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The Teleological Argument. “Design Must Have a Designer” William Paley. The Teleological Argument. To gain an understanding of the Teleological Argument To understand how the theory of evolution might present a challenge to the design argument

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the teleological argument

The Teleological Argument

“Design Must Have a Designer”

William Paley

the teleological argument1
The Teleological Argument
  • To gain an understanding of the Teleological Argument
  • To understand how the theory of evolution might present a challenge to the design argument
  • To consider my own viewpoint on the Teleological Argument
the argument for design
The Argument for Design

telos = purpose

The teleological argument starts with the idea that many things in nature appear as if they have been designed for a specific purpose.

Many philosophers have asked the question: “Does nature have a designer?”

can design happen by accident
Can design happen by accident?
  • Draw a simple flower pattern on a piece of paper and cut out the pieces.
  • Pick up the pieces and drop them onto your desk.

Try this a few times.

It’s very unlikely that the pieces will form a flower shape by chance. The only way to get a perfect flower design is to arrange them yourself.

evidence of design in nature
Evidence of Design in Nature?
  • What special abilities do some plants have?
  • Which animals have special features to help them:
  • See/hear/smell?
  • Move around?
  • Protect themselves?
  • Communicate?
  • What unique skills and abilities do humans have?
  • Can you think any other examples of possible design in nature? e.g the solar system
definition of analogy
Definition of Analogy

A form of reasoning in which a similarity between two or more things is inferred from a known similarity between them in other respects.

(Collins English Dictionary)

william paley 1743 1805
William Paley (1743-1805)

William Paley argued that nature must have a designer. He used an analogy to explain his view.

If you found a watch you would see that it is very complex and conclude that an intelligent being, a watchmaker, had designed it for the purpose of telling the time.

Paley noted that many things in nature were just as complex as a watch.

slide11
Like the watch, the human eye is very complex.

It also has a specific purpose (helping us to see).

Paley argued that if a watch has a designer then the eye must too.

Paley believed that God, like the watchmaker, had carefully designed the universe.

some questions on the teleological argument
Some questions on the teleological argument.
  • What is the meaning of the Greek word telos?
  • Why did William Paley compare God to a watchmaker?
  • Give three examples from nature that might support William Paley’s argument.
david hume 1711 1776
David Hume (1711-1776)

The Scottish philosopher David Hume claimed that Paley’s watch analogy was flawed because:

It’s not right to compare a watch to an eye because there are important differences between them (one is living while the other is manmade).

slide15
Hume also claimed that even if the world was designed, we can’t be sure it was designed by an intelligent god. There are many examples of poor design in nature.

Also we can’t be sure whether the world was designed by one god or many.

What examples can you give of poor design in nature?

charles darwin 1809 1882
Charles Darwin (1809-1882)

The main challenge to the design argument came from Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

According to Darwin complex life forms evolved from simple ones over millions of years through the process of natural selection.

darwin and the tree of life video
Darwin and the Tree of Life Video
  • How does the Bible explain the creation of living things?
  • What did Charles Darwin notice about the animals of the Galapagos Islands?
  • How have animal breeders used artificial selection to produce different breeds of animals like dogs?
  • How could the similar process of natural selection happen in the wild?
  • Why was Darwin’s book “The Origin of Species” shocking to many people at the time?
  • According to the theory of evolution what were the first living things like?
  • How has the discovery of DNA added to the theory of evolution?
slide23
For many Christians like Conor Cunningham it is possible to believe in the theory of evolution and still believe in God.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E6Sk_4qz_m0

did darwin kill god
Did Darwin Kill God?
  • Copy and complete: Some Christians have a literal view of the Genesis creation story. They believe that … Other Christians see the Genesis creation story as a symbolic or allegorical story. They think that …
  • “The theory of evolution proves that God does not exist.” How far do you agree with this statement? Give reasons for your answer.
creationism vs evolution
Creationism vs Evolution
  • I think the creation story in the book of Genesis is literally true. The theory of evolution must be false.
  • I think the Genesis story is a symbolic story - not a scientific account of creation. God may have played a part in the process of evolution.
  • I think Darwin’s theory of evolution is correct. This must mean that God does not exist.

Write down the viewpoint you agree with most.

Give reasons to support your view.