Apologetics Atheism culture Logic Natural Law Teleological

Evidence for Design Grows Like a New Patch of Kudzu

The evidence for design grows like a new patch of kudzu on a Mississippi highway. That is the second of three arguments each Christian should know. Officially, it’s called the teleological argument.

So, what is the teleological argument?

teleological argument. An argument for the existence of God that takes as its starting point the purposive (teleological) character of the universe. The argument is often termed “the argument from design” and comes in many different versions. This argument was quite popular in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, but many atheists believe it has been discredited by Darwinism[1]

The teleological argument is one argument Classicists like to use to bring people to acquiesce God’s existence. But what does it look like?

There are many forms of the teleological argument, the most famous of which derives from William Paley’s watchmaker analogy. Since every watch has a watchmaker, and since the universe is exceedingly more complex in its operation than a watch, it follows that there must be a Maker of the universe. In brief, the teleological argument reasons from design to an intelligent Designer.

  1. All designs imply a designer.
  2. There is great design in the universe.
  3. Therefore, there must be a Great Designer of the universe.[2]

 

One of the chief objections skeptics have to the teleological argument is of course the second premise of the above Syllogism-There is a great design in the universe.

They rightly say that merely postulating design because certain attributes of the universe exist making our existence possible is putting the cart before the horse. To them, postulating design does harm to science by assuming too much and in the process placing a dead stop to both the research and the thought behind science. The problem with that is the fact that they must assume certain logical truths to even do science and those laws of logic are evidence of purpose in and of themselves.

There is not a whit more reason to believe that the processes of physical research and the logical laws by means of which inferences are drawn and inductions attained are trustworthy, than that these higher convictions, based on the same mental laws, are trustworthy; and the origin of man’s mind from a brutish source, if fatal to trust in one mental process, is fatal to trust in all the others, throwing us, as the result of such a plea, into sheer intellectual suicide.[3]-BB Warfield

Even Darwin had difficulty denying purpose or design in origin of the universe.

“The state of mind,” he writes, “which grand scenes formerly excited in me, and which was intimately connected with a belief in God, did not essentially differ from that which is often called the sense of sublimity; and however difficult it may be to explain the genesis of this sense, it can hardly be advanced as an argument for the existence of God, any more than the powerful though vague and similar feelings excited by music.”89[4] –C Darwin

BB Warfield got it when he said:

Here is reasoning! Is it then a fair conclusion that because the “sense of sublimity” no more than other similar feelings is itself a proof of divine existence, therefore the firm conviction of the existence of God, which is “intimately connected with” a feeling similar to sublimity, is also without evidential value?[5]-BB Warfield

Darwin considered the evidence for design was undeniable at times.

“The mind refuses to look at this universe, being what it is, without having been designed.”94[6] –C Darwin

Here are just a few of those evidences…

During the process of photosynthesis green plants carbohydrates are synthesized from carbon dioxide and water using light as an energy source. Photosynthesis releases oxygen as a byproduct. Without photosynthesis humans would not have suitable air to breathe.[7]

Without a stable water system, it would be impossible for human life to develop.

On average the Earth is 92,960,000 miles from the Sun. The closest it comes is 91,400,000 miles from the Sun and the furthest it goes from the Sun is 94,510,000 miles.[8]

The axis of the Earth is inclined at an angle of 23° to the plane of its orbit around the Sun. This gives rise to the seasons. If this angle was greatly changed, the temperatures on earth would become a great deal hotter or colder and plant life and animal life would not survive.[9]

The earth does not rotate around the sun in a perfect circle. The earth takes an elliptical path around the sun, the shape of an oval rather than a circle. This path is perfect for our present variation of the seasons. If the orbit of the Earth around the Sun greatly changed, the seasons as we know them would alter and many plants would not be able to survive.[10]

Thickness of the Earth’s Crust

  • if thicker: too much oxygen would be transferred from the atmosphere to the crust. Then there would not be enough oxygen left to permit the development of life as we know it.
  • if thinner: volcanic and tectonic activity would be too great. There would be so much ash in the atmosphere along with so many earthquakes and tidal waves that human life would not develop.

Gravitational Interaction with a Moon

  • if greater: tidal effects on the oceans, atmosphere, and rotational period would be too severe for life and as a result there would be catastrophic tidal waves.
  • if lesser: orbital obliquity (incline or slope) changes would cause climatic instabilities. The regular seasons of the year as we know them—spring, summer, fall and winter would not be able to exist.[11]

Water Vapor Level in Atmosphere

  • if greater: a runaway greenhouse effect would develop.
  • if lesser: rainfall would be too meager to support advanced life on the land.

