While discussing the teleological argument for God’s existence, some fundamentals of the philosophical issue must be considered. First of all, it is necessary to point out that there are a lot of contradictions concerning the existence of God. For instance, one is to keep in mind that the so-called ontological vision is recognized to be one of the most reliable arguments, which proves the existence of the Sole Supreme Being (Graham par. 1).
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It is also necessary to state that there were many famous philosophers who believed in Supreme Power and denied the impact of evolution on the Universe creation. On the other hand, it should be noted that the supporters of the opposite opinion had their own arguments, which rejected the idea of God’s existence.
Thus, William Paley is considered to be a philosopher, who belongs to the first category. The Teleological Argument created by Paley gives us an opportunity to analyze the so-called pros of the philosophical issue; while the works written by other-minded philosophers provide us with important data, which influence our evaluation of Paley’s worldview.
The thesis statement
The Teleological Argument is considered to be one of the most important philosophical works, which shows proofs of God’s existence. To analyze the details of Paley’s work and understand his reasoning, one is to be familiar with some opposite views.
The fundamentals of Paley’s worldview
Generally, it must be pointed out that Paley’s teleological argument is based on logical reasoning. For instance, one can notice that the author mostly relies on comparison in his judgment. Thus, he provides us with the simplest example, comparing the history of stone origin and making a watch. At first sight, it seems that the issues have nothing in common and cannot be compared at all.
However, philosophy represents the most unusual ways various things can be analyzed and contrasted. In other words, the explanation of the philosophical difference between the two objects is following: if one stumbles on a stone, he or she will not be able to say for sure, where a stone appeared from.
It is also absurd to suggest that a stone has always been there. So, the only possible answer is that it was created by a powerful maker. Correspondingly, when speaking about a watch, one can make a conclusion that a watch is made by somebody, it is made by human being.
Thus, taking into account the above-mentioned suggestions, it becomes obvious that the Universe appeared, because it was also created by somebody. In other words, the complexity of the world implies the existence of God (or the Universe-maker) as well as the complexity of a certain mechanism also implies the existence of a mender, etc.
The major points of the philosopher’s argument
Of course, one is to keep in mind that Paley’s reasoning is considered to be full of meaning, as it is based on certain objections. In other words, one cannot deny the existence of God, because he or she has never seen the Universe-maker. Generally, it is not important whether you know the creator, or no. The most important thing, however, is that the creator exists regardless of our knowledge about him.
On the other hand, according to another objection, one can probably say that to create a watch, many people are to be involved into the process. Thus, the construction of a mechanism requires the skills of miners, distributers, etc. So, correspondently, it seems that there should be many Gods to create the Universe. In my opinion, the second objection is not easy to dispute.
However, the philosopher says that unfortunately, the mechanism various people created cannot work perfectly; so, one can state that the same can be said about the word we live in. Still, the following counter-objection is recognized to be one of the most serious problems philosophy faces.
While speaking about Paley’s existence of God, it becomes evident that the problem of evil prejudices the existence of the Universe-maker. Thus, the complexity of the mechanism is compared with extremely simple structure of a stone. But what thing can be compared with the complexity of our world? – The issue is still to be discussed.
Generally, the problem of evil was studied by many philosophers; however, I would like to highlight some important points David Hume presented. Thus, he recognized certain Circumstances Evil is created by. For instance, the author states that “Pains and Pleasures are employ’d to excite all Creatures to Action, and make them vigilant in the great Work of Self-preservation” (Hume 50). That is probably one of the key points of Hume’s work.
Other counter-arguments should be also discussed. One can state that the mechanism can require numerous functions, which were not originally designed. The same can be said about the Universe. However, the philosopher points out that it is not important whether one is familiar with the functions of a mechanism or no. The functions can exist, regardless of our knowledge about them.
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The most important thing is the main purpose of the issue. However, “there are few Parts of the Universe, which seem not to serve some purpose, and whose Removal wou’d not produce a visible Defect and Disorder in the Whole” (Hume 52). For this reason, one can make a conclusion that the main purpose of a watch seems to be obvious, but the main purpose of our world is still unknown.
As far as a mechanism can be constructed in numerous ways, it can be regarded as the so-called chance event. The same can be said about the Universe. According to Paley, the design cannot be regarded as a chance event. The supposition seems to be absurd and has no sense.
On the other hand, one can say that Paley’s argument has no sense, as human mind functions in such a way that everything can be regarded differently, and a certain order can be imposed on things irrespective of such order’s presence.
Our world functions on the basis of certain principles and laws. Paley rejects the view and says that principles cannot influence the existence of the Universe. However, the philosopher seems to see no difference between descriptive law and prescriptive one.
“The mechanism of the watch was no proof of contrivance, only a motive to induce the mind to think so” (Paley 49). The basic idea of the response is considered to be the obviousness of the Universe for people who are not prejudiced towards or against certain views. However, the philosopher did not take into consideration the relations human mind establishes all over.
The existence of the world is considered to be an outcome of sets of rules of metallic nature. The philosopher still does not differentiate between descriptive laws and prescriptive ones.
Nobody realizes what matter is. Paley, however, states that the process of observing allows us to become familiar with the design. On the other hand, one is to keep in mind that the philosopher’s statement has no proof. For this reason, it is evident that the issue is still to be discussed.
Paley’s Design Argument is based both on logical assumptions and empirical findings. However, certain counter-arguments cannot be neglected, as they are not disputed; thus, numerous issues are to be discussed. One is to keep in mind that it is still impossible to say for sure whether God exists or no.
Graham, Oppy. “Ontological Arguments.” Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. (2011). Web. <https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/ontological-arguments/>.
Hume, David. Why Does God Let People Suffer? Oxford, Clarendon Press: 1976. Print.
Paley, William. The Teleological Argument, New York, American Tract Society: 1852. Print.