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As a first step towards seeing one worry, consider two possible explanations for the observation that John Doe wins a 1-in-7,000,000 lottery (see Himma 2002). The Design Argument . It uses empirical facts (evidence from the 5 senses) and draws conclusions from them. This argument is vulnerable to a number of criticisms. It is immediately tempting to think that the probability of a fine-tuned universe is so small that intelligent design simply must be the more probable explanation. The argument concludes that intelligent design is the most probable explanation for the information present in large biomacromolecules like DNA, RNA, and proteins. But it is clear that the mere fact that such a sequence is so improbable, by itself, does not give us any reason to think that it was the result of intelligent design. (True premise/All A are B) * 30 is a multiple of ten. In particular, it attempts to evaluate four potential explanations for the origin of biological information: (1) chance; (2) a pre-biotic form of natural selection; (3) chemical necessity; and (4) intelligent design. Without this crucial piece of information, however, the court would not have been so obviously justified in making the design inference. Over time, the replication of genetic material in an organism results in mutations that give rise to new traits in the organism’s offspring. We intuit such truths directly by inspectingour clear and distinct ideas of th… While this claim surely implies that intelligent agents with the right causal abilities have a reason for bringing about such systems, it does not tell us anything determinate about whether it is likely that intelligent agents with the right causal powers did bring such systems about—because it does not tell us anything determinate about whether it is probable that such agents exist. According to the Theistic Lottery Hypothesis, God wanted John Doe to win and deliberately brought it about that his numbers were drawn. False. Instead of simply asserting a similarity between the material world and some human artifact, Paley’s argument proceeds by identifying what he takes to be a reliable indicator of intelligent design: [S]uppose 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 … that, for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. 3. As is readily evident from Huxley’s description of the process, Darwinian evolution is a cumulative-step selection method that closely resembles in general structure the second computer program. To understand Schlesinger’s argument, consider your reaction to two different events. While each of the design inferences in these arguments has legitimate empirical uses, those uses occur only in contexts where we have strong antecedent reason for believing there exist intelligent agents with the ability to bring about the relevant event, entity, or property. First, we already know that there exist intelligent agents who have the right motivations and causal abilities to deliberately bring about such events. Since the concepts of design and purpose are closely related, design arguments are also known as teleological arguments, which incorporates “telos,” the Greek word for “goal” or “purpose.”. For example, consider the following syllogism: * All multiples of ten are multiples of five. The teleological argument (from τέλος, telos, 'end, aim, goal'; also known as physico-theological argument, argument from design, or intelligent design argument) is an argument for the existence of God or, more generally, for an intelligent creator based on perceived evidence of "intelligent design" in the natural world.. Design theorists distinguish two types of complexity that can be instantiated by any given structure. ri ˌā prīˈôrÄ«/ adjective 1. While Schlesinger is undoubtedly correct in thinking that we are justified in suspecting design in the case where John wins three consecutive lotteries, it is because—and only because—we know two related empirical facts about such events. According to the argument, the appearance of design in nature is evidence for the existence of God. As a logical matter, the mere fact that some existing thing has a feature, irreducibly complex or otherwise, that would be valuable to an intelligent being with certain properties, by itself, does not say anything about the probability that such a being exists. The phrase a priori is a Latin term which literally means before (the fact). First, Hume rejects the analogy between the material universe and any particular human artifact. It is an ‘A posterior’ argument (from experience) based on our empirical senses and it is synthetic meaning that it is from observation . But, in doing so, they assume that nonliving chemicals instantiate precisely the kind of replication mechanism that biological information is needed to explain in the case of living organisms. The argument from biological information is concerned with only the second of these problems. The teleological argument is a type of a priori argument. If this explanation is possibly true, it shows that Aquinas is wrong in thinking that “whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence.”