How does the teleological argument support the existence of God?
There is no debate among both atheists and theists that the universe, the earth, and life on earth displays design. The most vocal atheist alive today, Richard Dawkins, says: "Living objects . . . look designed, they look overwhelmingly as though they're designed. Biology is the study of complicated things which give the impression of having been designed for a purpose." Francis Crick, an atheist, says, "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved."
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The theist responds that things look designed because they were in fact designed by a Creator. The teleological (telos, from the Greek word which means end, aim, or purpose) argument for God contends that one way we can validate the existence of a Creator is through the marks of intelligence and design that the universe and humankind exhibit. The argument is stated in the following way:
• Behind every complex design is a designer
• The universe has a complex design
• Therefore, the universe has a designer
Who is right? Is everything simply the product of time + matter + chance or is there a transcendent Creator? Which way does the evidence lead?
Opponents of religion such as Dawkins and Crick may say things only appear designed, however even they cannot refute the presence of intelligent design that appears in life's building blocks, which is DNA. DNA represents what is called "specified complexity," meaning it contains a complex design that defies any rational attempt at explaining it other than by an intelligent source.
Atheist Richard Dawkins admits that the message found in just the cell nucleus of an amoeba is more than all thirty volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica, with the entire amoeba itself having as much information in its DNA as 1,000 complete sets of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The important thing to understand is that the makeup of these entities is not random, not just meaningless data, but instead is highly organized information.
Noted biophysicist Dean Kenyon states the conclusion on DNA plainly when he says: "If science is based on experience, then science tells us that the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. What kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist."
What do Dawkins and Crick postulate as the source for the specified complexity and information found in DNA? Crick, speaking for Dawkins as well, says: "Given the weaknesses of all theories of terrestrial genesis, directed panspermia should still be considered a serious possibility." Those unfamiliar with the term "directed panspermia" should understand that Crick and Dawkins say the best explanation for DNA is that aliens came to earth and planted it here.
It needs to be noted that even if Crick and Dawkins are correct and their argument granted, it only extends the issue to that supposed race of beings. Dawkins proposes space aliens for the reason we see intelligence here but he also says that the alien would have had to have evolved as well. The problem is if you cannot get the evolutionary process to solve the information process here on earth, why think it could happen elsewhere? Kicking the dilemma to outer space does not help at all. The truth is those who deny that an ultimate Creator is responsible for the intelligence and design reflected in life exhibit far more faith than those who affirm the teleological argument for God.
In fact, it was the argument from and to design that convinced what used to be atheism's greatest philosopher and spokesman – Anthony Flew – to abandon his atheism and embrace the concept of a Creator. Stating his position on the matter, Flew simply said: "I think the origins of the laws of nature and of life and the Universe point clearly to an intelligent Source. The burden of proof is on those who argue to the contrary."
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