Philo the skeptic delivers Hume's objections to the argument from design. Schlesinger’s fine-tuning argument also appears vulnerable to the same criticism as the other versions of the design argument (see Himma 2002). Because processes involving chemical necessity are highly regular and predictable in character, they are capable of producing only highly repetitive sequences of “letters.” For example, while chemical necessity could presumably explain a sequence like “ababababababab,” it cannot explain specified but highly irregular sequences like “the house is on fire.” The problem is that highly repetitive sequences like the former are not sufficiently complex and varied to express information. Nevertheless, the confirmatory version of the argument is vulnerable on other fronts. AsHumeâs interlocutor Cleanthes put it, we seem to see âtheimage of mind reflected on us from innumerable objectsâ innature. In effect, this influential move infers design, not from the existence of functionally complex organisms, but from the purposive quality of the evolutionary process itself. Given that we are justified in inferring intelligent design in the case of John’s winning three consecutive lotteries, we are even more justified in inferring intelligent design in the case of our winning two dozen much more improbable property lotteries. What proponents of design arguments for God’s existence, however, have not noticed is that each one of these indubitably legitimate uses occurs in a context in which we are already justified in thinking that intelligent beings with the right motivations and abilities exist. 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. As before, the problem for the fine-tuning argument is that we lack both of the pieces that are needed to justify an inference of design. Without this crucial piece of information, however, the court would not have been so obviously justified in making the design inference. There are thus two features of a watch that reliably indicate that it is the result of an intelligent design. Consider, for example, how much more information was available to the court in the Caputo case than is available to the proponent of the design argument for God’s existence. Pre-biotic natural selection and chemical necessity cannot, as a logical matter, explain the origin of biological information. 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. If the observation of a fine-tuned universe is more probable under the Theistic Hypothesis than under the Atheistic Single-Universe Hypothesis, then this fact is a reason for preferring the Design Hypothesis to Atheistic Single-Universe Hypothesis. For examâ¦ What matters for Paley’s argument is that works of nature and human artifacts have a particular property that reliably indicates design. 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. Thomas Aquinas, "The Argument from Design": Thomas Aquinas's argument from design and objections to that argument are outlined and discussed. It tells us only that the observation of fine-tuning provides one reason for accepting the Theistic Hypothesis over the Atheistic Single-Universe Hypothesisâand one that can be rebutted by other evidence. A mousetrap, in contrast, is irreducibly complex because the removal of even one part results in complete loss of function. In response, one might be tempted to argue that there is one context in which scientists employ the design inference without already having sufficient reason to think the right sort of intelligent agency exists. It is worth noting that proponents are correct in thinking that design inferences have a variety of legitimate scientific uses. The Republican Party filed suit against Caputo, arguing he deliberately rigged the ballot to favor his own party. Paley’s version of the argument, however, is generally thought to have been refuted by Charles Darwin’s competing explanation for complex organisms. Assuming the Atheistic Single-Universe Hypothesis is true, the probability that the universe has the fine-tuned properties is very smallâthough it is not clear exactly how small. Thus, there is no reason to think that it is logically or nomologically impossible, according to Darwinian theory, for a set of organisms with a precursor to a fully functional cilium to evolve into a set of organisms that has fully functional cilia. 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. The curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance; of human designs, thought, wisdom, and intelligence. After noting that the probability of picking the Democrats 40 out of 41 times was less than 1 in 50 billion, the court legitimately made a design inference, concluding that “few persons of reason will accept the explanation of blind chance.”. William Paley's 1st version of Argument from Design Argues through thought experiment If you're walking through the desert, and you find a watch, you can assume the watch had a designer that created it, as deserts don't produce watches. For example, it would be reasonable to infer that some intelligent extraterrestrial beings were responsible for a transmission of discrete signals and pauses that effectively enumerated the prime numbers from 2 to 101. 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.”. Next, Meyer argues that the probability of the design explanation for the origin of biological information is considerably higher: [O]ne can detect the past action of an intelligent cause from the presence of an information-rich effect, even if the cause itself cannot be directly observed. The precise ordering of the four nucleotides, adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine (A, T, G, and C, for short), determine the specific operations that occur within a living cell and is hence fairly characterized as representing (or embodying) information. Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is directed by the archer. Although Collins is certainly correct in thinking the observation of fine-tuning provides a reason for accepting the Design Hypothesis and hence rational ground for belief that God exists, that reason is simply not strong enough to do much in the way of changing the minds of either agnostics or atheists. First, it performs some function that an intelligent agent would regard as valuable; the fact that the watch performs the function of keeping time is something that has value to an intelligent agent. Though often confused with the argument from simple analogy, the watchmaker argument from William Paley is a more sophisticated design argument that attempts to avoid Hume’s objection to the analogy between worlds and artifacts. Richard Bentley saw evidence of intelligent design in Newton’s discovery of the law of gravitation. The argument from biological information, like the argument from biochemical complexity, seems incapable of standing alone as an argument for God’s existence. They're a posteriori, inductive (premises only make conclusion possible) arguments. Question 1 The idea of ahisma was originally developed by Aristotle. 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. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for [a] stone [that happened to be lying on the ground]?â¦ For this reason, and for no other; namely, that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, if a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it (Paley 1867, 1). The second program incorporates a “cumulative-step selection mechanism.” It begins by randomly generating a 28-character sequence of letters and spaces and then “breeds” from this sequence in the following way. If John wins a 1-in-1,000,000,000 lottery game, you would not immediately be tempted to think that John (or someone acting on his behalf) cheated. Paley’s argument, unlike arguments from analogy, does not depend on a premise asserting a general resemblance between the objects of comparison. The argument from biological information is concerned with only the second of these problems. This feature of the program increases the probability of reaching the sequence to such an extent that a computer running this program hit the target sequence after 43 generations, which took about half-an-hour. For example, many animals rely on their visual apparatusto spot prey, predators, or potential mates. 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. Seattle Pacific University 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 becauseâand only becauseâwe know two related empirical facts about such events. If this is correct, then design inferences simply cannot do the job they are asked to do in design arguments for God’s existence. Unlike the proponent of the design argument, however, the court had an additional piece of information available to it: the court already knew that there existed an intelligent agent with the right causal abilities and motives to bring about the event; after all, there was no dispute whatsoever about the existence of Caputo. For example, a sequence that has an E in the second place more closely resembles a sequence that is exactly like the first except that it has a Q in the second place. Pursuing a strategy that has been adopted by the contemporary intelligent design movement, John Ray, Richard Bentley, and William Derham drew on scientific discoveries of the 16th and 17th Century to argue for the existence of an intelligent Deity. The first program randomly producing a new 28-character sequence each time it is run; since the program starts over each time, it incorporates a “single-step selection process.” The probability of randomly generating the target sequence on any given try is 2728 (that is, 27 characters selected for each of the 28 positions in the sequence), which amounts to about 1 in (10,000 x 1,000,0006). Saltzer, D.P. Suppose we flip a fair coin 1000 times and record the results in succession. The design in any human artifact is the effect of having been made by an intelligent being. In the more than two centuries since Benjamin Franklin was appointed our first Postmaster General in 1775, the Postal Service™ has grown and changed with America, boldly embracing new technologies to better serve a growing population. First, Hume rejects the analogy between the material universe and any particular human artifact. There are two distinct problems involved in explaining the origin of life from a naturalistic standpoint. It is clear that John’s winning the lottery is vastly more probable under the Theistic Lottery Hypothesis than under the Chance Lottery Hypothesis. For example, there is nothing in the argument that would warrant the inference that the creator of the universe is perfectly intelligent or perfectly good. The confirmatory version of the fine-tuning argument is not vulnerable to the objection that it relies on an inference strategy that presupposes that we have independent evidence for thinking the right kind of intelligent agency exists. 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. The one usually credited with popularizing or developing this version is William Paley, who described it in Natural Theology (1802). Since natural selection can only choose systems that are already working, if a biological system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to act on (Behe 1996, 39; emphasis added). In addition to demonstrating Godâs existence , the teleological argument exposes shortcomings in the theory of evolution. Existence of God, in religion, the proposition that there is a supreme being that is the creator or sustainer or ruler of the universe and all things in it, including human beings. She presented over 100 product ideas for the technology, and was assigned to design a molded bra. 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. The Design Argument. 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. In the absence of some antecedent reason for thinking there exists an intelligent Deity capable of creating biological information, the occurrence of sequences of nucleotides that can be described as “representing information” does not obviously warrant an inference of intelligent designâno matter how improbable the chance explanation might be. While our existence in the universeâand this is crucialâdoes not, by itself, justify thinking that there are other intelligent life forms in the universe, it does justify thinking that the probability that there are such life forms is higher than the astronomically small probability (1 in 21136 to be precise) that a sequence of discrete radio signals and pauses that enumerates the prime numbers from 2 to 101 is the result of chance. 