Teleological argument

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Introduction to the argument

  • Teleological arguement- a posteriori argument (based on observation)
  • AKA Design argument 
  • Observes the complexities of the world e.g. specific arrangments of the solar system- coments on purpose and regularity 
  • Inductive argument; (based on evidence)
  • Uses analolgy; universe as a machine. Machine has specific purpose and works in regular ordered manner- as does the universe. Thus, universe-desgned like machines
  • Many believe- solid argument for the existence of an ultimate deigner- God of Classical Theism.
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  • Four causes theory; 
  • Everything in the universe had four causes
  • Material; what it's made from
  • Formal; what gives it its shape 
  • Efficient; who made it 
  • Final cause; purpose 
  • Christian philosophers- everything in universe has a purpose- thus universe has been designed
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Thomas Aquinas- The fifth way

  • Developed Aristotle's ideas to for his thoeory of 'regularity of succession'
  • Everything in the universe follows natural laws- whether consciously or not
  • Natural laws-lead to certain results e.g. dropping glass will result in it falling to the floor and smashing 
  • T.A focused on unconscious/unthinking things in natural world- still follow natural laws
  • Analogy of archer and arrow; arrow hits target despite not having a mind of its own- thus requires an archer (conscious being) to shoot it. 
  • Likened analogy to universe; universe couldn't have designed itself; unconscious so must have a designer that created it- Aquinas argued God
  • Weaknesses of Aquinas.
    • Does everything follow a general law set down by a designer?

    • A. Flew suggests that Aquinas’ claim that things in nature are directed to some purpose goes against the available evidence.

    • Swinburne claims that Aquinas assumes that God imposes regularity and laws on the universe.

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William Paley- Watch analogy

  • Compares rock to watch; watch demonstrates- fitness for a purpose, parts work together/fit for a purpose and parts are ordered
  • Compared universe to a watch
  • If one saw a watch on floor, one would assume it has been put there by someone and that all the parts couldn't have just come together- far too ordered and complictaed 
  • Likened this to universe; as it also shows sign of Design qua Purpose (it was designed to fill a pupose) and Design qua Regulaity (it behaves according to some order) 
  • Therfore, universe being so intricate like a watch in its design; unreasonable to suggest it had just come about without the aid of a designer 
  • Paley used this reasoning; existence of a universe designer- God
  • The complexity of nature is illustrated by the human eye or the rotation of the planets; which show purpose.
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F.R. Tennant- anthropic principal

  • Uses observations and ideas from evolutionary theories to reinforce his point.
  • Big Bang and evolutionary process- means by which God was able to create the universe and move it to its current situaion- combining science and religion
  • Main argument; infinite number of possible conditions that would've caused life to not exist
  • e.g. if BB had been any bigger/smaller- big difference in how the world was formed- potentially not able to sustain life 
  • Fact that life does exist- indication of intelligent design and of a fine-tuned world- designed specifally to sustain human life 
  • Tennant; "the survival of the fittest presupposes the arrival of the fit" - without a planned and structured creatation- our life couldn't possibly exist/developed- giving further strength to design arguments demonstrating the aid of a designer. 
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Tenant and aesthetic argument

  • References the concept of beauty
  • World is full of beauty; humans appriciate 
  • Tennant observed- universe possess natrual beauty- humans can appreciate- but not remotely necessary for survival, natural selection or life; e.g. the beauty of art, music and literature.
  • Natural beauty can't be explained by science; thus only logical reason for its presence is for humanity's enjoyment
  • Tennant hypothesised- beauty put into the universe by God for benefit of humanity- universe created for humans and thus pointing to the idea of a creator/designer who created the universe and all its beauty. 
  • Both arguements challenge the theory of evolution; just happened coinscidence and evolved throught natural selection
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Richard Swinburne and modern times

  • Swinburne; scientific method should use the simplest explanation when possible; scientific methods cannot explain why there's deep and fundamental order in the first place. 
  • He argued D.A based on analogy is an arguement based on spatial order- complex structres e.g. plants. 
  • Believes developement of plants and order of such complexities- explained by science e.g. theory of natural selection 
  • Ockham's Razor; "if you have two theories that both explain the observed facts, then you should use the simplest until more evidence comes along" -William of Ockham
  • Swinburn; choice of choosing D.A  or the world created by chance- pick D.A. as it's the most simple of the two and doesn't raise as many questions
  • Mordern support; propose by Christian apologists- intelligent design is a view that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not undireced and random process e.g. natural selection. Scientific communty- based on religious belief rather than scientific evidence- largely rejected this. Scientific concensus- life evolved. 
  • Penrose's calculations; the likelihood of our planet's position which makes it habitable for life is 10123 to 1- extreamly unlikely- yet that fact that it does questions the aid of a deigner according to Penrose.
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Further points

  • Teleologcial- stems from Greek 'telos' meaning 'end goal' or 'nature'. 
  • Kant; refers to it as the 'physico-theological' proof; the proof that moves from physical observations to theological conclusions.
  • Technically strong argument; rests on emperically observable, verifible propositions
  • Cicero presented an early version of the argument- from order and complexity, qua regularity as well as qua purpose; "when you see a sundial... tells the time by design and not by chance"
  • Cleanthes; bases his beliefs about God's existence & nature upon a version of the teleologcal arguement, using evidence of design in the universe to argue for God's existence and resemblance to the human mind 
  • Philo asserts that human reason is wholly inadequate to make any assumptions about the divine 
  • Demea defends philosophical theism; existence of God- should be proven via a priori reasoning & our beliefs about the nature of God- based upon revelation and faith. Demea rejects Cleanthes' natural religion (faith based on inductive reasoning)
  • Cleanthes, like Paley likens the universe to a man-mde machine and concludes by the principle that similar effects have similar causes- must have a designer.
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Intelligent design arguments

  • Irreducible complexity; suggest that evolution is an inadequate explanation for at least those organisms which exhibit it. Complex organisms evolved; must be possible to see how they would've functioned at stages before their present complexity was complete; difficault to suppose they evolved naturally. 
  • Specified complexity; a probablity argument- statisticians e.g. Dembski; some very complex, very specified organisms break the Probablity Bound- making it more likely they were designed than evolved by chance.
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C.S Lewis

  • Argument convincing- played an important part in becoming a Christian 
  • Lewis put forward Kant's 'Moral Argument'- doesn't attempt to prove God, but suggests that His existence is a sensible postluate to explain the existence of order and a universal, rational moral law which commands all human beings. 
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Wisdom's Parable of the Gardener

Illustrates the contraversy between the beliver and the sceptic; how God can be perceived as real, even if he is ullusive, invisable based on scientific evidence or simply faith.

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