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Josh Bovill 11GC 21/01/09
The Teleological Argument.
The Teleological Argument from Aquinas and Paley.
Aquinas' "Fifth Way" is as follows Aquinas's "Fifth Way" is a version of the "teleological
argument". This argument is, I think, best thought of as an. The argument appeals to the
existence of order and apparent purpose in the universe, and argues that the best
explanation of this order is that the natural world was designed by an intelligent being.
Paley's argues that you can clearly distinguish rocks from objects that are designed. He
argued that the natural world was full of apparent examples of design. His most famous
argument is the Analogy of the watch.
Paley's argument is different from Aquinas' in one big way. Paley focuses on the manner in
which things like a watch fit together in a particular way for a purpose. Hence, this type of
argument is sometimes called a purpose argument.
Paley was, as already noted, famously impressed with the human eye, the complexity of its
parts and the way in which the parts fit together for the purpose of seeing. He is not
commenting on one thing following another according to some law, as Aquinas argued.
Challenges to it from Hume there could be other explanations for the apparent
order of the universe.
The year 1779 saw the first publication of David Hume's book Dialogues Concerning
Natural Religion. In it he suggests a number of weaknesses found in teleological arguments,
which are based on analogy, such as Aquinas' and Paley's arguments. Such of these
1. He rejects the use of analogy to prove the teleological argument.
2. He argues that there are other possible explanations than God for apparent design in
3. Hume argues that random activity can lead to orderliness rather than disorder.
Challenges to it from John Stuart Mill and Charles Darwin.
Mill raised a most important question that has challenged religious belief from ancient times.
He questioned the goodness of nature given the apparent cruelty to be found within nature.
He states that Paley and Aquinas are only concerned whether the universe exhibits signs of
design that point to a designer they were not at that point concerned with questions raised
by the nature of the design.
Darwin's argument was called `natural selection'. It is the idea that if variations useful to
any organic being ever do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterised will have have the
best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life and for the strong principle of
inheritance, these will tend to produce offspring similarly characterised.
Darwinist Challenges that order comes through evolution and not a Divine Mind.
Darwin's ideas do not make it impossible to believe in God as it shows God created how
the world has developed over time and not how it started or in the Religious idea. This
leaves a gap for the belief of God as the creator.
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Josh Bovill 11GC 21/01/09
Examine modern debate on Teleological Argument.
The anthropic principle is the principle that humans should take into account the constraints
that human existence itself imposes on the types of universe we believe could support human
life: the only type of universe we believe capable of supporting human life is the type we