Phil.Religion.StudyGuide 3

Phil.Religion.StudyGuide 3 - Philosophy 120(F 05 MacLeod...

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Philosophy 120 (F 05), MacLeod Philosophy of Religion, Handout 3: Paley’s Argument from Design I. Paley’s Argument from Design as an Abductive Argument A watch is a complicated mechanism that serves a function -- to indicate the time of day. Maybe the watch just came together randomly, or maybe it was designed. Which is the better explanation for the fact that the watch functions in this way? Random Hypothesis/watch : the object came together through the random action of wind and waves Design Hypothesis/watch : the object is a product of intelligent design I think we can safely say that the Design Hypothesis is a better explanation; wind and waves frequently produce foam and messes of seaweed, shells and garbage, but not machines that can be used to serve purposes (watches, can openers, food processors). One expects intelligent design to produce such machines, though. So, since this is the best explanation for the watch being as it is, we CONCLUDE that the watch is the product of intelligent design. Paley’s Argument draws similar conclusions concerning the Earth. The Earth is filled with many and varied complicated biological species, each suited to their environments, which enables survival and reproduction. Maybe biological species just came together randomly, or maybe they were designed. Which is the better explanation for the fact that biological species function so well? Random Hypothesis/Earth: the Earth’s biological species came to be as they are randomly Design Hypothesis/Earth: the Earth’s biological species are products of extraordinarily intelligent design. If the Random hypothesis makes the existence of watches unlikely, then it makes the existence of lions, tigers and bears (say) even less likely (or so Paley would argue) since biological organisms are more complicated, and exhibit even more functional organization than does a watch. So the Design Hypothesis is the better explanation for the facts of biology , Paley would argue. Moreover, since biological function is so complex and impressive, the facts of biology favor the hypothesis of extraordinarily intelligent design over random collection. Therefore, Paley concludes, God, the Designer, exists.
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This note was uploaded on 10/20/2008 for the course PHIL 120 taught by Professor Wormer during the Spring '08 term at IUP.

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Phil.Religion.StudyGuide 3 - Philosophy 120(F 05 MacLeod...

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