Arguments for the Existence of God

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Assignment 12

  1. What was Pascal’s argument?

  2. Why did he use it?

  3. What are the main objections to Pascal’s argument?

  4. What form of argument did Clifford use?

  5. What question does this type of argument raise?

  6. What point did Clifford try to make?

  7. Was Clifford successful?

  8. What is your conclusion to the question –“Is there a rational basis for belief in God?

Agnostic Position
Agnostics believe that it is impossible/unreasonable/irresponsible to conclude either for or against the existence of God – the evidence is inconclusive
Arguments for and against existence are equally balanced

Weak arguments for, do not demonstrate non-existence of God

Any conclusion must be justified
Strengths of agnosticism
Any conclusion should be justified

There is an openness to persuasion

Weaknesses of agnosticism – theists
Belief in God is based on faith – knowledge tests are inappropriate

Cosmo & Design arguments are convincing

Revelation and miracles are conclusive
Weaknesses of agnostic – atheists
Paradox of omnipotence demonstrates God’s existence as illogical

Existence of evil inconsistent with existence of God

God is a psycho/social projection not a reality
Faith too mysterious to be effective

Philosophical arguments confirm only the possibility of God

Miracles are open to various interpretations so not conclusive

God may be illogical and still exist

Evil does not disprove God, only makes belief in existence more difficult

Psycho/social theories do not disprove the existence of God

NAB Revision

Look round the world: contemplate the whole and every part of it: you will find it to be nothing but one great machine, subdivided into an infinite number of lesser machines, which again admit of subdivisions to a degree beyond what human senses and faculties can trace and explain. All these various machines, and even their most minute parts, are adjusted to each other with an accuracy which ravishes into admiration all men who have ever contemplated them. The curious adapting of means to ends, throughout all nature, resembles exactly, though it much exceeds, the productions of human contrivance: of human designs, thought, wisdom, and intelligence. Since, therefore, the effects resemble each other, we are led to infer, by all the rules of analogy, that the causes also resemble; and that the Author of Nature is somewhat similar to the mind of man, though possessed of much larger faculties, proportioned to the grandeur of the work which he has executed. By this argument a posteriori, and by this argument alone, do we prove at once the existence of a Deity, and his similarity to human mind and intelligence.

(Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion)
The structure of this argument is something like this:

  1. The world around us resembles the artefacts of human creation in that they both display complexity.

  2. The complexity of human artefacts comes from having been designed and made by intelligent beings (humans).

  3. We have no reason to assume that what holds for human artefacts should not hold for the world around us.

  4. Therefore, the complexity in the world around us comes from having been designed and made by an intelligent being (God).

Claim 1 is simply a more concise statement of the thoughts we started out with; that natural objects, like human artefacts, display complexity. Claim 2 is also the straightforward point that human artefacts show this complexity because they are designed. Claim 3 is the crucial claim of this argument from analogy. Put most succinctly, it is the claim that like effects have like causes. The idea is that if we see two cases where the effect is the same, we are entitled to assume that in both cases, the cause is the same. There are numerous examples that we might suggest that make this seem uncontentious; if we have two similar marks on a cloth, one of which we know is caused by scorching, we can, with some justification, assume that the second mark is also caused by scorching. The reason that this claim is crucial to the argument should be clear; it is by claiming that the complexity in human artefacts and the complexity in natural objects are like effects that we are able to claim like causes in both cases and so claim God as the designer of natural objects. Claim 4, of course, is just the conclusion of the argument and makes explicit the idea that emerges from claim 3; namely that if human artefacts show complexity because they are designed, then natural objects, displaying like effects and so having like causes, are also the product of design. And of course, the obvious point is that the only thing that could be the intelligent designer of the world, the universe, etc., is God.

Objections and Replies
What are we to make of the argument from analogy? David Hume offers a range of well-known objections, and it is widely thought that these criticisms seriously undermine the argument from analogy. Hume’s most important objections, which we shall examine in more detail below, are first, that the grounds for analogy between natural object and human artefacts is too weak to warrant the inference that the argument from analogy makes, and second, that even if the analogy is strong and permissible, it does not give us the kind of God we might ordinarily think it does.
Objection 1: The Grounds for Analogy are too Weak
The main criticism is that the grounds for analogy are too weak for us to say that the reason for the traits of design in human artefacts has an analogous reason at the level of the world around us. Hume puts it like this:
If we see a house, we conclude, with the greatest certainty, that it had an architect or builder because this is precisely that species of effect which we have experienced to proceed from that species of cause. But surely you will not affirm that the universe bears such a resemblance to a house that we can with the same certainty infer a similar cause, or that the analogy is here entire and perfect.

(Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion)

For Hume, the world or the universe is dissimilar enough to human artefacts for us to think that the analogy fails. What he means is that although we can suggest that similarities exist, these similarities might well be insignificant, and certainly not strong enough to provide a basis for any argument that God exists. By way of driving his point home, Hume extends this criticism by pointing out that the analogy is so weak, that we can, in principle, draw similarities between the universe and a whole range of things:
The world plainly resembles more an animal or a vegetable than it does a watch or a knitting loom. Its cause, therefore, it is more probable resembles the cause of the former. The cause of the former is generation or vegetation. The cause, therefore, of the world, we may infer to be something similar or analogous to generation or vegetation.

(Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion)

Are we to assume, then, that this provides a good argument for thinking that the universe developed organically, in much the same way as a vegetable? It seems that such an argument could work in much the same way as the design argument, by providing a ground for analogy and drawing an inference on the basis of that. Now, if we can draw analogies between the universe and things that are designed on the one hand, and between the universe and things that are not designed on the other, then why should we think that one argument from analogy is any more convincing than the other? It looks as though this particular teleological argument is not too convincing.

Objection 2: The Many Designers Objection
The second interesting objection from Hume is that even if the argument from analogy is accepted, it is not clear that it delivers the kind of God we would want. The thought is that what we want to argue for is more that just the existence of God. Indeed, for many people, we are trying to argue for a particular kind of God, for example, the God of Christian, Jewish or Muslim religions. However, by saying that intelligent designers created human artefacts and by analogy an intelligent designer designed the universe, we do not automatically entitle ourselves to claim that it is this kind of God whose existence we have proved. The best way of pointing this out is to note this point from Hume:
A great number of men join in building a house or ship, in rearing a city, in framing a commonwealth; why may not several deities combine in contriving and framing a world?

(Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion)

What Hume is quite rightly pointing out here is that by the analogy, we have said that human artefacts are made by intelligent designers, that is, by many humans; however, the claim we want to make from the analogy is that the universe is made by an intelligent designer, with particular characteristics. As things stand, we can’t be sure that whatever did create the universe was a single creator, let alone a benevolent, omnipotent, omniscient God. Note that this objection does not deny the possibility of a God; it just notes that there is nothing in the argument from analogy that allows the claim that the intelligent designer of the universe could be the God we have in mind.
Paley’s Teleological Argument
In many ways the argument from analogy is too simplistic, and has too many obvious weaknesses. However, there is a development of the argument from analogy from the 19th Century Churchman William Paley which uses many of the same starting points, but is certainly more sophisticated than the simple argument from analogy. A good summarising statement of Paley’s argument is this:
[S]uppose I found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think … that, for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for [a] stone [that happened to be lying on the ground]?… For this reason, and for no other; viz., that, if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, if a different size from what they are, or placed after any other manner, or in any order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have been carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it.

(William Paley, Natural Theology)

What Paley is doing here is examining what marks the watch as designed. The key mark of design which he identifies is that it performs a role that we take to be useful, that is, it keeps time. Moreover, so Paley’s teleological argument goes, the watch could not actually fulfil this role if it had been different in some way. This precise fitness to fulfil a role tells us that the watch is purposefully this way.

Having noted the characteristics which indicate design, Paley then goes on to conclude that natural objects also have such characteristics. We shall examine this further in a moment, but first, we must make something clear; this is not a simple argument from analogy, despite the fact that, superficially, it looks as though Paley is saying that the world is like a watch. As a matter of fact, Paley’s is not drawing an analogy, but pointing out the features of the watch which he thinks indicate its being designed. He then goes on to say that human artefacts are not the only things that display these features. In short, he is identifying why we would think that the watch is designed and then pointing out that natural objects have these features too.

To be clear, an argument from analogy, identifies one characteristic shared by different objects, and then assumes on that basis, that other, related, characteristics are shared too. Formally, the argument runs thus:

  1. Human artefacts have characteristic Y.

  2. Natural objects also have characteristic Y.

  3. Human artefacts have characteristic Y because they also have characteristic Z.

  4. Therefore, Natural objects also have characteristic Z.

Paley’s argument, although often construed this way, doesn’t take this form. Rather, Paley uses the watch (whose characteristics he discusses for two chapters) to get clear about the characteristics which designed objects (regardless of who designed them) have. He then searches for, and finds, these characteristics in the natural world. Put more formally, Paley’s argument runs roughly like this:

  1. Some natural objects display design-like properties (they display a precise fitness to purpose).

  2. Design-like properties are the result of intelligent design.

  3. Therefore, Natural objects are the product of design.

Notice that in this argument, there is no reference to human artefacts at all and so no analogy being drawn. This is why, when properly construed, Paley’s argument is not a simple analogical argument.

So, why does Paley think that natural objects also display the kind of purposive design he identifies in the watch? A good example comes from the natural world. Think of something like the length of a sword-billed hummingbird’s beak. These birds have thin beaks three or more inches longer than their bodies and are perfectly suited to feed on the flowers that grow in their habitat. All the flowers in the sword-billed hummingbird’s habitat keep their nectar a long way from the opening of their flowers and any bird taking this nectar needs a very long, thin beak. This makes the sword-bill’s beak perfectly suited for its purpose. In fact, the minutest change in the length or breadth of the sword-bill’s beak would mean that this particular hummingbird would be unable to feed and so would soon become extinct. This precise complexity fitted to purpose is something we have already seen in the watch, and as Paley points out, such a characteristic only arises through purposive design. And of course, the final step is obvious. We know who the designer of the watch is since we, humankind, designed it. But we know that we did not design the hummingbird’s beak even though it bears the hallmark of purposive design, and of course, we have to conclude that the only thing that could be the designer behind the purposive design in nature is God.

