Re: [asa] The argument against the argument against design

From: Chris Barden <>
Date: Fri May 29 2009 - 09:31:16 EDT


The argument against design I am more familiar with is probabilistic
and could be considered as follows:

1) If this world is designed, then properties P1-n obtain (scenario S1).
2) If this world is not designed, then properties P1-n obtain because
of ... (scenarios S2-m).
3) P1-n obtain.
4) m is a large number.
5) Therefore, it is much more likely that P1-n obtain due to scenarios
S2-m than due to scenario S1.

I was wondering if you could provide a real-life example of your
formulation of an argument against design, as it seems different from
the ones I am familiar with.


On Wed, May 27, 2009 at 10:11 AM, wjp <> wrote:
> Terry et al. have presented an argument, or perhaps I might say
> a scenario, which purports to cohere a world designed by God
> and yet ruled by chance and necessity.
> I here use this scenario to offer an argument against what I
> will call the argument against design.
> It is an argument much like Plantinga's Free Will Defense.
> Consider the argument against design as going something like
> this:
> 1) Necessarily if a world W is designed, W will have property P.
> 2) Property P does not obtain in this world.
> 3) Therefore, This world is not designed.
> To defeat this argument all we need show is that it is possible
> that a world W could be designed and not possess property P.
> In order to defeat this argument against design,
> we need not argue that world W obtains, nor that W is the
> actual world (this world).
> 1) Suppose there is an all powerful designer D with perfect foreknowledge F
> and free will.
> 2) By premise (2) above, there is a world W in which P does not obtain.
> 3) Because of F the designer D can foresee all the events and properties
> of world W.
> 4) Because D is all powerful and free, D can freely choose to realize
> any possible world.
> 5) To design something is to be able to freely choose to bring something
> into being.
> 6) To freely bring something into being entails that it would be possible
> for the agent to not bring it into being.
> 7) The designer D freely decides to realize world W
> knowing it does not possess property P,
> even though D could have realized a world where property P obtains.
> 8) Therefore, world W is designed.
> 9) Hence, it is possible for a world W with property P to be designed.
> 10) Hence, there is no property P such that if that world were designed
> that it would have to have property P.
> 11) Hence, any possible world could have been designed.
> Note, that this argument defeats also the argument that if
> a world W is designed, then necessarily W has property P.
> It does not, however, affect an argument from design that might
> argue that necessarily if P obtains, then W is designed.
> bill
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Received on Fri May 29 09:32:04 2009

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