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

Outline the design argument for the existence of God?

Extracts from this document...


The teleological argument for the existence of God a) Outline the design argument for the existence of God? (7 marks) The design argument is also known as the teleological argument, the word telos meaning 'end' or 'purpose.' It infers the existence of God from a specific aspect or character of the world, mostly the presence of order, purpose and regularity. These are seen as marks of design, and the argument concludes it must be God who was the source of the latter. Evidence used is often the solar system, with the planets revolving in their set orbits, and also the human eye. This evidence means that it is an a posteriori argument, meaning it is based on observation, which could easily be deceptive, is limited and can be open to several different interpretations. This means there will always be a measure of doubt. The argument has two parts, design qua regularity and design qua purpose, qua meaning 'as relating to.' The two most prominent philosophers in advocating the design argument are Aquinas (associated with design qua regularity) and Paley (associated with both parts.) A more recent version of the argument has been developed by Tennant and accepted by Swinburne, and this is known as the Anthropic Principle. Before looking in detail at the various types of the argument, it is important to establish the basics of the design argument for the existence of God. It states that; the universe has order, purpose and regularity, the complexity of the universe shows evidence of design, such design implies a designer, and the designer of the universe is God. It is clear from this that the argument makes the simple assumption that there is order and design in the universe, and that all things function for a specific reason. This assumption is made from evidence in the world such as the changing seasons, the lifestyles of both animals and birds and the intricate design of the human body and its perfect adaptations. ...read more.


A more recent development of the argument is that of F. R. Tennant who devised the Anthropic Principle, stating the universe was designed for intelligent human life, and backed up by Richard Swinburne who concluded it came down to probability. The argument appears to be strong, but in fact does have some weaknesses that some people may say causes it to fail. Words - 1411 b) "The design argument fails because of its weaknesses." Examine and comment on this claim. (13 marks) The design argument has received criticism from many philosophers but an initial difficulty is that it is not clear in the analogy whether the machine is being compared to the whole of the universe or parts of the universe. If it is compared to the whole universe it is unrealistic to say that the whole universe is working to an end or purpose. To conclude this requires knowledge only obtainable from being outside the universe. If the machine is being compared to parts of the universe then it is possible to prove that these parts work towards an end or purpose, but it is false reasoning to argue from that that the universe as a whole works to a specific end or purpose. Hume emerged as a major opponent of the argument, highlighting many weaknesses and other philosophers such as John Stuart Mill, Charles Darwin and Immanuel Kant and the Epicurean Hypothesis also presented their own individual challenges towards the argument. The latter believed the weaknesses were enough to allow the argument to fail, but others would argue against this, saying the strengths outweigh the weaknesses. David Hume's criticisms covered several points and he worked on them for twenty-five years. The first point talks of an unsound analogy, as it is wrong to compare our world with a machine as it is composed of vegetables and animals. It is certainly more organic than it is mechanical. ...read more.


He argues natural selection gives the appearance of design, mistakenly leading people to believe there is a designer. Dawkins however, rejects the idea of design and argues that any variations in the world were caused by random mistakes in the DNA molecules of any life form. Immanuel Kant, who emphasised that the design argument depends purely on the assumption that there is design, regularity, order and purpose in the universe, put a final criticism forward. Kant made the very interesting point that the universe may actually be in chaos, but because of the way our minds organise experiences, it appears in order to us. It is not possible to be certain of the reality of the situation, as we impose the design on the world ourselves. Having explored the weaknesses of the design argument, I feel that it most definitely fails in proving the existence of God, but does certainly point to the universe having a design. Whether this is the work of a designer is a tough question, as I agree with the Epicurean Hypothesis - the fact that the universe is a product of random particles coming together. The weaknesses brought forward by Hume have looked in specific detail Paley's analogies, and he has managed to find many faults with comparing something as huge as the universe to something man-made such as a watch. It is clear from this that to use an analogy like that is just too simple. Hume may lead us to a probable conclusion that the world was designed but there is nothing to prove that designer was God. A huge disadvantage is also the fact it is an a posteriori argument, as it is merely based on experience and only leads to a probable conclusion so is open to several interpretations. Finally, some of the weaknesses in the argument are due to recent scientific discovery or evidence, that some people, myself included trust further than to believe something just based on assumption and probable conclusions. Words - 1654 Caroline Neal 12M ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Existence of God 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 GCSE Existence of God essays

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

    (Davies, 1993) "A modern objection to the argument, one that was anticipated by Hume, is based on Darwinian evolution, which has cast doubt upon the notion of teleological explanation altogether." (Pojman, 1993) Charles Darwin (1809-1882), although not the first to propose the theory of evolution, first put forward a comprehensive theoretical explanation for it in his, The Origin of Species (1858).

  2. Outline the Design Argument for the Existence of God

    Aquinas regarded the order evident in the world as proof of design. The designer he explained as: "This being we call God" Paley had other ideas concerning the existence of God.

  1. How far does Swinburne's argument for the existence of God based on religious experience ...

    if I thought God exists then God actually does exist, however it would apply if I then went on to say, because I have no experineced God then God does not exist, because his postive principle does not apply to absences.

  2. Good and Evil

    who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience" (James 5:10) ,this shows that not only will God find the worthy but he will also find the people who have so much faith that they keep quiet and patient when suffering or in pain.

  1. The Nature of God Religious Studies Coursework. I am going to explain, discuss and ...

    Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist.' The second way that the reasoning could go is that described by Luther. Luther believed that mankind was tainted by crime and sin, and could not therefore rise to consider God as he transcends all human reason.

  2. An explanation and evaluation of the different perspectives on religion offered by Richard Dawkins ...

    Genetic phenotypes spread through a species if they have an advantage as to the entity's survival, memes spread through human cultures if they have survival advantage in themselves. As such memes can be detrimental to the host. Dawkins uses this logic in relation to religion, that the meme of belief

  1. Free essay

    Comment on The Design Argument

    Natural selection is the mechanism of evolutionary change. The hereditary characteristics of a member of any species which are good for survival and reproduction, will lead to more members of the species with those characteristics passing on their genes. These characteristics are passed onto each generation until all members of the species evolve and change.

  2. Man and the Universe

    Scientific Perspective The Big Bang There are many differing scientific theories concerning the creation of the universe, the most notable being that of the Big Bang. The theory of the Big Bang started with Albert Einstein's theory of relativity in 1916.

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