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Teleological Argument for God’s Existence According to Paley and Humes Critique Term Paper

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Does God exist? Is There Proof? Can one know that for sure God does exist? The question of God’s existence is one of controversy and hard to place an answer on. According to religion the existence of mankind is out of there being a God. Well, this could be so but science seems to differ, it has brought about different theories on the existence of everything. For millions of years there has been controversy on the existence of God, how everything came to be is based on a Supreme Being, but the question is this Supreme Being God?

God’s existence is compared to that of an artist, a watchmaker, a designer of whom when planning his art did not know if it would do well, behave in the way he intended it to behave, but had faith that it would. As an architect he sat down and came up with a design he believed would be perfect both in physical looks and behavior. Paley compares God to a watchmaker who designed a watch about man and other natural things, designed and put together a watch piece by piece. Each piece working together with the other pieces to accomplish a variety of tasks although not perfect … “the purpose of the machinery, the design and the designer might be evident and in the case supposed, would be evident in whatever way we accounted for the irregularity of the movement, or whether we could account for it or not. A machine doesn’t need to be perfect, to show with what design it was made: still less necessary, where the only question is whether it was made with any design at all.”… (Paley 48)

By questioning the stone on the path and how it got there or who put it there? Man questions how he was created and supports this by again questioning himself how he got to where he is, had he been here forever or did he evolve with time. The watch and the watchmaker support the evolution of time through discrediting their earlier hypothesis, that the watch had been designed and put there by someone, the watchmaker and for a reason …”for this reason, and for no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose”… (Paley 47). The workmanship that God has put into his creation can never be repeated or recreated by any known human being thus the argument of the existence of a Supreme Being, God.

However every part of the design presented by the watch compliments the aspects of nature both human and animal only difference is nature is far much greater than any calculation. According to Paley, the assumption from the observation of the complicated design of the universe to the conclusion of a universe-maker who made it and deliberated its use would be unavoidable. The complexity of the watch and the watchmaker explains the intricacy of the world and how it works.

We may disapprove of Paley’s argument but according to him, the objections are insufficient to disapprove the argument. With several objections to his argument, we never knew an artist capable of making a world this complicated and how the job would be accomplished; he argues that as much as we may not know who the artist is there should be no reason to believe there is none. It is also noted that the part of the universe does not work perfectly hence the designer is not evident he counters this by saying it is not a must we show that something works perfectly in order to know that there is a designer which is actually true to some extent in that a designer may design something and it is not guaranteed that it will work perfectly.

Critics of Paley argue that the world is one of many combinations and thus is a prospect event, hence the universe could be out of chance but Paley says the design could not be as a result of chance. Paley states, “…Nor would any man in his senses think the existence of the watch, with its various machinery, accounted for, by being told that it was one out of possible combinations of material forms…”(47) Thus, Paley claims the idea that the complexity of design in the universe could come about by chance is the notion of a fool. Many critics of this argument have countered it in many ways, in my opinion, Paley’s argument is justified as nothing exists out of mere chance there is a driving force to the existence of everything and so is the universe. It is out of the design of a supreme being that the universe came to be.

“Is the world considered, in general, and as it appears to us in this life, different from what a man or such a limited being would, beforehand, expect from a very powerful, wise, and benevolent deity?” (Hume 50) Why God would let man suffer and he create him? Is this a question many would ask? What kind of world would one expect from an all-knowing, all-powerful and morally perfect being? A world where no one has to suffer would be perfect.

“And from thence I conclude that however consistent the world may be, allowing certain suppositions and conjectures, with the ideas of such a deity, it can never afford us an inference concerning his existence.”(Hume 52). The major point is that Hume declines to argue on the point that due to the vice here on earth that a supreme being is not present but in fact it is because of the sin we cannot conclude that God exists. Since there is a major presence of evil there is a likely hood he does not exist

Hume argues that there are four conditions which warranty the existence of evil and they include; The design of animal creation concerning pains and pleasures, Conducting the world by general laws (secret springs of the Universe), it is through generosity that the powers and faculties are shared amongst nature and the erroneous craftsmanship with which the ideology of nature comes from. According to these circumstances, we conclude that, with the current state of the world with its ups and downs, immorality, and decadence, it would be hard to believe it was fashioned with any decency at all or by a person with high moral standards.

According to Hume’s four possible conclusions concerning nature is that the world is full of righteousness and wickedness, they may be equally present or one outweighs the other depending on the situation. He rules out the first two by showing that the world has in it beautiful and ugly, pleasurable and painful features. He rules out the third with the argument against Manichaeism: the uniformity of nature shows that there are not two different wills running the world, that it is neither good nor evil. According to these four hypotheses, the limited conclusion to draw from Hume is not that he has proven that there is no God, but rather that there is no reason or no grounds on which to conclude that there is one.

In conclusion, Hume argues from a designer’s perspective while Paley argues from an architect’s point of view one looking at it from the exterior while the other gets into deeper details. Paley tells us of the existence of an all-powerful supreme being based on the design while Hume’s argument rules him out by saying there are no grounds on which to conclude He exists.

Works Cited

Hume, David, “Why Does God Let People Suffer?” from The Natural History of Religion, Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1976. Print.

Hume, David. “Why Does God Let People Suffer?” from The Natural History of Religion, Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1976. 50-54. Print.

Paley, William. “The Teleological argument” From natural Theology and the Horae Pauline, New York: American Tract Society. 1853. Print.

Paley, William. “The Teleological argument” From natural Theology and the Horae Pauline, New York: American Tract Society, 1853. 47-54. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2022. "Teleological Argument for God’s Existence According to Paley and Humes Critique." January 10, 2022. https://ivypanda.com/essays/teleological-argument-for-gods-existence-according-to-paley-and-humes-critique/.

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IvyPanda. (2022) 'Teleological Argument for God’s Existence According to Paley and Humes Critique'. 10 January.

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