We have looked at the teleological argument for the existence of God (if you have not read them, please take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with them). Of course those who are against the faith have their arguments that try to demolish the argument. Please find here the most common of them and my answers to them.
1) Some of the defenses of the premises use unprovable assumptions.
A) For example, we cannot prove that if the earth were closer to the sun that a
negative effect would transpire and life on earth would not be possible.
B) Remember what we are trying to do with our arguments. We can never prove
anything 100 %.
1) You cannot prove 100% that you exist. There is only one way to do this.
You must exit your body and observe yourself in a state of existence. This we
cannot do. It is physically impossible. What is the answer then. Can we
come to any type of conclusion about our own existence. Yes we can.
We need to remember three things, 1) What is the evidence? 2) What
is the plausibility of you existing? 3) We must use our own reasoning
and common sense.
a) Is there any evidence that you exist. Well, you are reading this.
You are thinking about the things written. Have someone punch
in the arm, go ahead. Did you feel any pain? Someone once said,
“I think, therefore I am.” These two areas are evidence that you exist.
1) You are capable of thinking.
2) You can feel things that are physical in nature.
b) Based on these two (there are others that can be added, just trying
to keep it simple) what is more plausible? That you do in fact exist,
or that you do not exist. Based on the evidence, it is more plausible
that you do exist. In fact, the plausibility of your existence is so
overwhelming, it is reasonable to conclude it is a fact.
c) Besides, common sense tells us that we do.
2) This is the same with this objection. No, we can not prove 100% that the
defenses are fact. But the plausibility of them being fact is so overwhelming
that it is reasonable to conclude that they are fact.
2) The Anthropic Principle
A) The Anthropic principle is this, the universe is tailor-made for habitation, and that
both the laws of physics and the initial conditions obligingly arranged themselves in
such a way that living organisms are subsequently assured of existence.
B) Well, DAH! Of course they are. We are here. The only difference is we know the
Tailor who made it so.
C) This is really not a strong argument. In fact, realizing the obvious implications of the
scientific evidence for the Anthropic principle, many evolutionary scientists have
rebelled at even the mere mention of it in the halls of science.
3) God of the Gaps
A) It is often stated something like this, “ Just because we do not know how something
came about does not mean we can or should insert God as the cause.”
B) This is an argument from ignorance. The Design argument is based on our everyday
design inference. When we see something that looks designed, that is what we infer.
C) We use the design inference on a daily bases. Even scientists, whether they want to
admit it or not, use it on a daily basis in their everyday work. A doctor and a
mechanic diagnose the same way. They each look within the machine to identify
what has gone wrong. The mechanic looks at the engine to see if one of the parts
has malfunctioned or if something has entered in to disrupt the machines inner
workings. They make the inference to design since the all the parts have to be
working properly in order for the machine to function as it should. The doctor in
essence does the exact same thing. They look at the inner parts to see what is not
functioning properly. They to make the same inference to design since all the
parts of the system have to be working properly in order for the system to work.
By identifying the problem, they then can correct it.
D) All the argument does is show that some intelligent being has designed the
system. We do not know what that intelligent being is. It could have been aliens
for all we know. This is a possible explanation. (Although I personally do not
believe that aliens exist.) Do not get caught up in this trap. They are making
assumptions that the argument is not asserting.
4) Darwin has shown that variations and natural selection can account for the
appearance of design.
A) We will deal with this more readily when we refute the evolutionary theory.
B) This rebuttal is primarily focused at the biochemical design argument.
C) If it can be shown that mutations and natural selection can produce the complex
systems such as the blood clotting cascade, then their argument stands. Yet, as
of today, none have been put forward. Perhaps we can understand why
detailed models are missing from the evolutionists by asking what a real
scientific investigation of mousetrap evolution would be like. They would first
have to think of a precursor to the modern mousetrap, one that was simpler.
Suppose they started with a wooden platform? No, that will not catch mice.
Suppose they started with a modern mousetrap that has a shortened holding
bar? No, if the bar is too short it would not reach the catch, and the trap would
spring uselessly while they were holding it. Suppose they started with a smaller
trap? No, that would not explain the complexity. Suppose the parts developed
individually for other functions-such as a popsicle stick for the platform, a clock
spring for the trap spring, and so on- and then accidentally got together? No, their
previous functions would leave them unfit for trapping mice, and they still have
to explain how they gradually developed into a mousetrap. If they cannot explain
the mousetrap, which is simple compared to the systems of the body, it is easy
to see why there are no attempts to give an evolutionary explanation.
D) A pertinent question to ask now is, “How do we know things?” Without getting
into the discipline of epistemology, there are really only two ways that we know
things. 1) Through personal experience and 2) By authority.
1) If you make the positive knowledge statement that the walls in your house
are green, how exactly do you know that? It is through personal experience.
You know the walls in your house are green because you live there and saw
that they are green. Similarly you know what a bird is, how gravity works
(in an everyday sense), And how to get to the nearest shopping mall, all by
2) If you make the positive knowledge statement that the earth revolves around
the sun, how exactly do you know this? It is by authority. That is, you rely
on some source on information, believing it to be reliable, when you have no
experience of your own. Anyone who has attended school believes that the
earth goes around the sun, even though only a few have the knowledge of how
to detect this.
E) Scientists are people too, so we can ask how they know what they know. They are
like everyone else, they rely upon personal experience and, or authority.
1) No one has personal experience in the evolution of complex biochemical
systems. It does not happen in the lab. In fact, there is an ongoing
experiment that is testing the validity of the mutation, natural selection theory.
