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The argument from design... is it convincing?

scourge99

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The Argument from design can best be paraphrased as the following
(Argument from design): - Iron Chariots Wiki
The argument from design is an attempt to prove the existence of God based on the natural order of the universe.

Background information:
The argument from design is one of the most common arguments for god. It ranges in complexity from Paley's watchmaker to the plea ... to "Just look at the trees!"

Despite being one of the most popular arguments for god, and more or less providing the underpinning for the entire intelligent design movement, the argument is deeply flawed on almost every level. Logically it goes so far as to commit not one, but two separate cases of special pleading.

Paley's watchmaker is one of the more famous variations of the argument.
William Paley in Natural Theology c.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."

...

William Paley in Natural Theology (Ch. XXIII, Pg. 441):

"Upon the whole; after all the schemes and struggles of a reluctant philosophy, the necessary resort is to a Deity. The marks of design are too strong to be gotten over. Design must have had a designer. That designer must have been a person. That person is GOD.]"

Questions for debate:
1) Does the Watchmaker argument convince you that God exists?
2) Does the Watchmaker convince you that the Christian God exists as opposed to just a Designer-God?
 
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John Doe

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That entire article (which got linked incorrectly by the way. Use tinyurl to help, on these forums) summarizes all the problems with the argument. Only those people who refuse to look at, or accept those flaws think the argument holds water.

So 1 is obviously no, and should be no for everyone. The only way you can conclude "all this stuff is evidence of design by God" is if you assume that to begin with, which is obviously terrible logic. (For I can readily assume God does not exist, and if assumptions are to be allowed, both cannot be right but both are.)

Number 2 should be no. In fact this is the argument I prefer against it, though there are many other elegant ones. A "designer" doesn't necessarily have to be the God of any human religion.
 

molten_dragon

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1) Does the Watchmaker argument convince you that God exists?

No. The fact that we don't understand how the universe came to be does not presume that it was designed by an intelligence

2) Does the Watchmaker convince you that the Christian God exists as opposed to just a Designer-God?

Definitely not.
 

roughdraft274

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I think it was probably very convincing... before modern science and the theory of evolution.
 

tacomancer

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The problem with argument from design is that you can use the same evidence to support either side of the debate.

Back when I was an atheist, I used a lot of these arguments in my philosophy class to argue against design as an example.
 
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