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Design Arguments for the Existence of God

Design arguments are empirical arguments for God's existence. These arguments typically, though not always, proceed by identifying various empirical features of the world that constitute evidence of intelligent design and inferring God's existence as the best explanation for these features. Since the concepts of design and purpose are closely related, design arguments are also known as "teleological arguments," which incorporates "telos," the Greek word for "goal" or "purpose." Design arguments, then, typically consist of (1) a premise that asserts that the material universe exhibits some empirical property F; (2) a premise (or sub-argument) that asserts (or concludes) that F is persuasive evidence of intelligent design or purpose; and (3) a premise (or sub-argument) that asserts (or concludes) that the best or most probable explanation for the fact that the material universe exhibits F is that there exists an intelligent designer who intentionally brought it about that the material universe exists and exhibits F. There are a number of classic and contemporary versions of the argument: (1) Aquinas's "fifth way'; (2) the argument from simple analogy; (3) Paley's watchmaker argument; (4) the argument from guided evolution; (5) the argument from irreducible biochemical complexity; (6) the argument from biological information; and (7) the fine-tuning argument.

The Classical Versions of the Design Argument