• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Outline one version of the design argument for the existence of God

Extracts from this document...


Outline one version of the design argument for the existence of God For centuries the philosophical debate for and against the existence of god has raged. The Teleological argument (another name for the design argument) attempts to prove the existence of the God through the order and purpose exhibited within nature and the universe as a whole. The word Teleological comes from the Greek teleos meaning end or purpose, hence the Teleological argument uses the universe as a basis for arguing for the existence of god. This argument is a rich a posteriori, inductive, analogical argument using natural theology. Different people's perceptions of god are very different. Those from other cultures and traditions will each have conflicting ideas about this "god". With the design argument are we trying to prove the existence of Plato's demiurge or perhaps the Roman polytheist "committee of gods"? No, we are providing proof (or not) for the existence of the god of classical theism, that is to say a monotheist, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent, immutable, eternal god who created the universe ex nihilo, out of nothing. It is important to remember that this is theistic idea the Teleological argument is looking at. The design argument is the third of the five classical theistic proofs, but is probably the most easily understood. The basic principles of the design argument have been taken-up, adapted and regurgitated by many philosophers throughout the ages, each of who developed their own individual versions. Perhaps one of the earliest being Cicero with de Natura Deorum in which the character Lucilius looks up to the sky and asks, "What could be more clear or obvious when we look up to the sky and contemplate the heavens, that there is some divinity of superior intelligence?" ...read more.


The watch has an intelligent designer and so by the rules of analogy we can say the world has a designer. The watch and the world are similar but not identical, just as the watchmaker and world maker at similar but not identical. The Teleological design argument is a very simple argument to understand, when compared with the other four classical theist proofs it seems very "user-friendly" and accessible. Unlike the Cosmological and Ontological arguments, the Teleological argument can be understood with relatively little explanation. If I were, for instance, to outline the basic ideas of the design argument to a primary school child they would probably be able to understand without too much difficulty. One of the reasons it is so easy to understand is that it makes use of everyday objects, we can identify with the design argument more easily because we all know what a pocket watch looks like, what it does and have a vague idea of how it works. The use of analogy makes it vivid within out minds. Another informal characteristic of the Teleological design argument is that it captures our imagination whether we are looking at it from a scientific or religious perspective. In his essay "Design Argument" Colin Crowder says, "It can capitalise on moods as distinct as scientific curiousity and religious awe." If we are scientists we do not dismiss it for being overtly religious and faith-based in its outlook. Although the argument claims to use natural theology, that is, arguing for the existence of god through unaided human reason, it appeals to our religious awe because the argument celebrates the achievements of god (but only if we are theists). ...read more.


As is obvious, this simply doesn't work. We cannot jump from most other universes to ours quite simply because we do not have knowledge of other universes. Secondly, and more fundamentally the definition of the word universe is "all" it meanings literally everything. It is logically impossible for there to be more that one universe because the universe is everything, if there were a multitude of universes then each could not be "all". We must state the Design Argument analogically then, if it is to make sense. To talk about the universe as a whole, the only solution is to find something similar which we have knowledge of. Paley chooses the example of a watch. The watch and universe are analogous because both exhibit elements of order and purpose. Using the principle that similar effects have similar causes, we know that the watch was designed by an intelligent designer and so from this statement we can move to another stating that the order and purpose within the universe are the products of intelligent design also. There is one fundamental difference, that of scale. However, the rules of analogy state that the two objects do not have to be identical only similar, the analogy is drawing out the similarities between the two. To quote Colin Crowder again, this "analogical reasoning is weaker than straightforward inductive reasoning: it forces us to deal with two classes of things rather than one". Yet as I have shown, this is the only way of stating the argument because we do not have complete knowledge of the universe as a whole. To conclude, Paley's version of the Teleological Argument is an inductive, analogical, rich a posteriori argument. It uses Natural Theology, i.e. using unaided human reason, to argue for the existence of the god of classical theism. ?? ?? ?? ?? 02/05/07 Alice Ambrose Smith: The Teleological Argument Page1 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Philosophy essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    The design argument is also known as the teleological argument. The argument looks at ...

    3 star(s)

    This argument is Design qua purpose. Paley argued that the way that each aspect of the natural world appears to fulfil its purpose is further evidence of design. Paley therefore argues for a Designing creator - God. Paley goes on to argue that there is further evidence for a creator God in the regularity of the universe.

  2. Describe the main strengths and weaknesses of the cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    Such a Being must necessarily exist; that is, exist of itself (Latin, a se). Because there is something rather than nothing, therefore, a necessary Being exists, which we call God.57 Bertrand Russell cast ridicule on Leibniz's argument, suggesting that you could just as well argue that because everyone in the

  1. Explain the cosmological argument for existence of God

    that everything in the universe had a cause, and this leads back to the original or first caused. Stephen Hawking comments "If the universe was completely self contained it could neither be created nor destroyed" which means that there is no need for an outside cause in the creation of the universe or a beginning.

  2. Examine the main strengths and weakness of the Cosmological argument for the existence of ...

    This undermines, then, the Cosmological strength in that God is a complete and sufficient explanation for the universe as we can never know what actually is a sufficient explanation, and therefore, we cannot conclude that God be the whole explanation to the universe.

  1. Discuss the characteristics of the scientific method which makes it superior over other methods ...

    Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific. Sometimes this is informally called a 'top-down' approach. The process may begin with thinking up a theory about our topic of interest. We then narrow that down into more specific hypotheses that we can test.

  2. Outline the teleological proof of the existence of God

    He was unconvinced of Darwin's theory of evolution and said that the sciences exclude the supernatural and almost rejects religion as a whole. He thought that in every culture there is a creation story, and in our modern culture, he says that Darwin's theory of evolution is our creation myth.

  1. The design arguments prove Gods existence. Assess this view.

    how it is made, we know it is designed, and there are certain intrinsic qualities within the computer that resonate outward, as it contains the aforementioned features, that Paley talked of, we know almost innately that it must have been designed.

  2. Assess whether the cosmological argument proves the existence of God.

    to deduct what it was, like how we can tell the purpose of a hammer by observation. Also an existentialist philosopher or an absurdist philosopher like Albert Camus would claim that the universe has no purpose and we create and impose upon the world our purposes; in reality the world

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work