Teleological (Design) Argument

  • Created by: livvvx
  • Created on: 14-04-19 15:02

Design Argument

The design arg is an aposteriori arg, it is based on observation of the apparent order in the universe and the natural worl, to conclude that it is not the result of mere chance but od design. The evidence from design points to a designer and the arg concludes that this designer is God.

''With such signs of forethought in the design of living creatures, can you doubt they are the work of choice or design?'' (Socrates)

The basic arg for design states that:

  • the universe has order, purpose and regulairty
  • the complexity of the universe shows evidence of design
  • such design implies a designer
  • the designer of the universe is God

The arg makes the basic assumption that there is order and design in the universe, and that all things function to fulfil a specific purpose. 

Design qua Purpose

Looks at the evidence of design in relation to the ways in which the parts of the universe appear to fit together for some purpose. The universe is compared to a man-made machine in which a designer fits all the parts together for a specific function.

William Paley put foward the most famous form of the design arg in his book 'Natural Theology' 

Watch: has many parts put together in a certain way for a purpose (time keeping), if the parts were placed in a different order- the watch would not work, the watch is not a product of chance but the product of an intelligent mind.

Universe- each aspect intricates for a certain function e.g. rotation of the planets, fins on gills.= implies an intelligent designer

Paley argues for the existence of God as designer: as 'the watch must have had a maker'' so must the natural world. 

The watch anaology argues that if we come across a watch we would conclude that all the parts fitted together for a purpose and had not come into existence by chance. An intelligent person would infer a designer of the watch. In the same way, if we look at the world we can infer a design because of the way in which things fit together for a purpose.

Paley used the example of an eye and the way in which it is adapted for sight. Its various parts co-operate in complex ways to produce sight. He believed that the eye was designed for the specific purpose of seeing, and that this complex design suggests an intelligent designer. 

Design qua Regulairity

Looks at design in relation to the order and regulairty in the universe.

Philosophers who support the arg consider that the order and regulairty evident in the universe is evidence of a designer at work. e.g. the roatation of the planets and the natural laws. Philosophers conclude that this cannot have occured by random chance.

Paley used evidence from astronomy and Newton's laws of motion and gravity to prove that there is design in the universe. Paley pointed to the rotation of the planets in the solar system and…


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