Criticisms Of The Cosmological Argument
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Criticisms of the Cosmological Argument: Why did Hume, Russell and Dawkins Criticise this Argument?
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Specifically, he argues that these passions arise from a double relation between ideas and impressions, which we can illustrate here with the passion of pride:. Through the associative principle of resemblance, I then immediately associate this feeling of pleasure with a resembling feeling of pride this association constitutes the first relation in the double relation.
According to Hume, the three other principal indirect passions arise in parallel ways. Reason, he argues, is completely inert when it comes to motivating conduct, and without some emotion we would not engage in any action. Critics of religion during the eighteenth-century needed to express themselves cautiously to avoid being fined, imprisoned, or worse. Sometimes this involved placing controversial views in the mouth of a character in a dialogue. Other times it involved adopting the persona of a deist or fideist as a means of concealing a more extreme religious skepticism. Hume used all of the rhetorical devices at his disposal, and left it to his readers to decode his most controversial conclusions on religious subjects.
During the Enlightenment, there were two pillars of traditional Christian belief: natural and revealed religion. Hume attacks both natural and revealed religious beliefs in his various writings. In a letter to Henry Home, Hume states that he intended to include a discussion of miracles in his Treatise , but ultimately left it out for fear of offending readers. It is probably this main argument to which Hume refers. The first of this two-part essay contains the argument for which Hume is most famous: uniform experience of natural law outweighs the testimony of any alleged miracle. Let us imagine a scale with two balancing pans.
In the first pan we place the strongest evidence in support of the occurrence of a miracle. In the second we place our life-long experience of consistent laws of nature. According to Hume, the second pan will always outweigh the first. He writes:. It is experience only, which gives authority to human testimony [regarding miracles]; and it is the same experience, which assures us of the laws of nature. When, therefore, these two kinds of experience are contrary, we have nothing to do but subtract the one from the other, and embrace an opinion, either on one side or the other, with that assurance which arises from the remainder. But according to the principle here explained, this subtraction, with regard to all popular religions, amounts to an entire annihilation [ Enquiry , Regardless of how strong the testimony is in favor of a given miracle, it can never come close to counterbalancing the overwhelming experience of unvaried laws of nature.
But even if a miracle testimony is not encumbered by these four factors, we should still not believe it since it would be contrary to our consistent experience of laws of nature. He concludes his essay with the following cryptic comment about Christian belief in biblical miracles:. Mere reason is insufficient to convince us of its veracity: And whoever is moved by Faith to assent to it, is conscious of a continued miracle in his own person, which subverts all the principles of his understanding, and gives him a determination to believe what is most contrary to custom and experience [ Enquiry , At face value, his comment suggests a fideist approach to religious belief such as what Pascal recommends.
That is, reason is incapable of establishing religious belief, and God must perform a miracle in our lives to make us open to belief through faith. It is one of the first systematic attempts to explain the causes of religious belief solely in terms of psychological and sociological factors. Whence could the religion and laws of this people [i. According to Adams, only divine intervention can account for the sophistication of the ancient Jewish religion.
The work may be divided into three parts. In the first Sections 1 and 4 , Hume argues that polytheism, and not monotheism, was the original religion of primitive humans. Monotheism, he believes, was only a later development that emerged with the progress of various societies. The standard theory in Judeo-Christian theology was that early humans first believed in a single God, but as religious corruption crept in, people lapsed into polytheism. Hume was the first writer to systematically defend the position of original polytheism. In the second part Sections , , Hume establishes the psychological principles that give rise to popular religious belief. His thesis is that natural instincts—such as fear and the propensity to adulate—are the true causes of popular religious belief, and not divine intervention or rational argument.
The third part of this work Sections compares various aspects of polytheism with monotheism, showing that one is no more superior than the other. Both contain points of absurdity. From this he concludes that we should suspend belief on the entire subject of religious truth. As the title of the work implies, it is a critique of natural religion, in contrast with revealed religion. There are three principal characters in the Dialogues. Finally, a character named Philo, who is a religious skeptic, argues against both the design and causal arguments. The specific version of the causal argument that Hume examines is one by Samuel Clarke and Leibniz before him.
