Theme 1 - B - Inductive Arguments (Teleological)


Aquinas' Fifth Way

Basis of teleological argument (telos referring to 'end', 'goal' or 'purpose':

  • the universe has order, purpose and regularity, the complexity shows evidence of design, such design needs a designer, the designer of the universe is God.


  • Things on this earth are complex, they can't have just happened.
  • Many objects don't have intelligence to work towards an end purpose, so there must be an intelligent being.
  • Example of the arrow and the archer: the arrow, by itself, cannot reach the target. It needs to be fired by an archer in order for this to happen. Relates this to the workings of the universe. 
  • The fact that objects tend to follow natural laws and, in doing so, fulfil some purpose or end goal (telos) yet don't have the ability to 'think' for themselves, suggests that they have been 'directed' by something else (God)
  • Another example is writing an essay with a pen. The pen itself is non intelligent, the only way it'll write is if you, as an intelligent being, pick up the pen and write the essay.
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Paley's Watchmaker Analogy

William Paley is widely credited with proposing the design argument in its popular modern form: 

  • If we were to discover a stone whilst out walking, we might think about how it came into existence and why it is specifically there, then come to a conclusiom of how it was formed. 
  • HOWEVER, if we were to discover a watch, we wouldn't come to the same conclusions - we would just conclude that it is manmade. You would immediately know that it hasn't always been there, it must've been created.
  • This is because the mechanics are intricately designed by a human. 'its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose'
  • Paley argues that the universe in which we live is likewise complex and therefore too infers a designer 
  • Details the workings of an eye as an analogy of this; from the way that it perceives objects to the function of the 'secretions' that keep the eyeball moving as well as the eyelids that protect the eye.
  • This incredible complexity for the human body alone is evidence for a designing intelligence. 
  • As the watch needed the intelligent watchmaker, so too does the universe need an intelligent 'universe-maker'
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Tennant's Anthropic and Aesthetic Arguments


  • the fact that the natural world in which we live provides precisely the things that are necessary for life to be sustained
  • the fact that the natural world in which we live can not only be observed but holds itself up for rational analysis from which we can deduce its workings.
  • the fact that the process of evolution, through natural selection, has led to the development of intelligent human life - to the degree that intelligent life can observe and analyse the universe it exists in.
  • This is all evidence for the existence of God - how else would anthropic life be so intricately designed?


  • humans have natural appreciation for things considered to be beautiful. Why are aesthetics so important to us?
  • There appears to be no other species that reacts to its surroundings like this. e.g. appreciation of art, music, fashion
  • Tennant's response to both arguments was to claim that this is a direct result of a benevolent God
  • Having designed the world so it led to the development of intelligent human life, God not only wanted his creation to live in the world, but to also enjoy living in it.
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AO2 - whether cosmological arguments are persuasiv


  • fundamentals of the argument are based on the same assumption as that of scientific theories
  • 21st century science has not answered all questions about the existence of the universe and therefore other points of view, such as the cosmological argument, should be considered equally valid.
  • arguments are clearly based on cause and effect arguments; so is science, so they should not be dicsounted
  • Whilst science can quite effectively explain how the universe works the way in which it does, what it can't do is answer the question of why the universe started. The cosmological argument can. 
  • Craig's Kalam argument convincingly demonstrates that the universe was the result of a deliberate choice from a personal creator. 


  • Modern scientific age gives us access to information about the universe we live in, suggesting that the cosmological argument has little relevance in today's world.
  • arguments of Aquinas are flawed by an incorrect understanding of agreed scientific principle.
  • Arguments that were not formed in today's scientific age have little value in the 21st century.
  • Newton's first law of motion points out that the idea that nothing can move itself unless moved by another ignores the principle of inertia and is therefore wrong.
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AO2 - effectiveness of teleological argument


  • The complexities of the universe are far more effectively explained if one accepts that they have been deliberately designed, rather than being the result of random chance.
  • The analogical evidence provided by Paley is effective in pointing out that, just like a complex machine, our complex universe could not be the result of chance.
  • The contribution of Tennant, with both his anthropic and aesthetic arguments, surely proves beyond reasonable doubt that this is a universe deliberately designed for intelligent human life.


  • Accepting the existence of a designer poses more difficulties than it solves
  • The teleological argument is too flawed to ever be accepted as an effective argument for God's existence.
  • The use of analogy is suspect as no human machine can ever adequately compare to our complex universe.
  • How do we even know that this is a good universe? What do we have to compare it to?
  • It is an arrogant claim to make to assume that we are able to identify the cause of the complexities of the universe that we live in by asserting a divine designer that fits into the theistic model of religion.
  • The criticisms of the teleological argument are too devastating and too wide ranging to ever accept that it is an effective argument for God's existence.
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Quotes to learn for this section

Aquinas' Fifth Way:

'Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is directed by the archer' - Aquinas

Paley's Watchmaker Analogy:

'every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater and more, and in a degree which exceeds all computation' - Paley

Tennant's Anthropic and Aesthetic arguments:

'(The aesthetic argument for theism) becomes stronger when it takes as the most significant fact.... the saturation of Nature with beauty'

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