Why the design arguments need the help of other arguments for God’s existence

From: Pim van Meurs <pimvanmeurs@yahoo.com>
Date: Sat Nov 26 2005 - 17:43:29 EST

A very interesting paper which reinforces the various problems with ID
and the conflation between regular and rarefied design.

DOI: 10.1007/s11153-004-5894-7
International Journal for Philosophy of Religion (2005) 57: 1–33 ©
Springer 2005
The application-conditions for design inferences: Why the design
arguments need the help of other arguments for God’s existence∗

KENNETH EINAR HIMMA
Department of Philosophy, Seattle Pacific University, 3307 Third Avenue
West,
Seattle, WA 98119–1997, USA

Proponents of design arguments attempt to infer the existence of God
from various properties or features of the world they take to be evidence
of intelligent design. Thus, for example, the fine-tuning argument
attempts to infer the existence of a divine designer from the
improbable fact that life would not be possible if any of approximately
two- to three-dozen fundamental laws and properties of the
universe had been even slightly different. Similarly, the argument from
biochemical complexity attempts to infer the existence of a divine
designer from the improbable fact that living beings frequently instantiate
what proponents call irreducible specified complexity.
In this essay, I argue that we are justified in making design inferences
only in contexts where there is already strong independent reason
to think that there exist intelligent agents with the ability to bring
about
the occurrence of the relevant entity, feature, or property. Only in such
contexts is there sufficient information to justify assigning a probability
to the design hypothesis that is higher than the probability that we are
presumably justified in assigning to the chance hypothesis. Accordingly,
design arguments implicitly presuppose that some other argument for
God’s existence justifies assigning a probability to the design hypothesis
that is larger than the probability we can assign to the chance hypothesis.
What this means, contra the intentions of proponents, is that design
arguments for the existence of God cannot stand by themselves.
Received on Sat Nov 26 17:45:42 2005

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