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The Global Design Argument and the Limits of Science.

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Presentation on theme: "The Global Design Argument and the Limits of Science."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Global Design Argument and the Limits of Science

2 Last Week: 1)Identify design facts -Local -Global 2)Argue that God’s intentional design is the best explanation for these facts. Teleological arguments for God:

3 Last Week: William Paley’s “Watchmaker” argument is the most famous local argument from design.

4 Analogy between two abductive inferences: Design facts of watch Designing agent 1) If inference 1) is justified, Design facts of nature Designing agent 2) Then inference 2) is justified. Last Week:

5 The precise point of analogy lies here: The function of a watch is determined by the goal of its designer (to measure time). The function of a heart is determined by the goal of its designer (to sustain life).

6 ? The precise point of analogy lies here: The function of a watch is determined by the goal of its designer (to measure time).

7 After Darwin, this appears to be false. The function of a heart is determined by the goal of its designer (to sustain life). ?

8 According to science, natural functions are determined by selection, not by a designing agent. So design facts for a watch aren’t like the design facts of nature after all.

9 Design facts of watch Designing agent 1) If inference 1) is justified, Design facts of nature Designing agent 2) Then inference 2) is justified. The analogy breaks down.

10 Thus, the local argument from design fails, due to Darwin.

11 The Local argument from design appeals to specific design features of things in the universe. -watches -hearts The Global design argument appeals instead to general design features of the universe itself. -laws of nature -physical constants -origins and existence

12 The Global Design Argument accepts that local design facts are explained by natural selection. But it also says we still need a designing agent, because we still have to explain global design facts.

13 Swinburne: God designed the universe so that humans would evolve. The evolution of humans is one of God’s goals, and He gave the universe the global features it needed to satisfy this goal.

14 The Global Design Argument: If the acceleration of gravity were anything other than 9.8 m/s 2, the universe would have been very different, and humans would not have evolved. God set the acceleration of gravity at precisely this value—just so that humans would evolve.

15 The Global Design Argument: Natural laws and physical constants were “fine-tuned” to satisfy God’s goal of producing humans.

16 The Global Design Argument: Like the Local DA, an abductive argument: God provides the best explanation for global facts.

17 The Global Design Argument: Discuss in groups of 3 or 4 : 1)What are the problems with this explanation? 2)If we don’t like it, what alternative do we have? God provides the best explanation for global facts. -laws of nature -physical constants -the existence of the universe itself

18 Objections to the Global Design Argument: Anthropocentricism: The whole universe exists just for the sake of humans? Are we really that important—objectively? Bad Design: Why waste 11 billion years on evolution? Why create the rest of the universe? Why not stop with our solar system?

19 The Alternative Explanation According to science, the universe isn’t “fine tuned” to serve any purpose, and global facts aren’t actually design facts.

20 The Alternative Explanation Laws of nature and basic physical constants simply are—for no reason. The universe itself just exists—for no reason.

21 But if science says the fundamental properties of the universe aren’t there for any reason at all, then science doesn’t offer a better explanation for global facts... It offers no explanation at all! The Alternative Explanation

22 Swinburne asks how to explain the “enormous human-producing coincidence.” But a true coincidence has no explanation. -bumping into an old friend in a distant city.

23 Swinburne: Fundamental laws and constants are explained by God’s design. Sober: Fundamental laws and constants can’t be explained at all.

24 Swinburne: Fundamental laws and constants are explained by God’s design. Sober’s point is not that science currently has no explanation for global facts. It’s that science can never explain global facts. Sober: Fundamental laws and constants can’t be explained at all.

25 Sober claims that science has limits: some facts can’t be given a scientific explanation at all. Discuss in groups: Does the Big Bang explain the existence of the universe?

26 We observe regularities (patterns). Think about how science works...  Every time you put salt in water, it dissolves. Then we explain these regularities in terms of other regularities.  Every time negatively charged ions come into contact with positively charged ions, bonds form.

27 Some regularities are explanatorily basic: They don’t have explanations themselves, even though they provide explanations for other things. But this process “bottoms out” with natural laws and physical constants.

28  Every time any two objects come near each other, they attract each other. We call this “gravity.”  Every time anyone measures the acceleration of gravity, they get the same value: 9.8 m/s 2. Science explains this regularity in terms of other regularities:  Sky-divers always fall to earth at the same rate.

29 Laws of nature and physical constants are global features of the universe. Science identifies these facts, and then uses them in its explanations. But science cannot explain the laws and constants themselves. But we have no explanation for gravity itself. We don’t know why all objects are attracted to each other. We just observe that they are.

