Over the years, human beings have been responsible for the crafting of complex machines using their intelligence, thoughts, and wisdom. With these machines, the various parts that have been put together have the sole intention of serving a particular function; a means to an end. Similarly, nature also has a series of intricate “machines” with parts put together to serve their specific functions and are greater than those made by human beings. The typical reason d’être has been that since the intended effect of the machines resembles each other, then the must be a cause, a principle of the inductive school of reasoning used in science. It is this way of thinking that has prompted many to infer that there is a high probability that the cause of the universe is also a creation of an intelligent, thoughtful and wise mind, better than that of the human beings as seen in the author’s creations. Additionally, there are those of the opinion that this teleological argument suggests that there is the existence of a deity, and one does not have to see the maker to prove their existence (Daniel, David Mills 12). The proof is in the order, design, and function that is around us. In this type of argument, the conclusion is not guaranteed because of the truth of the premise. Rather, its aim is to conclude that the probability of the conclusion being true is very high or even likely to be true. One thus has to have an experience of what the world is all about and what it has to offer so as to determine the authenticity of the premise. The purpose of this essay is to provide a critical analysis of this argument by analogy and an objection of the premise.
One can easily poke holes in the argument that posits that there are similarities between artifacts made by man and those by the mind behind the creation of the world where we reside. Proponents of this argument have as their premise that there exists an intelligence behind the creation of all nature has to offer due to the design, order, and function that can be observed in nature. They also argue that the whole universe displays similar design, order, and function, which points to the existence of a higher power responsible for this meticulous crafting (Pyle, Andrew). The first criticism that I level towards this argument is in the perceived order and function that is present in nature; it is not conclusive to infer evidence from attributes of this tiny bit of the cosmos that we occupy.
Take for example, if we as human beings occupied a tiny spec in a Monet painting, and after looking around and observing what surrounds us, conclude that because we are surrounded by a blue color, the whole canvas was blue, would be a simplistic approach to a composite notion. Such would be a fallacious inference as we would be forced to move from a seemly true premise to a conclusion that is false. Furthermore, if we grant that the obscure parts of the solar system and the earth exhibit some sense of order, design and function, arguing from this fact to then claim that the whole expanse of the universe displays order, design and function would be illegitimate. Arguments that base their premise on parts of something having certain attributes point to a conclusion that suggests that the entire whole is made up is made up of those same parts, making the position a Fallacy of Composition (Damer, T. Edward). The only way that we can prove the universe that we find ourselves in displays order, design and function are to subject it to a Fallacy of Composition. The fallacy that both the universe and the artifacts designed by man are an indication of order, design and function leads many to falsely conclude that the existence of a deity is a possibility and thus prohibiting us from believing or relying on claims that may come from it.
Another objection to this claim that man-made artifacts to the universe in order, design, and function is the fact that we have only been in contact with one universe, the so-called Milky Way. We live in a multi-verse that was as a quantum process, which scientists refer to as the Big Bang. It was these quantum fluctuations that were the cause the expansion of the universe, with different areas having different sets of laws consisting of low energy areas creating the vast expanse. If we decide to argue inductively it is never seen as a pragmatically respectable position to base an argument from as it is an application of a broad generalization to a single instance. Suppose an instance one decided to go on an excursion in the Amazon jungle of South America, and then happen to stumble upon an animal that is nothing like they have ever seen before. In reality, this is a very elusive band of forest primates which has never been seen by any human being because they tend to hide at any time when humans are around the vicinity. The animal is asleep, so the individual now has an opportunity to observe the animal. The animal in question is similar to other primates, with distinctive coloring but on further inspection, the animal does not seem to have a tail. Suppose the sleeping primate wakes up and then quickly scurries away to the relative safety of the canopy above. Would it then be prudent, from this one encounter for the individual in question to conclude that tails are absent amongst this species of monkeys? The individual has never in whole entire life seen this species of monkeys, and it is easy for them to conclude that they lack tails, when in reality, it was a deformed member of a larger group of primates. Moreover, this has nothing to do with the duration of time that was spent in the forest because if the same animal was captured, taken to a lab to be studied, it would be wrong to make this broad generalization.
Chances are that the unfortunate create might have had an unfortunate encounter with an alligator, that saw its prehensile tail being bitten off. The only acceptable rational comparison is that of primates that are similar to it and those that share a large amount of DNA with the subject. The comparison between the monkey and the design hypothesis are quite similar. The argument on design makes claims about the universe and all the features that are found therein. It is true that we have not only seen only a tiny fraction of this universe that we find ourselves in, but we have never been to any other universe. A comparison between two universes would be important in proving the claims of order, design, and function in nature. Claims made about the cosmos are generally weak since there are no other cosmoi for comparison. To add to this, we don’t have or know anything that is similar to its scale and utter grandeur, as is the case with the monkeys where we can find other primates that are similar in genetic composition to this elusive creature. We cannot, truth-preserving, conclude from such a general context, that our universe has certain features exclusive to it order, design, and function. Like the elusive imagined monkey, we might be living in a freak cosmos whose order, design and function are simply as a result of accident, rather than design.