Teleological Arguments of Aquinas and Paley

Also starting already in classical Greece, two approaches to the teleological argument developed, distinguished by their understanding of whether the natural order was literally created or not. The non-creationist approach starts most clearly with Aristotle, although many thinkers, such as the , believed it was already intended by Plato. This approach is not creationist in a simple sense, because while it agrees that a cosmic intelligence is responsible for the natural order, it rejects the proposal that this requires a "creator" to physically make and maintain this order. The Neoplatonists did not find the teleological argument convincing, and in this they were followed by medieval philosophers such as and . Later, and Thomas Aquinas considered the argument acceptable, but not necessarily the best argument.

the common consent of mankind (usually described by Catholic writers as the moral argument),

Some theists reject this conclusion, judging that there is adequate evidence to support God’s existence. Rejecting the idea that theistic arguments died along with Kant and Hume, these thinkers offer new evidence or refashion the old evidence for the existence of God. William Lane Craig (Craig and Smith 1993), for example, has developed a new version of the old Islamic Kalaam cosmological argument for the existence of God. This argument attempts to demonstrate the impossibility that time could have proceeded infinitely into the past so the universe must have had a beginning in time. In addition, both physicists and philosophers have argued that the apparent fine-tuning of the cosmological constants to permit human life is best explained by God’s intelligent superintendence. And some argue that irreducibly complex biological phenomena such as cells or kidneys could not have arisen by chance. Robert Merrihew Adams (1987) has revived moral arguments for the existence of God. Alvin Plantinga (1993b) has argued that naturalism and evolution are self-refuting. William Alston (1991) has defended religious experience as a source of justified belief in the existence of God. In addition, theistic arguments have been developed that are based on the existence of flavors, colors and beauty. And some thinkers, such as Richard Swinburne (1979, 1984), contend that the cumulative forces of these various kinds of evidence mutually reinforce the likelihood of God’s existence. Thus, there is an ample lot defending the claim that belief in God is rational based on the evidence (and an equal and opposite force opposing them). So the project of securing belief in God on the basis of evidence or argument is ongoing.


Explain Paley's Teleological Argument - Term Paper

The problem with this criticism is that the ontological argument can be restated without defining God. To see this, simply delete premise 1 and replace each instance of "God" with "A being than which none greater can be conceived." The conclusion, then, will be that a being than which none greater can be conceived exists - and it is, of course, quite natural to name this being God.


Darwin’s treatment of Aristotle here is paradigmatic of the progressive world view of the moderns, which fails to take seriously the arguments of the ancients and medievals. Although one often finds in the ancient and medieval writings a more powerful presentation of the modern view than that found in the moderns themselves, nevertheless it is extremely rare to find a modern writer demonstrating a thoughtful grasp of any ancient or medieval doctrine. This testifies not only to the extraordinary devotion to reason found in the ancient and medieval philosophers, but also to the largely rhetorical dismissal of the ancient and medieval teachings by the moderns. Indeed, had the moderns truly given themselves to the ancient and medieval arguments, many pernicious modern doctrines would undoubtedly not be with us today, for they lack any foundation in reason. Note, for example, that Darwin quotes only that part of Aristotle which “foreshadows” his own position, but Darwin makes no attempt to engage Aristotle’s reasons for rejecting this foreshadowed position. Implicit in the progressive world view in the unexamined assumption that one who lives in a later age need not demonstrate mastery of those who have come before; ridicule and facile footnotes are sufficient refutations. It is patently foolish, however, to suppose that our ancestors were morally, intellectually, and spiritually inferior to us. Moreover, the self-destructive nature of the progressive world view is evident from the fact that it renders every doctrine obsolete as soon as it has been expressed. After all, there will always be another doctrine to replace the latest and greatest teaching, which suggests that even the progressive world view itself must give way in time. Modern science, like the modern machines which it has spawned, is equally subject to planned – or rather, unplanned – obsolescence.J Baillie, Our Knowledge of God; D Burrill, TheCosmological Argument; G H Clark, A Christian View of Men andThings; R E D Clark, The Universe: Plan or Accident? H H Farmer,Towards Belief in God; R Hazelton, On Proving God; J Hick, TheExistence of God; D Hicks, The Philosophical Basis of Theism; A JHoover, The Case for Christian Theism; S Jaki, The Road of Scienceand the Ways to God; C E M Joad, God and Evil; J Maritain,Approaches to God; E L Mascall, The Openness of Being; G Mavrodes,The Rationality of Belief in God; A Plantinga, ed., The OntologicalArgument; R C Sproul, If There Is a God, Why Are There Atheists?A E Taylor, Does God Exist?