The Five Ways of demonstrating God’s existence were given systematic treatment by arguably the most renowned and respected Christian philosopher of all time, St. Thomas Aquinas. Born in Italy in the thirteenth century, Aquinas sought to synthesize an Aristotelian framework with a Christian worldview. One integral aspect of this synthesis was Aquinas’ use of Aristotelian metaphysical notions in his arguments for God’s existence — notions such as actuality, potentiality, essence, efficient causation, natural teleology, and so on. In fact, Aquinas goes so far as to characterize his First Way as the more “manifest” way, indicating the centrality of Aristotelianism in his thought.1Read more “An Appraisal of Aquinas’ First Way: Introduction (Part 1)”
The argument from poor design, occasionally referred to as the dysteleological argument, is an argument that takes sub-optimal (sometimes seemingly egregious) design in nature and uses it as evidence against an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent creator deity.
It is important to note that this post is purely an explication of the argument, not a positive defense of it. I will take a stance on whether the argument is successful or unsuccessful in future posts in this series. This first post is simply meant to lay the groundwork for the argument and to briefly characterize some of the reasons one might find it initially plausible.
First, I will provide the argument from design to give some context. A popular version is as follows:
None of the stuff in this post is meant to be ridiculing Feser or the Aristotelian argument. I just really want to understand the argument better, and I hope Feser is able to reply to the concerns raised! Without further ado, let’s get into it!