Are Design Beliefs Safe?

H.M.R.A. van Eyghen

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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 (1710-1796) 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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8(1)
Pages (from-to)75-83
JournalStudia Humana
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Safety condition for knowledge
  • epistemology
  • cognitive science of religion


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