PHL A10 - Exercise IV
1. Explain the structure of arguments from analogy.
An argument from analogy has the following logical form; where A is the analog, T is the target, and n is the
degree of similarity between A and T. The higher n is, the more probable the conclusion is.
Object A has property P.
Object A and object T are similar by degree n.
n [fdgdga cdhfdhahfddddddddddddddddddddk
T has property P.
2. Why might the argument from design be a very weak inductive argument?
The argument from design might be a very weak inductive argument because the sample size for this inductive
argument is z ero. The argument that the universe is the product of intelligent design should be an induction, and
to have an induction, extrapolation from a sample is necessary. A large num ber of other universes would have to
be examined and if most of them were of intelligent design, then it can be concluded that this universe is also of
intelligent design. However, this universe is the only universe mankind has experienced. Therefore, without a
sample size, the argument becomes a weak inductive argument.
3. What is the difference between theistic evolutionism and creationism according to Sober?
Theistic evolutionism says that God set mindless evolutionary processes in motion; these processes, once
underway, suffice to explain the observed features of organisms. Creationism says that God set mindless
evolutionary processes in motion, as in theistic evolutionism, but it also says that God periodically intervenes in
these mindless processes, doing work that mindless natural processes are inherently incapable of doing.
According to Sober, current evolutionary theory is neutral about whether God exists or not and holds that
mindless evolutionary processes suffice to expl ain the features of living things. Evolutionary theory is not
consistent with creationism, however, since creationism denies this.
4. What is the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics?
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that a closed system will (with high probability) move from states of
greater order to states of lesser order, and if the system were not closed, nothing will happen. The Second Law is
a law about the increase of entropy (disorder) within a system. Creationists claim that this law makes it
imporssible for order to arise from disorder by natural processes.
5. Roughly explain how natural selection works.
Natural selection is Darwin’s hypothesis used to explain why new characteristics appear and become cmomon and
why some old characteristics disappear. Natural selection is the process by which favorable traits that are heritable
become more common in successive generations of a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable traits
that are heritable become less common. Natural selection occurs in a population of or ganisms when there is
inherited variation in fitness. The organisms must vary; if all organisms are the same, then there will be no
variants to select among. The variations must be passed down from parents to offspring. This is the requiremenet