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The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – (1941 - ) Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular.

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Presentation on theme: "The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – (1941 - ) Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL (born 26 March 1941) is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and popular science author. He is a professorial fellow of New College, Oxford. FRSFRSLBritish ethologistevolutionary biologistpopular scienceauthor New College, Oxford

2 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Dawkins describes his childhood as "a normal Anglican upbringing", but reveals that he began doubting the existence of God when he was about nine years old. He later reconverted because he was persuaded by the argument from design, an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, purpose, design or direction − or some combination of these − in nature. However, he began to feel that the customs of the Church of England were absurd, and had more to do with dictating morals than with God. Later, when he better understood the process of evolution, his religious position again changed, because he felt that natural selection could account for the complexity of life in purely material terms, rendering a supernatural designer unnecessary.AnglicanGodargument from design existence of GodChurch of Englandcomplexity

3 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Dawkins is a modern supporter of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution. He is a strong critic of the design argument. Quote p29 of ‘Understanding Philosophy of Religion’ Libby Ahluwalia

4 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) For Dawkins, life on earth came to be not as a miraculous creation but as a natural consequence of the process of evolution. In his book, ‘The Selfish Gene’, Dawkins argued that in nature, the battle for survival is not between each species of plant and animal but between the genes that encode the very nature and operation of each entity.

5 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – (1941 -) Dawkins argues against religious belief because he sees this as preventing scientific enquiry. According to Dawkins, religious belief encourages people not to think especially as they attribute unexplained things to God. Dawkins argues that a religious mentality is an obstacle to humanity people are satisfied with not knowing.

6 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – In his book ‘The Blind Watchmaker’, Dawkins directly challenges Paley’s analogy of the watch and argues that as science provides more and more answers, therefore there is less need to resort to God to explain things. Dawkins argues that the discovery of DNA provides an explanation for the existence of humanity; there is no need to assume God created human life.

7 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – (1941 -) Dawkins argues that science can be applied to make things work eg. Airplanes (p31) Airplanes built according to tribal mythological specifications would not work but to scientific specifications it would.

8 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) To conclude, Dawkins says that science, has proved itself to be more than just another theory, because its principles can be put into practice and be shown to work, whereas beliefs about God cannot be tested at all and are therefore, in his view, worthless.

9 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Key Point: Darwinism presents a challenge to arguments from design, because it suggests an alternative reason why evolution, and not God, is the cause of apparent design.

10 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Criticisms of Dawkins: Dawkins assumption of the universe being a ‘brute fact’ cannot be proved true. Evolution of life and the universe just existing is a probability as is the existence of God. None of them can be proved. Dawkins claims that science has demonstrated that chance is the cause of the universe and life but chance can not be proven.

11 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – (1941 -) Dawkins’ arguments about airplanes is not a sound argument with regards to the origins of humans and the universe because aircrafts can be tested whereas the beginning of life has to be worked out and guessed at through inductive reasoning.

12 The Design Argument Richard Dawkins – ( ) Alistair McGrath (Dawkins’ God, 2004) says that it is a case of Dawkins criticising Paley’s ideas of 200 years ago and that if the same were done to science 200 years ago then faults would also be found.


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