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The Teleological Argument.

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Introduction

The Teleological Argument (a) The aim of the teleological argument like so many others is to attempt to prove the existence of God or another 'Being' that created the world. This argument is a posteriori meaning that it is based on experience and also inductive meaning that there is no certainty in the outcome. This means that this argument cannot prove either way if the existence of God is a certain fact. The word 'telos' means end or 'goal'. This signifies that the argument proves that everything has a particular goal or purpose in life, which will eventually come to an end. This argument aims to contradict Darwin's theory of natural selection. Bishop Samuel Wilberforce at a meeting of the British Association in 1860 said, 'The principle of natural selection... is absolutely incompatible with God.' The three basic rules that the argument follows are: the world has purpose, regularity and beauty. This means that all that exists in the world is too intricate and complicated to have 'just happened.' Many believe that these three factors signify an omnipotent being of which we are trying to understand. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225 - 1274) states in the 'Summa Theologica', 'Everything in the world, living or dead has a purpose or an "end." This cannot simply be put down to just chance but design, since things which lack intelligence need to be directed to their end by a being with intelligence - God. It is like the archer who shots the arrow.' Aquinas believed in the teleological argument but he states that as our lives would indeed end on earth, we will go on living with God in heaven. The first factor to be considered is that the world has a purpose. Paley, (1802 ) 'Natural Theology' states probably the most famous and simple explanation of the teleological argument. In this, Paley makes the analogy of the world with a watch. ...read more.

Middle

This argument would not convince the sceptic, but nevertheless many have found the scintillating beauty of the world a sign of an intelligent being behind it. Although the teleological arguments on the surface sound very convincing and show a great deal of evidence to support God, they can still be criticised. The first argument I introduced was Paley's analogy of the watch. David Hume (1757) who was possibly the greatest writer concerning the teleological argument criticised the arguments heavily. In his book, 'Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion', Hume introduced three characters; Cleanthes - who believes in Natural Theology and argues a posteriori to God, Demea - who also believes in God and whose arguments are a priori and Philo - who is their critic and puts forward Hume's own arguments. He rejected Paley's argument twenty-two years before he put it forward. Hume says that it is impossible to make the analogy of the universe with a human artefact Hume's arguments are very strong. The idea of Paley's analogy is weak indeed, the world is like no man made object. Hume's argument is 'we only know that the watch was made by a watch maker because we saw it being made, whereas we don't know how the universe was made because we have never seen one being made.' I believe that Hume's argument that 'we only know if something has been made if we see it being made' is inconsistent, is he trying to suggest that if we look at a house, it doesn't suggest a builder simply because we didn't see it being built? He also argues about things that have other mechanical contrivances like plants, he says, 'plants and living things come into the world through reproduction and grow organically, Why is it not possible that the world is more like a plant rather than a watch. Therefore the world doesn't need a maker.' ...read more.

Conclusion

If he had then we would not be living our own living our lives choosing each day as we do, between good and evil because there would only be one choice. Another possible thought is 'Heaven.' The classical theist view of heaven in one word is 'paradise.' Could it not be that this life is a way of judging those who are worthy or not of going to heaven. If we live out good lives on earth having faith and trust in God (a metaphysical being) we will go to heaven. Those people who decide to turn their back on God and turn to evil shall be punished. This thought is pleasing to those who live a good life, as the person who kills and takes advantage of people on earth and get away with it, will have to answer before God. The weakest of the three fundamentals of the teleological argument is 'order'. Order doesn't necessarily need to be explained by the fact that there is a God. It is thought that we are intelligent enough beings to create our own order on things. Ultimately it is my opinion that the intelligence that we have to either recognise this or place order on ourselves comes from God. If you look around the world at the intricacies especially, you cannot help to wonder how everything fits together. The chances of this just being a random fact are too large to be comprehensible. Yet, just as two different people can interpret one piece of evidence differently, for the teleological argument to be creditable it has to satisfy both the theist and the atheist. I don't believe it does this as Hume and Kant have provided very good counter arguments. I believe that Kant makes a good point in the 'Moral Argument', 'We have a sense of morality. The world would be impossible without this objection morality given to us by God.' It is up to us at the end of the day, whether we have the faith to believe in God or not. ...read more.

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