Professor Alex Silverman
The teleological argument for the existence of God
The teleological argument, also called the argument from design, is the proof for the existence of the deity. Since there are many versions of the teleological argument, I should introduce at the very beginning of the passage that I would be mainly focus on Paley’s version of argument. In his Natural Theology, Paley simply states that when we see something is intended for a purpose, it’s reasonable for us to assume that this thing has been made for a reason, i.e. been designed by a designer. Thus, the same law must apply in the universe we are living in. A supreme being must design the order, pattern and the consistency of the universe, and we call this designer “God.”
Let’s first look at how Paley addresses those issues. His arguments are as follows:
1. The universe resembles the human craftworks (E.g. the watches Paley mentions in his passage) in the purposefulness and the order
2. The human craftworks exhibit the purposefulness and the order because they are intelligently designed
3. Therefore, the universe is a product of intelligent design as well.
4. But the universe is more complicated and more gigantic than the human craftworks
5. Thus we can assume that the designer who designs the universe must be more powerful and more intelligent. Unlike the cosmological argument, which provides the statement start with the existence of the contingent beings then concerns the existence of a maker with the power to account for existence of those contingent things, teleological arguments initiates with specific objects with certain qualities those with purpose and order then provide us with the clear direction of where we should trace for the behaviors and the paths of the natural behaviors-------the intelligent and powerful designer. The universe has revealed an intricacy and precision that calls for the existence of a creator, who has to be firstly powerful, secondly all knowing, rather than a universe created by random chemical processes and unintelligent physical forces.
On the one hand, the teleological argument for the existence of God is easy to comprehend and the argument does possess some merits since humans are designers by nature, and it is natural to think in terms of things having purpose. On the other hand, the argument does have some flaws. The strongest objection, as far as I’m concerned, says that even though we assume that there does exist a designer, that designer, namely God, may not be as powerful and intelligent as Paley described. Paley seems to state that the more complicated the world is, the more powerful and more intelligent the designer seems to be. But actually, the more complicated the universe is advocated or presented by the promoters of the intelligent design argument as a supposed indication of intelligence and powerfulness at work, then the more it works against the conclusion that there must be an intelligent and powerful designer. If there exists the so-called intelligent and powerful designer; there would be no need for all the complexities. To put that in another way, if one is so intelligent and omnipotent; why not make everything simple and easy to interpret? We all know that for something like a machine, the more complicated it is designed, the more likely mistakes are made when constructing the machine and the harder for users to use that machine. Likewise, if human and other creatures exist for some purpose, and let’s say God designs the purposes, why we are still wasting time discovering our own purpose in the first place? If we have that kind of purpose the designer, let’s say God wish us to achieve, why don’t he just remind us of our own purposes so that we can better execute that in the way he wants? Moreover, if God is that intelligent and omnipotent, he should set things easy for us to reach our purposes. Even though