argument from design - argument from design "If there...

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argument from design "If there are any marks at all of special design in creation, one of the things most evidently  designed is that a large proportion of all animals should pass their existence in  tormenting and devouring other animals." --John Stuart Mill "I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly  created the  Ichneumonidae  with the express intention of their feeding within the living  bodies of Caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice." --Charles Darwin The argument from design is one of the "proofs" for the existence of God. In its basic form, this argument infers from the intelligent order and created beauty of the universe that there is an intelligent Designer and Creator of the universe. The argument has been criticized for begging the question: it assumes the universe is designed in order to prove that it is the work of a designer. The argument also suppresses evidence: for all its beauty and grandeur, the universe is also full of, well, to be delicate, let us say that the universe is also full of nasties . I suppose I should be more specific, but I think the reader knows the kind of thing I mean: babies born without brains, good people suffering monstrous tortures such as neurofibromatosis, evil people basking in the sun and enjoying power, reputation, etc. Volcanoes erupting, earthquakes rattling the planet, hurricanes and tornadoes blindly wiping out thousands of lives a day. Is it unfair to call these things the nasties , what is blithely referred to by theists as non-moral evil or physical evil ? To say, as many defenders of Design do, that these nasties only seem nasty to us but we are ignorant of God's plan and vision and cannot know how good these nasties really are, is self-refuting. If we can't know what's good and what's not, we can't know whether the design, if any, is good or bad. Paley's argument One of the argument's more famous variations involves an analogy with a watch. William Paley (1743-1805), the Archdeacon of Carlisle, writes in his Natural Theology (1802): In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had before given, that for anything I knew the watch might have always been there.
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The reason, he says, that he couldn't conceive of the watch having been there forever is because it is evident that the parts of the watch were put together for a purpose . It is inevitable that "the watch must have had a maker," whereas the stone apparently has no purpose revealed by the complex arrangement of its parts. Darrow's response
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This note was uploaded on 04/23/2009 for the course PHIL phil101 taught by Professor Davis during the Spring '09 term at University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign.

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argument from design - argument from design "If there...

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