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teleological argument

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Introduction

1 (b) (i) What are the strengths and weaknesses of the design argument for the existence of God? 1(b) (ii) Comment on the view that the weaknesses are more convincing than the strengths? The design argument, known as the Teleological argument, comes from the Greek word 'Telos' which means purpose. The basic premise, of all teleological arguments for the existence of God, is that the world exhibits an intelligent purpose based on experience from nature such as its order, unity, coherency, design and complexity. Hence, there must be an intelligent designer to account for the observed intelligent purpose and order that we can observe. Philosophers use the design features of purpose, regularity and order in the world for proof of a designer i.e. the God of classical theism. William Paley put forward the most famous argument in a book called 'Natural Theology', and argues from 'design qua purpose' and 'design qua regularity'. From design qua purpose, Paley argues that the world has purpose, which shows evidence of design, therefore there must be a designer i.e. God. This is echoed in the bible where it says, "For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. ...read more.

Middle

The conditions in the world are so precise and perfect, that any change in them would cause disaster as life is fragile, therefore there has to be a designer; God. A designer (God) must have given us the ability to sustain life. In addition the world has rules, which impose natural order, which without these there would be chaos. The three points mentioned above, the ability to recognise order, the ability to sustain life and the ability to evolve are the points that are known as the anthropic principle. Swinburne holds that the complexity of the universe is unlikely to be the result of chance. He regards God as the creator and designer as a more simple and probable explanation. This way of thinking can be paralleled to Ockham's Razor. This is the idea that the simplest explanation is the most likely one. Tenant also believed that God gave us the ability to appreciate beauty such as music and the natural world. Therefore, the beauty of the world points to God as a creator. However, the world is not perfect, there are too many faults such as natural disasters for there to be a designer (God). Lots of random coincidence from evolution would lead to faults. ...read more.

Conclusion

This echoes Herbert Spencer who said that it was down to the "Survival of the fittest", not of a God who is a designer. However this doesn't disprove the existence of God as a designer as he may have designed the 'fittest' 'well-adapted' creatures in the world. Richard Dawkins said that changes in DNA are random and leads to diversity in nature. He also proposed a blind watchmaker, as nature and evolution are blind to design. However God may have been the one to give us the ability to evolve. In conclusion, if there was an overgrown garden with beautiful flowers, some would say there must be a gardener to maintain the flowers. On the other hand, some would say there cannot be a gardener because why would there be weeds? This is in line with the design argument as it is down to interpretation and faith. The strengths don't necessarily prove God because it is down to experience and "personal taste" (Paul Davies), which we cannot prove. It is therefore a posteriori and an inductive argument. It is furthermore only probable that God exists due to the design argument, as there is no proof only probability. Therefore the weaknesses are more convincing than the strengths. ...read more.

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