Aquinas' Teleological Design Argument
Aquinas’ Arg from Analogy;
- Design Qua Regularity
- Design Qua Purpose
Based on belief by Aristotle – everything in univ. has an end/purpose. Aristotle gave examples such as ducks webbed feet for swimming better (fulfils purpose). Everything works to some purpose or other + as inanimate objects have no rational powers, must be directed to this purpose by external power.
- Things that lack intelligence such as living organisms have an end or purpose. (Fact a/b nature of things)
- They cannot move towards their end/purpose unless directed by someone with knowledge and intelligence.
- E.g. arrow does not hit itself towards target, needs archer.
- T/f, by analogy, must be intelligent being directing all unintelligent natural things towards their end i.e. God.
William Paley's Response to Science
William Paley put forward his design arg in response to science:
- Isaac Newton discovered universal laws of gravity and motion + demonstrated that the same physical laws on earth applicable throughout univ.
- Scientists began to think of univ as ‘machine with all parts working together as a perpetual clockwork which never needed rewinding.’ Each part of machine affected behaviour of another causing movementà no longer necessary to believe God caused movements.
William Paley's Analogy - Design Qua Purpose (P1)
Walks across a heath, comes across a stone which he strikes with his foot, then finding watch on the ground. ‘How did that obj come to be there?’
Stone: always lain there.
- has several parts framed + work tog for specific purpose
- made from specific material appropriate for action
- tog produces regulated motion
- if assembled diff, no motion produced
= indicates design, suggests designer. Same with world e.g. in intricate mechanisms of human body.
- Eye – adapted for sight, parts cooperate in complex way producing sight. Designed for purpose of seeing + design enables this purpose to be fulfilled = designer.
- Animals – Instincts that aid survival. Birds wing for flight, fish’s fins for swimming.
- Lacteal System
William Paley's Argument - Design Qua Regularity (
Used evidence from astronomy + Newton's laws of motion and gravity to prove design.
Pointed to rotation of plants in solar system, + how they obey same universal law + hold their orbits/position due to gravity -> 'order'.
Could not have come about by chance, external agent imposed order on the univ - God.
Paley's Anticipated Criticisms
- We may not know how watch is made.
- Watch may sometimes go wrong.
- Some parts may appear to have no purpose (colour).
- Come tog by chance.
Watch not functioning properly may suggest "inefficient" designer.
David Hume's Criticisms of Design Arg
Not against Paley, but concept as written prior. Anti-teleological.
3 fictional chatacters discussing nature of God:
- Philo- responds with barrage of objections, applicable to Paley's; Hume, himself?
- Cleanthes - suggests teleological arg similar to Paley's; purpose, divine intelligence etc.
No exp of world-making.
Have exp of machines (designing watches), but none of how world manufactured.
Limited exp = insufficient to conclude only 1 designer.
Paley: enough similarity btwn watch and univ. h/e despite that, still just supposition.
Parents make baby, but do not know how to and cannot design - in control of designer i.e. God.
Discussing design of univ. in human terms unacceptable analogy b/c God transcends human understanding.
Using analogy of manufactured obkects, usual for machine to be designed + made by many hands. Suggests multiple designers i.e. many Gods.
'Like effects have like causes'
- Even if we agree that like the watch, the univ. has a designer, this does not mean God.
- In fact a watch is likely to have been produced by a team.
- Therefore univ/ could have team of designers.
Univ. not like machine, more 'organic' like a vegetable or inert animal (watch, inorganic).
If organic, univ. maybe came a/b by natural process; i.e. grew rather than designed.
- Designer of watch, normal flawed human. T/f, suggests designer of univ.; flawed, gendered, engages in reproduction.
- Complex machines are product of many years of trial and error - where are the other flawed worlds? Does that mean God is flawed?
- Machine = flawed, designer = flawed, lacks resources/skills/doesn't care? Many faults in the world - evil?
- Last not v strong, does not undermine Paley's b/c Paley argued for designer of univ. this arg says designer is flawed, not that it does not exist. Does not have to be perfect.
The Epicurean Hypothesis
Hume's version of arg by Greek philosopher Epicurus.
Scientific, related to Big Bang.
- Particles that univ. consisted of eveolved into an ordered system by natural forces over time.
- Univ. eternal + in unlimited time, t/f inevitable that a constantly ordered state would develop.
- Stability + order not result of divine designer, but of random particles coming together.
Challenge of Darwin
Offered mechanical expl. for dev of life on Earth -> natural selection.
'Survival of the fittest', species become extinct, soon replaced by others; characteristics passed down. So the adaptions of eye for instance, not b/c of designer.
Evolution undermines Paley, but process also by God.
John Stuart Mill's Criticism
Empiricist - knowledge to be grounded in experience.
Challenged, because intelligent designer supported either non-existence of God or a God that did not have attributes accepted by Christians.
Suffering in the world, designer not 3 O's, esp omni-benevolent - if so, suffering of humanity would not have been included in design.
Minute change in physical conditions, present human life impossible.
Claims Big Bang would've had to been absolutely precise, otherwise would not occur.
- Precise forces (gravitational, nuclear) needed.
- Minute scientific details
- Dev. of self-replicating DNA, random mutations leading to natural selection of mammals -> humans.
Likelihood of chain of events by chance = unimaginably low -> guiding hand.
F.R Tennant; Univ. ordered, not chaotic. It would be if there was no guiding hand. Designed in such a way that evolutionary process would create environ. where intelligent life could exist -> culimnation of God's plan or current stage.
Added qualities of humans, appreciation of beauty, not needed for survival -> divine creator.
Beauty too extensive to be explained by chance or evolution. - Aesthetic Argument
John Polkinghorne agrees; all required for life available in univ. only have been result of designer, but He stood back & given creation freedom to be itself.
Comes down to probabilities.
Hume accepted, more probably that iniv. designed -> designer eists. But no proof designer is God. Brian Davies, thinks it's God.