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The argument from design seems to be an argument by analogy, but it does not work even under this rubric.

CHURCH FATHERS: Dialogue with Trypho, Chapters (Justin Martyr)

First, the analogy between machines and the universe is weak at best, and as such any reasoning based on this analogy must also be weak. Second, the universe and a machine are not strictly analogous phenomena because they are not independently existing entities, rather the universe is a whole and a machine is a part of it.


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Philo also argues that it is not true that all order we experience is caused by intelligence that we can sense. Some order, such as that found in organic bodies, is caused by generation and vegetation. There is no reason, then, to think that just because the world is ordered, it is necessarily a result of intelligent design. Finally, an inductive argument that is, an argument that argues for a conclusion based on past evidence , which the argument from design certainly is, requires repeated experience of the phenomena in question i.

However here the relevant cause God and effect the universe are both wholly unique, so there is no way that we could have such repeated experience of their existences or anything that resembles them. In section IV, Philo takes up another line of attack. He argues that the claim that God is an intelligent designer does not even succeed in explaining why the world is ordered. It is no easier to understand how God's thoughts might set the world in order than it is to understand how the material world might be its own source of order. In either case we have to ask how and why this happens.

Nothing is gained, therefore, by positing God as an intelligent designer. In part V, Philo argues that even if we can infer anything from the argument from design, it is not what we want to be able to infer. Given the evidence we have from nature we have no grounds on which to conclude that God is infinite, that God is perfect, that there is only one God, or even that God lacks a physical body.

Thus even if the argument from design were valid, the evidence we get from the nature of the universe provides us with no knowledge about God's nature. In parts VI through VIII, Philo attempts to show that there are many other possible analogies, other than the analogy to machines, that are equally well supported by the evidence we find in nature.

For instance, the universe can be analogized to an animal body and God to its soul. It is therefore almost random to choose the analogy between the universe and a machine.

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Chapter 1. Introduction

About this book This book provides an up to date, high-level exchange on God in a uniquely productive style. Show all. The prose is clear and accessible, and the arguments are well-developed and rigorous. It should be of interest and value to a wide range of readers and would make an excellent text for courses in the philosophy of religion, in particular.

Table of contents 18 chapters Table of contents 18 chapters Introduction Pages Rasmussen, Joshua et al.