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Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

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Cleanthes presents a classic formulation of the argument of design, describe this argument in details.

Dialogue concerning natural religion is a piece of writing done by David Hume and based on philosophical ethics. Conversation are held by Cleanthes, Philo and Demea who all come into consensus that there is existence of a god although they disagree on the nature of this god and how human beings understand this deity.

Cleanthes in his argument of design explains that God in his nature operates like an architect who created the universe in a mechanistic manner. He further argues that God did his work in an orderly manner that brings out the universe in a certain design. Cleanthes argues that, if human beings are intelligent enough to improvise machines and other technologies, then the design and order of the universe must have been done by a creator who was far much intelligent. Cleanthes goes further to explain that the way man improvises machines and interact with them step by step is the same way God interacts with the universe because he is the cause of every creation in it. He explains that the universe is subdivided into smaller parts which are beyond human understanding. All these machines and their smaller parts are well adjusted to each other accurately which makes all men who have ever contemplated about them, to admire them (Thishelton, 1990).

Discuss two ways in which Philo criticizes the analogy on which argument of design is based.

Although Cleanthes is putting a lot of emphasis on the existence of God, Philo comes up to criticize him. He argues that Cleanthes has left much to be doubted. He explains that, Cleanthes analogy is weak and comments that gaps can be seen in the man concept of God and these gaps give a supporting hand to Philo’s analogy which argues that human beings do not reason adequately to make proper views of God either through observing nature or reasoning. He further poses a question that, if intelligence in human beings comes out of natural causes found in humans, how is it then that new ideas come from brains of human beings as they are not the natural causes of man’s intelligence. He attacks Cleanthes alongside with Demea who argues that, we are supposed to believe in God through revelations and may be fideism. He rejects Cleanthes belief that religion is natural and describes him to be much anthropomorphic in saying this (Thishelton, 1990).

Explain what the argument can and cannot establish and say why this is a problem of Cleanthes.

According to David Hume’s Dialogue Concerning Natural Religion, Cleanthes design argument is coming out successfully in the idea of clarifying the issue that the universe is having an order, arrangement and pattern. However this argument does not bring out clearly the existence of God. Cleanthes argument is making an attempt to defend religion foundation which is basic by using scientific methods. The scientific method relies much on observation and experience of cause- effect relationship. For example, it is scientific that when a stone is thrown upwards it is expected to come down due to force of gravity. Our interpretation of the universe is that perception of something without an aid of experience is not enough to realize anticipated phenomena. Although many believe that a god who is not seen is responsible for the universe and everything in it, it is an unsound conclusion although this is what faith is all about. The urge of every man is to know how and why he came to the universe and the one responsible. This could be impossible without the experience of the phenomena. Basically, Cleanthes fails to present a Retrieved from an exhaustive argument favoring the universe based on the idea of order and phenomena (Thishelton, 1990).

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