Sample donated: Dominick Farmer
Last updated: November 23, 2019
The word teleological came from the Greek word telos, which means end or purpose.
The nature of this is that something positive occurs. It is usually known as a design argument. All design arguments are inductive and a posteriori; there are numerous types of arguments with various philosophers giving them different names. The Teleological Argument is one of the famous design arguments and has been disputed by many philosophers but also design arguments in general.Teleology, in philosophy is about a term applied to any system attempting to explain events in terms ends, purposes and objectives that are trying to be achieved. William Paley (1743-1805) developed the Teleological Argument further. He said that, one day you were walking in a forest and you saw a stone, it would be absurd to ask how did the stone get there in the first place.
First of all, a person would not likely ask a question such as that about the stone but the stone could have been there all the time and so a conclusion will not be discovered.However, if you were walking in the forest one day, as you were walking you noticed a watch and then examined the watch to work out its function, you would come to the conclusion that the designer of the watch is intelligent and it is not product of random formation. The reason that the assumptions are not made for the stone is that the watch exhibits the appearance of a design due to the variety of different parts working together to produce a motion.
Paley uses the watch analogy to direct it at the universe.He said that the universe is complex and that everything said about the watch could be said about the universe. The maker of the universe is referred to as God. Paley mainly based his argument on Newtonian physics.
Newton said that the universe obeys certain fixed laws, for example, gravity. According to Paley, an intelligent designer created these laws that have been discovered. Palely used evidence from astronomy and Newton’s law of gravity and motion to demonstrate that there is a designer for the universe.He pointed out that the rotation of the planets in the solar system and it also obeyed the same universal laws. Yet he concluded that this did not come by chance and that an external creator must be created the universe and that the creator must be God. Thomas Aquinas supported the Teleological Argument, as this is the fourth way of his Five Ways. He argued that the world established obvious traces of an intelligent designer.
He said that the natural processes and objects seemed to adjust with certain aims in mind and to say that they have a purpose.The natural processes appear to have been designed and that objects do not design themselves and so this arrives at the conclusion that they are caused and designed by a supreme being, which is God. Aquinas uses this argument that it is rational to believe in God. Another philosopher who supported the Teleological Argument was Richard Swinburne. He applied the modified versions of the Design Argument and attempts to illustrate that theism makes better sense of all evidence that are available than any alternative.
He was not particularly bothered about spatial order, for example, fish in the sea and bees in the air.He believed that the Design Arguments strength was in temporal order of the universe. It was the organization of the universe that he found incredible and scientific laws that had provided conditions necessary for life. Swinburne said that a world in which, human beings are independent to improve or harm are within narrow limits.
The existence of orderliness and natural law proves that the universe was designed for this purpose. He also said that without the argument then human beings are the highest beings in creation and the explanation for the universe being as it is.When people say that there is excessive suffering in the world to justify an all powerful and loving God. Swinburne replied to those people by saying that they wanted an unrealistic world where nothing matters. To achieve the highest virtues then pain and suffering is a part of it. If there was no death, no murders would occur and this also meant birth and self-sacrifice. He also said that God set boundaries for human suffering. Death is provided to end suffering for a particular person, which indicates a sympathetic God.
There have been many criticisms of the Design Argument.One of the criticisms came from David Hume. He criticised the argument twenty-three earlier before Paley developed the argument. He said that the concept of a design was limited. How could people assume that God designed a world or even the universe when we do not know what it is like to design a world and so how can we be sure of a designer? If the world was designed, God might not have designed the world since the world is finite and contains defects. If like causes have like effects then there is no reason to argue for an infinitive perfect designer.Since there is existence of evil and suffering, this cannot really support a conclusion of a good and perfect God.
There could have been a committee of gods that created the universe. He said that the universe could be unique; it might have came in existence naturally like flowers. He also said that matter could have inner tendency towards order. A vegetable is a result of order that arises naturally. When people look at a vegetable, they do not consider who designed the vegetable. The same could be said about the universe, people see the universe as a clock instead of a vegetable.
Vegetables come into existence naturally, artificial products such as watches require intelligent designers. Therefore the universe could be seen as a vegetable instead of a clock. Hume demonstrates how easy it is to ridicule some of the argument. The analogy that Paley uses is not effective since it jumps from a mechanical object to an organic object. An effective analogy requires more than one analogy and there is only one universe. Immanuel Kant was another philosopher who disapproved the Design Argument.He said that the knowledge that the general public have was interplay between what has been observed and the observing.
When it comes to the principle of causality, it is something that is not observed. The mind automatically assumes that there is order in the world and that someone created it because it is how we see other things in the world. We visualise and create order with our mind. The act of talking or writing about the world creates order and we create order with our words. According to Kant, conclusions must be confined based on order and causality to the world of space and time.The suggestions that God created and designed the world means that people have to think outside of the world and these rules cannot be applied in the outside world. Due to the fact that God transcends space and time, the same rules cannot be applied than those in the outside world. This makes the theories of causes and designs about God invalid.
Charles Darwin was an English naturalist who created the theory of natural selection, which is the creation of new species formed by existing ones with the absent involvement of God, after Paley wrote his famous essay.So, Darwin challenged the Design Argument, he gave explanations for the design of the world without referring to God. He also offered mechanical explanations. Darwin’s Natural Selection had difference with the Christians beliefs.
First of all, the Genesis said that God had made man from God’s own image and whereas natural selection had maintained the man’s higher faculties had evolved naturally. The Genesis said God directly created man and this questioned the accuracy of the Bible. The Roman Catholic encyclical Humanae Generis had denied the existence of Adam as a historical person.However, generally, Natural Selection undermined the Design Argument due to its mechanism that it could explain what was thought to be the work of God. At one time, Christians left the church and did not believe in God any more. Now, majority of Christians accept Natural Selection and still believe in God. They think that Natural Selection does not disagree with their beliefs in God.
In a way, it can be said that Natural Selections might explain the mechanisms of how God brings about the purposes that God intends to. Darwin himself noticed that Natural Selection could not explain everything.For example, it could not explain human beings care for weaker members of their species. There is another theory that supports the Design Argument.
This is the Anthropic Principe. It claims that the universe has been structured to be suitable for the evolution of intelligent life. Any single minor change, for example, the strong nuclear force, life would not exist. It has lead to thinkers that the universe seems to be designed for the development of life.
The Anthropic Principle has its weak points and its strong points.The weak points are that if things were not as they would not have been here to notice the Anthropic Principle. Another weak point is that it is self-evident. The strong points are that it claims it is the fortuitous string of chances is an indication of a designer. Another strong point is that it would point out that it would that it resorts to the concept of chance, with its difficulties.
Teleologists have frequently identified the purpose in the universe with God’s will. The Teleological Argument for the existence of God holds that order within the world cannot be accidental and that there is a designer.For the Design Argument to be taken seriously it must notice its facts about the world from which it is working from. The facts include Natural Selection: the presence of beauty and the higher human capacities, human beings causing pain to each other are beyond the control of human beings. However, the argument relies on probability and judgements made by individuals. The argument requires more persuasiveness than to its own logic. Since science is continually expanding, the argument requires logic and different scientific views will have different opinions about the creation of the universe.