the teleological argument n.
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The Teleological Argument

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  1. The Teleological Argument The idea that there is evidence of design in the universe which suggests a designer

  2. The classical argument • The universe has order, purpose and regularity • The complexity of the universe shows evidence of design • Such design implies a designer • The designer of the universe is God

  3. Two arguments for design • Design Qua (relating to) Regularity • The universe works to a particular order • Planets rotate • There are natural laws • Design Qua Purpose • Parts of the universe appear to fit for a purpose

  4. Design Qua Regularity • Thomas Aquinas’ The fifth way • Non-intelligent things produce order • They require an intelligent being to do this • “Now whatever lacks knowledge cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence;” • Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica

  5. Design Qua Purpose • Response to 17th century mechanistic physics • Isaac Newton (1642-1727) – laws of gravity and motion • Universe is like a machine with all the parts fitting and working together like clockwork • Pierre Laplace (1749 – 1827) – no need for God • One day we will know everything through science

  6. Design Qua Purpose • William Paley (1743-1805) • Responded to the new scientific ideas • Book – Natural Theology (1802) • Compared a ‘stone’ with a ‘watch’ • Would find that the parts of a watch had been put together for a purpose • An intelligent person would infer a designer • Similarly the parts of the universe infer a designer • Similarly the parts of the body infer a designer

  7. William Paley • The first part of Paley’s argumnet is Design Qua Purpose • The second part of his argument is Design Qua Regularity • Using Newton’s discoveries, he points out that the rotation of the planets could not have come about by chance • He concludes design by an external agent - God

  8. David Hume (1711-1776) • Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion (1779) • Why Conclude a beginning? • Why conclude the creator to be the God of theism? • Why not one or more lesser gods? • Flaws in design – suffering, death – support the idea of an imperfect designer

  9. David Hume (1711-1776) • Hume’s arguments against design: • Humans have limited knowledge and experience • Analogy of human design suggests many gods not one • Analogy of universe to machine not good • More like a vegetable that grows • Epicurean Hypothesis points to chance

  10. Epicurean Hypothesis • At time of creation universe consisted of random particles • Universe is eternal • Inevitable that eventually an ordered state would develop • Therefore the stability and order is the result of random movement of particles not a designer

  11. John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) • An empiricist • knowledge grounded in experience • God is described as • All-powerful • All-knowing • All-loving • There is suffering in the world • An all-loving God would not allow suffering • Therefore either God • could not avoid suffering, did not know about it or does not care

  12. Charles Darwin (1809 -1882) • The Origins of Species (1859) • Random variations within species result in • Survival of those with best advantage (the fittest) • Demise of those disadvantaged • Therefore a process of natural selection rather than design by God

  13. Putting it altogether • Write bullet points that show how you would go about answering the following exam question: • Explain the main arguments for design as presented by Aquinas and Paley (33) • ‘Hume makes a more convincing case than Paley.’ Discuss (17)