Example of a teleological arguement exam question part A (21 marks)

A)   In what way is the design argument convincing? (21 mark question)

The teleological argument also referred to as the design argument due to the precise manner the universe seems to work suggesting it has been designed by some supernatural intelligence is convincing for many reasons. Firstly, it is an inductive argument which means observing aspects of our world and making probable inferences from our observations e.g. all the teachers Chloe has met are boring. Mr Smith is a teacher therefor Chloe can infer from her previous experiences that Mr Smith will be boring. The certainty of this depends on the number of instances of a casual relation already observed e.g. 50 over 8 and the mount of unknown knowledge. This helps to make the argument convincing as it takes many things into account to come to a conclusion. Also the fact it is explanatory argument is convincing as it explains such things as why we can do science.

It is an Aposteriori argument which is the knowledge we can only have through looking at the world e.g. the triangle is blue. Again this is convincing as it’s something we can observe and can find evidence for.

Many philosophers agree with the teleological argument making it increasingly convincing and arguably one of the most convincing version of the teleological argument is Aquinas who uses intelligent movement to explain his view. He says everything in the universe moves to a particular end e.g. an electron around a neutron which Davies argues the “link would be broken if the force were only a few percent weaker” so these things must be either intelligent themselves or moved by an intelligence. For instance, an arrow can only hit a target when directed. Most things in the universe are not intelligent, therefore Aquinas argues there must be an intelligence underpinning the universe.

Vargehese another philosopher convinces many with his crossword analogy which is that we use our intelligence to decode a crossword so an intelligence must have encoded it. We can decode the universe using science therefore an intelligence must have encoded it. This is complemented by the theory of fine tuning which argues if you come across a radio that is tuned to a station you would assume someone must have tuned it. The universe is finely tuned for life therefore it has been tuned and needs a tuner to do this.

Lastly perhaps a weaker version of the design argument is that of Payleys. He uses a ‘watch’ analogy brings in a convincing point that if all the complex objects e.g. a watch have been designed they must have a designer. The universe is complex so therefore must have a designer. Payley says just because we cannot see the designer/creator does not mean he isn’t there.


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