ARTICLECRITIQUE: “DAVID HUME AND THE ARGUMENT FROM DESIGN” By STEVENDUTCH
Articlecritique: “David Hume and the Argument from Design” by StevenDutch
Thispaper establishes a critique of the article “David Hume and theArgument from Design” by Steven Dutch. The information expressed bythe article is of Systematic theology doctrine, which is an importantChristian theology discipline. Semantic theology addresses religioussubject matters on a “one at a time” basis. Owing to thisunderstanding, it is important to mention that the article discussedin this paper involves the subject matter of the Attributesof God,which closely associates with that of the Doctrineof Revelation.The article involves the author’s thought on why Hume was incorrectto be against the Argument from design.
Areview of the article shows that Dutch saw David Hume as being anempiricist in an excessive manner. In his own words, Dutch maintainsthat, “Of itself, intelligent design does not validate any theologybeyond deism… does not violate any known facts, or logicalprinciples. So why does it meet with such fierce opposition?”1From this perspective, it is clear for a reader to observe that theauthor does not agree with Hume on some levels. He even goes ahead toreiterate that the times in which Hume lived were times of greatilliteracy, compared to the modern times. For instance, the peoplesaw double stars, wherein, a star orbits another star as a functionof gravity. Other important scientific concepts like spectroscopy andquantum mechanics inter alia, were things that were unknown to thehuman race. For this reason, the author implores his readers toforgiveHume for having no knowledge that the laws of nature had a universalapplication.2The author is wrong in his thought since he fails to consider thefact that the philosophers thought were purely based on what peoplethought of deity and religion. In one way or another, Hume hardlyfocused on basing his beliefs on science.
Still,it is important to note that Hume thought that humans had the role oforganizing elements in their natural environments, for the purpose ofbenefiting from their positive attributes. The philosopher was onlyfocusing on advancing a skeptical and systematic critique ofcommonplace philosophical foundations of theology during his time.3
Thenagain, David Hume’s philosophies about the argument from designinvolve distinguished skepticism and naturalism as well. Even so,Dutch hardly considers the fact that the philosopher was apprehensivein his writings. Hume was careful not to cause any forms oftransgression or disrespect to the orthodox Christian people of the18thCentury. From a philosophical standpoint, this paper recognizes thatHume endeavored to ponder on whether religion or rather religiousbeliefs associate with rationality per se. Despite the fact that hisviews seemed to be of an empiricist, Hume seemed to comprehend thatthere exist powers that people cannot comprehend or explain a factthat Dutch conveniently disregards in his article.
Itis also apparent that experiential evidence forms a very importantfactor in the establishment of a belief. In spite of the fact thatHume lived at a time when man was yet to experience scientificrevolution, it is safe to say that transcendent experiences have noevidence. The author describes a situation where he was able to finddozens of arrowheads while at a geology field camp, even as the othermembers only managed to find a few pieces each. Such an experiencehardly associates with the Argument from Design even though theauthor has titled the section of the article concerned as “TheProblem with Disproofs of Design.” Indeed, one would argue that theauthor’s ability to find the arrowheads was a function of someunique life skills that he had. He even states, “In fact it gotdownright obscene. I found arrowheads in the camp, along the trailsthat people had walked every day for weeks.”
Theidea of Hume was that there was no practical evidence in the world tosuggest the existent of a powerful and perfect God.4Even though this paper does not agree with the philosophies of Hume,it finds that Dutch’s expressions about the philosopher’s thoughtare even more absurd. What is more is that Dutch focuses on thedebate of evidence or proof of the existence of God, instead of theobtainment of a description of God’s nature. A keen look revealsthat the philosopher (Hume) was more concerned about the latter andnot the former. In other words, instead of criticizing Hume’sthoughts based on the attributes of God, Dutch does so, based onrevelation and science. Even though Hume lacked modern scientificknowledge, he did understand some basics (like gravity for example)that he could draw reasoning from, at least, in the perspective ofthe natural environment of the earth. As a matter of fact, thephilosopher argued that the order that exists in the world was afunction of the basic properties of matter. Overall, this paper findsthat the writings of Dutch do little to establish a true sense ofrevelation (of God) to be comprehended by humans, or that which notesthe purpose of life in general. This is despite the author’sinitiative to give a number of places, or instances wherein peoplecan find design, for instance the DNA code, relativity, Spectroscopy,structure of the atom and the Periodic Table among others. The authorfocuses on answering the howand not the whyaspects.
Dutch,Steven. “DavidHume and the Argument from Design.”  University of Wisconsin,(2011),https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/Hume.htm
Himma,Kenneth Einar. "Design Arguments for the Existence of God."DesignArguments for the Existence of God,” Internet Encyclopedia ofPhilosophy (James Fieser, ed.)(2015).
1 Dutch, Steven. “David Hume and the Argument from Design.”  University of Wisconsin, (2011) https://www.uwgb.edu/dutchs/PSEUDOSC/Hume.htm
3 Himma, Kenneth Einar. "Design Arguments for the Existence of God." Design Arguments for the Existence of God,” Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (James Fieser, ed.) (2015).