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. It is worth noting that Aquinas’s version of the argument relies on a very strong claim about the explanation for ends and processes: the existence of any end-directed system or process can be explained, as a logical matter, only by the existence of an intelligent being who directs that system or process towards its end. The argument proceeds as follows. Theories of pre-biotic natural selection are problematic because they illicitly assume the very feature they are trying to explain. Consider, for example, the notorious case of Nicholas Caputo. Since the world, on this analysis, is closely analogous to the most intricate artifacts produced by human beings, we can infer “by all the rules of analogy” the existence of an intelligent designer who created the world. U. S. A. Similarly, the blood-clotting function cannot perform its function if either of its key ingredients, vitamin K and antihemophilic factor, are missing. As is readily evident, a program that selects numbers by means of such a “single-step selection mechanism” has a very low probability of reaching the target. Regardless of how dissimilar any particular natural object might otherwise be from a watch, both objects exhibit the sort of functional complexity that warrants an inference that it was made by an intelligent designer. If all we know about the world is that John Doe won a lottery and the only possible explanations for this observation are the Theistic Lottery Hypothesis and the Chance Lottery Hypothesis, then this observation provides some reason to prefer the former. Applying the Prime Principle of Confirmation, Collins concludes that the observation of fine-tuned properties provides reason for preferring the Design Hypothesis over the Atheistic Single-Universe Hypothesis. As Meyer rightly observes by way of example, “[a]rcheologists assume a mind produced the inscriptions on the Rosetta Stone” (Meyer 2002, 94). Evolution is, on this line of response, guided by an intelligent Deity. While a computer running eternally would eventually produce the sequence, Dawkins estimates that it would take 1,000,0005 yearsâwhich is 1,000,0003 years longer than the universe has existed. Just as the watch has a watchmaker, then, the universe has a universe-maker. First, they identify some property P that is thought to be a probabilistically reliable index of design in the following sense: a design explanation for P is significantly more probable than any explanation that relies on chance or random processes. Hence it is plain that they achieve their end, not fortuitously, but designedly. Indeed, Hume argues that there is nothing there that would justify thinking even that there is just one deity: “what shadow of an argument… can you produce from your hypothesis to prove the unity of the Deity? The Teleological argument for Godâs existence In all of the contexts in which we legitimately make the design inference in response to an observation of information, we already know that there exist intelligent agents with the right sorts of motivations and abilities to produce information content; after all, we know that human beings exist and are frequently engaged in the production and transmission of information. The mere fact that it is enormously improbable that an event occurred by chance, by itself, gives us no reason to think that it occurred by design. 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. Therefore God exists. Clark* M.I.T. 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. 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. William Derham, for example, saw evidence of intelligent design in the vision of birds, the drum of the ear, the eye-socket, and the digestive system. The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument which states, by way of an analogy, that a design implies a designer, especially intelligent design an intelligent designer, i.e. 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. To understand Schlesinger’s argument, consider your reaction to two different events. The argument based on the existence of intelligent human life simply heaps on the complexity to be explained. Perhaps the earliest philosophically rigorous version of the design argument owes to St. Thomas Aquinas. 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. Robin Collins, “A Scientific Argument for the Existence of God,” in Michael J. Murray (ed. 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). 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. In many religions God is also conceived as perfect, all-powerful and all-knowing, and the source and ultimate ground of morality. Both systems are, on this view, irreducibly complexârather than cumulatively complex. The universe possess observable features that suggest it was designed by a divine designer - God. The stronger construction of the conclusion (and argument) incorrectly presupposes that Darwinian theory implies that every precursor to a fully functional system must itself perform some function that makes the organism more fit to survive. 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 scriptures of each of the major classically theistic religions contain language that suggests that there is evidence of divine design in the world. St Thomas Aquinas (1225 â 1274) developed the most popular argument as a 'way' (not proof) of showing that there must be a God. Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. The inference from design to designer is why the teleological argument is also known as the design argument. Aquinas argued that everything in the cosmos has a cause. Design proponents, like Michael J. Behe, have identified a number of biochemical systems that they take to be irreducibly complex. While that experience will inductively justify inferring that some human agency is the cause of any information that could be explained by human beings, it will not inductively justify inferring the existence of an intelligent agency with causal powers that depart as radically from our experience as the powers that are traditionally attributed to God. Design theorists distinguish two types of complexity that can be instantiated by any given structure.
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