Teleological = designed for a purpose
Telos = End or purpose
A Posteriori argument = based on experience
Two types of teleological argument -
Arguments based on reality - parts fit together to perform a function (for a purpose) e.g. laws of Nature
Arguments based on purpose - the obvious purpose or function implies a plan e.g. the human eye
Aquinas (1225-1274) - Fifth of his Five ways
Argument from regularity -
1) Things in the natural world (even if not animate) act in a regular way to achieve an end
2) Things acting in a regular way have a purpose
3) If a thing cannot think for itself, it cannot have a purpose unless some thinking thing gives it one
Conclusion - Everything is directed by something which does think. This being we call God
Aquinas (1225-1274) - weaknesses of his argument
1) Does everything have a purpose?
Some things in universe do not appear to act regularly or fulfil a function or purpose. e.g. a rock i a desert
2) Do we need a designer to explain laws of Nature?
Things tend to order themselves - no need for designer
3) Swinburne - why necessarily God who imposes this regularity?
The designer could be any powerful thing - not necessarily the Christian God
Paley (1743-1805) - Watch analogy
1) You find a watch in a field
2) Take it apart and see the complexity of it
3) Apply this to the world/God
Conclusion - This watch was designed for a purpose
Parts work together and are fit for a purpose
Parts are ordered to carry out a function
If parts are arranged differently the watch would not fulfil its purpose
The watch had a maker/designer 'who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer'
If the watch had a further function, that it was able to produce other watches, we could admire it even more
Conclusion 2 - This would imply the designer is even more great and powerful
Paley (1743-1805) - Watch analogy continued
What is the point in this analogy?
Design necessitates a designer
Great Design necessitates a great designer
Validity of argument?
He assumes the world is mechanistic (like a watch) - its not like a machine at all
By comparing the world to something we already know has a designer is cheating (we automatically infer a designer)
Hume's Criticisms of the Teleological Argument
Arguments with analogies don't work -
1) A watch or man made machine is not similar to the world. The world is organic a machine we already know is designed
2) Evidence of 'bad' design e.g. earthquake suggest bad designer - e.g. not Christian
3) The universe is unique so cannot be compared to anything else
Other explanations than God -
1) Things tend (given enough time) to order themselves
2) Any number of things could cause design - not necessarily God
3) Lots of designers and builders needed to make a house - perhaps we should assume that there are lots of Gods who created the world
Random activity can lead to order -
Given infinite time Monkeys will produce the works of Shakespeare
Darwin, Natural Selection and Teleological Argumen
Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection -
Species increase in complexity (design) over many generations via random genetic mutations resulting in them being better adapted to survive
These individuals pass the characteristics to the next generation
Why is this a threat to the Teleological Argument?
No need for designer to explain the complexity of living things e.g. the polar bear is not 'well designed for its environment', it has adapted to survive
Therefore no need for God
Weaknesses in Darwin's argument -
God created us with the ability to evolve/adapt to changing environments
Fine Tuning - God 'set up' the universe so that carbon based life could evolve. Too big a coincidence for our world to be perfect that we could live
J.S Mill's rejection of the Teleological Argument
The 'goodness of nature' -
Nature is so horrible there cannot be an all loving and all powerful God e.g. pack of lions ripping apart a baby Zebra in front of its mum
Therefore, God must not be all powerful
'Necessary evil' for survival
Humans do bad things because we have free will - free will is better than being a robot
This world is not meant to be a paradise but a 'vale of soul making'