The Teleological Argument

  • Created by: Mjuskiw
  • Created on: 23-06-21 17:00

Aquinas' 5th way

  • Arguing from design qua regularity
  • 'Natural bodies' in the world are now seen to be directed to a beneficial end/purpose and that this purpose is given by God.
  • Just as the arrow flying through the sky is given its purpose from the archer who fires it.
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Paley's watchmaker analogy

  • Believed that just as watches (which exhibit complexity, design and purpose in order to tell the time for us) have watchmakers, the world, which has complexity and the purpose of sustaining life has a worldmaker - designer God.
  • Design quo purpose - human eye functions in order to achieve sight. He could not believe that such a delicate thing as an eye could have come about by chance, for it showed careful design in order. to achieve its purpose.
  • Design quo regularity - order. planets and how they obey same universal laws. Can't come about chance, external agent caused this order.
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The Blind Watchmaker

  • Natural selection is unconscious and automatic.
  • If natural selection can be said to play the role of a watchmaker in nature, it is a blind one working without foresight or purpose.
  • "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled athiest."
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Swinburne - argument from probability

  • Suggests evidence of design and order in universe increases probability of God.
  • Bases argument on apparently remarkable degree of order in universe given its incredible scale.
  • "The universe might so naturally have been chaotic, but it is not - it is very orderly."
  • 7 observations for this e.g. universe exists.
  • Concludes simply, higher probability of God. He probably exists outside control of laws and must be the only designing God; other Gods are unneccessary.
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The theory of evolution

destroys design argument as it proves that species could have evolved by chance and survival of the fittest occured depending on their environments. If they couldn't adapt then they wouldn't survive and therefore not pass on their gene pool and would go extinct. Also debunks Genesis 1 and 2.

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Behe - Intelligent Design and Irreducible Complexi

Darwins Black Box 1996

Designed to counter objection from evolution.

Argues that there are things that are irreducibly complex (they couldn't have just arisen by chance) e.g. human eye.

They must have been designed for the purpose they fulfil.

Very controversial for questioning evolution - few scientists agree.

Mousetrap Analogy - "the mousetrap depends critically on all five of its components; if there were no spring the mouse would not have been pinned to the base.. All of the components have to be in place before any mice are caught. Thus the mousetrap is irreducibly complex."

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Tennant - Anthropic Principle

The reason and purpose of the universe is to support humans 

Principle need not reject principles of evolution - "the survival of the fittest presupposes the arrival of the fit." However, scientific principles alone are not enough to explain how evolution led to the perfectly balanced natural order that prevails.

Scientific explanations for the universe are therefore compatible with the design argument.

Evolution or the Big Bang can be seen to be the means by which the designer (God) brought the universe to this point.

Evolution becomes part of God's plan for the world.

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Tennant - Aesthetic Argument

Humans possess the ability to appreciate beauty but this is not required for the development of life (natural selection) and therefore is the product of a divine designer.

Cumulative - each premise adds weight to the probability of a divine designer.

He suggests that when humans see the universe, they cannot accept that it is the outcome of a random activity.

It's more probable that God exists than not.

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The order and complexity that we see might just be human perception; there might not actually be any order or complexity there, perhaps we impose it on the world.

Design is a trap that we fall into: we want to see design and a designer.

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Hume's Criticisms

We cannot compare things we know to things we don't. God transcends human understanding. We have no experience of what a creating a universe involves. We should stick to what we know. (Empiricism)

Follow the analogy through and you make God more like a human. (anthropomorphism).

Analogies only work if there is a similarity between the two. 

We cannot learn anything about the cause and effect. Why should a finite universe lead to an infinite designer.

Epicurean Hypothesis: "only stable combinations survive". The survival of the universe only proves that its stable and has order. It doesn't prove that it was designed, it could have been accidental. It is a result of random particles coming together to form the universe.

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