30 If we can’t have scientific explanations for global facts, what should we do? 1) Explain them non-scientifically (God) 2) Don’t explain them at all

31 Sober: If we use God to explain global facts, the explanations will be worthless.  How can things in the universe be caused by things outside the universe?  What makes humans objectively good?  Why would God create a whole universe when all he wanted was one species, on one planet? 1) They create more questions than they answer:

32 Currently, biologists can’t explain how sexual reproduction evolved. We could say “Natural selection did it,” but since we don’t know how, this doesn’t help. It’s no better to say, “God did it...we just don’t know how.” 2) They make no new predictions. Sober: If we use God to explain global facts, the explanations will be worthless.

33 Swinburne: We can’t leave global facts unexplained, so we need to appeal to God. Sober: We can leave global facts unexplained, so we don’t need to appeal to God.

34 Swinburne: We can’t leave global facts unexplained, so we need to appeal to God. Sober: We can leave global facts unexplained, so we don’t need to appeal to God. -The universe just happened -Human life just happened -The universe exists for a reason -Human life evolved for a reason

35 Writing Essays The “Small” Essay Assignment

36 Writing Essays An essay is not just a collection of true statements. “For hundreds of years philosophers have discussed whether people have free will. Socrates is probably the most famous philosopher. If you force someone to do something at gunpoint, they can’t really be held responsible. Animals and small children probably don’t have free will, but Socrates did.”

37 Writing Essays What makes an essay coherent is the fact that the sentences in it all work together to establish a single conclusion, or main point: the thesis.

38 Primary Conclusion Writing Essays Thesis = P1) “Hotel California” is played out. P1a) Blah blah blah blah blah P2) Blah blah blah blah blah P2a) Blah blah blah blah blah Ca) “Hotel California” is played out. P3) Blah blah blah blah blah C) Sign my petition...

39 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2. Support support support. Support support support support. Support support support support. PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support.

40 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2. Support support support. Support support support support. Support support support support. PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. Actually do this in your essays! Highlight thesis and premises in bold. (10 points deducted if missing.)

41 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2. Support support support. Support support support support. Support support support support. PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. P1) PREMISE #1 P2) PREMISE #2 P3) PREMISE #3 C) CONCLUSION

42 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1 PREMISE #1. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support. PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2 PREMISE #2. Support support support. Support support support support. Support support support support. PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3 PREMISE #3. Support support support, support support support support. Support support support, support support support support.

43 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. When you introduce your topic, you aren’t arguing for anything yet. 1) Define or “frame” the issue/debate. 2) State your conclusion, don’t argue for it.

44 Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. Intro intro intro intro, intro intro intro. THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS THESIS. For decades in the United States, people thought yellow mustard was the only kind of mustard there was. However, that was before Grey Poupon introduced dijon mustard, showing Americans that there is much more to mustard than just something to put on hot dogs and hamburgers. Here I argue that dijon mustard is far superior to yellow mustard. Example:

45 For decades in the United States, people thought yellow mustard was the only kind of mustard there was. However, that was before Grey Poupon introduced dijon mustard, showing Americans that there is much more to mustard than just something to put on hot dogs and hamburgers. Here I argue that dijon mustard is far superior to yellow mustard. Example: Be specific when stating your thesis: ” Here I argue that dijon mustard is far superior to yellow mustard.” “In this essay, I will give an argument about mustard.”

46 P1) Dijon mustard contains horseradish. P2) Horseradish is so delicious! P3) Yellow mustard does not contain horseradish. P4) If a condiment contains a delicious ingredient, then it is superior to condiments that lack this ingredient. C) Dijon mustard is better than yellow mustard. My argument:

47 P1) Dijon mustard contains horseradish. P2) Horseradish is so delicious! P3) Yellow mustard does not contain horseradish. P4) If a condiment contains a delicious ingredient, then it is superior to condiments that lack this ingredient. C) Dijon mustard is better than yellow mustard. No support needed. These premises could even go without saying (as assumptions).

48 But these premises need support. P1) Dijon mustard contains horseradish. P2) Horseradish is so delicious! P3) Yellow mustard does not contain horseradish. P4) If a condiment contains a delicious ingredient, then it is superior to condiments that lack this ingredient. C) Dijon mustard is better than yellow mustard.

49 I’m not saying that every sentence must be a premise in an argument (either primary or secondary). Communicate naturally. I was once tortured by waterboarding in a vat of yellow mustard, so I’ll admit that I may be a bit biased against it. Nevertheless, there are good reasons why anyone should prefer dijon mustard to yellow, even if they haven’t been tortured by yellow mustard. Perhaps the most important reason is that HORSERADISH IS SO DELICIOUS...

50 Try to build a stronger argument than my mustard example, but remember that I’m grading for form (argumentative structure) more than for content. (TIP: argue for something you actually care about. It’s easier.)

51 “Small” essays are due in one week. See the last page of the syllabus for formatting specs. Remember to highlight your thesis and premises (in bold).


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