A report on Teleological argument

Plato and Aristotle, depicted here in The School of Athens, both developed philosophical arguments addressing the universe's apparent order (logos)
The fifth of Thomas Aquinas' proofs of God's existence was based on teleology
William Paley popularized the "watchmaker analogy" used by earlier natural theologians, making it a famous teleological argument.
David Hume outlined his criticisms of the teleological argument in his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.
Voltaire argued that, at best, the teleological argument could only indicate the existence of a powerful, but not necessarily all-powerful or all-knowing, intelligence.

Argument for the existence of God or, more generally, that complex functionality in the natural world which looks designed is evidence of an intelligent creator.

- Teleological argument
Plato and Aristotle, depicted here in The School of Athens, both developed philosophical arguments addressing the universe's apparent order (logos)

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Portrait by George Romney

William Paley

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English clergyman, Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian.

English clergyman, Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian.

Portrait by George Romney
Title Page of William Paley's Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, 1802
Three churchmen: John Wesley, William Paley, and Beilby Porteus. A posthumous engraving.

He is best known for his natural theology exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, which made use of the watchmaker analogy.

William Paley

Watchmaker analogy

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William Paley
Charles Darwin in 1880
Richard Dawkins

The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument which states, by way of an analogy, that a design implies a designer, especially intelligent design by an intelligent designer, i.e. a creator deity.

Use of the terms "creationism" versus "intelligent design" in sequential drafts of the book Of Pandas and People.

Intelligent design

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Use of the terms "creationism" versus "intelligent design" in sequential drafts of the book Of Pandas and People.
The concept of irreducible complexity was popularised by Michael Behe in his 1996 book, Darwin's Black Box.
William A. Dembski proposed the concept of specified complexity.
The Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture used banners based on The Creation of Adam from the Sistine Chapel. Later it used a less religious image, then was renamed the Center for Science and Culture.

Although the phrase intelligent design had featured previously in theological discussions of the argument from design, its first publication in its present use as an alternative term for creationism was in Of Pandas and People, a 1989 creationist textbook intended for high school biology classes.

Darwin, c. undefined 1854, when he was preparing On the Origin of Species for publication

Charles Darwin

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English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary biology.

English naturalist, geologist and biologist, best known for his contributions to evolutionary biology.

Darwin, c. undefined 1854, when he was preparing On the Origin of Species for publication
A chalk drawing of the seven-year-old Darwin in 1816, with a potted plant, by Ellen Sharples
Bicentennial portrait by Anthony Smith of Darwin as a student, in the courtyard at Christ's College, Cambridge where he had rooms.
The round-the-world voyage of the Beagle, 1831–1836
Darwin (right) on the Beagle's deck at Bahía Blanca in Argentina, with fossils; caricature by Augustus Earle, the initial ship's artist.
As HMS Beagle surveyed the coasts of South America, Darwin theorised about geology and the extinction of giant mammals. Watercolour by the ship's artist Conrad Martens, who replaced Augustus Earle, in Tierra del Fuego.
While still a young man, Darwin joined the scientific elite. Portrait by George Richmond.
In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his "B" notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote "I think" above his first evolutionary tree.
Darwin chose to marry his cousin, Emma Wedgwood.
Darwin in 1842 with his eldest son, William Erasmus Darwin
Darwin's "sandwalk" at Down House was his usual "Thinking Path".
Darwin aged 46 in 1855, by then working towards publication of his theory of natural selection. He wrote to Joseph Hooker about this portrait, "if I really have as bad an expression, as my photograph gives me, how I can have one single friend is surprising."
During the Darwin family's 1868 holiday in her Isle of Wight cottage, Julia Margaret Cameron took portraits showing the bushy beard Darwin grew between 1862 and 1866.
An 1871 caricature following publication of The Descent of Man was typical of many showing Darwin with an ape body, identifying him in popular culture as the leading author of evolutionary theory.
By 1878, an increasingly famous Darwin had suffered years of illness.
The adjoining tombs of John Herschel and Charles Darwin in the nave of Westminster Abbey, London
In 1881 Darwin was an eminent figure, still working on his contributions to evolutionary thought that had an enormous effect on many fields of science. Copy of a portrait by John Collier in the National Portrait Gallery, London.
Unveiling of the Darwin Statue at the former Shrewsbury School building in 1897
In 1851 Darwin was devastated when his daughter Annie died. By then his faith in Christianity had dwindled, and he had stopped going to church.
A caricature of Darwin from a 1871 Vanity Fair
Statue of Darwin in the Natural History Museum, London

He studied Paley's Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (first published in 1802), which made an argument for divine design in nature, explaining adaptation as God acting through laws of nature.

Hume in 1754

David Hume

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Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, scepticism, and naturalism.

