God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science

God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science

God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science

God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science

Synopsis

Recent discoveries in physics, cosmology, and biochemistry have captured the public imagination and made the Design Argument - the theory that God created the world according to a specific plan - the object of renewed scientific and philosophical interest. This accessible but serious introduction to the design problem brings together new perspectives from prominent scientists and philosophers including Paul Davies, Richard Swinburne, Sir Martin Rees, Michael Behe, Elliot Sober and Peter van Inwagen.
It probes the relationship between modern science and religious belief, considering their points of conflict and their many points of similarity. Is the real God of creationism the 'master clockmaker' who sets the world's mechanism on a perfectly enduring course, or a miraculous presence who continually intervenes in and alters the world we know? Are science and faith, or evolution and creation, really in conflict at all? Expanding the parameters of a lively and urgent debate, God and Designconsiders how perennial questions of origin continue to fascinate and disturb us.

Excerpt

As the contents of this book indicate, there has been a tremendous resurgence of interest in the design argument in recent years. Unfortunately, discussions of the design argument (particularly in North America) have tended to generate as much heat as light. This is largely due to the association of the biological version of the design argument with the controversial matter of the content of public school science curricula. Those who make a design argument from biological evidence are likely to be accused of religious fundamentalism and of belief in creationism. Cosmic design arguments, on the other hand, are far more respected, at least in so far as those who make them are not so apt to be subject to ad hominem attack. As a philosopher, I fail to see why cosmic design arguments should be treated so differently from biological ones. Certainly cosmic design arguments are no less astounding for locating supernatural activity at the very beginning of the Universe rather than in more recent history. That is why I have included in this volume papers on both sorts of design argument. I also made a point of including papers on what is emerging as the primary naturalistic alternative to the design hypothesis: the “multiverse” hypothesis that there are many universes in addition to our own. My hope is that, by bringing together up-to-date papers on these diverse strands, I have, with respect to the design argument, given philosophers, theologians, scientists, and interested laypeople a sense of where the action is.

The publishers and I wish to thank the following for permission to reprint copyright material in this book: Blackwell Publishers, for Roger White's “Fine-tuning and multiple universes, ” in Nous 34 (2000), pp. 260-76; Blackwell Publishers again, for Elliott Sober's “The design argument, ” in William Mann (ed.) The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion (forthcoming); the New York Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, for John Leslie's “The meaning of design, ” in Jim Miller (ed.) Cosmic Questions,NYAS Annals 950 (2001) pp.128-38; Oxford University Press, for Timothy McGrew, Lydia McGrew, and Eric Vestrup's “Probabilities and the fine-tuning argument: A skeptical view, ” in

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