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Discuss the teleological argument for the existence of God. How viable is this argument?

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Discuss the teleological argument for the existence of God. How viable is this argument? The teleological argument is a classical argument for the existence of God, which is often referred to as the argument from design. It is the most empirical and least technical of all the arguments for the existence of God. The teleological argument derives from the Greek word 'telos' which translates as 'end or purpose.' The argument is based upon the examination of the nature of the world; the main thrust of the argument is therefore that the world is too complex and well ordered to have been produced by chance or random change. This being so, it is argued that God is the only being responsible. "The Teleological argument for the existence of God begins with the premise that the world exhibits intelligent purpose or order, and it proceeds to the conclusion that there must be or probably is a divine intelligence, a supreme designer, to account for the observed or perceived intelligent purpose or order." (Pojman, 1993) The argument has been put forward in a variety of formats, from classical to contemporary, such as Aquinas' "fifth way;" The argument from simple analogy; Paley's watch argument; The argument from guided evolution; The argument from irreducible biochemical complexity; The argument from biological information and the fine-tuning argument. It has also been delivered from sources such as, Plato, Cicero (De Natura Deorum) ...read more.


In that case, Paley's view is that watches imply purpose because they are teleological systems. And this argument is that there are systems of this kind in nature." However, not all Philosophers agreed with Paley. David Hume (1711-76) an empiricist and sceptic and alsoone of his predecessors illustrated in his book, 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion', a form of the teleological argument. Hume offered eight important criticisms of the argument through Philo with the main thrust springing from his analysis of cause and effect and his conclusion that our knowledge of such things is based solely on habit. For Hume, when we see one thing, cause another, our knowledge of that experience is based simply on that process of observation. So, when we see one ball hit another we can only base our knowledge of what the reaction is on seeing it happen. The important consequence of this is that we cannot know the nature of any cause apart from observation. Therefore, certainty, for Hume, is based on how many times something has happened and how probable it is to reoccur. His objections were (1) If design needs to be explained, then explain it; but only by appealing to a design-producing being, to say this being is God is to go beyond the evidence presented by design. ...read more.


This view makes man no different from the other animals. In Conclusion, the teleological argument is not a reliable argument for the existence of God. To state that there is, order and purpose in the universe is accurate as there is an abundance of evidence to prove so, For example, the way trees harmonise with humans with the release of Carbon Dioxide and Oxygen. However, just because there is evidence in the world of purpose and order does not mean that an intelligent being was the cause of it. It could have happened by what is outlined as the 'Big Bang' theory, the scientific evidence is visible; with reference to Kant and Hume we have the observed chemicals and gases whilst learning at school as a child. Another factor that an intelligent being did not create the world is due to, the countless experiences of disorder, such as natural disasters. Why would an intelligent being create a world which has order for there to be so much disorder? With regard to Paley's watch analogy, it is intensely precise to compare the world to a watch, as they both run simultaneously with an intrinsic design. However, how can you compare the complexity of the world to a watch? A watch may be complex in design but not to the extent that the world is. Philo stresses this and states that his analogy is "weak" (Davies 1993). ...read more.

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