The teleological argument is one of the five arguments for the existence of God. It attempts to prove God’s existence by using our experience of the world or universe around us. Thus making it a posteriori in nature. Teleological arguments can essentially be broken down into two main types: pre-Darwinian and post-Darwinian. However, Pre-Darwinian are considered to be more traditional arguments. These arguments can be further broken down into ‘design qua regularity’ and ‘design qua purpose’. These two subdivisions are connected to Aquinas and Paley. The teleological/design argument is derived from the Greek work Telos meaning end, goal or purpose. It is this end or purpose that both Aquinas and Paley searched for that would suggest the existence of a divine creator i.e. God.
Paley’s design qua purpose argument focuses on outlining a hypothetical situation and then drawing conclusions about the nature of existence from this hypothetical. The analogy begins with Paley asking us to imagine crossing a wasteland and ‘pitching your foot against a stone’. If you were to pick up this stone that you have found he suggests that you would not be immediately ask the question ‘where does this stone come from?’ as there would be nothing remarkable about it. However, if you continued walking and came across an old fashioned pocket watch, you would not be able to dismiss the watch as you did with the stone. Paley argues that this is due to the complexity of the watch. The cogs, wheels and counter weights in the mechanism, on closer inspection, would demonstrate tis complexity. Moreover, if the pieces of the watch were placed in any other order, the watch would not work or it would not fulfil its purpose of telling the time. Yet the pocket watch fulfils its purpose of telling the time. Paley states that on discovery of this watch, you would not have to stipulate a watch maker or designer because of the complex nature of the mechanism and its obvious purpose for telling the time.
Using similar logic, Paley continues his analogy by moving onto his observations of the universe and world around us. In particular he focuses on the human eye to demonstrate complexity and purpose. Paley observed that the human eye was made up of different complex components: the lens, iris and cornea and the coming together of these different parts could not have come about by sheer chance alone as the eye is too complex. He suggested that just as in the case of the watch with its clear complexity and purpose, we must conclude a designer of the eye because of its obvious purpose of seeing. If the eye were put together in a different manner either it wouldn’t see at al or would only provide partial sight, either case would see it falling short of its purpose. For Paley, clear complexity and purpose of the eye, and something as straightforward as animals having the number of teats that correspond to the number of young points to clear evidence of design in the world. The designer or provider of purpose in the universe for Paley, is the God of Christianity.
He therefore argued that when you examine the watch, it is obvious that nothing in the watch is there by chance or random. Instead the watchmaker designed the watch so that each component has a specific purpose. In the same way, nothing in the universe is there by random or by chance either. A designer gave each part of the universe a special purpose and this designer is God.
Paley anticipated some of his critics when he argued that one does not need to see a watch being made to know it had a designer. Neither do we need to know the designer or how they made it. He also addressed the problem of evil by suggesting that even if the design goes wrong, this does not mean there is no designer. Our world has evil but this does not mean there is no God.
The universe has no purpose. Discuss. 10 marks.
I disagree with this statement as everything has a