Teleological Argument For The Existence Of God

This paper will analyze the statement put frontward by William Paley in 1802, in his Natural Theology. Paley offers an statement from design that purports to demo a clear and distinguishable ground why 1 should keep a belief in God, due to the built-in characteristics of the universe. It is attempted in this paper to foremost: show that the statement should be rejected on the evidences of missing a rationally streamlined set of premises and decisions ; and secondly: that the unfavorable judgments made by David Hume refering the statement keep more weight than is by and large granted by other philosophers, and should hold convinced one even before the coming of Darwinian theory. Added to this, it will be considered as to whether or non Darwin really did destruct teleological statements everlastingly.

William Paley ’ s teleological statement is but one illustration of the preparation of an statement from design, but however one that deserves some attending. Although the beginnings of the thesis can be moderately traced back every bit far as ancient Greek doctrine, in the signifier of Lucilius Bablos, Paley ’ s version was the true precursor for ulterior deliberations on the topic, as it was the first to truly effort to confirm God ’ s being by appealing to an illation to the best account on the evidences of intuitively discernible data point. However, this may non be a merely reading.

Academic anxiety?
Get original paper in 3 hours and nail the task
Get your paper price

124 experts online

Possibly one could state that Paley ’ s statement is deductive, in the sense that he foremost establishes a rule and, coupled with other apparently plausible premises, uses it in order to make his coveted decision. Although he invariably uses the word ‘ illation ’ , it is far from clear that he is really deducing anything, securing to the general use of the term. In any event, there is small uncertainty that Paley became the ancestor for later authors such as Tennant, Swinburne and du Nouy, who all proposed broader based statements of the same subject, along inductive or illation to the best account lines.

Approximately speech production, teleological statements are those that appeal to the particular characteristics, or facets, of the universe that appear to be designed and purposive, correspondent to the instances of human design. For illustration, one might see complex biological systems such as eyes, digestive or generative constructions, and so on. They are normally put probabilistically, reasoning that the most plausible account is that of a universe interior decorator and Godhead – one with intelligence and intents. It is non clear that Paley ’ s statement was intended to be merely so, but more on this at a ulterior phase.

Paley ’ s statement is rather simple in kernel and is presented in a slightly poetic and instead inventive manner. Paley first imagines what kind of ideas one would hold faltering across a stone. He concludes that no-one should be surprised at the presence of the stone, and that it barely requires a specific account: it would be rather plausible to presume that the stone merely was, and had ever been.

The find of the stone is so compared to the determination of a ticker. Paley claims that one should instantly recognize it as the work of an intelligent interior decorator, even if one had ne’er seen a ticker earlier. He makes the claim that by the ticker ’ s really intrinsic makeup it could clearly be concluded the knowing building of an intelligent interior decorator: the assorted parts and their composing, together with a recognizable map, would necessarily take us to believe that it was non simply a randomly formed entity. Nor should we doubt that the ticker is the merchandise of intelligent design even if another ticker produced it ; for we should simply reason that it was designed for such a intent.

He claims that “ Design must hold a interior decorator ” and “ Contrivance a planner ” , and that even if one were to run the ticker production back in an infinite reasoning backward at that place would needfully be a demand for the being of a interior decorator. In fact, the being of a watchmaking ticker would merely beef up the hypothesis of a interior decorator, for it would do the ticker an even more complex system. So, Paley concludes, if it is the instance that intelligent design can be seen in tickers, so it should besides be recognised instantly in nature. Hence, the universe is the merchandise of intelligent design, and that interior decorator is God.

There are two ways of puting out this statement in formal footings. The first to be dealt with is the most common reading of the statement: an inductive, or illation to the best account analysis. We may put out the statement therefore:

  •  There are some things, like tickers, that can be instantly realised as the work of an intelligent agent, or interior decorator.
  • This is something that we can gain with no anterior cognition of the object ’ s being or peculiar belongingss: it is a affair of clear intuition on our behalf.
  • Nature contains complex biological systems that serve distinguishable maps.
  • These systems are ( extremely ) comparable to things like tickers in footings of holding a typical intent or map, Internet Explorer: intuitive grounds of knowing design.
  • ( Hence ) It is at least plausible to believe that natural biological systems owe their distinguishable belongingss and maps to an intelligent interior decorator.
  • The best ( and possibly merely ) account there is for the evident design in nature is to keep that the universe and its animals are the work of an intelligent interior decorator.
  • The most rational thing for us to believe, given this, is that the universe is the merchandise of an intelligent interior decorator, and that interior decorator is God.