Simplistic versions of the causal argument maintain that when we trace back the causes of things in the universe, the chain of causes cannot go back in time to infinity past; there must be a first cause to the causal sequence, which is God. Nevertheless, Clarke argued, an important fact still needs to be explained: the fact that this infinite temporal sequence of causal events exists at all.
Why does something exist rather than nothing? God, then, is the necessary cause of the whole series. In response, the character Cleanthes argues that the flaw in the cosmological argument consists in assuming that there is some larger fact about the universe that needs explaining beyond the particular items in the series itself. Once we have a sufficient explanation for each particular fact in the infinite sequence of events, it makes no sense to inquire about the origin of the collection of these facts.
That is, once we adequately account for each individual fact, this constitutes a sufficient explanation of the whole collection. The specific version of the argument that Hume examines is one from analogy, as stated here by Cleanthes:. 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. 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 Dialogues , 2.
Philo presents several criticisms against the design argument, many of which are now standard in discussions of the issue. According to Philo, the design argument is based on a faulty analogy: we do not know whether the order in nature was the result of design, since, unlike our experience with the creation of machines, we did not witness the formation of the world. Further, the vastness of the universe also weakens any comparison with human artifacts. Although the universe is orderly here, it may be chaotic elsewhere. Similarly, if intelligent design is exhibited only in a small fraction of the universe, then we cannot say that it is the productive force of the whole universe.
And even if the design of the universe is of divine origin, we are not justified in concluding that this divine cause is a single, all powerful, or all good being. He opens his discussion in the Treatise by telling us what moral approval is not : it is not a rational judgment about either conceptual relations or empirical facts. If morality is a question of relations, then the young tree is immoral, which is absurd. Hume also argues that moral assessments are not judgments about empirical facts. You will not find any such fact, but only your own feelings of disapproval. In this context Hume makes his point that we cannot derive statements of obligation from statements of fact.
This move from is to ought is illegitimate, he argues, and is why people erroneously believe that morality is grounded in rational judgments. Thus far Hume has only told us what moral approval is not, namely a judgment of reason. So what then does moral approval consist of? It is an emotional response, not a rational one. The details of this part of his theory rest on a distinction between three psychologically distinct players: the moral agent, the receiver, and the moral spectator. This agent-receiver-spectator distinction is the product of earlier moral sense theories championed by the Earl of Shaftesbury , Joseph Butler , and Francis Hutcheson Most generally, moral sense theories maintained that humans have a faculty of moral perception, similar to our faculties of sensory perception.
Just as our external senses detect qualities in external objects, such as colors and shapes, so too does our moral faculty detect good and bad moral qualities in people and actions. For Hume, all actions of a moral agent are motivated by character traits, specifically either virtuous or vicious character traits. For example, if you donate money to a charity, then your action is motivated by a virtuous character trait.
Hume argues that some virtuous character traits are instinctive or natural, such as benevolence, and others are acquired or artificial, such as justice. As an agent, your action will have an effect on a receiver. For example, if you as the agent give food to a starving person, then the receiver will experience an immediately agreeable feeling from your act. Also, the receiver may see the usefulness of your food donation, insofar as eating food will improve his health. When considering the usefulness of your food donation, then, the receiver will receive another agreeable feeling from your act.
Finally, I, as a spectator, observe these agreeable feelings that the receiver experiences. I, then, will sympathetically experience agreeable feelings along with the receiver. These sympathetic feelings of pleasure constitute my moral approval of the original act of charity that you, the agent, perform. By sympathetically experiencing this pleasure, I thereby pronounce your motivating character trait to be a virtue, as opposed to a vice. Suppose, on the other hand, that you as an agent did something to hurt the receiver, such as steal his car. There are, though, some important details that should also be mentioned. For Hume, the natural virtues include benevolence, meekness, charity, and generosity. By contrast, the artificial virtues include justice, keeping promises, allegiance and chastity.
