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Outline the teleological argument for the existence of God.

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Introduction

The Teleological Argument Q: Outline the teleological argument for the existence of God. The Teleological argument is the oldest known and arguably most influential and widely accepted argument for the existence of God. The argument first appears in Plato's Timaeus, written over two thousand years ago and appears on numerous occasions in a number of different expositions up to the present day, the most famous of which being Thomas Aquinas' fifth way, and more recently, that of William Paley in his natural theology written in 1802. The Teleological Argument is an a posteriori argument, i.e. one based on knowledge of the phenomenal world (as opposed to an a priori argument, which is based independently of experience). Paley initiates his argument with the simple analogy of the watch. ...read more.

Middle

Firstly, he claims that it would not matter if we had never seen a watch before (as we have never seen another world before); nor would it have any bearing on the relevance of the analogy if we didn't recognise its functions (as we don't recognise all of the worlds functions), or even if it didn't function properly at all (as the world doesn't always function properly). In each of the above Paley claims that we would still recognise some intelligent design, and thus still imply some intelligent designer. Q: What are the main criticisms of the teleological argument? There have been many different criticisms of the teleological argument, the most fundamental and damaging of which coming, in my opinion, from David Hume in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. ...read more.

Conclusion

A further criticism of the Teleological Argument, again coming from Hume, is that even if we could validly reach the conclusion that there is a designer of the world, we would still not have sufficient information to arrive at the Judaic-Christian conception of God, i.e. an omnipotent, all loving and infinitely wise being. Hume used the analogy of the scales to illustrate this point, describing how if one side of a pair of scales is seen and observed to be out-weighed by an unseen quantity or object on the opposite side, all we can assert is that the unseen quantity is greater in mass than the seen quantity. We cannot assert the exact mass, size, shape, colour or any other attribute of the unseen object. For example, if the visible object weighs 10 Kg, all we can say with certainty about the obscured object is that it weighs more than 10 Kg. ...read more.

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