The word ‘Telos’ is Greek for purpose. The Teleological argument thus argues that the universe is being directed towards a telos, an end purpose, and the a posteriori evidence of an apparent intelligent design in the world implies the existence of an intelligent designer, God.
AQUINAS’ FIFTH WAY
The Teleological argument is founded on Aquinas’s fifth way:
1. All natural occurrences show evidence of design
2. This suggests that there is a being that directs all things
3. Things that lack knowledge cannot achieve anything unless directed by a thing with knowledge
4. There is therefore an intelligent being that directs everyone towards a purpose
5. For Aquinas, this being is God
In his book, ‘Natural Theology,’ William Paley presents his own form of the Teleological argument. There are two parts to Paley’s argument:
1. Design qua Purpose – the universe was designed to fulfil a purpose
2. Design qua Regularity – the universe behaves according to some order
DESIGN QUA PURPOSE
Analogy of the watch:
A man walks across a heath and finds a rock. He attributes the existence of the rock to nature. He walks further and stumbles across a watch. After some examination he concludes that its purpose is to measure time. Due to the complexities of the watch, he concludes that it is impossible to suppose that the watch had come about without the agency of a ‘watch maker.’
The watch is like the universe – it is too complex to have just happened by chance. It is impossible therefore to suppose that the universe had come about without the agency of a ‘universe maker’ – God.
Example of the eye:
It is obvious that the eye was designed with the specific purpose to see. Thus there is a Designing Creator – God.
DESIGN QUA REGULARITY