“We do not live at the center of the universe, but neither do we live in just ‘any old world.’ Instead we live in a universe whose constitution is precisely adjusted to the narrow limits that alone would make it capable of being our home.”

John Polkinghorne, President of Queens’ College, Cambridge.[12]

Our world definitely has the appearance of design, and design means purpose. Don’t take my word for it.

“a super-intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.”[13] Fred Hoyle, Professor of Astronomy at Cambridge University[14]

“the laws [of physics] … seem themselves to be the product of exceedingly ingenious design.”[15] Paul Davies, Professor of mathematical physics and professor of natural philosophy at Adelaide University[16]

 

The teleological argument is in fact an approach among several to show people that there is good evidence that God exists, no matter the objections of skeptics. This objection has been answered for some time.

The question, Do any of the structures of nature evince final cause? is the same with the question, Is the “teleological argument” valid to prove the being of a personal and rational Creator? The essence of that argument is to infer that, wherever nature presents us with structures, and especially organs adapted to natural ends, there has been contrivance, and also choice of the physical means so adapted. But contrivance and choice are functions of thought and will, such as are performed only by some rational person. And so, as material nature is not intelligent or free, such adapted structures as man did not produce must be the work of a supernatural person. This reasoning has satisfied every sound mind, Pagan and Christian, from Job to Newton. Yet it is now boldly assailed by evolutionists.[17]-RL Dabney

First principles are the foundation of knowledge. Without them nothing could be known (see Foundationalism). Even coherentism uses the first principle of noncontradiction to test the coherence of its system. Realism affirms that first principles apply to the real world. First principles undeniably apply to reality. The very denial that first principles apply to reality uses first principles in the denial.[18]

Consider learning some of the principles attached to the teleological argument. Your God created a universe specifically for you knowing that someday you’d be able to place this argument in your arsenal in his defense. There is a plethora of evidence, big and small. Evidence for design is like kudzu. It spreads fast and is almost undeniable.

 

 

[1] Evans, C. S. (2002). In Pocket dictionary of apologetics & philosophy of religion (p. 113). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[2] Geisler, N. L. (1999). In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (p. 277). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Warfield, B. B. (2008). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Studies in Theology (Vol. 9, pp. 569–570). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

89 “Life and Letters,” i. p. 312.

[4] Warfield, B. B. (2008). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Studies in Theology (Vol. 9, p. 571). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[5] Warfield, B. B. (2008). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Studies in Theology (Vol. 9, p. 571). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

94 Ibid., i. pp. 313 f.

[6] Warfield, B. B. (2008). The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield: Studies in Theology (Vol. 9, p. 573). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[7] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 43). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[8] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 43). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[9] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 43). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[10] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 43). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[11] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 45). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[12] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 41). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[13] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 40). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[14] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 40). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[15] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 41). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[16] Water, M. (2001). The Bible and Science made easy (p. 41). Alresford, Hampshire: John Hunt Publishers Ltd.

[17] Dabney, R. L. (1892). Discussions by Robert Lewis Dabney: Philosophical. (C. R. Vaughan, Ed.) (Vol. 3, p. 476). Richmond, VA: Presbyterian Committee of Publication.

[18] Geisler, N. L. (1999). In Baker encyclopedia of Christian apologetics (p. 250). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

Donnie
I was born in the mountains of Southwest Virginia, born again at a very young age, married a beautiful and likeminded woman, moved to Tennessee, and raised two children in the Southern traditions of loving God and neighbor, exercising manners, and being stewards of the land and its bounty. After becoming involved in youth ministry in our local church, the need of teaching people "what they believe and why they believe it" became painfully apparent, especially in my immediate context (rural Southern churches). We began an apologetics/theology ministry there but have since moved on. After serving in church leadership and being called to faithfulness and duty to protect our congregation from a rogue pastor under church discipline of his previous church, my experiences in this biblical process shape much of what I believe about how churches in the South have become weak and why nominal Christianity is prevalent. I love the Church and Southern culture so you can expect to read about apologetics and theology as well as church and culture here, written southern style, by the grace of God. Deo Vindice
http://www.southernbyhisgrace.com

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