They use a bacteria that the generations come and go at a rapid pace. They
have gone through about 40,000 generations. As of yet, there have been no
noticeable changes in the bacteria. Therefore they cannot say that the reason
that they know it has happened this way is through personal experience.
2) It is also not based on authority. There is no publication in scientific
literature- prestigious journal, specialty journals, or books- that describes
how evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or
even might have occurred. There are assertions that such evolution occurred,
but absolutely none are supported by pertinent experiments or calculations.
3) Since no one knows biochemical evolution by direct experience, and since
there is no authority on which to base claims of knowledge, it can be said that
the assertions of biochemical evolution is merely bluster.
5) Design is not science
A) This rebuttal goes something like this, “ Since we do not have access to the designer,
we have no way to falsify the concept.”
B) This is hypocritical on their part. A great example of science and design is the SETI
(stands for the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence)
project. This project was stated in the early 60's, but did not really get started until
Carl Sagan founded the Planetary Society. It was a vehicle to advance the SETI
program. Simply, the program uses radio telescopes to search the skies for
intelligent life. Basically, millions of dollars (some of which were tax payers
dollars) were pumped into a project to detect codes or messages from outer space
that would indicate intelligence. Those involved in the project recognized that
mathematical patterns, codes, languages, algorithms, and various other
“fundamental laws” would be accepted as evidence that some type of intelligence
did exist. The premise that can be surmised from the SETI program is that
Intelligence could be recognized and distinguished from non-intelligence, natural
explanations; the required criteria for this recognition being some type of code,
mathematical sequence, physical patterns, etc. Such codes have been found in
C) The two are basically the same. They are both looking for design in nature. The
SETI scientists are looking for things that do not occur naturally. If they were to
come across something such as that, then they would immediately infer design.
It would be on the front page of every newspaper that intelligent life exists
elsewhere in the universe. No one would begin to question the statement even
though we could not test the being that designed the signal or whatever. The same
is true for the biochemical design we see in the body. We see something that looks
designed. Just as with the SETI people, we naturally infer design. No, we cannot
test the designer, but just as with SETI, we do not have to for it to be science. We
are justified to infer the design concept.
5) Just trying to get religion into the schools
A) This is a bad assumption on their part.
B) It has nothing to do with religion.
C) Who the intelligent designer is, is not what the argument is showing. Of course
the next logical step would be to say that it is God. But that is apart from this
D) This, I believe, is just an attempt to curtail the discussion from what it is about
in order not to deal with the argument. It would be kind of like putting a band aid
on a severed limb. It just will not help the situation.
6) Does not prove a creator
A) This is true, but the argument does have value.
B) We need to recognize the fact that the teleological argument does not prove
an infinite, Necessary being who created the universe out of nothing. The
Cosmological argument is intended to accomplish this. However, when combined
with the cosmological argument the teleological argument does show that the
infinite cause of all finite being is an intelligent one, which is evidenced by the
extremely complex design manifested in the universe.
7) The perfection problem
A) Stated as such, “It does not prove the existence of God.”
1) The fact that the world is full of chaos indicates that there was no designer
and that it is best explained by natural phenomena.
2) The fact that mankind is plagued with disease, sickness, suffering indicates
that an intelligent being could not and would not design something so sloppy.
B) This is usually a rebuttal against the God of the Bible.
C) This is faulty on their part, since we are not arguing for the God of the Bible using
this argument. The only thing that the argument is stating is that there is design
in the universe that requires an intelligent being.
D) It is also faulty since we do not know at this point what the intelligent being had
in mind at the start. Could it not have purposely designed it in such a way as to have
the chaos, disease, and suffering as a part of its original plan? Possibly. (We will
examine this further when we discuss the issue of evil, pain, and suffering.) Also
what makes mankind’s definition of perfection the “rule of law”? Just because
mankind does not see it as perfection does not of necessity mean it is imperfect.
There are many buildings that I would say are really not very appealing to the eye.
Of course the designer of the building would disagree with my view of what he has
designed. Who is correct?
8) Multi universe theory
A) The multiverse theory is the hypothetical set of multiple universes that together
comprise all of reality.
1) It is argued that if this theory is correct then the design argument fails.
2) With the increase in number of universes, the probability of one having
the exact chemistry (for lack of a better word) for life to come into existence
becomes greater and greater.
3) Not only does it become more probably, it becomes plausible.
B) The major problem with this theory is the fact that we have absolutely NO
Empirical evidence to even suggest such. This theory laughs in the face of all
science. Science is not based on wishes. It is based on evidence.
C) Since this theory has none, it should not even be considered.
The teleological argument, as such, is a highly plausible but not absolutely certain argument for intelligent design manifested in the world. Chance is possible though not plausible. The teleological evidence favors the unity of this cause since this world is really a universe, not a multi universe. This is especially evident in view of the anthropic principle which reveals that the world, life, and humankind were anticipated from the very moment of the origin of the material universe.
The teleological argument as such does not demand that this cause be absolutely perfect. Nor does it explain the presence of evil and disorder in the world. The teleological argument is dependent on the cosmological and moral argument to establish these other aspects of the theistic God.
It is really a casual argument from effect to cause, only it argues from the intelligent nature of the effect to an intelligent cause. This point is important. For if the principle of causality cannot be supported, the admittedly one cannot insist that there must be a cause or ground of the design in the world. Design might just be there without a cause. Only if there is a purpose for everything can it follow that the world must have a purposer. The teleological argument depends on the cosmological argument in the important sense that it borrows from it the principle of causality. As can be readily seen from every form of the design argument, the underlying assumption is that there needs to be a cause for the order in the world. Deny this and the argument fails, for the alleged design would merely be gratuitous.
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