Are Design Beliefs Safe?

Studia Humana 8 (1):75-83 (2019)


Recently, Del Ratzsch proposed a new version of the design argument. He argues that belief in a designer is often formed non-inferentially, much like perceptual beliefs, rather than formed by explicit reasoning. Ratzsch traces his argument back to Thomas Reid who argues that beliefs formed in this way are also justified. In this paper, I investigate whether design beliefs that are formed in this way can be regarded as knowledge. For this purpose, I look closer to recent scientific study of how design beliefs are formed. I argue that the science strongly suggest that people easily form false beliefs. As a result, design beliefs can only constitute knowledge if subjects have additional reasons or evidence for design.

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Hans Van Eyghen
VU University Amsterdam

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