Arguments relating to the existence of God - Teleological Argument

  • Created by: Ben123S
  • Created on: 29-04-19 20:42

Teleological Argument

  • Traditional arguments are based on observing potential ends, results or goals, making an a posteriori argument because it is after sense experience 
  • It's an analogical argument - uses analogy b/w the world and its parts to object of human design 
  • Inductive - seeks to persuade rather than prove
  • A posteriori 
  • Design Qua Purpose: the universe was designed to fulfil a purpose
  • Design Qua Regularity: the universe behaves according to some order  
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General Teleological Argument

P1: The universe has order, purpose and regularity 

P2: Such order, purpose and regularity implies designs 

P3: Design requires a designer 

C: The designer of the universe is God 

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Paley's Teleological argument

Using Spatial order/regularities of co-presence (i.e. the arrangement of objects in space) 

P1: A watch has certain complex features (e.g. it consists of parts, each of which has a function and they work together for a specific purpose)

P2: Anything which exhibits these features must have been designed 

C1: Therefore, the watch has been designed by a designer

P3: The universe is like the watch in that it posses the same features, except on a far more wonderous scale

C2: Therefore, the universe, like the watch has been designed, except by a wondrous universe maker, God 

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Paley's Own Criticisms

1. The limits of our knowledge of watchmaking 

  • Cannot compare the knowledge of watchmaking to design of the universe 

2. Problems in the functioning of the world 

  • Why wouldn't God make us perfect

3. Parts of the watch that have no purposes 

4. The watch is a result of random process 

  • No designer necessary 
  • World is too intricate 

5. The watch is the result of natural process 

6. The possibility of infinite regress 

7. The possibility of more primitive preceding generations of watch-machines

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Using temporal order (i.e. the pattern of the way objects behave in time) 

P1: Regularities of succession (temporal order) are either a result of natural laws or free human action 

P2: In the human world (e.g. a person turning up on time) it can be fully explained by free agents making rational choices because they have intelligence, freedom and power 

P3: However, regularities of succession that are a result of natural laws e.g. gravity cannot be explained by reference to other natural laws, but can be explained from rational choices from free agents (due to P2) 

P4: The universe is immense and complex 

C: Therefore, (from P3) regularities of succession in the natural world can only be fully explained by a free agent who has (due to P4) immense intelligence, power and freedom


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Hume's Objections:

1. Unsound analogy - the world is not like a watch - impossible to have perfect analogy - impossible to have all the same rules that apply for both examples 

2. The order in the world could have been from chance 

  • Only applies to regularities of co-presence - does not apply for fundamental laws of physics that underpin the structure of the universe - Swinburne responding

3. We have no experience of world making - no point of reference for judging whether it is designed or not 

4. Does not prove theist God - a collaboration of Gods/infant God/frail God 

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Other Objections

1. Evolution - complexity in evolution can be explained - Dawkins calls evolution the blind watchmaker 

2. A.J. Ayer - limited experience means we can't tell the difference between real or fake design - attempting to distinguish a Rolex watch from a fake having never seen a watch 

3. Multi-verse theory: life is inevitable 

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