Contrary to what one might expect, Hume classifies the key virtues that are necessary for a well-ordered state as artificial, and he classifies only the more supererogatory virtues as natural. The spectator might simply hear about it, or the spectator might even simply invent an entire scenario and think about the possible effects of hypothetical actions. Third, although the agent, receiver, and spectator have psychologically distinct roles, in some situations a single person may perform more than one of these roles.
For example, if I as an agent donate to charity, as a spectator to my own action I can also sympathize with the effect of my donation on the receiver. Finally, given various combinations of spectators and receivers, Hume concludes that there are four irreducible categories of qualities that exhaustively constitute moral virtue: 1 qualities useful to others, which include benevolence, meekness, charity, justice, fidelity and veracity; 2 qualities useful to oneself, which include industry, perseverance, and patience; 3 qualities immediately agreeable to others, which include wit, eloquence and cleanliness; and 4 qualities immediately agreeable to oneself, which include good humor, self-esteem and pride.
For Hume, most morally significant qualities and actions seem to fall into more than one of these categories. It is this concept and terminology that inspired classic utilitarian philosophers, such as Jeremy Bentham — Hume wrote two influential essays on the subject of aesthetic theory. He particularly stresses the technical artistry involved when an artistic work imitates the original. Specific objects consistently trigger feelings of beauty within us, as our human nature dictates. Just as we can refine our external senses such as our palate, we can also refine our sense of artistic beauty and thus cultivate a delicacy of taste.
In political theory , Hume has both theoretical discussions on the origins of government and more informal essays on popular political controversies of his day. In his theoretical discussions, he attacks two basic notions in eighteenth-century political philosophy: the social contract and the instinctive nature of justice regarding private property. He concedes that in savage times there may have been an unwritten contract among tribe members for the sake of peace and order. However, he argues, this was no permanent basis of government as social contract theorists pretend.
There is nothing to transmit that original contract onwards from generation to generation, and our experience of actual political events shows that governmental authority is founded on conquest, not elections or consent. For Hume, we have no primary instinct to recognize private property, and all conceptions of justice regarding property are founded solely on how useful the convention of property is to us. We can see how property ownership is tied to usefulness when considering scenarios concerning the availability of necessities.
When necessities are in overabundance, I can take what I want any time, and there is no usefulness in my claiming any property as my own. Further, if we closely inspect human nature, we will never find a primary instinct that inclines us to acknowledge private property. It is nothing like the primary instinct of nest building in birds. While the sense of justice regarding private property is a firmly fixed habit, it is nevertheless its usefulness to society that gives it value. Two consistent themes emerge in these essays. First, in securing peace, a monarchy with strong authority is probably better than a pure republic.
Hume sides with the Tories because of their traditional support of the monarchy. Except in extreme cases, he opposes the Lockean argument offered by Whigs that justifies overthrowing political authorities when those authorities fail to protect the rights of the people. Hume notes, though, that monarchies and republics each have their strong points. Monarchies encourage the arts, and republics encourage science and trade. Hume also appreciates the mixed form of government within Great Britain, which fosters liberty of the press. Political moderation, he argues, is the best antidote to potentially ruinous party conflict. In economic theory, Hume wrote influential essays on money, interest, trade, credit, and taxes.
Many of these target the mercantile system and its view that a country increases its wealth by increasing the quantity of gold and silver in that country. In Great Britain, mercantile policies were instituted through the Navigation Acts, which prohibited trade between British colonies and foreign countries. These protectionist laws ultimately led to the American Revolution. Suppose, for example, that Great Britain receives an influx of new money. This new money will drive up prices of labor and domestic products in Great Britain. Products in foreign countries, then, will be cheaper than in Great Britain; Britain, then, will import these products, thereby sending new money to foreign countries. Hume compares this reshuffling of wealth to the level of fluids in interconnected chambers: if I add fluid to one chamber, then, under the weight of gravity, this will disperse to the others until the level is the same in all chambers.
