Use of Design Arguments

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cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
On page 31 of the book, Reasons for Faith, K. Scott Oliphint wrote, "Philosophy might also serve theology as a 'testimony of consent in things known by nature.' Here Turretin has in mind the fact that to the extent that philosophy has its focus in natural revelation, it can be used to better confirm things that are revealed by God, things that are true and certain in themselves. This is because natural and special revelation both reveal God, and the truth of God, all of which is brought together as one truth. This can perhaps be seen in the way, for example, that notions of designs present in philosophical discussions today serve to 'better confirm' the truth of God's creating and controlling activity."

One of his footnotes about the above quote says, "This 'confirmation' does not address the stickier problem of the use of design arguments for apologetic purposes.
These arguments can of course be used, just so long as one's approach neither sacrifices nor undermines the principia of theology, that is, just so long as one's principium cognoscendi (Scripture), as grounded in the principium essendi (the triune God), are not compromised in the method used to set forth such arguments."

Can anyone here on PB give some examples of how one would go about using design arguments that would not undermine the principia of theology?
 

jwright82

Puritan Board Graduate
Well for one he is criticizing classical apologetics here so obviously he does not have those sorts of arguments in mind. But I assume, don't know for sure, that he would aprove of this. Desighn, like anyother idea, in Van Tillian thinking must be put into perspective. In fact that is one of the keys to understanding Van Til is understanding that he, for instance, wasn't against using evidences but wanted to put evidences into perspective. So we can use desighn as evidence of the biblical account of things but we must always keep in mind that the other side may have different ways of interpreting the same evidence, or differing presupositions if you will. So it is best to examine these differing ways of viewing things to see who makes more sense.

At present there is two major competing views of how to explain "desighn" in nature, christian theism and darwinianism. Now I say two different views but there are probably many out there but only two "plausible" views. Now we must examine who can make more sense out of the apparent "desighn" in nature. Lets start with darwinianism. Now the key logical issue for darwinianism is getting a qualitative change from a quantitative change. But what does that mean? Well a quantitative change is a change in quantity, like getting more apples in your house (the more apples you get the greater quantity of apples you have, but keep in mind that evolutionary speaking you still have a group apples and not a one orange for example). So the more apples you get the greater number of apples you have but at what point does your pile of apples become something other than a pile of apples? You see this is the chief logical, or philosophical, issue for them how does a change in quantity become a change in quality? Well what is quality?

Philosophicaly speaking a qualitatitive change would be a change in the kind of thing something is. So a rope undergoes a qualitaive change in its manufacturing. It goes from being whatever rope is made of to being wrapped and formed into what we call rope. It goes from being yarn, or whatever, to being rope from a proccess that changes it from one sort of thing to another. So in biological, or now physical, terms we move from one type of creature, dinosaur, to another type of creature, bird, through a series of quantitiative changes, or mutations, to get there. But they never explain how a series of quantitative changes can actually result in a new species or thing. Think of the movie Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, in this movie the satilite develops a quantitative change in the amount of food it makes into a deep level of complexity to become a thinking thing, a quantitative change into a qualitative change. So to sum it up how does a deeper quantity of complexity result in a thing becoming a complety type of thing? I was reminded of this yesterday when I heard an interview on the radio with a co-crearor of Twitter. He spoke in very datwinian terms because Twitter started out very small but through a series of deepening complexity it become something new and different. But it never became something other than either Twitter or a computer program. And that is the major problem with evolution, it cannot explain how one species can, through a series of quantitative changes, become a new species, qualitative change. They really ingore this problem to be sure. It is an unproven presuposition of theirs that a series of quantitaive changes can result in a qualitative change.

That is where they are logically the weakest. So they don't after all make sense out of desighn in nature they assume a very unproven philosophical idea to explain it away but they never prove it or explain it in any detail. But we christians believe in a self-existant God who created everything as it is so desighn for us is purposival not accidental, which is the darwinian view. We can make sense out of desighn because we actually believe that the universe was desighned, unlike the evolutionist who beleives that the universe only appears desighned but actually is not. Does that all makes sense?
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you for your response, James. Would you say that design in nature presupposes God instead of being merely good evidence for God's existence?
 
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