The teleological argument

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  • The Teleological Argument
    • Telos = purpose, thus this argument looks at the purpose and order of the universe
    • An A Posteriori argument - uses analogy to prove the existence of God
    • Design qua regularity
      • Aquinas 5th way (archer analogy)
        • An arrow can only be directed to its target by an Archer.
          • Therefore there is an intelligent being which directs everything towards a purpose - God
          • Arrow = End goal
        • Premise 1. All natural occurrences show evidence of design
          • Premise 2. This suggests that there is a being that directs all things
            • Premise 3. Things that lack knowledge cannot achieve anything unless directed by a thing with Knowledge
              • Premise 4. There is therefore an intelligent being that directs everyone towards a purpose
                • Conclusion This being God
        • Criticisms of Aquinas' argument
          • Never gives examples to support his argument only gave an analogy
          • The purpose/ end goal remains unkown
        • His argument is design qua regularity because it relies on the idea that things follow a set of laws to get to their ends. These laws are scientific, predictable and regular. an example = law of gravity
        • Strengths
          • Regularity in the world is observational as Aquinas pointed out that Whales migrate to polar regions for environmental benefits
      • Paley used the motion of the planets in our solar system, astonoonmy and Newton's laws of motion/gravity to attempt to prove design. The planets, obey some universal laws, governed by gravity. As everything appears to demonstrate regular, predictable motion in our universe, it would appear that there is an intelligent designer, God
    • Design qua Purpose
      • Paley's Watch and eye analogy
        • There is a very mechanical watch on the ground on a heath. This brings attention to you as it doesn't make sense why it is there. You then inspect the watch to find it is very intricate and designed, this leads to the thought of it has to have been designed by a watch maker.
          • Paley's view was that if we found a stone on a pathway, we might just think it had always been there, as part of the path. However, if we came across a watch, we would not come to the same conclusion because:
            • the watch has a purpose
            • it works in a specific way, to an orderly pattern
            • the watch has a purpose and order
            • therefore it must have been designed
        • For paley, all the parts of the watch unite together to fulfil their purpose - and this cannot be explained by chance - it shows evidence of design. He does not intend to draw any conclusions about the character of the designer, or even of the design, in terms of its perfection, infinity or rarity. Rather, he claims, even if the watch goes wrong or shows evidence of bad design or if we have never seen a watch before, we could still deduce that it had been designed. Paley thinks that it is possible to come to conclusions about design on the basis of the information available - even though our information might be limited
        • Paley's Qualifications
          • 1. Even if we had never seen a watch before it would not weaken the argument, just because we know from experience that watches are designed and made
            • 2. It would not invalidate our inference if the watch did not always work perfectly (as it may appear to the world), we would still assume the watchmaker's existence
              • 3. Neither would our conclusion be mistaken if there were parts of the watch whose function we did not understand and could not explain. The supposition of a watch maker would remain.
          • Paley goes on to argue that the world is as complicated as any watch, infinitely more so. One can think of many examples of complexity in nature which Paley argues, lead us to conclude that they are the work of a cosmic designer. Paley indicated such phenomenon as the human brain, the eye, the survival instincts of animals, the alternation of day and night etc.
      • Design qua purpose argument= evidence shows design in the universe around us. Everything seems to have been made to fulfil a purpose.
    • Criticisms
      • Hume
        • 1. Comparing God and the universe to mechanical devices is not valid. He said that it would be better tp draw analogies between organic things, rather than using mechanical things
        • 2. Humans don't have proper knowledge of creation to conclude that there was only one designer. We only know about things we create
        • 3. This is a world of many faults, so it may actually be a prototype of a lesser God. Plus if you think that God has infinite power love and wise then who knows what he can do, this world may not be the perfect world we think it is
          • Hume's analogy: if one could see a pair of scales where an object of ten ounces was outweighed by a larger object, you would not be in a position to know the weight of the other object, only to know that it was heave. simply because the designer designed the world it does not suggest his perfection
        • 4. To discuss the start of the universe in human terms is not acceptable, because God is transcendent. Paley's analogy would suggest that it is more possible to think that the universe was made by more than one God, because there is more than one watchmaker
        • 5. The analogy is limited in strength. He give an example of a house having a builder a and an architect and argues that we cannot deduce that there is a builder or an architect of the universe. If the house has a fault is it because of the designer, in terms of the universe is God responsible for the evil in it?
        • 6.Hume argued that to draw an analogy between God and human works leads to an anthropomorphism. In order to make the analogy wokr, God's qualities and characteristics have to be closely identified with those of human beings and this removes Gods divinity,
        • 7. If we argue that the complexity of the world points to God then we must assume that the mind of God is also complex. If we could see the mind of God would we not be similarly forced to assume that it too had been designed?
      • Darwin
        • 1, Survival of the fittest  = those species that have the most appropriate genes for a particular environment will survive and reproduce
        • 2. Natural Selection = species have evolved to adapt, to suit the conditions available. if they don't fit the environment, then in effect they die. So it would appear that nature had selected them out. It is nature that brings about diversity and not God. New species can be formed without the necessity for intervention by God
        • Many supporters of Darwin claimed that his theory proved conclusively that the teleological argument was wrong because:
          • Evolution means that things change and adapt to fit in with the environment, rather than, as the scripture suggest, the environment being shaped to fit their needs
          • The suffering of the natural world did not match the notion of a kind and loving God
          • If humans evolved, then they could not have been created in Gods image
          • Living things developed in evolutionary steps, and in this was the result of random chance
        • Others however have argued that Darwin's theory is flawed because:
          • Darwins theory fails to answer the question of why there is life at all
          • There are gaps in fossil records meaning that there is a lack of empirical evidence to support Darwin's theory for all of nature and humanity
      • Dawkins
        • He argues that the impressive system of natural selection creates an illusion of design whuch theists have misinterpreted as actual evidence of design. There is no explanation for evolution - evolution is a brute fact.
        • Natural selection has no mind and no mind's eye. it does not plan for the future. It has no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of the watch maker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.
    • Kant
      • According to Kant, we are limited in our knowledge of what is around us due to our body apparatus. Our mind naturally tries to make images/patterns of what it experiences so therefore cannot infer design. The world might well be in chaos and we would not necessarily know, due to the fact we cannot see the noumena (the essential truth behind things), only the phenomena (how things appear to us). We cannot prove the exitence of God unless we demonstrate him. In the same way we cannot know whether Kant has 100 thalers in his pocket unless he showed us.
    • Tennant
      • The Anthropic Principle
        • argues that the world seems perfectly designed to support intelligent human life. For many modern proponents of the Teleological argument, juts saying it is all chance or it just appears that way is not satisfactory.
          • 1, we live in a world which provides precisely the things that are necessary for life to be sustained.
          • 2. we live in a world which allows itself to be discoverable and understandable by humans
            • 3. we live in a world which, by the process of evolution through natural selection, has led to the development of intelligent human life - to the degree that we can observe and analyse the universe in which we exist.
      • The Aesthetic Principle
        • Argues that the universe is more than just orderly; it posses a natural beauty beyond that which is necessary to live and is saturated with beauty. Some of that beauty is part of the natural order - the beautiful patterns of flowers or the changing colours of the seasons. Moreover, we also find beauty in the things which are not part of the natural world and have no part to play in the survival of the species/ evolution. Art, music, literature and culture all contribute to the way we perceive the them.

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