Next, one may see the statement along deductive lines, although this is possibly an unjust reading:

  • Watches contain complex mechanisms composed of intricate parts that serve a recognizable map.
  • A ticker would non, and could non, have arisen from a random distribution or opportunity constellation of its component parts.
  • ( Hence ) A ticker is instantly recognizable as the work of an intelligent interior decorator.
  • Nature contains biological entities, such as the human oculus, that are complex systems composed of intricate parts that serve recognizable maps.
  •  These biological entities could non hold arisen from a random distribution or opportunity constellation of molecules.
  • If a ticker is instantly recognizable as the work of an intelligent interior decorator, so the same must be said of complex biological entities.
  •  The universe is the creative activity of an intelligent interior decorator, and that interior decorator is God.

There is much to be said for both signifiers of the statement. David Hume stands as the most noteworthy rival of the teleological statement, even though his unfavorable judgments have historically held small support. In his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, Hume offers many expostulations through the voice of the sceptic Philo, with whom he seems to sympathize. Hume ’ s proposal is fundamentally that the premises of the teleological statement do non imply the decision of the being of an omnipotent, omniscient and benevolent God with any necessity. He points out that the belongingss of the universe do non look to fit up with the indispensable theistic impression of God.

First, it would non look that the universe is infinite – yet God is. More significantly, the universe does non look perfect – would this connote an imperfect Godhead? Hume offers a host of other possible decisions that could be rationally drawn from the statement ’ s premises, chiefly refering other campaigners for the function of universe Godhead ; an gathering of Gods, a not-so-perfect God that is simply in the experimental phases of planing a universe, or even a devil. He besides points out that evident design does non ask the demand for a interior decorator – it could be merely beastly fact.

If one were to take Paley ’ s statement from the deductive position, it is clearly invalid: there exists a possible universe in which the premises are true, yet God, in the pretense required by theists, does non be. However, the general consensus has been that the statement is an illation to the B est account. It is non clear that this is the right analysis, but allow us presume that it is for now.

It would look that most people have disregarded Hume ’ s goads chiefly because they believe that he lacked a suited surrogate hypothesis explicating biological administration. Dawkins claims that the organized complexness of the universe requires an account, and that Hume merely “ criticised the logic of utilizing evident design in nature as positive grounds for the being of a God, ” without offering a plausible replacement. Sober agrees in portion with Dawkins in that “ the job is that Hume has no serious surrogate account for the phenomena he discusses. ” Conversely, Sober states that it is non unreasonable to believe the design statement refutable without a different elucidation.

For illustration, Sober claims, “ this could go on if the hypothesis of an intelligent interior decorator were incoherent or paradoxical, ” although he sees “ no such defect in the argument. ” Above all, what is being claimed by such responses is that the decision of an intelligent interior decorator is strongly supported by the statement ’ s predating premises, therefore taking us to reason that Paley ’ s statement should hold been successful in its clip. What advocates of such a position will claim is that the statement could merely be justifiably rejected post-Darwinian theory, as this is the first outgrowth of a appropriately acceptable replacement hypothesis, or a better account.

This peculiar position is fatally flawed. Hume ’ s unfavorable judgments can be used, along with other discernible intuitive grounds, to explicate responses to the Dawkins and Sober position, without appealing to a natural choice theory. A manner in which this might be done is to demo that another account for the grounds of design could be even more plausible than God. We may explicate this similar so:

  •  There are some things, like tickers, that can instantly be recognised as the work of an intelligent interior decorator.
  •  Watchs are recognizable as plants of an intelligent interior decorator through nil more than a strong intuition: one demand non hold any anterior cognition of tickers ’ being.
  •  Nature contains complex biological systems.
  •  These systems are ( strongly ) comparable to tickers in footings of demoing grounds for design.
  • ( Hence ) It is at least plausible to keep that the universe is the merchandise of intelligent design.
  • The best account there is for the evident design in nature is to keep that the universe and its animals are the work of an intelligent interior decorator.
  •  The complex biological systems in nature are flawed: they do non run every bit expeditiously as even some things created by people.
  • These systems are frequently the cause of hurting and agony in the animals they pertain to ; eg: childbearing. Some of the systems cause hurting as a portion of their distinguishable intent ; eg: nervous systems.
  • If the universe is the merchandise of intelligent design, these systems were deliberately created.
  • The most rational thing for us to believe given all of this, is that an intelligent interior decorator created the universe, and that interior decorator is Satan.

