telo arg revision


HideShow resource information
  • Created by: Rachael
  • Created on: 22-02-12 18:44

Two Types Qua Purpose --> Based on purpose Qua Regularity --> Based on regularity An Posterior argument - arguement starts by looking at aparent design and then tries to demonstrate there must be a designer of it --> this is then evidence of which the argumentis developed from. Aquianas set out the 5 ways --> 5TH WAY ID TELELOGICAL

1 of 16

 5th Way- Aquinas
Everything in the natural world follow natural laws -> everything has a purpose or a goal -> though an inanimate object need something to direct it to its purpose. That something  that that directs the natural world is God.
Similarly even though humans think for themselves and make their own aims to reach their final cause, humans are still contingent and they cant of designed themselves. This designer must of been God -> everything needs to be designed.
5th Way is in favour of design qua regularity --> argument says that the natural world follows natural laws that lead to certain changes.
eg Arrow hits a target even though it doesn't have a mind of its own --> The archer, that does have a mind shot the arrow --> things follow natural laws even though they do not have a mind of their own --> Some one with a mind of their own caused the natural world to behave this way... This being God
Weakness- the approproriatness of the analogy can be questioned

2 of 16

William Paley

The world is like a watch --> To intractably designed not to have a designer, that being God. Used the analogy of comparing a rock to a watch. 1st Part- Design Qua Purpose --> Watch analogy, if we come across the watch you would of thought that it had a purpose and was designed for a reason --> Paley also thought the same about the human eye, birds wings etc. All have a purpose. 2nd Part- Qua Regularity --> Used evidence from astronomy and Newtons law of motion and gravity to prove their is design. --> Paley pointed out that the way the solar system orbits and rotates around each other shows their is design. --> an external being must of made this order other wise the universe wouldn't work how it does

3 of 16

Anthropic Principle- Recent development of teleological argument. F.R.Tannant Claims the cosmos is constructed for the development of intelligent life --> if anything differed slightly it would mean that the world wouldn't work how it does eg. one electron being different --> This means the world had to have a creator to get all the parts perfect.--> No coincidence. 3 types of natural evidence- 1) The fact that the world can be analysed in a rational manner. 2) The way the inorganic world has provided the basic necessities required to sustain life. 3) The process of evolution towards intelligent human life.

4 of 16


Aesthetic Argument Also written by Tennant. Argues that humans posses the abilty to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings. --> though not necessary for survival --> there fore evidnence for the existence of God. --> Didnt come due to natural selection.

5 of 16


David Hume- Rubbish teleological argument. 1) Humans dont have sufficient knowledge and experience of the creation of the universe to conclude that there is only one designer --> Humans only have experience of what they have designed and created. 2) If human experience of design was valid then the God may not of just been one god but numerous gods with lesser status. 3) There is no evidence to support the benevolent God for classical Theism --> the evil in the world suggests the creator wasnt Omni benevolent. 4) Its a weak analogy (Aquinas likens the universe to a machine). Hume thought that the analogy should of used a vegetable or an inert animal, because they are natural rather than a watch

6 of 16

Hume set out two versions of the design argument and then criticised them:

- To speak of design is to imply a designer
- Great design implies a great designer
- There is great design in the world
- Therefore, there must be a great designer – God
•This implies a superhuman, anthropomorphic concept of God (a God who is human-like) which is inconsistent with the notion of perfection. Moreover, the world is imperfect and flawed thus implying an incompetent designer.

7 of 16

- The world is ordered
- This is due to either chance or design
- It is very possible the world came about by chance
- Therefore the world came about through design

•Hume argued that there is nothing in this argument to suppose there is only one creator – there may be a team of lesser Gods who built the world. This supports the theory of paganism. (note: Hume lived before Darwin). •Hume subscribed to a belief in the theory of evolution and the idea that series of random adaptations made in order to survive (the theory of natural selection) could lead to the apparent intelligent design of humans

8 of 16

john polkinghorne

the universe is not fixed. god continually interacts with his creations as a conductor "conducting the improvised performance of the universe". however even through god is an active force within creation even now, all the right circumstances for life to form were presented even at the very start of the universe. his treatment of the TA is slightly different from paleys and aquinas. he says that is is the very existence and nature of the physical universe that is testimony to a cosmic designer. he believes that god is the "total explanation" for the universe and "gods creation is a continuing act of creation... through the unfolding process of evolutionary history".

9 of 16

In ‘Nature and the Utility of Religion’ John Stuart Mill criticises the Teleological argument. Mill postulates that nature is guilty of serious crimes for which she goes unpunished, and the atrocities through which humans and animals suffer would not go unpunished if they were the result of human agency.

“Nearly all the things which men are hanged or imprisoned for doing to one another are nature’s everyday performances.” For Mill, there is no intelligent design apparent in the universe and if there is a designer he is either an incompetent or cruel designer: “Either there is no God or there exists an incompetent or immoral God”

10 of 16


he did not accept the arguement's conclusion. he argued that we as humans perceieve the universe as being ordered and therefore designed. however what we consider to be order and design could acturally be disorder and chaos. we as humans are limited by our human minds and we could be mistaken by our surrondings. therefore althrough paleys argument is attractive, it is based upon premises that could be entirely inaccurate and obviously, if the premises upon which the arguement is based are found to be false, the we cannot agree with this conclusion.

11 of 16

The consequences of this view for the Teleological argument can be summarised in four main points. The first is The Separate Creation of Species. As Darwin argued that all species came from a common ancestor, this contradicted the biblical view that each species was created independently by God. The second point is about the creation of the world. The biblical account portrays God as creating the world in 7 days, after which nothing changes. However, the evolutionary perspective views things changing and evolving over millions of years.

12 of 16

The bible also views the world as created by God as an expression of His goodness. However, Natural Selection seems to suggest the struggle of opposing forces for dominancy. This is known as the goodness of god. Also natural selection explains the problem of evil. Finally if man was made in God's likeness it could not  be possible that he evolved from apes. This view makes man no different from the other animals. This shows the nature of man. These four points show how the teleological argument is discredited by science.

13 of 16


v Paley’s unsound analogy as humanity and nature dissimilar to a machine

v Design defects in natural world

v Existence of evil vs. design

v Alternative explanation of evolutionary natural  selection

v Design only apparent- order and result not evidence of intention

v Creative source not necessarily god of classical theism- could be team of gods etc.

v Scientific evidence discredits the argument

v Hume argues that our concepts of design are so limited that we cannot
apply them to the creation of the world

v Problems of evil


14 of 16


v Paley’s watch analogy – intelligent designer- god

v Order and purpose in the universe

v Swinburne uses this argument as part of increasing proof

v Swinburne’s probability argument

15 of 16

v Aquinas Every thing in nature operates in what appears to be a
purposeful manner with a sense of direction. An acorn has the goal of
becoming an oak tree and will behave in such a way as to fulfil this
purpose. It has no intelligence of its own and must therefore have
been designed to behave like this by an intelligent designer. This is

v Aquinas maintains that every inanimate thing is being directed towards
some purpose or goal (he drew this idea from Aristotle) and from this
he comes to the conclusion that God is responsible.

16 of 16


No comments have yet been made

Similar Religious Studies resources:

See all Religious Studies resources »See all resources »