Scottish Enlightenment philosopher, historian, economist, librarian and essayist, who is best known today for his highly influential system of philosophical empiricism, scepticism, and naturalism.

Hume in 1754
An engraving of Hume from the first volume of his The History of England, 1754
David Hume's mausoleum by Robert Adam in the Old Calton Burial Ground, Edinburgh.
Statue of Hume by Alexander Stoddart on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh
David Hume by Allan Ramsay, 1766
Statues of David Hume and Adam Smith by David Watson Stevenson on the Scottish National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh
Statue on Edinburgh's Royal Mile

His views on philosophy of religion, including his rejection of miracles and the argument from design for God's existence, were especially controversial for their time.

Title Page of first American edition

Natural Theology or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity

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1802 work of Christian apologetics and philosophy of religion by the English clergyman William Paley .

1802 work of Christian apologetics and philosophy of religion by the English clergyman William Paley .

Title Page of first American edition
The first page of Natural Theology, introducing Paley's version of the watchmaker analogy
Red crossbill skull and jaw anatomy from William Yarrell's A History of British Birds; the crossbill's beak is cited by Paley as being well-suited to its function.
Paley mentions the ovipositors of insects such as ichneumons, able to lay eggs deep in wood.
The Scottish philosopher David Hume, portrayed here by Allan Ramsay in 1766, criticised arguments from design; he did not live to see Paley's book.
In the late 1830s, Charles Darwin re-read Paley's book.

The book expounds his arguments from natural theology, making a teleological argument for the existence of God, notably beginning with the watchmaker analogy.

The title page of the 1859 edition
of On the Origin of Species

On the Origin of Species

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Work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin that is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.

Work of scientific literature by Charles Darwin that is considered to be the foundation of evolutionary biology.

The title page of the 1859 edition
of On the Origin of Species
Darwin pictured shortly before publication
Cuvier's 1799 paper on living and fossil elephants helped establish the reality of extinction.
In mid-July 1837 Darwin started his "B" notebook on Transmutation of Species, and on page 36 wrote "I think" above his first evolutionary tree.
Darwin researched how the skulls of different pigeon breeds varied, as shown in his Variation of Plants and Animals Under Domestication of 1868.
A photograph of Alfred Russel Wallace (1823–1913) taken in Singapore in 1862
On the Origin of Species by means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, 2nd edition. By Charles Darwin, John Murray, London, 1860. National Museum of Scotland
American botanist Asa Gray (1810–1888)
John Gould's illustration of Darwin's rhea was published in 1841. The existence of two rhea species with overlapping ranges influenced Darwin.
This tree diagram, used to show the divergence of species, is the only illustration in the Origin of Species.
In the 1870s, British caricatures of Darwin with a non-human ape body contributed to the identification of evolutionism with Darwinism.
Huxley used illustrations to show that humans and apes had the same basic skeletal structure.
Haeckel showed a main trunk leading to mankind with minor branches to various animals, unlike Darwin's branching evolutionary tree.
The liberal theologian Baden Powell defended evolutionary ideas by arguing that the introduction of new species should be considered a natural rather than a miraculous process.
A modern phylogenetic tree based on genome analysis shows the three-domain system.

In Britain, William Paley's Natural Theology saw adaptation as evidence of beneficial "design" by the Creator acting through natural laws.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Dominican friar and theologian who formalised the "Five Ways" intended to demonstrate God's existence.

Five Ways (Aquinas)

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The Quinque viæ (Latin for "Five Ways") (sometimes called "five proofs") are five logical arguments for the existence of God summarized by the 13th-century Catholic philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas in his book Summa Theologica.

The Quinque viæ (Latin for "Five Ways") (sometimes called "five proofs") are five logical arguments for the existence of God summarized by the 13th-century Catholic philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas in his book Summa Theologica.

St. Thomas Aquinas, the 13th-century Dominican friar and theologian who formalised the "Five Ways" intended to demonstrate God's existence.

5) the argument from final cause or ends ("teleological argument").

Title page

Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion

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Philosophical work by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1779.

Philosophical work by the Scottish philosopher David Hume, first published in 1779.

Title page
David Hume

Such topics debated include the argument from design—for which Hume uses a house—and whether there is more suffering or good in the world (argument from evil).

William Paley, publisher of Natural Theology

Natural theology

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Type of theology that seeks to provide arguments for the existence of a deity based on reason and ordinary experience of nature.

Type of theology that seeks to provide arguments for the existence of a deity based on reason and ordinary experience of nature.

William Paley, publisher of Natural Theology
Title page of Natural Theology by William Paley

The teleological argument was later presented by the early Islamic philosophers Alkindus and Averroes, while Avicenna presented both the cosmological argument and the ontological argument in The Book of Healing (1027).