One would ne’er claim to keep this statement as acceptable, but it seems at least, if non more, acceptable than Paley ’ s statement. Therefore, there are non merely other possible accounts ( if one accepts the premises, of class ) ; there are potentially better 1s. Here the evidently weak nexus between the premises and the decision has been exploited ; a job that many theological statements suffer from – in geting at the necessary decision of the Christian God ’ s being. Added to this, in particular response to Sober, we could easy challenge the alleged coherency of God being the intelligent interior decorator, by appealing to something like the job of immorality. Does the intrinsic construct of God hold a slightly contradictory note if He was to be the interior decorator of an evidently flawed universe?

We may next see the existent feasibleness of the premises. An interesting point of treatment may be to inquire about the proposed analogy between tickers and biological beings. This is to state, we might inquire at the plausibleness of Premise 4, from our first preparation of the statement in illation to the best account footings. It does look sensible to accept that tickers are clearly recognizable as the work of intelligent design. However, this may really good be due to the fact tickers are made up of inanimate parts and that it is about pathetic to believe that as such they could come together into a gloss of functionality of their will. It is non wholly clear that the intuitive account for tickers should widen to biological entities, for the ground that the two things are really distinguishable from one another.

The most revealing blow to Paley ’ s premises – sociologically talking – came from Darwin, when he proposed another account for the grounds of design in nature, in the signifier of evolutionary theory. This posed a serious job for possibly the most of import premiss in Paley ’ s statement, represented as Premise 6 in our first preparation. Finally, the esoteric members of Paley ’ s skeptics were provided with a apparently more believable account. This, though, did non by any agencies spell the concluding death of teleological statements, as Dawkins and Sober would hold us believe. Paley ’ s apparently dead thesis has been late exhumed due to developments in cosmology ; to hopefully hold natural philosophies take a breath some life into its Darwin scorched lungs.

The signifier that poses the most concern for Darwinian theory is that refering the job of how precisely it was that conditions arose to let development to get down. The thought is put frontward by John Leslie in The Evidence of Fine Tuning, where he claims that given the type of existence we inhabit it was really improbable that conditions should of all time originate to let life to be. He says that due to the immense improbableness of the conditions looking, it seems we require a distinguishable account as how this should be so – and that account is best described as a Godhead ‘ all right tuner ’ ; viz. , God.

It is wholly apparent that one would hold a great sum of trouble appealing entirely to a procedure of natural choice to challenge Leslie ’ s statement. This requires us to assail the reason of the illation, and once more this is nowhere better done than in Hume ’ s Dialogues. Alternatively, or in add-on to, we could merely state that God is non the best account, even if we do non hold an incontestable account yet: there is nil to state that this will non go available to us in future developments in natural philosophies.

Some will necessarily experience unsated with this retort, but one could still inquire a theist if Leslie ’ s statement, or any other teleological statement for that affair, had offered a different decision, such as the being of a juvenile, larning God, there would be any justifiable ground to presume this was wrong, given their current temperaments towards the reason of the illation. Besides, one might doubt that God provides a entirely satisfactory history of the existence ’ s history either: there is much unexplained in footings of the ‘ Godhead program ’ . It would look that the teleological statement is doomed to failure, unless some more concrete empirical grounds is discovered that would possibly beef up the illation, for there seems no ground for one to accept God as the intelligent interior decorator, even if one accepts there is a godly interior decorator.


  1. Paley, W. “ Natural Theology ” , Chapters I and II, 1802
  2. Hume, D. “ Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion ” , 1779
  3. Dawkins, R. “ The Blind Watchmaker ” , 1986
  4. Sober, E. “ Creationism ” , 1993
  5. Leslie, J. “ The Evidence of Fine Tuning ” , 1989
  6. Paley, W. “ Natural Theology ” , Chapters I and II, 1802
  7. Hume, D. “ Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion ” , 1779
  8. Dawkins, R. “ The Blind Watchmaker ” , 1986
  9. Sober, E. “ Creationism ” , 1993
  10. Leslie, J. “ The Evidence of Fine Tuning ” , 1989

This essay was written by a fellow student. You may use it as a guide or sample for writing your own paper, but remember to cite it correctly. Don’t submit it as your own as it will be considered plagiarism.

Need a custom essay sample written specially to meet your requirements?

Choose skilled expert on your subject and get original paper with free plagiarism report

Order custom paper Without paying upfront

Teleological Argument For The Existence Of God. (2017, Jul 15). Retrieved from