Slides in this set
Philosophy of Religion
I. Arguments for and against the existence of
II. Problem of Evil and Suffering
III. Key words: the concept of a higher being
IV. Religion and Politics
V. Religious Language
VI. Religious Experience
VII. Religion and Gender
VIII. The Idea of Faith…read more
Arguments for and against
the existence of God
The Design (Teleological) Argument.
(Paley, Aquinas, Swinburne)
The Ontological Argument (Anselm,
The Cosmological Argument (Aquinas)…read more
The Design Argument: The Basics Criticisms
Created by William Paley (18th century)
It is a posteriori (I.e. from experience)
Paley uses the analogy of the `watch maker' to illustrate his argument.
Basically, he knew the watch had a designer and this led him to
believe everything had a designer, I.e. the world has a designer, he
then said that as the world is so complex it would need an incredibly
complex designer (a higher being), I.e. a God.
Often the design argument is subdivided: design qua purpose (Paley)
(things in nature appear to be made for a purpose, e.g. the human
eye is made to see) and design qua regularity (Aquinas) (nature has
order and regularity, e.g. the lunar cycle.)
The Anthropic Principle (F.R. Tennant born 1866 - the universe seems
to have been fine-tuned for our existence) supports the Design
Argument, it seems unlikely that all of it came together by accident as
the conditions are exactly right for us.…read more
Support for the Design Argument
St. Thomas Aquinas, in the fifth statement The Anthropic Principle (F.R. Tennant)
of his "Five Ways" (to prove the existence which is supported by Genesis in the
of God) Aquinas puts forward his version of Bible. To Tennant the apparent purpose of
the teleological argument: evolution allows the design argument to
"the natural world seems to exhibit purposeful work, as it appears to be directed by
order and thus, there must be an intelligent intelligence, that intelligence must be
"things do not simply exist and behave The Aesthetic Principle (also by Tennant)
randomly, but instead act for some specific suggests that as we can appreciate the
end (telos)" beauty in the world this goes against the
Richard Swinburne (modern response) idea of natural selection and proves the
supports natural theology however he existence of a benevolent God, i.e. one
disregards the 18th century version of the who is interested in His creation.
design argument and suggests two other Using the watch-maker analogy Paley
lines of argument: moves from something within our
(1) From spacial order (the existence of things experience to try and explain something
with complex structures), this coincides beyond it, he makes the argument
with Paley's argument however Swinburne straightforward and simple to follow.
admits that there are significant flaws in The argument could fit in with the Big
this idea as it doesn't fit in with Bang theory and the idea of Evolution, this
evolutionary theory (Darwinism is a more makes it more appealing to a wider
viable alternative explanation) audience, as some people would disregard
(2) From temporal order (the fact that there are it completely if it couldn't fit in with
laws of nature throughout the universe, science.
sometimes called `regularities of The argument reinforces Classical Theism
succession' (God as omnibenevolent, omnipotent,
We cannot deny that there is order and omniscient) as He is shown to be the only
complexity in the Universe, and it seems and highest designer.
very unlikely that this would all come Design Argument gives a purpose to the
together through coincidence and accident. universe, it is sometimes easier to live
Much of the Design Argument relies on knowing there is a purpose, this makes
evidence from the natural world (natural the argument appealing for some people.
theology) and it hard to deny this evidence.…read more
Criticisms for the Design Argument
David Hume (1711-1776) had
1) The argument asserts too much,
to explain design by appealing to a
creator and then to equate this
creator with the God of Classical
Theism goes far beyond the The neo-Dargowinist Richard Dawkins argued
available evidence that the Design Argument is completely mistaken:
2) We have no experience of the the appearance of design is an illusion, the idea of
Universe actually being created natural selection however is "self-explanatory and self-
and therefore we don't know if contained".
there should even be a creator.
Immanuel Kant: "the order and complexity that
3) Why should we stop at God when
we see might just be human perception: there
asking for explanations? Does God
have a creator too? might not actually be any order or complexity
there, perhaps we impose it on the world."
4) If we deny that there is a close
connection between the
`watchmaker' (the designers on the There is more scientific evidence for genetic
earth) and the overall human
designer (God) then the strength mutations.
of the analogy is significantly
5) Why should there only be one
worldmaker? There is no logical
reason in the argument as to why
many Gods shouldn't have been
6) Aspects of the world do not reflect Answers to the criticisms
the God of Classical Theism, which
is what the argument argues for.…read more
Responses to Criticisms
Some scholars believe evolution doesn't eliminate God,
as he could have also created evolution. E.g. Pierre
Teilhard de Chardin (1881 - 1955, French priest and
scientist) - evolution is a process willed by God.
The more recent developments of the Anthropic
Principle respond to the idea that the creation of the
universe was purely coincidence.
John Polkinghorne (nuclear physicist turned priest and
supporter of Anthropic Principle): "I believe that in the
delicate fine tuning of physical law, which has made the
evolution of conscious beings possible, we receive a
valuable, if indirect, hint from science that there is a
divine meaning and purpose behind cosmic theory"…read more