Allow me, for a moment, to explain some of my initial thoughts concerning what denial of God’s existence entails with respect to Design. If you hold that there is no God, and that there is no Design to the universe, there are a few things that follow. If there is no Designer, and if there is no Design, then there are no “designers” and there are no individual “designs.” None, at all, anywhere. I will now proceed to explain the same thing in probably too many ways and in probably too many words.
There is only cause and effect. “Intention” is reducible to material cause and effect products of the synapses of your brain inflicting cause and effect activity outside the brain. Wherever we detect what might be considered “intention,” we must see it as entirely incidental to the production of any particular object. If Mathematics, Logic, Geometry, et al came into being as a result of non-design, then absolutely nothing predicated upon those things can rightly be called or considered “designed,” without a healthy dose of special pleading. Why do we have patent laws? Why do we frown upon plagiarism? Why are we all of a sudden not guided by natural selection, and now rather feel entitled to the works of our own hands, taking credit for what was wrought through us by “nature”? What part of nature *isn’t* guided by natural selection?
At some point, nature gave you thought-matter and idea-matter that reacted with your brain-matter (also from nature) that caused you to produce a particular thing that you suddenly want to take credit for. How dare you presume upon some sort of “intention” or “design” in the formulation of your thought or product, affirming that there’s a designer, and that it is you! But you do not merely insist “that there’s design.” In fact you also insist upon your own designs, even wishing to prohibit (where you can) others from copying it and claiming credit for it! You “designed” it, and so you feel entitled to the profits of the works of your hands.
By reducing the mechanics of the universe’s origins to unguided cause and effect in order to avoid any notion of “design,” we are forced to conclude, therefore, that any subsequent claim of design concerning things *that are a result of* the original undesigned singularity must also be reduced to the same, unguided, natural processes. They have precluded any notion of “free will” and thus, intent, by offering what amounts to a deterministic universe. If we are not willing to grant that “design” presupposes a “designer,” then we must be consistent in regarding all “designs” in this same way. Otherwise, we must either provide an example or identify a precedent that allows us to rationally feel entitled to the designs of our own hands. Of course, any available example would come from within this universe, which is either designed or undesigned, depending on which side you’re on, and so any example would beg the question in at least that way. Unless it is the case that the universe has been designed, there is no precedent for “design.” Can those who deny the Omnipotent Designer God meaningfully differentiate between something “designed” and something not? They want to hold that the existence of the universe is entirely incidental to any god’s intent, but at the same time they want to make a direct causal connection between their own intent and whatever they produce. This is inconsistency.
It seems to me that if the universe is not the result of intention and design, then neither can any particular aspect of it be considered “intentional” or “designed.” This is assuming, of course, that human beings and their actions are part of the universe; not afforded a special status superior to the rest of the universe. If there is no “Design” in a cosmic sense, there cannot possibly be “design” in the terrestrial sense. You cannot derive milk from filtered water.
If you’re an atheist, you will object to this, probably by saying there does exist a concept called “design” that we subconsciously presume upon in everyday life. But as I said above, this only begs the question. If there is no “ultimate” design, there cannot “just be” particular designs. Otherwise the atheist should have no problem with our saying there “just is” a God.