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Teleological Argument (Part 1) AS Level revision

Aquinas, Paley, Hume and Swinburne

EJ Jane

on 27 April 2013

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Transcript of Teleological Argument (Part 1) AS Level revision

The Teleological
Argument The Natural World and God's care Paley said the world itself was more impressive than a watch and its workings.
He argued the more we learn about different animals and plants, the more clearly we can see evidence of intelligent design.
He discusses many different examples of the suitability of the bodily structure of animals to the conditions of their life.
He argues not only is everything clearly design but it is... Designed for a purpose and designed to an infinite degree of care. Paley concluded that this was not only evidence of intelligent design but of God's care-if God cared enough about each insect to design it with such attention to detail, then surely people can be confident that God will care for them too. William Paley Biography An eighteenth century English Churchman with a strong interest in apologetics-the defence of the truth of Christianity by appealing to 'natural reason' rather than revelation.
Writing at a time when design arguments were at the height of poularity. He proposed what is probably the most famous version of the Design Argument in his book... Natural Theology, 1802 Teleological Argument from Aquinas Biography: St. Thomas Aquinas: medieval monk; trying to link faith and reason-influenced by Aristotle.
He wrote his famous 'Five Ways' in Summa Theologica This book was based on his belief that God can be known by looking at the world; the Fifth Way is his version of the Design Argument. THE FIFTH WAY FIRST POINT: Nature seems to have an order and purpose to it. THE FIFTH WAY POINT TWO: We know, he suggested, that nothing inanimate is purposeful without the aid of a 'guiding hand'. (He uses the example of an archer shooting an arrow at a target). THE FIFTH WAY POINT THREE: Therefore everything in nature which is moving but which also has no intelligence must be directed to its goal by God. Aquinas focuses on goal-directed activity in nature. As an archer fires an arrow at a target , so does nature strive for some goal. This cannot be accidental. There must be an intelligence directing this activity, and this we call God. Aquinas also adds that intimate objects (for example, the planets) would not have ordered themselves, as they do not have intelligence with which to make plans or patterns. Therefore they must have been given order by a being with intelligence. SUMMARY CHALLENGES FROM HUME Hume Biography Hume was an empiricist, sceptic and naturalist. Regarded as the general true atheist in philosophy (though disputed).
In his book, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, he criticises the reasoning put forward by proponents of the teleological arguments.
Hume wrote the book in form of a discussion between fictional characters, so that one character (Cleantes) argued the point of view of the design argument and another (Philo, who like Hume is a sceptic) argues against it.
Hume wrote his criticisms before Paley's watch.
His criticisms are based on reason and logic. He argued that you cannot make great leaps and assume that B follows A as a proof, when there could be a variety of other possible explanations. Paley's analogy of the watch If someone was walking on a heath and looked down and saw a watch lying on the ground, the person finding the watch would notice how well the watch worked in order to tell time- thus... Someone must have made the watch! The watch did not arrive there by chance! Paley said looking at a watch was similar to looking at the world, or at the human body, and noticing how it all works together-so intricately that one can only infer that there must have been divine intelligence ordering. Paley made two further points:
(a) We do not have to ever seen a watch being made in order to realise there must have been a watchmaker. POINT ONE Weak analogy It cannot be assumed that it is obvious to everyone how the world, like a watch, is formed regularly and for a purpose. It is not right to draw these comparisons between the world and machines and use them as analogies when there is really very little similarity. POINT TWO Order does not prove Design (ii) The acknowledgment of order has limitations because we do not have other worlds to compare with this one.
Perhaps when comparing, it would turn out that our world contains very little order. (iii) Order is a necessary part of the world's existence. If everything was random and nothing suited a purpose then the word would not exist.
Any world will appear designed because chaotic creations do not survive.
We must be able to prove that order comes from God, but this, of course, is impossible to prove. (i) We don't know for certain that all order aroused due to an intelligent idea. Hume said that self-sustaining order could have appeared by chance. Hume utilises Epicurus' idea of infinite time to argue that apparent design could occur randomly. POINT THREE Cause and Effect It is an assumption that if we look at the effects we can infer a cause.
e.g.an assumption that if we look at the world we can infer God.
Aquinas believed that this was possible however Hume attacked this reasoning saying that cause and effect doesn't operate simplistically. POINT FOUR Not the Christian God.... If we do assume a creator, why must it be the Christian God?
Our world is finite and imperfect world so why must there be a perfect God behind it? We do not know by looking at the world if God is loving, caring or good. He could have been stupid, mirroring ideas of an apprentice god who went on to create better worlds, or accidentally stumbled across this design with errors. POINT FIVE More than one God... The world might not have been made just by one God, so why do we assume this?
It could have been created by a team of gods, or a team of demons. Many people work together to create machines-there can be more than one God. POINT SIX Universe is unique The universe is unique so we cannot fully say what it is like, what is could have been or how it came into being-we have no experience of any other way that might have been. CONCLUSION Which of Hume's criticisms are the strongest and why? Richard Swinburne replies to Hume's criticism:
The view that the universe is a product of chance becomes less believable as time progresses and order remains.
We can tell some of God's attributes from the design of the universe (e.g. God must be powerful.)
The existence of evil does no affect the teleological argument because it doesn't aim to prove the benevolence and omnipotence of God.
The principle of Ockham's razor states we should always accept the simplest explanation-so there is no reason to think there is more than one designer.
It is no unreasonable to ask questions about something that is unique. Cruelty of Nature World gratuitously cruel
Living things inflict cruelty on each other and seem to be designed for that purpose!
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