Design Hypotheses Behave Like Skeptical Hypotheses

(or: Why We Can’t Know the Falsity of Design Hypotheses)

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
René van Woudenberg Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,;

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Jeroen de Ridder Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam,;

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It is often claimed that, as a result of scientific progress, we now know that the natural world displays no design. Although we have no interest in defending design hypotheses, we will argue that establishing claims to the effect that we know the denials of design hypotheses is more difficult than it seems. We do so by issuing two skeptical challenges to design-deniers. The first challenge draws inspiration from radical skepticism and shows how design claims are at least as compelling as radical skeptical scenarios in undermining knowledge claims, and in fact probably more so. The second challenge takes its cue from skeptical theism and shows how we are typically not in an epistemic position to rule out design.

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