A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human activities. The teleological argument suggests that, given this premise, the existence of a designer can be assumed, typically presented as God. Various concepts of teleology originated in ancient philosophy and theology. Some philosophers, such as Plato, proposed a divine Artificer as the designer; others, including Aristotle, rejected that conclusion in favor of a more naturalistic teleology.
In the Middle Ages, the Islamic philosopher Averroes introduces a teleological argument. Later, a teleological argument is the fifth of Saint Thomas Aquinas' Five Ways, his rational proofs for the existence of God. The teleological argument was continued by empiricists in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, who believed that the order in the world suggested the existence of God. William Paley developed these ideas with his version of the watch maker analogy. He argued that in the same way a watch's complexity implies the existence of its maker, so too one may infer the Creator of the universe exists, given the evident complexity of Nature. This argument resonates with a notion of the fine-tuned Universe, understood as an alternative to the anthropic principle.
Many philosophers and theologians have expounded and criticized different versions of the teleological argument. Commonly, they argue that any implied designer need not have the qualities commonly attributed to the God of classical theism. Scientists have shown alternative explanations for biological complexity, notably natural selection, with no requirement for supernatural design. From the 1990s, neo-creationism and intelligent design have presented the teleological argument while avoiding naming the designer with the aim of presenting this as science and getting it taught in public school science classes. In 2005, a U.S. Federal Court ruled that intelligent design is a religious argument and is not science, and was being used to give pseudoscientific support for creationism, the religious belief in a designer.
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... Dembski claims that such arguments are not merely beyond the purview of science often they are tacitly or overtly theological while failing to provide a serious analysis of the hypothetical objective's ... Dembski characterizes both Dawkins' and Gould's argument as a rhetorical straw man ...
Famous quotes containing the word argument:
“My argument is that War makes rattling good history; but Peace is poor reading.”
—Thomas Hardy (18401928)