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God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science Hardcover – March 28, 2003

ISBN-13: 978-0415263436 ISBN-10: 0415263433 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1 edition (March 28, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415263433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415263436
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,956,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'Neil Manson has done an excellent job in assembling such a comprehensive and star-studded cast of contributors. He has also written a very useful introduction himself that identifies all the main areas of debate ... this book is likely to remain the best guide to it for some time to come.' - Fraser Watts

'As this collection shows, the debates about God and design are far from dead, and can be intellectually fascinating.' - Religious Studies

'This collection is successful in illustrating the main questions relating to the discovery of a Design from scientific arguments.' -

'This volume is a rich discussion for and against arguments from order, intelligibility, and purposefulness to the existence of a designer, who might be God.' - Bijdragen, International Journal in Philosophy and Theology

'This book comes highly recommended ...' - The Secular Web

'This volume is to be recommended for upper-level undergraduate and graduate classes on philosophy of religion and philosophy of science, among other more specialized courses focused on design arguments.' Amos Yong, Regent University of Divinity, Religious Studies Review

About the Author

Neil A. Manson currently teaches at the Centre for Philosophy of Religion at the University of Notre Dame. A former Gifford Research Fellow in Natural Theology at the University of Aberdeen, he has a long-standing interest in the science and religion debate.

Customer Reviews

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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By TiZ on July 1, 2004
Format: Paperback
Teleological arguments are arguments for the existence of God from (apparent) design in the natural world. The arguments went out of fashion for a while after criticism by Hume and Kant, and especially after Darwin's theory of evolution which attempts to explain how complex, goal directed biological systems may have developed via random genetic mutations over generations without any intervention by a divine designer.
But with astonishing breakthroughs in such fields as cosmology and biochemistry, teleological arguments have been reformulated in many different, sophisticated and powerful forms. This anthology of articles by prominent analytic philosophers, physicists and biologists examines some of these arguments.
The book begins with Manson's introduction to, and very clear outline of, the subsequent discussion; then the first section discusses some general (and important) considerations about the arguments and includes some excellent and clear material by Swinburne and Sober, among others (but I didn't like the article by Narveson).
The second section focuses on teleological arguments from physical cosmology - the apparent fine-tuning of various cosmological constants and conditions of our universe for life - with excellent material by Davies, Craig, Collins and McGrew.
The third section explores one putative way to avoid inferring a designer from such fine-tuning by introducing the existence of many universes (If there are many universes with different conditions, then the probability that one might turn out life-permitting might not be so low). The debate here is very interesting, and an article by White, in my opinion, original.
The fourth section debates the putative evidence of intelligent design in biological organisms.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Hagios on April 23, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the basic laws of physics were even slightly different, intelligent life would be impossible. For example, if gravity were slightly weaker then all stars would be blue giants and a life permitting star like our own would be impossible. But if gravity were slightly stronger then all stars would be red dwarfs and life would be impossible. This is one of many improbably coincidences that seem to lead to the conclusion that life is only possible because of the work of an intelligent designer. 'God and Design' is a balanced book that includes essays from top scientists and philosophers from both sides of the debate. I would strongly recommend it to anyone who is not interesting in a fair hearing from both sides rather than "preaching to the choir."

Eliot Sober has a strong article defending the weak anthropic principle, which holds that we are only capable of observing a universe that is compatible with our existence. The principle is correct as far as it goes, but it is too limited to explain our surprise at the improbable nature of a life permitting universe. The philosopher John Leslie has a clever thought experiment that illustrates the weakness of the weak anthropic principle. Imagine you faced a firing squad of 100 men and you lived through it unharmed. You wouldn't invoke the weak anthropic principle and claim that they all must have accidentally missed, you would instead suspect that there is some deliberate plan (design). This has led most atheists to posit the existence of billions upon billions of alternate universes - see Martin Rees' essay for a representative example.

Elliot Sober does not give up so easily. He defends the weak anthropic principle on the basis of likelihood analysis, rather than the standard Bayesian analysis preferred by most philosophers.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Demming on October 3, 2007
Format: Paperback
In God and Design, Neil A. Manson has gathered a group of intellectually stimulating articles pertaining to the Argument from Design. The collection includes articles supportive and critical of both local design arguments (i.e., Michael Behe's irreducible complexity) and global design arguments (i.e., the fine-tuned laws which govern the universe). Thankfully, the representation is quite fair, and authors on both sides of the debate get a fair chance. However, global design arguments seem to be the main topic of the debate. For a fuller treatment of the controversial Intelligent Design movement, other works should be pursued.

As for the fine-tuning argument, Robin Collins adds a useful discussion of some "solid cases of fine-tuning"- thus overturning the claim that the probability figures for fine-tuning are pulled out of thin air. William Lane Craig successfully lays out the argument and discusses several objections in his paper. Jan Narveson objects to the explanatory power of theism, but his arguments seem to be unconvincing and are also addressed effectively by Richard Swinburne in his paper. The major criticisms of the fine-tuning argument found in the papers, however, have to do with the methods of probability used in supporting the inference to design. Eliot Sober and the Mcgrews/Vestrup argue that there is no basis for probabilities when concerning fundamental constants of nature. However, Collins in particular has elsewhere developed a `rigorous' definition of fine-tuning, thus overcoming this particular objection, in my view. Once the validity of probability judgments are granted, it seems to me that the case for design is compelling.
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