A similar phenomenon will occur if we lose money in our home country by purchasing imports from foreign countries. As the quantity of money decreases in our home country, this will drive down the prices of labor and domestic products. Our products, then, will be cheaper than foreign products, and we will gain money through exports. On the fluid analogy, by removing fluid from one chamber, more fluid is drawn in from surrounding chambers.
Although Hume is now remembered mainly as a philosopher, in his own day he had at least as much impact as a historian. His History of England appeared in four installments between and and covers the periods of British history from most ancient times through the seventeenth-century. To his 18th and 19th century readers, he was not just another historian, but a uniquely philosophical historian who had an ability to look into the minds of historical figures and uncover the motives behind their conduct. A political theme underlying the whole History is, once again, a conflict between Tory and Whig ideology.
Tories believed that it was traditionally absolute, with governmental authority being grounded in royal prerogative. Whigs, on the other hand, believed that it was traditionally limited, with the foundation of government resting in the individual liberty of the people, as expressed in the parliamentary voice of the commons. As a historian, Hume felt that he was politically moderate, tending to see both the strengths and weaknesses in opposing viewpoints:.
With regard to politics and the character of princes and great men, I think I am very moderate. My views of things are more conformable to Whig principles; my representations of persons to Tory prejudices. Nothing can so much prove that men commonly regard more persons than things, as to find that I am commonly numbered among the Tories [Hume to John Clephane, ]. However, to radical Whig British readers, Hume was a conservative Tory who defended royal prerogative. Hume takes two distinct positions on the prerogative issue. From a theoretical and idealistic perspective, he favored a mixed constitution, mediating between the authority of the monarch and that of the Parliament. The Witenagemot, for example, was only a council of nobles and bishops, which the king could listen to or ignore as he saw fit.
Charles I—a largely virtuous man—tried to follow in her footsteps as a strong monarch. After a few minor lapses in judgment, and a few too many concessions to Catholics, Protestant zealots rose up against him, and he was ultimately executed. To avoid over-characterizing royal prerogative, Hume occasionally condemns arbitrary actions of monarchs and praises efforts for preserving liberty. His philosophical writings were among the most controversial pieces of literature of the time, and would have been impossible to publish if Britain was not a friend to liberty. Although Hume was certainly no enemy to liberty, he believed that it was best achieved through moderation rather than Whig radicalism. A strong, centralized and moderating force was the best way to avoid factious disruption from the start.
The secondary literature on Hume is voluminous. James Fieser Email: jfieser utm. Accordingly, the trick is to show that a maximally great being exists in some world W because it immediately follows from this claim that such a being exists in every world, including our own. There is no logically possible world in which a square circle exists given the relevant concepts because the property of being square is inconsistent with the property of being circular. Here is a schematic representation of the argument:. The S5 system of modal logic includes an axiom that looks suspiciously similar to Premise To see that this criticism is unfounded, it suffices to make two observations.
First, notice that the following propositions are not logically equivalent:. Second, notice that the argument for Premise 4 does not make any reference to the claim that all propositions bear their modal status necessarily. Plantinga simply builds necessary existence into the very notion of maximal greatness. Since the notion of maximal greatness, in contrast to the notion of an unlimited being as Malcolm defines it, is conceived in terms that straightforwardly entail existence in every logically possible world and hence eternal existence in every logically possible world , there are no worries about whether maximal greatness, in contrast to unlimitedness, entails something stronger than eternal existence.
