|The Grand Design
The Teleological Argument
"So what's this 'teleological' thing I heard you talking about?"
"You know. It says that if you have something that has been designed, it goes without saying that you must have a designer. So, if the universe was designed, that means someone designed it. In other words, God. I'm sure you've heard the argument: If you find a pocketwatch on the ground, you realize it was designed. You know it wasn't an accident."
"Ah. So why didn't you just say it was the old design argument instead of using these 20 dollar words?"
"To get you to ask."
"Ha ha. Very funny. Well, whatever you call it, I don't buy it."
Why not? If you think a watch is designed, why not the universe? Haven't you heard of all those 'cosmic constants' that could be different but if they actually were different, even by some microscopic amount, the whole universe would be so different people couldn't exist?"
"Yeah, yeah. I admit that at that level the universe looks as if has been designed. But that's not it. It's simply this: If the universe is to exist at all, it must have some form."
"Well, yeah, it's gotta have some form, but the odds are astronomical against the universe having a form that allows us to exist. It's awfully hard to believe that could be an accident."
"Why? Somebody has to win the lottery."
"Okay, so it kind of boils down to this. Out of umpty-ump trillion bazillion possible universes, the one that actually happens is the one that is made-to-order for us to live in, which is precisely the kind of universe you'd expect if there is a God who intended the universe to be occupied by living beings.
"Well... yeah. Like I said, that's how it looks. But if that one, particular universe didn't happen, we wouldn't be here to talk about it, now would we?
"Uhh... true. But how does that affect the odds of this one-in-a-zillion universe happening?"
"Ummm... Well, I don't think it affects the odds, but if we didn't hit the lottery we wouldn't be here discussing this."
"Ah. And if the odds were reversed, and it was umpteen bazillion to one in favor of your point of view, you wouldn't hold those odds against me, would you?"
"Well, let's look at it a different way. Your view is that the universe is undesigned. It may appear that a designer put it together, but any apparent design was not intended; it just plain happened. Is that right?"
"Crude, but I think you've got it about right."
"And why do you believe that?"
"Faith. Just like you."
"Ah. Just checking. Well, anyway, to belabor the point, ages ago undesigned event A caused event B. And because event A was undesigned, it could not design event B, so event B was undesigned as well. And from undesigned event B came undesigned event C, then D and E, and so forth, aaaall the way down to you.
"So, this means that when you say, 'Somebody has to win the lottery,' you are making an undesigned statement. In other words, amigo, you're babbling. You may as well have said, 'Red shoes are green.'"
"No, no, no! You're leaving out an important factor. While the universe was not designed, nevertheless, through ages of evolution our brains have adapted so they do a fairly good job of telling us what is true and what isn't."
"Sorry. If everything is undesigned, then so is your statement that our brains adapted through evolution. It may seem to make sense to you, but if everything is undesigned, then you're still babbling."
"Well... Maybe I should have defined my terms a little bit better. English is a limited language. What I need is a new word that means 'design without a designer'. I guess what I'm saying is that the design in the universe is just a brute fact. It was just plain there from the start."
"Design without a designer?"
"I know! I know! It sounds weird, but English is a limited language."
"Willst du auf Deutsch sprechen?"
"How about we go get some pizza?"
"Yeah. How about.
Becoming a Christian
© Copyright 2002, Brad Haugaard.