Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Design Shows that there is No God.

Here’s a problem for design arguments. The best examples of design that we know that might allow us to develop a teleological argument for God are instances where we designed and created artifacts. Then we can identify the properties that are present in those artifacts in virtue our our intelligent design. To the extent that the universe possesses those properties, we can then argue that the universe was designed as well. Any properties that we would find in the universe that might suggest that it as an artifact will be properties that we have observed in artifacts that we have created. But the properties that we find in our artifacts that indicate that they were created all directly or indirectly reveal our limitations, our inabilities, and other finite aspects of our creation. So the properties indicative of creation that we might find in the universe will also point to limitations, inabilities, and finite aspects of the creator of the universe.

That is, our best examples of artifact creation are anthropomorphic—they reflect our limited natures. So if we find features in the universe that harken to human creation, at best, they will suggest an anthropomorphic, non-divine creator. But if God really does exist, then the universe was not created by a limited, unable, finite being, and the markers of intelligent design in it will not resemble our own. If an infinitely powerful and intelligent being created the universe, then results of its creative act will not resemble the results of our finite efforts. So pointing to anthropomorphic design features in the universe actually suggests that God, a divine being who would be capable of much more, was not responsible. And if God did not create the universe, that suggests that God does not exist.

It’s a bit like the old Groucho Marx line, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of any club who would have me as a member.” If the design features in the universe are ones that we can recognize from our perspective, then the being responsible must not be God. God wouldn’t do such shoddy work that we’d be able to see the seams, nails, and construction evidence. So if we can see the evidence of construction, then God wasn’t the one who did the job. Furthermore, it’s an all or nothing gig for God—either he created the universe, or there is no God. There are no in between alternatives. So if we can see design in the universe, then there is no God.

12 comments:

Prakash J. Lakhapate said...

"So if we can see design in the universe, then there is no God."

The above statement is not correct.
Our senses are not strong enough to view or understand this infinite universe.
How a finite body of ours can view this infinite universe.
No creation can exist without a creator.
Therefore creator is there.
We do not understand its very big
existance.

P.J.LAKHAPATE
plakhapate@gmail.com

Reginald Selkirk said...

No creation can exist without a creator.

This is an unsupported assertion.

ungullible said...

In addition, there are many examples of poor design. One well known example is the eye - we have a blind spot in our retina because the rods and cones are on the wrong side, requiring the optic nerve to pass through a space amoung them. No intelligent designer would do this.

Carlo said...

"""In addition, there are many examples of poor design. One well known example is the eye - we have a blind spot in our retina because the rods and cones are on the wrong side, requiring the optic nerve to pass through a space amoung them. No intelligent designer would do this."""

We could always wish for a perfect world. Of course how would we then talk about that which is prefectly nothing?

"I was at this time of living, like so many Atheists or Anti-theists, in a whirl of contradictions. I maintained that God did not exist. I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world." C.S. Lewis

ungullible said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ungullible said...

@Carlo: I said nothing of wishing for a perfect world. I only said that if you are going to argue for intelligent design, then you must also explain how or why that designer made obvious mistakes. You can't have it both ways.

Your C.S.Lewis quote is also entirely irrelevant. His personal struggles with atheism have nothing at all to do with my experiences, which have not once included such contradictory feelings or thoughts.

jamie said...

if you find a watch on the ground and take it apart thus seeing how it was put together, does that mean that the watch spontaneously created itself? No. Or does one's ability to disassemble the watch and make crude observations put that person on par with the watch maker? No.

We make observations about the world around us and the universe and we may be able to guess at why things are the way they are, but really we just simply don't know. We know some of the properties of the sun and we can list elements contained in in, but in reality, do we really know why it is the way it is?

Science has convinced itself that it has all the answers, but despite all the astute observations, Science still cannot replicate the things we find in nature. When Science can fabricate true human beings out of basic elements or give birth to stars from basic elements, then I'll be impressed.

Carlo said...

ungullible,

The quote by C.S. Lewis is completely relevant since it references your disdain for an inadequate creator. You dismiss an intelligent designer because you somehow see imperfection In the eyeball. There is a handful of value judgments regarding what constitutes a good design. So please tell us how the eye ball could have been better? How could this world have been created better?


The form of your argument exists below in modus tollens:

1) If there is an ID being then there exist well designed things

2) but the eye (a thing) is poorly designed

Thus, there is no designer


"I was equally angry with Him for creating a world." C.S. Lewis

Ungullible said...

@jamie - go read the Blind Watchmaker. Your analogy is old, tired, long since rebutted, and simply shows you do not understand the theory of evolution. Hint: evolution is the result of two opposing processes, but your anology focuses on only one of them while entirely ignoring the other.

@carlo - no, the Lewis quote is still entirely irrelevant. You *assume* that I am angry or have disdain because that fits your convenient idea of what atheism is. You are wrong and have no basis at all to assign those attributes to me.

But I do agree with the 2nd part of your post. Yes, I think the less-than-perfect design of the eye is one data point against Intelligent Design. It is not an argument against God, but it is a data point against Intelligent Design. I've already described the flaw, so what I would change to make it better is sort of obvious.

Prakash J. Lakhapate said...

Suppose you are asked to take 10000000 different photos of your own.

What would you do?

You will try all different types good or bad.

Similarly the creator wants to see himself in different ways what he will do?

He will create the different things as per his wish.

How can we say his design is not good.

If we have helicopter view or birds eye view then we will not say that his design is not good.

According to me the design of this world is excellent.

One has to have the capacity to understand this infinite creation.

Those who can understand the infinitism can understand the creator.

P.J.LAKHAPATE
plakhapate@gmail.com

Derek said...

I actually disagree with this post and think it's a bit of a stretch to say that if there is the appearance of design, then there is no God. I see no design in the universe, so does that mean there is a God? It just doesn't sit well with me. It's an interesting topic to discuss, but I would never use this in a debate.

carmel Ka said...

Hi community,

it is a problem with arguments in the article and description: The best examples of design that we know that might allow us to develop a teleological argument for God are instances where WE designed and created artifacts.
This premise is false sine human being was created or evolution made BUT not existed and is not perpetual to make an anthropomorphic argument for our Univers and our initial existence.

Interesting comments, by the way!