As is readily evident, each version of the ontological argument rests on the assumption that the concept of God, as it is described in the argument, is self-consistent. Broad expresses it:. Let us suppose, e. Then there would be three possible beings, namely, one which combines X and Y , one which combines Y and Z , and one which combines Z and X , each of which would be such that nothing … superior to it is logically possible. For the only kind of being which would be … superior to any of these would be one which had all three properties, X , Y , and Z ; and, by hypothesis, this combination is logically impossible. Thus, if there are two great-making characteristics essential to the classically theistic notion of an all-perfect God that are logically incompatible, it follows that this notion is incoherent.
Here it is important to note that all versions of the ontological argument assume that God is simultaneously omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect. As we have seen, Plantinga expressly defines maximal excellence in such terms. There are a number of plausible arguments for thinking that even this restricted set of properties is logically inconsistent. For example, moral perfection is thought to entail being both perfectly merciful and perfectly just. But these two properties seem to contradict each other. To be perfectly just is always to give every person exactly what she deserves.
But to be perfectly merciful is to give at least some persons less punishment than they deserve. If so, then a being cannot be perfectly just and perfectly merciful. Thus, if moral perfection entails, as seems reasonable, being perfectly just and merciful, then the concept of moral perfection is inconsistent. The problem of divine foreknowledge can also be seen as denying that omniscience, omnipotence, and moral perfection constitute a coherent set. Roughly put, the problem of divine foreknowledge is as follows. If God is omniscient, then God knows what every person will do at every moment t. To say that a person p has free will is to say that there is at least one moment t at which p does A but could have done other than A. But if a person p who does A at t has the ability to do other than A at t , then it follows that p has the ability to bring it about that an omniscient God has a false belief — and this is clearly impossible.
On this line of analysis, then, it follows that it is logically impossible for a being to simultaneously instantiate omniscience and omnipotence. Omnipotence entails the power to create free beings, but omniscience rules out the possibility that such beings exist. Thus, a being that is omniscient lacks the ability to create free beings and is hence not omnipotent. Conversely, a being that is omnipotent has the power to create free beings and hence does not know what such beings would do if they existed.
Thus, the argument concludes that omniscience and omnipotence are logically incompatible. If this is correct, then all versions of the ontological argument fail. Kenneth Einar Himma Email: himma spu. Introduction: The Non-Empirical Nature of the Ontological Arguments It is worth reflecting for a moment on what a remarkable and beautiful! The Classic Version of the Ontological Argument a. The Argument Described St. Anselm , Archbishop of Canterbury , is the originator of the ontological argument, which he describes in the Proslogium as follows: [Even a] fool, when he hears of … a being than which nothing greater can be conceived … understands what he hears, and what he understands is in his understanding.
The argument in this difficult passage can accurately be summarized in standard form: It is a conceptual truth or, so to speak, true by definition that God is a being than which none greater can be imagined that is, the greatest possible being that can be imagined. God exists as an idea in the mind. A being that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is, other things being equal, greater than a being that exists only as an idea in the mind. Thus, if God exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine something that is greater than God that is, a greatest possible being that does exist.
But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God for it is a contradiction to suppose that we can imagine a being greater than the greatest possible being that can be imagined. Therefore, God exists. The counterexample can be expressed as follows: It is a conceptual truth that a piland is an island than which none greater can be imagined that is, the greatest possible island that can be imagined.
A piland exists as an idea in the mind. A piland that exists as an idea in the mind and in reality is greater than a piland that exists only as an idea in the mind. Thus, if a piland exists only as an idea in the mind, then we can imagine an island that is greater than a piland that is, a greatest possible island that does exist. But we cannot imagine an island that is greater than a piland. Therefore, a piland exists. Broad puts this important point: [The notion of a greatest possible being imaginable assumes that] each positive property is to be present in the highest possible degree. As Kant puts the point: Being is evidently not a real predicate, that is, a conception of something which is added to the conception of some other thing.
Norman Malcolm expresses the argument as follows: The doctrine that existence is a perfection is remarkably queer. Here is the second version of the ontological argument as Anselm states it: God is that, than which nothing greater can be conceived. More formally, the argument is this: By definition, God is a being than which none greater can be imagined.
