture on the universe to claim that she knows better. She maintains that the world is a flat plate resting on the back of a giant turtle. When asked by the lecturer what the turtle rests on she replies ?It?s turtles all the way down!?. This gives expression to the fundamental problem underlying Cosmological and Design arguments for the existence of God â?? namely where does the regress of explanation end? John Wheeler says there can be ?No tower of turtles?. Can there be a ?superturtle? that stands at the base of the tower, itself unsupported? The theist, of course, will say that the base of the tower is God whilst the atheist scientist may say it is some grand ?theory of everything? but the problem is the same in both cases: what basis is there for an end to the regress? Paul Davies suggests that an alternative may be a closed loop. However even this does not provide a final explanation as one can still ask, as Davies puts it: ?Why that loop?? or even ?Why does any loop exist at all?? Even a closed loop of mutuallyâ??supportive turtles invites the question ?Why turtles??" Science can explain a great deal (and most modern theists would accept DarwinÂ?s theory of natural selection and evolution although there are still a minority who insist on direct creation of human beings by God based on the Genesis stories) however the scientific explanations operate within the universe Â? they do not answer the question why there should be any universe at all. the many worlds hypothesis This theory seeks to demonstrate that there is nothing remarkable about the existence of life on earth and the regularity of the laws of the universe. This argument therefore seeks to undermine the second premise of modern teleological arguments. This world, it is argued, is no great coincidence. Our universe may be one of many millions of universes. Within these universes there would be the opportunity for all different combinations of laws and cosmic constants to be actualised somewhere. It is not surprising therefore that the combination that we see here in our universe happened. It had to happen somewhere, so why not here? The objection to this is that it fails the test of OckhamÂ?s Razor by postulating many worlds to explain one. There can, by definition be no knowledge of universes outside of our own and so there is no evidence for it. The hypothesis seems to many to rest on speculation and seems fanciful. John Lesley, in Chapter 4 of Â?UniversesÂ?, argues that even if we accept the many worlds hypothesis the many-worlds itself is not logically inconsistent with theism and the existence of many worlds with all possible forms may in fact require a theistic explanation! Who or what created the many worlds? the problem OF evil Even if the teleological argument succeeds, there are real questions as to the sort of God one arrives at. John Stuart Mill (Â?Three Essays on ReligionÂ?) raised this problem, maintaining that given the apparent imperfections in the Universe and the amount of natural evils that occur, the most plausible hypothesis was either to deny the Designer?s goodness OR to deny the DesignerÂ?s omnipotence. Mill chose to maintain God?s goodness and hence concluded that God must be limited - what or who by he could not tell. If we are to argue seriously from design in the world to God, then evil, animal suffering and disease all need to be taken into account as part of the factors that have to be explained in our account of the designer. The issue is whether the world, as we know it, really is such as to point TO AN all-powerful and wholly good creator. Does not evil and suffering either show lack of purpose or, at least, a God who is limited? It is important to recognise that there is a difference between (a) The Design argument which asks whether one can arrive at God, and if so what sort of God, from the facts in the Universe, and (b) The problem of evil which asks whether, given belief in an all powerful and wholly good God, this belief can be reconciled with the evil in the world. The Design argument also suffers from the same problem Martin Lee has discussed regarding the Cosmological argument, namely that if the world is designed, then who or what created the designer? Leibniz? Principle of Sufficient reason is not established and there seems no good ground for holding God to be an uncaused cause on the basis of the teleological argument alone. F.R. tennant and the argument from beauty. -????????????????????? Beauty is held to have no survival value nor has human appreciation of beauty any apparent real value in helping humans to live together or to be more effective in the environment within which they find themselves. What is the survival advantage of seeing the beauty in a snowflake; the beauty of a spring morning or a piece of music? The facility to appreciate beauty, therefore, may be held to be a pointer towards God implanted in human beings to make them indirectly aware of His presence. F. R. Tennant (Philosophical Theology, Vol 2, pp. 89 ? 93, 1930) put forward this argument as part of a five strand argument for the existence of God. He maintained that cumulatively the following arguments pointed to a Creator God: 1. The universe could have been chaotic and it is not. It is comprehensible. 2. Evolution is to be noted not for the changes which have undoubtedly happened along the way but for the direction and the progress of change. 3. The absolute suitability of the world to produce and sustain life (the Â?Anthropic PrincipleÂ? was a phrase first coined by Tennant) 4. The existence of aesthetic worth and beauty 5. Humanity has an appreciation of moral worth. Point four maintains that the universe is not just beautiful in places - it is saturated with beauty from the microscopic to the macroscopic level. Swinburne endorses this argument and holds that there is, a priori, no particular reason to expect a beautiful rather than an ugly world. He maintains that God has some reason to make a beautiful world and some reason to leave some ugliness within the world which human beings can strive to overcome. Swinburne claims, therefore, that the presence of beauty makes the existence of God more probable than not. The Christian Franciscan tradition, in particular, draws on the importance of beauty. St. Francis was aware of the beauty in all that he saw. The major part of his Canticle to Â?Brother Sun and Sister MoonÂ? was composed by Francis towards the end of his life, at a time when he had been suffering from both physical illness and emotional anxiety about the future of his Order. Yet, as he reflected on his own relationship with God, he was overwhelmed by the persistence of GodÂ?s goodness and this led him to see and experience the reflections of GodÂ?s goodness in all created elements. In the Canticle Francis addresses the created world as Brother, Sister, Mother: Praise be You, my Lord, through our Sister Mother Earth who sustains and governs us, and who produces varied fruits with coloured flowers and herbs. These attributes are not merely poetical personifications but expressions of spiritual relationship. He was able to enter into such a relationship since he respected all created things for the sacredness of the reflections they bore. His conviction that the Creator God is at the same time the Highest Good enabled him to perceive the world as a sacred reality since it is a reflection of GodÂ?s goodness. The Praises of the Canticle witness to one who was able, even in the midst of affliction, to discern and feel the creative presence of Divine Love in all around him. Bonaventure was well aware of FrancisÂ? experience of the religious significance of creation. In his Life of St Francis he writes: ?Francis sought occasion to love God in everything. He delighted in all the works of GodÂ?s hands and from the vision of joy on earth his mind soared aloft to the life-giving cause of it all. In everything beautiful, he saw Him who is beauty itself; and he followed his Beloved everywhere by his likeness imprinted on creation; of all creation he made a ladder by which he might mount up and embrace Him who is all-desirable." Bonaventure reflected upon this experience of St Francis and used it as the inspiration behind his theology of creation. One problem is whether human apprehension of beauty is a matter of cultural conditioning â?? in other words is beauty ?present? in the universe independently or one being aware of it or is it only that human beings see things as beautiful. To put it another way, are you a realist about beauty? conclusion *+*+*+*+*+*+ There are no final answers to be found in philosophy although philosophy and science are beginning to share mutual concerns and are perplexed by similar problems. Paul Davies puts it like this: ?The central theme? is that, through science, we human beings are able to grasp at least some of nature?s secrets. We have cracked part of the cosmic code. Why this should be, just why Homo Sapiens should carry the spark of rationality that provides the key to the universe, is a deep enigma. We, who are children of the universe â?? animated stardust â?? can nevertheless reflect on the nature of that same universe, even to the extent of glimpsing the rules on which it runs. How we have become linked into this cosmic dimension is a mystery. Yet the linkage cannot be denied.? (The Mind of God. p. 232) Science and Theology both end in unexplained mysteries and both, at their best, should be willing to pursue an open minded search into the unknown.

The Design Argument for the Existence of God 9.2 of 10 on the basis of 2209 Review.