4St Thomas Aquinas A site worth visiting 1225 - 1274 Dominican Friar and Scholastic Philosopher/TheologianFaith and Reason Discover truth.Heavily Influenced by AristotleA site worth visiting
5Aquinas’ Design Argument From the Summa TheoligicaThe Fifth of the Five Ways.Simple design argument based on the presuppositions of the other four ways.The fifth way is taken from the governance of the world. We see that things which lack intelligence, such as natural bodies, act for an end, and this is evident from their acting always, or nearly always, in the same way, so as to obtain the best result. Hence it is plain that not fortuitously, but designedly, do they achieve their end. Now whatever lacks intelligence cannot move towards an end, unless it be directed by some being endowed with knowledge and intelligence; as the arrow is shot to its mark by the archer. Therefore some intelligent being exists by whom all natural things are directed to their end; and this being we call God.
6How does Aquinas Justify his Argument(s)? Used to back up all five ways.Rejects infinite regress.God as first cause/ prime mover.Since nature works for a determinate end under the direction of a higher agent, whatever is done by nature must needs be traced back to God, as to its first cause. So also whatever is done voluntarily must also be traced back to some higher cause other than human reason or will, since these can change or fail; for all things that are changeable and capable of defect must be traced back to an immovable and self-necessary first principle, as was shown in the body of the Article.
7How does Aquinas ‘demonstrate’ God’s existence? I answer that, Demonstration can be made in two ways: One is through the cause, and is called "a priori," and this is to argue from what is prior absolutely. The other is through the effect, and is called a demonstration "a posteriori"; this is to argue from what is prior relatively only to us. When an effect is better known to us than its cause, from the effect we proceed to the knowledge of the cause. And from every effect the existence of its proper cause can be demonstrated, so long as its effects are better known to us; because since every effect depends upon its cause, if the effect exists, the cause must pre-exist. Hence the existence of God, in so far as it is not self-evident to us, can be demonstrated from those of His effects which are known to us.
8William Paley - A Second Version of the Design Argument The Watchmaker Analogy
9William Paley Paley’s version of the argument is analogical: Objects in nature are analogous to man-made machines.Manmade machines are the result of intelligent design.Analogous effects will have analogous causes.Therefore, objects in nature are the result of something analogous to intelligent design.
10Extracts from Natural Theology “This mechanism being observed - it requires indeed an examination of the instrument, and perhaps some previous knowledge of the subject, to perceive and understand it; but being once, as we have said, observed and understood - the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker - that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who completely comprehended its construction and designed its use.”Published in 1802Re-iterated what Hume wrote in Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (1770) - though ironically Hume then used this pre-Paley analogical proof to show the inadequacies in the teleological Argument!
11Extracts from Natural Theology II “As far as the examination of the instrument goes, there is precisely the same proof that the eye was made for vision as there is that the telescope was made for assisting it. They are made upon the same principles, both being adjusted to the laws by which the transmission and refraction of rays of light are regulated. I speak not of the origin of the laws themselves; but such laws being fixed, the construction in both cases is adapted to them. For instance, these laws require, in order to produce the same effect, that rays of light in passing from water into the eye should be refracted by a more convex surface than when it passes out of air into the eye. Accordingly, we find that the eye of a fish, in that part of it called the crystalline lens, is much rounder than the eye of terrestrial animals. What plainer manifestation of design can there be than this difference? What could a mathematical instrument maker have done more to show his knowledge of his principle, his application of that knowledge, his suiting of his means to his end - I will not say to display the compass or excellence of his skill and art, for in these all comparison is indecorous, but to testify counsel, choice, consideration, purpose?”
12Extracts from Natural Theology III “For every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature, with the difference on the side of nature of being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation. I mean that the contrivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art in the complexity, subtlety, and curiosity of the mechanism;”“It is this which constitutes the order and beauty of the universe. God, therefore, has been pleased to prescribe limits to his own power and to work his ends within those limits. The general laws of matter have perhaps prescribed the nature of these limits.”
14Hume’s Criticisms - From the Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion Hume asks why we could not postulate more than one creator?Swinburne responds by saying: “To multiply causes without necessity is contrary to true philosophy.” Hume is aware of Ockham’s razor and responds by suggesting that this does not apply in this case as to postulate more than one creator fits in with our knowledge of the world.However, Swinburne responds by saying Hume’s hypothesis is absurd as it would be possible to see the handiwork of each creator throughout the universe and thus differences in how laws are applied.David Hume
15Hume’s First Argument - Against Cleanthes Cleanthes argument runs thus:1. All design implies a designer.2. A great design necessarily implies greatness in the designer.3. There is clearly great design in the world which is like a great machine; thus:4. There must be a great designer in the world.This is an a posteriori argument to God.Hume responds by:The argument is mere anthropomorphisationThe inadequacy of the design“The world … is the first work of some infant deity, who afterwards ashamed of his work abandoned it … and is the object of derision from his superiors.”
