Philosophy of Religion- Design and Being
Aquinas's Argument from Design
◦ what is it to 'act for an end'
▪ to have an equal goal in action
▪ to have a function
▪ ex. the heart has a function of pumping blood; ipod plays music...
▪ also known as 'teleological'
◦ how bis is the realm of ends?
▪ Artifacts, organisms...?
▪ Aquinas (following Aristotle) thought the universe and the realm of ends were
▪ ex. falling objects are 'seeking' their natural place
▪ some things have a function lack minds
▪ anything that has a function but lack mind, have been designed for something
▪ therefor there is a 'designer' who created all such mindless things
▪ The designer is God
◦ Note Birthday Fallacy
◦ Note Aquinas's point of view:
▪ everything is teleological
Structure of the Argument from Design
◦ Global versus Local Design Argument
▪ Global design relies on some general feature of the universe as a a whole
• ex. the fine-tuning argument
• hos of features of our world have to be almost exactly right, orelse we would
not be here
◦ fine- structure constant, cosmological constant...
◦ note anthropic principle
▪ Global versus Local Arguments
• rely on some particular or local feature of the world
◦ ex. bombardier beetle
◦ ex. the human eye
▪ without some specific parts, it could not funtion
William Paley's Watch
• ex. we find a watch on the beach, but we don’t know what it is
◦ two hypothises
▪ H1: it was a chance object created by the waves acting on the sand!
▪ H2: somebody built that thing to perform the function of keeping time
◦ the surprise element
▪ what is an argument by analogy
• an analogy depends on some similarity between two things, lets call then the
analog and the target
• ex.bad analogy
◦ he had a handsome, rugged look of a chipmunk ◦ failure of similarity
• what about this bad analogy
◦ she was as alone as someone with nor friends
◦ trivial similarity
• this is a good analogy
◦ atoms are like little solar systems
• and analogical argument works by extrapolation from the analog to an
unknown feature of the target
◦ analog:the watch
◦ target: the universe (global design argument)
◦ target: organisms (local design argument)
◦ the analog has a property: being intellectually designed
◦ therefore the target has a that property
• why does that follow
◦ things that are generally similar usually have a lot of things in common
Hume's Criticism of the Design Argument
• An analogy is only as good as the target