Argument Of Design Essay, Research Paper
This is the argument that the universe exhibits evidence of design because it contains order, complexity and life. The person using this argument simply assumes that without a creator, the universe could not contain order, complexity and life. Why? Since the universe is all that we know of, the entirety of our experience, we have no way of understanding how a “designed” universe would compare to an “undesigned” universe. However, we do understand how natural physical forces operate within the universe to produce greater complexity from simpler arrangements of matter, so it would seem unnecessary to introduce some outside force to explain complexity and life.
Of course the introduction of an outside designer as an explanation for the universe begs the question of who or what designed the designer. The design argument for God ends up looping back on itself.
Sometimes the design argument is presented using the watch-on-the-beach analogy: A person walking down the beach finds a watch in the sand. This person knows that the watch was designed and manufactured by a watchmaker. Likewise, theists will argue, we look at the universe itself and its great complexity and we know it had a designer who planned it and fitted it all together.
This is not a good analogy because watches are created out of pre-existing materials while the universe is claimed to have been created by God out of nothing. The watch on the beach is seen to be manufactured because of the way in which it contrasts with and stands out from the natural world-so how would we know that nature itself was designed and fabricated? We know that watches are manufactured, we do not know that universes are.
After everything is said and done, the term “God” is never adequately defined, so saying that “God” is the designer of the universe is not saying anything intelligible. The God explanation for the universe is not an explanation but an admission of ignorance.
“There are, of course, many who regard the concept of God as an exceedingly simple explanation of everything, and who regard scientific elucidations as either incomplete or ponderous. However, that is a self-delusion. Such views are generally held by people who do not understand the scientific method. Indeed, to believe that the assertion that God is an explanation (of anything, let alone everything) is intellectually contemptible, for it amounts to an admission of ignorance packaged into the pretence of an explanation. To aver that ‘God did it’ is worse than an admission of ignorance, for it shrouds ignorance in deceit.”
Religion – the antithesis to science, Oxford Chemistry Professor Peter Atkins
This is closely related with the argument from design, and has the same problems. The argument goes that the universe could not have come into existence on its own, so there had to be a first cause which brought it into existence, and this first cause is God (Jehovah).
First of all, if the universe couldn’t have come into existence on its own, why is it more likely that a god could have come into existence on its own? If Christians say that their god has always existed, why couldn’t the universe have always existed?
Secondly, if there was such a thing as a first cause, why would it have to be a conscious entity, specifically Jehovah, and not merely some principle of physics? And if it had to be alive and conscious, why would we presume that it was still alive today?
The idea that you cannot get something from nothing seems self-evident. However, the concept of nothing may be meaningless (see virtual particles). Furthermore, the spontaneous creation of the universe does not appear to violate any physical laws, according to Victor J. Stenger, professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Hawaii:
“Let me begin by addressing two common sense notions: (1) you cannot get something from nothing, and (2) the order of the universe requires the pre-existence of an active intelligence to do the ordering. I will leave it to the theologians to explain how the postulate of a creator God solves the problem of creation ex nihilo, since God is something that, itself, must have come, uncreated, from nothing. Instead I will address the physics issues implied by the creation of the universe from nothing. In physics terms, creation ex nihilo appears to violate both the first and second laws of thermodynamics.
The first law of thermodynamics is equivalent to the principle of conservation of energy: the total energy of a closed system is constant; any energy change must be compensated by a corresponding inflow or outflow from the system. Einstein showed that mass and energy are equivalent, by E = mc^2. So, if the universe started from “nothing, ” energy conservation would seem to have been violated by the creation of matter. Some energy from outside is apparently required.
However, our best estimate today is that the total energy of the universe is zero (within a small “zero point energy” that results from quantum fluctuations), with the positive energy of matter balanced by the negative potential energy of gravity. Since the total energy is zero, no energy was needed to produce the universe and the first law was not violated