. The consequence will be differential reproduction down the generations—in other words, natural selection (Huxley 1953, 4). AsHume’s interlocutor Cleanthes put it, we seem to see “theimage of mind reflected on us from innumerable objects” innature. George N. Schlesinger, however, attempts to formalize the fine-tuning intuition in a way that avoids this objection. It is worth noting that proponents are correct in thinking that design inferences have a variety of legitimate scientific uses. A priori vs. a posteriori A deductive argument can be said to be ‘a priori’ as it does not depend upon external validation. Two Types of Design Argument: Type I: The Classical (“Old School”) Design Argument: -This version is an argument from analogy. As is well-known, researchers monitor radio transmissions for patterns that would support a design inference that such transmissions are sent by intelligent beings. Design arguments typically consist of (1) a premise that asserts that the material universe exhibits some empirical property F; (2) a premise (or sub-argument) that asserts (or concludes) that F is persuasive evidence of intelligent design or purpose; and (3) a premise (or sub-argument) that asserts (or concludes) that the best or most probable explanation for the fact that the material universe exhibits F is that there exists an intelligent designer who intentionally brought it about that the material universe exists and exhibits F. There are a number of classic and contemporary versions of the argument from design. Design arguments say that certain things are so complex and functional they must have been designed by somebody like God. This version of the fine-tuning argument proceeds by comparing the relative likelihood of a fine-tuned universe under two hypotheses: Assuming the Design Hypothesis is true, the probability that the universe has the fine-tuned properties approaches (if it does not equal) 1. Meyer concludes: “given the complexity of proteins, it is extremely unlikely that a random search through all the possible amino acid sequences could generate even a single relatively short functional protein in the time available since the beginning of the universe (let alone the time available on the early earth)” (Meyer 2002, 75). The argument from biological information is concerned with an explanation of how it is that the world went from a state in which it contained no living organisms to a state in which it contained living organisms; that is to say, it is concerned with the explanation of the very first forms of life. If this is correct, then design inferences simply cannot do the job they are asked to do in design arguments for God’s existence. ... to the argument from design? Philo the skeptic delivers Hume's objections to the argument from design. Thus, we would be justified in inferring design as the explanation of such a sequence on the strength of three facts: (1) the probability of such a chance occurrence is 1 in 21136; (2) there exist intelligent beings in the universe capable of bringing about such an occurrence; and (3) the sequence of discrete signals and pauses has a special significance to intelligent beings. The argument from design is an argument for the existence of God or a creator. But it does not take much counterevidence to rebut the Theistic Lottery Hypothesis: a single observation of a lottery that relies on a random selection process will suffice. Since, therefore, the effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of Nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man, though possessed of much larger faculties, proportioned to the grandeur of the work which he has executed. Theories of chemical necessity are problematic because chemical necessity can explain, at most, the development of highly repetitive ordered sequences incapable of representing information. Like the functions of a watch or a mousetrap, a cilium cannot perform its function unless its microtubules, nexin linkers, and motor proteins are all arranged and structured in precisely the manner in which they are structured; remove any component from the system and it cannot perform its function. Collins’s version of the argument relies on what he calls the Prime Principle of Confirmation: If observation O is more probable under hypothesis H1 than under hypothesis H2, then O provides a reason for preferring H1 over H2. The problem, however, is that the claim that a complex system has some property that would be valued by an intelligent agent with the right abilities, by itself, simply does not justify inferring that the probability that such an agent exists and brought about the existence of that system is not vanishingly small. Every argument, by definition, is either a priori or a posteriori, and no argument is both a priori and a posteriori. To ensure the best experience, please update your browser. Thus, while chemical necessity can explain periodic order among nucleotide letters, it lacks the resources logically needed to explain the aperiodic, highly specified, complexity of a sequence capable of expressing information. According to Aquinas’s Fifth Way: We see that things which lack knowledge, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. A single application of the Prime Principle of Confirmation, by itself, is simply not designed to provide the sort of reason that would warrant much confidence in preferring one hypothesis to another. First, there is little reason to think that the probability of evolving irreducibly complex systems is, as a general matter, small enough to warrant assuming that the probability of the design explanation must be higher. – exp: Aquinas and Clarke As Julian Huxley describes the logic of this process: The evolutionary process results immediately and automatically from the basic property of living matter—that of self-copying, but with occasional errors. According to the Chance Lottery Hypothesis, John Doe’s numbers were drawn by chance. Such inferences are used to detect intelligent agency in a large variety of contexts, including criminal and insurance investigations. Second, Hume argues that, even if the resemblance between the material universe and human artifacts justified thinking they have similar causes, it would not justify thinking that an all-perfect God exists and created the world. A Posteriori Definition: Knowledge or arguments based on experience or empirical evidence. It then begins breeding from this new sequence in exactly the same way. It looks like your browser needs an update. Thomas Aquinas, "The Argument from Design": Thomas Aquinas's argument from design and objections to that argument are outlined and discussed. A. Similarly, life would not be possible if the force binding protons to neutrons differed by even five percent. As Hume states the relevant rule of analogy, “wherever you depart in the least, from the similarity of the cases, you diminish proportionably the evidence; and may at last bring it to a very weak analogy, which is confessedly liable to error and uncertainty” (Hume, Dialogues, Part II). Dawkins considers two ways in which one might program a computer to generate the following sequence of characters: METHINKS IT IS LIKE A WEASEL. