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The Argument From Design, And The Problem Of Evil

1547 words - 6 pages

The Argument from Design, and the Problem of EvilThe teleological argument, better known as the argument from design, is one of the well-known arguments for the existence of God. It has arisen out of man's amazement at the intricacy and complex layout of many features of the natural world. Take, for example, the ability of honeybees to create honeycombs using the minimum amount of wax for the maximum amount of storage. This is possible by using the hexagon shape rather than any other as the structure. Even more awe-inspiring is the fact that the bees start from different locations, often working in two or three separate groups, yet still each hexagon is identical. When the separate teams of bees reach the middle, and weave the last hexagon in place, there is no sign of a junction or imperfection - humans presented with the same task would find it practically impossible to mirror this feat without the aid of external technology (Yahya 2001:191). It is details in nature like these that bring man to wonder at its complexity, and may bring him to the conclusion that there is no plausible explanation other than that of a designer and creator, who in this example 'inspired' the bees with the knowledge or 'instinct' to weave their honeycomb with such accuracy.William Paley presents his own interpretation of this argument in Feinberg and Shafer-Landau. He imagines walking across a heath, and on his journey coming across a stone. It would be rational to assume that this stone had always been there. He then carries on walking to find a watch. The same explanation cannot be given for the watch, as unlike the stone, the watch carries out a specific function. It is composed of complex workings and finery, which could not have been shaped and composed by coincidence. It is unreasonable to assume other than that this watch must have had a designer and maker. (Feinburg & Shafer-Landau 11th:41)Even if we had not seen the maker of the watch, had never seen the process of creating one and did not know anyone who had, we would still believe the watch had a maker. In fact our 'ignorance of this kind exalts our opinion of the unseen and unknown artist's skill', but does not raise any doubts in our minds as to his existence (Feinburg & Shafer-Landau 11th:41).Paley continues with his argument, comparing the watch to the intricate details in nature, such as the example of the bees mentioned earlier. He claims that since the watch required a design, so too must the complex features of nature. However, this argument is not a valid one, as the conclusion is based on the principle of analogy, meaning the conclusion could be false in spite of the premises being true. In spite of this, I find this assumption reasonable, and feel this argument is a good one. Organs such as the eye, composed of thirty main parts, cannot function at all if even one of these main parts is missing. It is indeed reasonable to compare an organ such as the eye to a watch.In his second chapter,...

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