Does the teleological argument succeed?

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The teleological argument is the most successful at explaining God’s existence.
The teleological argument is a priori argument that uses evidence and known truths to
reach a plausible conclusion.
One of the strongest forms this argument is the design argument. It follows that everything
in the natural universe is so perfectly ordered and has such a defined purpose, that there
must have been a designer. The chances of a world so perfectly ordered existing by chance
are slim to none. Only an intelligent designer could have created a world where there is
enough gravity to hold us steady but not enough to crush us, where we are close enough to
the sun to feel its warmth but not close enough to burn. The conclusion is that the only
being great enough to create such a universe is God.
Arguably the best-known analogy for this argument comes from scholar William Paley. He
argued that if you were to find a watch laying on the ground, it would be unreasonable to
assume it came there by chance or had always existed. A watch has many intricate parts
that function together to fulfil a purpose. If one part is taken away, the watch ceases to
function. The watch in this analogy represents the universe; for such a delicate, complex
entity to exist there must have been an intelligent designer: God.
Further support for this argument comes from St Thomas Aquinas. He presented the
analogy of the archer. An object can either be aware or unaware. Aware objects such a
people or animals move towards a set of goals independently. Unaware objects, such as an
arrow, must be guided towards a goal by an aware object – the archer.
This applies to the universe itself, it is not an intelligent being yet there are clear signs of it
moving towards a goal. Planets orbit stars and stars are constantly forming and burning out.
Once again, God is the most likely explanation for these seemingly controlled events.
This is a successful argument in how it provides an explanation for the usually unexplained
complexities of the universe. However, it can be seen, that evidence has been extrapolated
out of convenience in order to prove a preconceived idea about God. The desire to fill in the
empty gaps in our knowledge by using the convenient truth of a God may be the reason
many of these arguments for the existence of God exist. As Swinburne once said; God is the
simplest explanation. However, this does not mean he is the correct explanation.
Hume argued correctly that the universe has so many flaws that the creator was either
incompetent or there was no intelligent designer. Furthermore, it is incorrect to compare
items of which we have thorough understanding of their functions to that of the universe of
which we have very little concrete understanding. Just because we know something to exist,
does not mean it has a creator, rather it is more likely that those who have pre-existing
religious beliefs would want there to be a creator to justify their own ideologies. This means
that evidence has been pieced together in a way that conveniently supports the idea of God.
The success of the argument is bought into question when we look at the natural selection
theory by Charles Darwin. This theory disproves the idea of a God as it can be seen that life
evolved and adapted over time. Therefore, life was not designed perfectly, rather it
developed over many, many years.
On the other hand, Tennant argued that God allowed intelligent life to evolve and develop
by supplying the natural world with exactly what we need to thrive. The fact that we also
have the ability to appreciate beauty and enjoy things not necessary for survival points
towards a loving God who wants us to be happy so designed a world full of enjoyable things.
Many believe that even if God existed, it would make no difference. Jean-Paul Sartre said
that; what man needs to find is himself again and to understand that nothing can save him
from himself, not even a valid proof for the existence of God.
This means that regardless of the success of the argument, it changes nothing about our
existence, we will still experience the same problems and we cannot rely on a God to help
us. We must take responsibility for ourselves.
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