7 Teleological Argument Strengths and Weaknesses


Also known as the argument from design, the teleological argument simply states that a designer must exist considering that life in the universe can only occur when it meets the right conditions of “certain fundamental physical constants that are within a very narrow range”, according to InspiringPhilosophy. They also exhibit marks of pattern, consistency, unity and order in their design.

In the Watchmaker Argument by William Paley, he stated that human artifacts are products of intelligent design. The universe looks like human artifacts. Ergo, the universe is a product of intelligent design. But because of its complexity and gigantic size, when compared to human artifacts, it is probably created by a powerful and vastly intelligent designer. In other words, God exists because He is the designated designer of the universe. But there are strengths and weaknesses to Paley’s argument, or the analogy of the teleological argument.

List Of Strengths Of Teleological Argument

1. Supported By Inductive Reasoning
Teleological argument offers natural and revealed theology. There are evidences that we can observe, making it difficult to deny the presence of complexity and order in the universe. There is apparent design in the different parts that come together to form the whole, such as the heart, brain, eyes and other parts that make up the body.

2. Simple And Straightforward
The use of analogy makes the teleological argument comprehensible, allowing us to move from something within experience and try to explain something beyond experience, such as the creation of the universe. It also doesn’t rely on fixed definitions that everyone must accept, but begins with an experience that may be universal or at least testable.

3. Consistent With The Scriptures
“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. This verse from the first chapter of the book of Romans is further reinforced by the statement that we are made in God’s image. This makes the argument a scientific theory that can actually be assessed. So this makes it a posteriori and inductive argument.

List Of Weaknesses Of The Teleological Argument

1. It Is Subjective
The idea that the universe was intricately designed is subjective. There are many observations in the natural world that can produce different theories that will account for the existence of the universe.

2. Evolution Suggests a Designer Is Unnecessary
Complex systems can be achieved through a slow process of random mutations, based on evolution. Supported by natural selection, the process of random genetic mutations excludes the need for a designer. This is why evolution is “a blind watchmaker”, according to English evolutionary biologists, ethologist and author, Clinton Richard Dawkins.

3. Inductive Reasoning Has Flaws
German philosopher Immanuel Kant considers inductive reasoning as a method that doesn’t lead to absolute certainty, only probable conclusion. This effectively weakens the argument.

4. The Idea Of a Designer Is Flawed
It doesn’t follow that the world itself has a designer simply because things in the world have designers. The universe is also unique, and it is not right to make assumptions about the creation of unique things. And if there is such a designer, it is also possible that there may be more than one designer. There’s also a question of whether or not the designer of the world also has a designer resulting in an infinite regress.

-Flow Psychology Editor