A being that necessarily exists in reality is greater than a being that does not necessarily exist. Thus, by definition, if God exists as an idea in the mind but does not necessarily exist in reality, then we can imagine something that is greater than God. But we cannot imagine something that is greater than God. Thus, if God exists in the mind as an idea, then God necessarily exists in reality. God exists in the mind as an idea. Therefore, God necessarily exists in reality. As Malcolm puts the point: If a housewife has a set of extremely fragile dishes, then as dishes, they are inferior to those of another set like them in all respects except that they are not fragile.
As Malcolm describes this idea: God is usually conceived of as an unlimited being. The existence of an unlimited being is either logically necessary or logically impossible. The existence of an unlimited being is not logically impossible. Therefore, the existence of God is logically necessary. Plantinga begins by defining two properties, the property of maximal greatness and the property of maximal excellence, as follows: A being is maximally excellent in a world W if and only if it is omnipotent, omniscient, and morally perfect in W; and A being is maximally great in a world W if and only if it is maximally excellent in every possible world.
Here is a schematic representation of the argument: The concept of a maximally great being is self-consistent. If 1, then there is at least one logically possible world in which a maximally great being exists. Since we can not know about the building of the universe a Design Analogy for the existence of God is nothing more than a guess. Links to websites on David Hume. Notes on Critiques of this Argument:. See also Logic of the Teleological Argument. In recent years a number of scientists have attempted to supply a variation on the teleological argument that is also a counter to the evolutionary theory.
It is called Intelligent Design Theory. This theory disputes that the process of natural selection, the force Darwin suggested drove evolution, is enough to explain the complexity of and within living organisms. This theory holds that the complexity requires the work of an intelligent designer. The designer could be something like the Supreme Being or the Deity of the Scriptures or it could be that life resulted as a consequence of a meteorite from elsewhere in the cosmos, possibly involving extraterrestrial intelligence, or as in new age philosophy that the universe is suffused with a mysterious but inanimate life force from which life results.
One of its weaknesses is that the argument for intelligent design is subject to a great many definitions: what is intelligent design? Opponents of this argument will point out that rather than looking to see if an object looks as if it were designed, we should look at it and determine if its origin could have been natural. Well designed compared to what? The universe is terribly complex, vastly interesting, awe-inspiring—but, as far as we can tell, it is the only one.
Most people who bring this one up have in mind some variation of a creationist argument in response to Darwin or other evolutionary theorists. The one usually credited with popularizing or developing this version is William Paley, who described it in Natural Theology Daniel C. The natural forces at work in the universe do change things, and at least in the case of organic matter, those changes are in a particular direction, or directions.
But that does not imply purpose or an intentional destination. Given a few million generations over a few billion years, such design forces can create an astonishing variety of interesting products—but that in no way suggests an omnipotent, omniscient, purposeful Creator. Counter argument to the teleological argument based on Complexity or Improbability. The more the complexity of the universe or the improbability of its actual orderings then the less likely it is that it had or has an intelligent designer. The case made by the promoters of the intelligent design argument is actually providing evidence against the conclusion that there must be an intelligent designer.
The more the complexity of the universe is advocated or presented by the promoters of the intelligent design argument as a supposed indication of intelligence at work, then the more it works against the conclusion that there must be an intelligent designer. Because i f there was an intelligent designer there would be no need for all the complexity and waste observed in the physical universe. Who Owns the Argument from Improbability? The more improbable the specified complexity, the more improbable the god capable of designing it. Darwinism comes through the regress unscathed, indeed triumphant. Improbability, the phenomenon we seek to explain, is more or less defines as that which is difficult to explain. It is obviously self-defeating to try to explain it by invoking a creative being of even greater complexity.