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God (Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Article 3, Question 2). Hume then goes on to argue that the cases are simply too dissimilar to support an inference that they are like effects having like causes: If we see a house,… we conclude, with the greatest certainty, that it had an architect or builder because this is precisely that species of effect which we have experienced to proceed from that species of cause. Like the proponent of the design argument, the court knew that (1) the relevant event or feature is something that might be valued by an intelligent agent; and (2) the odds of it coming about by chance are astronomically small. If, however, John won three consecutive 1-in-1,000 lotteries, you would immediately be tempted to think that John (or someone acting on his behalf) cheated. As Meyer rightly observes by way of example, “[a]rcheologists assume a mind produced the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone” (Meyer 2002, 94). Contemporary biologist, Richard Dawkins (1986), uses a programming problem to show that the logic of the process renders the Darwinian explanation significantly more probable than the design explanation. Normally, existential claims don't follow from conceptual claims. Among the classical versions are: (1) the “Fifth Way” of St. Thomas Aquinas; (2) the argument from simple analogy; (3) Paley’s watchmaker argument; and (4) the argument from guided evolution. Since the works of nature possess functional complexity, a reliable indicator of intelligent design, we can justifiably conclude that these works were created by an intelligent agent who designed them to instantiate this property. This is Swinburne’s cumulative argument. In the absence of antecedent reason for thinking there exist intelligent agents capable of creating information content, the occurrence of a pattern of flowers in the shape of “Welcome to Victoria” would not obviously warrant an inference of intelligent design. The argument proceeds as follows. If having a precursor to an irreducibly complex system does not render the organism less fit for survival, the probability a subspecies of organisms with the precursor survives and propagates is the same, other things being equal, as the probability that a subspecies of organisms without the precursor survives and propagates. A posteriori is a term first used by Immanuel Kant and it means "from below" or "bottom-up". Second, the watch could not perform this function if its parts and mechanisms were differently sized or arranged; the fact that the ability of a watch to keep time depends on the precise shape, size, and arrangement of its parts suggests that the watch has these characteristics because some intelligent agency designed it to these specifications. You’re probably more familiar with the other type. Accordingly, while the court was right to infer a design explanation in the Caputo case, this is, in part, because the judges already knew that the right kind of intelligent beings exist—and one of them happened to have occupied a position that afforded him with the opportunity to rig the drawings in favor of the Democrats. • Cosmological: The existence of God is posited to explain the existence of (change in) the world. – exp: Anselm’s Ontological Argument • This is the only a priori argument for the existence of God. Just as the purposive quality of the cumulative-step computer program above is best explained by intelligent design, so too the purposive quality of natural selection is best explained by intelligent design. Accordingly, the argument from irreducible biochemical complexity is more plausibly construed as showing that the design explanation for such complexity is more probable than the evolutionary explanation. The Classical Versions of the Design Argument, Contemporary Versions of the Design Argument, The Argument from Irreducible Biochemical Complexity, The Argument from Suspicious Improbability, The Scientifically Legitimate Uses of Design Inferences. Psalms 19:1 of the Old Testament, scripture to both Judaism and Christianity, states that “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” Similarly, Romans 1:19-21 of the New Testament states: For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Since, on this intuition, the only two explanations for the highly improbable appearance of fine-tuning are chance and an intelligent agent who deliberately designed the universe to be hospitable to life, the latter simply has to be the better explanation. But surely you will not affirm that the universe bears such a resemblance to a house that we can with the same certainty infer a similar cause, or that the analogy is here entire and perfect (Hume, Dialogues, Part II). The Ontological Argument is a priori, since all of its premises are a priori. But since it is the very existence of such a being that is at issue in the debates about the existence of God, design arguments appear unable to stand by themselves as arguments for God’s existence. One of the hallmarks of Descartes’ version of the ontologicalargument is its simplicity. Nevertheless, the confirmatory version of the argument is vulnerable on other fronts. 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