AQA GCSE “The Design Argument cannot prove God’s existence.” Evaluate (12 marks)

Colour Code:

  • Blue – Your argument 
  • Red – Argument against 
  • Purple – Response

The design argument is the argument for the existence of God or for an intelligent creator based on the natural evidence around us.

On one hand I agree with the statement. Scottish philosopher David Hume argued that “even if we grant that the universe was designed, there is no evidence that this was the God of Christian theism.” he also followed upon this by saying that “a lesser being could have designed the universe”. Hume’s argument also infers that although a being may have created the universe, it does not mean it was God.

William Paley’s argument, on the other hand, can be explained by his watch maker analogy. Paley explains that a watch has complex features, for example the gears in a watch, and that anything that shows feature that consists of parts that work together for a specific purpose must have been designed. He also states that the watch must have a designer, so because the universe is so intricate it must have also been designed, but by a far greater being – who Paley calls “God”.

Richard Dawkins contradicts Paley’s view by saying “a true watchmaker has foresight”, possibly inferring that if God is the ‘watchmaker’ He should have foreseen the future events, such as evolution.

Paley’s belief says that the universe has order, purpose and regularity and that the complexity of the universe shows evidence of design, possibly by God. Paley may believe that the designer was God as He is omnipotent, meaning that He would have the power to create the universe in such complexity.

Hume’s view on the teleological argument contradicts the idea of the designer being a greater entity like God by suggesting that design is normally a feature of teamwork, so we shouldn’t jump to the conclusion that the designer of the universe was a single being.

A final point of view is provided by Richard Swinburne. Swinburne explains that extraordinary events need explanations and gives a brief example of the chance of getting 10 ace of hearts and that “there is indeed something extraordinary in need of explanation in ten aces of hearts being drawn”. Swinburne’s argument supports the teleological argument as it states that for something extraordinary there needs to be an explanation, for example the universe is so unlikely so God must be the explanation for it. However, this still cannot prove God with certainty because there is still a chance, even if it appears to be small, that the universe happened by completely by accident. 

In conclusion, after looking at Paley’s, Hume’s, Dawkins’ and Swinburne’s beliefs and arguments I would say that is mostly agree with the statement that the design argument cannot prove God’s existence.

Author – Year 11 Student – ED

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