16Hume’s Second Argument - Against Cleanthes Hume’s second argument runs thus:The world is ordered.This order either resulted from Design or from Chance.It is entirely possible that the world arose from chance.As Philo/Hume suggests:Matter and energy may well be everlasting.If matter and energy are everlasting then in an infinite number of combinations every one will be realised.Once order has occurred, it will tend to perpetuate itself.Animal adapt ion cannot prove an animal designer as if there were no adapt ion there would be no survival.Darwin’s Theory of natural selection bears out extra organs too – the fittest and best equipped survive.
17Counter Arguments to Hume Swinburne and the mad kidnapper:The card shuffling storyThe existence of order is extraordinary.Fred Hoyle from the Intelligent Universe”“A component has evidently been missing from cosmological studies. The origin of the universe ... requires an intelligence ... There are so many odd coincidences essential to life that some explanation seems required to account for them.”
18Swinburne’s Conclusion Is that although the Teleological argument does not make it probable that God exists, the argument serves to increase the probability of God’s existence.1. A priori it is very improbable that a universe could just happen to exist.2. By virtue of God’s postulated character this is the sort of universe God would have to make.
19Versions of the Teleological Arguments The Argument from Purpose:Paley’s versionRests on analogy that certain things in nature are like human artefacts.Thus purpose in a watch = by analogy, purpose in the universe and thus, a designer outside of that universe.Substantiated by reference to body organs.If the argument from design ever had any value, it has not been substantially affected by scientific investigations from Descartes through Darwin to the present day ... The [teleological] argument was only that the ultimate explanation of such adapt ion must be found in intelligence; and if the argument was correct, then any Darwinian success ,merely inserts an extra step between the phenomena to be explained and their ultimate explanation.Anthony Kenny
20Versions of the Teleological Arguments The Argument from Regularity/Providence:Based on the premise that the universe exhibits a degree of order - a uniformity in the behaviour of objects.This order should be accounted for by reference to an intelligent cause.It is reasonable to postulate an intelligent agency when confronted by order, i.e. when it is consistent to suppose that the existence of order is not logically necessary.A E Taylor:Nature seems to plan for the needs of living things. There must be more than physical laws to account for the high improbability of life.Mind or intelligence is needed to create such states of affairs.Mind cannot be a product of evolution as evolution needed the mind to impose it.Humans cannot be explained simply by evolution since we transform as well as adapt to the environment.
21‘a blind, unconscious, automatic process’ Richard DawkinsDawkins is a profound atheist who believes that processes of natural selection account for the survival and dominance of particular species. He sees all creation as existing without purpose and refers to the order of the universe as:‘a blind, unconscious, automatic process’Thus design is evident by virtue of our imposition of order on our world but the actuality of our existence is a product of the quest by our genes to survive.Richard DawkinsAuthor of:The Selfish GeneThe Blind Watchmaker
22Richard Dawkins /cont...“Evolution has no long term goal. There is no long distance target, no final perfection to serve as a criteria for selection .. The criteria for selection are always short term, either simply survival or, more generally, reproductive success ... The ‘ watchmaker’ that is cumulative natural selection is blind to the future and has no long term goal.”Does this rule out God as the ‘ground of all being’ as Arthur Peacocke suggests?Dawkins calls us ‘survival machines’, but some have asked whether or not whole organisms and species take priority over the ‘selfish gene’. Is Dawkins overly reductionist? [Note Matt Ridley’s counter-criticism]
23Concluding the Topic Remember: This argument rests on probability and individual judgements and conclusions about the universe. Thus, the proof is not conclusive nor is it likely to persuade the ardent atheist. Moreover, the argument itself is not easy to justify nor is it empirically true.
24Concluding the Topic What sort of God does the argument point to? What vision of the world does the argument have - must it recognise scientific theories as ‘true’, if so how does that affect the argument?“Nevertheless, of one asks whether the teleological argument is a proof of God’s existence, in the sense of being rationally convincing to all, the answer must surely be negative. But perhaps that conclusion merely shows how unrealistic such a concept of proof actually is.”