PART A - "Explain Darwin's challenge to the teleological argument."



The teleological argument functions on the basis that, through observing complexity in our world, we can infer that it has been designed by a God. Darwin intitally held such beliefs until his research led him to the conclusion that actually, what appears to be designed can be just as easily explained by a process of natural selection which can also result in such observable complexity, in a way that can be explained naturally.

A large part of Darwin's criticism to the teleological argument comes through his observation of specimens in nature; through the knowledge that his theory would not be widely respected -as it was such a stark contrast to the then poularly-held beliefs- he was forced to have vast amounts of supporting evidence. This includes his most famous study; that of the beaks of finches on the Galapagos islands. He found that the beaks of the birds which were successful and able to reproduce effectively were adapted to their environment the best. He was able to then theorise, through evidence that was observable even to his critics, that these beaks had adapted as a part of a long process of evolution; continually, successful genes are passed down until the species as a whole has them in common (has evolved.) Darwin therefore used A-priori reasoning in order to validate his criticism to the teleological argument, which did not take in to account any such ideas, and which was flawed in its essential assumption that the appearance of design implies a designer.

Darwin addresses how the teleological argument assumes that humans are the final creation of God; they are unrelated to animals in any…


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