Teleological Argument

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  • In effect a special application of the cosmological argument in that it too, through an a posteriori, inductive, synthetic argument,  attempts to propose an explanation for a particular feature of the universe.
  • Observation of the universe being ordered- gravity, laws of nature, day/night, planets.
  • Universe provides- humans are able to survive (oxygen, temperature), aesthetic (beauty), inductive and a posteriori- all work to an end- must be God.
  • Claims that certain phenomena within the universe appear to display features of design, in so far as they are perfectly adapted to fulfil their function. such design cannot come about by chance and can only be explained with reference to an intelligent, personal designer. it is possible to draw an analogy between the works of human design and the works of nature, and there are sufficient similarities to infer design of a similar nature. since the works of nature are far greater than the works of man, an infinitely greater designer must be postulated, which points towards the existence of God as the one who possesses the necessary attributes. 

Aquinas' Fifth Way

  • He said that the beneficial order of the universe could not happen by chance and as many objects do not have the intelligence to work towards an end/purpose- they must be directed by something that does have intelligence and is of great power- thus God must exist as an explanation of beneficial order.

everything acts with order and purpose -> this is not by chance but by design -> as unintelligent things cannot order themselves -> e.g. an arrow needs an archer to reach a target -> therefore something intelligent must design unintelligent things be ordered= God.

  • Another example- grey whale- travels from Canada to Alaska to feed and then back to breed- end/ purpose= not chance- must be something that designs them to do this.

William Paley's Watchmaker Analogy

  • Shows how unity and purpose cannot be explained by chance.
  • Just as the discovery of a watch on a heath could not be explained by it always being there- the order of the universe also demands explanation.
  • He believed that if you found a stone on the ground and knew nothing about it or how it came to be there you would think it had been there forever.
  • He then went onto say that there must have been a designer who made the watch for its purpose because of its intricacy.
  • He drew an analogy between a watch and the creation of the universe and because of this believed that there must have been a designer for that too.
  • His analogy does not question or draw conclusions of the designers character or the actual design- perfection, infinity, rarity.
  • Even if the watch goes wrong or shows bad design, or we have never seen a watch before or we cannot work out how individuals contribute as a whole- it does not disprove that it has been designed.

Paley found a watch -> it must be designed -> by a designer -> this must be…


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