Examine the Key Features of the Teleological Argument?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 2232
  • Published : May 17, 2011
Open Document
Text Preview
Examine the key features of the Teleological argument.

The word teleological comes from the Greek word ‘Telos’ which means purpose. The teleological argument is a posteriori and like the cosmological argument, attempts to prove the existence of God. It claims that certain phenomena within the universe appear to display features of design and are perfectly adapted to fulfil their function. Therefore, if features of the universe are so perfectly designed, for example the structure and function of the heart, then there must be a designer, which points towards the existence of God.

The teleological argument is based around the idea that the universe in some way demands the existence of an intelligent being that designed the universe to allow life. For example Thomas Aquinas included a form of the teleological argument as the fifth of his five ways. Aquinas presented his fifth ‘way’ to prove God exists and argues that nature seems to have an order and a purpose to it. Nothing inanimate can be of use unless there is someone or something to give it purpose, or a guiding hand as Aquinas stated it. Inanimate objects could not have ordered themselves – such as the planets – as they do not have the capacity or intelligence to do this. Therefore, someone with intelligence must have put them in order, which would be God.

Additionally, William Paley’s analogy of the watchmaker states that the order evident in the universe demands an explanation. The watch serves as an analogy for the world as it demonstrates design and purpose, hence the argument is one of design qua purpose. All parts of the watch work together to fulfill a function, which is to tell the time, just as the universe does – it functions to allow life. An intelligent designer had to make the watch work so perfectly, which, when this logic is applied to the earth, implies a intelligent designer of the earth which cannot be described by chance. Also he claims, if the watch does not work properly it is of...
tracking img