The Design (Teleological) Argument

Some key notes of the Design Argument - thanks to my friend Niamh for making this!

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  • Created on: 27-04-12 17:21
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The Teleological Argument: Learn from Aquinas and
Paley; challenges from Hume, Mill and Darwin
The design argument:
Or the teleological argument (from the Greek telos meaning purpose)
is an a posteriori argument meaning it is based on empirical evidence
and experience.
It argues for the existence of God on the basis that purpose and
design appear in the universe beyond the scope of human doing. This
being true, the existence of a designer can be assumed and this
designer is typically God.
The argument goes back to Plato who said that the human body,
with so many particles and elements must have been designed.
Aquinas (1225-1274): The teleological argument is based on
Aquinas' fifth way which states that. .
There is a beneficial order and purpose to things in the universe
. This order could not have happened by chance .
Many objects do not have the intelligence to work towards an end or
purpose .
Therefore they must be directed by something with higher
intelligence .
God exists to explain this beneficial order existing He
used the analogy of an arrow only moving towards its end under the
direction of an archer. "Hence it is plain that they achieve their end,
not fortuitously, but designedly" Summa Theologica.
William Paley (1743-1805): In his book `Natural Theology'
Paley presents his own form of the argument in two parts. .
Design qua purpose: the universe was designed to fulfil a purpose
the watch analogy = A man walks across a heath, comes across a rock

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He walks further and
comes across a watch and due to the complexity of the watch; he
concludes that it could not have come about without a watchmaker
or designer. The watch is like the universe because it is too complex
to have occurred by chance and therefore must have been designed
by God. "When we come to inspect the watch, we perceive that its
several parts are framed and put together for a purpose".…read more

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He said that the size and natural nature of the universe means that
it is better analogised with bacteria or a vegetable because the
universe, like these things is organic and not a machine like a watch
. Hume argued against the later ideas of Paley's watch by saying
that to compare the work of man to the universe would lead
inevitably to anthropomorphism (attributing human characteristics
to non human things, in this case God).…read more

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