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An Introduction to Design Arguments

The history of design arguments stretches back to before Aquinas, who claimed that things which lack intelligence nevertheless act for an end to achieve the best result. Although science has advanced to discredit this claim, it remains true that many biological systems display remarkable adaptations of means to ends. Versions of design arguments have persisted over the centuries and have culminated in theories that propose an intelligent designer of the universe. This volume is the only comprehensive survey of 2,000 years of debate, drawing on both historical and modern literature to identify, clarify, and assess critically the many forms of design argument for the existence of God. It provides a neutral, informative account of the topic from antiquity to Darwin, and includes concise primers on probability and cosmology. It will be of great value to upper-level undergraduates and graduates in philosophy of religion, theology, and philosophy of science.

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Preliminaries
    • 3. Arguments from antiquity
    • 4. Medieval arguments
    • 5. The golden age of natural theology
    • 6. Unusual design arguments
    • 7. Hume
    • 8. Paley
    • 9. Darwin
    • 10. Loose ends
    • 11. The modern likelihood argument
    • 12. Intelligent design I: irreducible complexity
    • 13. Intelligent design II: specified complexity;
    • 14. What is complexity?
    • 15. Supernatural agents and the role of laws
    • 16. A brief survey of physical law
    • 17. Fine-tuning I: positive arguments
    • 18. Fine-tuning II: objections
    • 19. Conclusion.