- Created by: Enya Smitheram
- Created on: 16-05-10 14:48
What is the Teleological Argument?
The telelogical argument is a posterori argument that sugguests that the world cannot come by chance as it characterstics including complex and order, so the world must be designed by someone, therefore ultimately many people believe that designer is God. there are three propositions loosely summing up the argument which gives one conclusion:
1. The world has purpose, benefit, regularity, and suitablity
2. Thus gives evidence of design
3. When given third proposition, design must have been created by someone
4. So if created then the designer must be God
The Telelogical arguments are of ten divided into categories based on purpose or regularity by philosophers.
Aquinas and the arrow
Aquinas agreed with this argument. As he believed that everyone and thing has a purpose he also believed that with unexplainable objects, so someone must be directing those objects to gain the best results possible.
Aquinas used an example of an arrow to explain that as the reason the arrow fufills its purpose by reaching its target is because the archer is directing the arrow. The reason that the arrow performs its job so well is that the arrow was designed that way.
Aquinas' theory links to his orginal argument, the Cosmological argument as Aquinas said that motion, cause and necessity being explained God's exsitence where also he used these reasons to explain how objects are affected by the First Cause, "Similary, even though human beings think for themselves and cause things to be aimed at some goal or result, the reason why human beings exist has to be explained, as human beings are not immortal and die". Due to this, Aquinas is in favour of regularity which means that he believed that that the argument should be, based on certain laws thus giving results.
Despite Aquinas' belief and theroies on the Telelogical argument, it cannot be denied there are flaws to Aquinas claim as he cannot provide evidence to support it:
1. Assuming that an object in the natural world has purpose to aim at a goal but didn't use an example this, yet he does explain more deeply in a book he qwrote called On the Truth
2. It's not always right to believe that everything has a purpose set by a designer as it is argued that the world was made just the way it is and does not mean it has a purpose
3. A another philosopher named Swinburne has said that Aquinas' points are not satisfactory as the quote "everything in the natural world that does not think for itself heads towards its goal or purpose because it is directed from something which does think", in Swinburne's opinion, this point is an invalid towards the issue of God imposes as regularity on the laws of the universe.
As Aquinas spoke with regularity towards this theory, another man named William Paley had a posteriori argument from the design of the Telelogical argument. He claimed that people can distinguish rocks from objects that were designed, and that the natural world was bursting with so many apparent examples of design. His most famous example was comparing a rock to a watch. He suggested if you found a rock, you would conclude the rock has always been on the Earth forever yet if you finf a watch, you can see that the watch has motiopn which shows that:
1. The watch has purpose as it tells the time
2. The parts of the watch work together to fufill its purpose
3. Those parts have been ordered to be able to work togther in a certain wat
4. The parts must be arranged that way to be able to work, as if they designed differently, the watch would not be able to function properly, therefore not have been able to fulfill its purpose
William Paley's conclusion
The conclusion of Paley's theroy is the watch had a maker, "who must have exist at some time and at some place or other" to be able to create the watch so it can fufill its purpose.
Paley furthered his argument also by saying that the watch had another function of producing other watches and if that were the case then the admiration of the watchmaker would be increased.
He also stated that it did not matter if the watch was not perfect but the point of the watch's example was that it was designed for a purpose and used the example for his theroy towards the Telelogical argument as ge believed like the watch, that it is likely that the world was created for a purpose by a designer (God).
The watch is similar in many respects to Earth so it's possible that the Earth must have a purpose, so surely there must be an Earthmaker, and since the Earth is much more complex and ordered, than that designer must conceivably be more powerful and greater than the watchmaker in so many different ways.
There are many points that give strengths to the Telelogical argument:
- The argument gives philosophical logic and and is based on empirical data, making the argument valid
- As the argument is based from conclusions about the order and complexity, it also points out the observation that gives the world more complexity and impressive
- The argument gives us satisfaction of an explanation of Earth and our senses around it
- The argument shows that the revealed theology gives us confidence in knowing that God gives order and purpose to the world despite that we don't know exactly what that purpose is
- The conclusion is that the revealed theology gives support to the Christian God which gives the argument a traditional theistic view
- This argument can demonstrate God's nature and to understand the premises of the existence of this argument
Despite the strengths many people can still find weaknesses and criticisms mostly to Aquinas and Paley's theories. One of those people was a man named David Hume who believed that the Telelogical argument was deeply flawed and "ungodly" and described it as weak.
His argument stated that comparing God to anything on Earth is not a valid argument and limited in strengths. One of directed at Paley's watch theroy yet does not apply to Aquinas as his arhument focuses on following the natural law so this criticism but maybe applies to Aquinas' examole of an arrow.
David Hume continued
For his next point, Hume had given a second analogy of a builder and architect and how together they created a house, yet we cannot deduce the builder or the architect of the universe as there is no similarity between the two as if the house was faulty what makies the designer of the house, equally if God created the universe's design then if the universe is faulty then God should be responsible for its faults ex. Evil.
Yet Paley would reject this point because he believed that the Telelogical argument was about the design and purpose of the universe.
Finally Hume's last criticism that the universe CANNOT be compared to anything within the universe. Therefore in Hume's opinion there is no analogy that is even strong enough to be relied on experience.
The main point of Hume's claim is questioning whether the Telelogcial argument can show that God or a deity exists, however Paley once again rejected this due to how lack of knowledge on an issue increases our sense of wonder towards the issue.
Mill and Darwin
As Hume criticised the Telelogical argument, so did two other men, by the names of Charles Darwin and John Stuart Mill. The latter is more famous on his theroy on Utilitarianism with the former and his evolution idea, yet both had given their thoughts on this argument.
Mill had a similar mind to Hume as he questioned the goodness of nature with the cruelty that can be found within nature and so was concerned that the state of nature is a reason that would reject the notions of design ex. A female digger wasp would not kill her prey but paralyse it so that she could lay her eggs in it and then her lava could feed on the same prey.
As for Darwin, from his study of species, he noticed that the different types of species are varied only slightly and came to the conclusion that the different species must have had the same ancestor, once upon a time. Thus from this point would change accordingto the enviromental condition, only the fittest and most capable of the species could survive. So the consequences of this to the Telelogical argument was that Darwin's point supported Hume's point on how there may be other explanations to the making of the design of the universe.
Darwin's claim was to realise that the Telelogical argument is not about the prove of God's existence but the argument is more about finding out whether there is a designer to the universe.