Darwinism really does explain complexity in terms of something simpler-which in turn is explained in terms of something simpler still, and so on back to the primeval simplicity. It is the gradual escalatory quality of non-random natural selection that arms the Darwinian theory against the menace of infinite regress. Design is the temporarily correct explanation for some particular manifestation of specified complexity such as a car or a washing machine. It could conceivably turn out that …. The argument from probability, properly applied, rules out their spontaneous existence de novo. Sooner or later we are going to have to terminate the regress with something more explanatory than design itself.
Design can never be an ultimate explanation. And-here is the point of my title-the more statistically improbable the specified complexity, the more inadequate does the design theory become, while the explanatory work done by the crane of gradualistic natural selection becomes correspondingly more indispensable. The argument from improbability firmly belongs to the evolutionists. It is our strongest card, and we should instantly turn it against our political opponents we have no scientific opponents whenever they try to play it against us.
Dennett, Daniel C. Dawkins, Richard. Hume, David. Paley, William. Pigliucci, Massimo. Tales of the Rational , Freethought Press, Stein, Gordon, ed. A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory:. The "Intelligent Design ID Movement" is comprised of a diverse group of persons - including philosophers, lawyers, theologians, public policy advocates, and scientific or technical professionals - who believe that contemporary evolutionary theory is inadequate to explain the diversity and complexity of life on Earth.
They argue that a full scientific explanation of the structures and processes of life requires reference to an intelligent agent beyond nature. The ID Movement seeks to modify public science education policy at state and local levels to allow inclusion of the Movement's critiques of evolutionary theory and its assertions of an extra-natural origin of biological diversity and complexity.
Institutionally, the Movement is supported by the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute and has also created its own virtual professional society to promote its views. However, all other relevant professional scientific organizations judge the ID Movement to be outside of mainstream science and its theoretical proposals to be unwarranted on the basis of observations from nature and laboratory experiments. The contemporary theory of biological evolution is one of the most robust products of scientific inquiry.
It is the foundation for research in many areas of biology as well as an essential element of science education. To become informed and responsible citizens in our contemporary technological world, students need to study the theories and empirical evidence central to current scientific understanding. Over the past several years proponents of so-called "intelligent design theory," also known as ID, have challenged the accepted scientific theory of biological evolution. As part of this effort they have sought to introduce the teaching of "intelligent design theory" into the science curricula of the public schools. The movement presents "intelligent design theory" to the public as a theoretical innovation, supported by scientific evidence, that offers a more adequate explanation for the origin of the diversity of living organisms than the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution.
In response to this effort, individual scientists and philosophers of science have provided substantive critiques of "intelligent design," demonstrating significant conceptual flaws in its formulation, a lack of credible scientific evidence, and misrepresentations of scientific facts. Recognizing that the "intelligent design theory" represents a challenge to the quality of science education, the Board of Directors of the AAAS unanimously adopts the following resolution:. Whereas, ID proponents claim that contemporary evolutionary theory is incapable of explaining the origin of the diversity of living organisms;. Whereas, to date, the ID movement has failed to offer credible scientific evidence to support their claim that ID undermines the current scientifically accepted theory of evolution;.
Whereas, the ID movement has not proposed a scientific means of testing its claims;. Therefore Be It Resolved, that the lack of scientific warrant for so-called "intelligent design theory" makes it improper to include as a part of science education;. Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS urges citizens across the nation to oppose the establishment of policies that would permit the teaching of "intelligent design theory" as a part of the science curricula of the public schools;. Therefore Be It Further Resolved, that AAAS calls upon its members to assist those engaged in overseeing science education policy to understand the nature of science, the content of contemporary evolutionary theory and the inappropriateness of "intelligent design theory" as subject matter for science education;.
Therefore Be Further It Resolved, that AAAS encourages its affiliated societies to endorse this resolution and to communicate their support to appropriate parties at the federal, state and local levels of the government. Intelligent Design:. The National Center for Science Education provides up-to-date listings of anti-evolution activity around the nation. Position statements by AGI and its member societies are available at.