Objection: Evolution explains precise complexity fitted to purpose in nature
The first point we might raise against Paley’s argument is that it may not be so clear as Paley assumes what the role or purpose that natural objects display is, and perhaps more needs to be said on Paley’s part. However, the real problem with Paley’s argument is a very famous theory: evolution. We know that the theory of evolution suggests that complex biological organisms (the things which Paley thinks display purposive design) evolved gradually over millions of years from simpler organisms through a process of natural selection. Clearly, then, Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection gives us an alternative way to explain the phenomena (complex functionality) that leads Paley to think that a designer has left his mark.
To see this in terms of an example, think of the hummingbird’s beak again: the reason the sword-billed hummingbird’s beak is so fit for purpose is that in that habitat, it is the only one that works. Imagine that many thousands of years ago, there were many hummingbirds with many different lengths of beak, and many flowers of differing lengths too. Then, because of a sudden change in the environment, the shorter flowers died out. This meant that only birds with long beaks who were able to get at the nectar in the longer flowers were able to feed and survive. The birds with shorter beaks died out, and the birds with long beaks thrived in their specialised habitat. Thousands of years later, when all those birds with inappropriate beaks have died out, we come across this environment and note that the long beaked birds fit so perfectly in this environment that any change in the length of their beaks would see them become extinct. Obviously, had we seen the thousands of years of natural selection that lead to this point, we wouldn’t see the long bird beaks as designed for the environment, but rather as the result of weaker less well fitted birds dying out. What this seems to do for Paley’s argument is explain complexity and fitness for purpose without positing God as a designer. This seems to render Paley’s teleological argument defunct.
There is, of course, a response here, often forwarded by Intelligent Design theorists: evolution does not necessarily contradict the idea of intelligent design, rather, it could be the tool of an intelligent designer. For example, the reason that hummingbird beaks are fit for their purpose is indeed because they have evolved that way, but evolution could, in fact, be the tool that God used to ensure that hummingbird beaks turned out the way He intended. In effect, this does not argue against evolution, but rather co-opts it by claiming that it is not, in fact, random. Of course, such a response would need to explain why there exists in nature so many things which are either poorly designed, (eg. the shared food/air passages in mammals) or apparently superfluous (the human appendix). If God is an intelligent designer who can use guided evolution to effect his designs, why are so many of His designs apparently so poor?

c) It is impossible to decide if God exists
Anyone who decides that it may be impossible to decide whether or not God exists might be described as an agnostic. We shall look at why one might be an agnostic in a moment, but first, it is important to note is that there is a distinction between being an agnostic and being an atheist. These two concepts are often run together, since both agnostics and atheists seem to find themselves uncommitted to the existence of God. However, the atheist argues against the existence of God, while the agnostic argues that there is insufficient evidence to decide either for or against God. So, why be an agnostic?
It may well already be apparent from looking at the cosmological and teleological arguments that those who want argue for the existence of God (theists) and those that want to argue against the existence of God (atheists) are adept at countering each others arguments and objections. Moreover, a failure to prove that God does not exist is not proof that God does not exist, (and vice versa). Even so, the agnostic is not committed to saying that since there are no obvious winners it is better to sit on the fence. Rather, the agnostic is best construed as saying that the evidence available might be used to support either sides’ argument and that, until evidence becomes decisive, we have a responsibility not to believe in one thing or the other. To see how this might work, think of the discussion of the hummingbird’s beak in our discussion of the teleological argument. It looks as though we have a bare fact: hummingbird’s beaks are perfectly fitted to the environment in which they live. Both sides of the debate are able to use such evidence as support for their preferred conclusion; intelligent design theorists take this apparent fitness to purpose to be evidence of God’s existence, atheists on the other hand take this to a sign of evolution and natural selection and so evidence that God does not exist. The agnostic has to say that this piece of evidence does not decide the argument either way, and that to believe either way on the basis of that would be irresponsible.
A way of understanding the agnostic’s position in slightly different terms comes from some examples used by the nineteenth century mathematician, W.K. Clifford, who, to this date offers the clearest statement of the ideas underlying the agnostic position. For the agnostic, what is crucial is that we arrive at beliefs responsibly. Clifford generates a range of scenarios to illustrate the importance of this point. In one case, he asks us to imagine the owner of passenger ships that are not in good condition. By reasoning that in the past the vessels have successfully completed the journey, he decides to make another journey. Unfortunately the ships sink and all onboard are lost. It seems that the evidence upon which the ship owner based his decision was not good (the problems of induction are well known) or conclusive. However, by using this evidence to form a decision generates undesirable results, results which show that the ship owner has arrived at his beliefs irresponsibly. For Clifford, we are in a similar position regarding the evidence for God in that we have to form our beliefs responsibly, and forming a belief for or against God on current evidence would not be responsible.
So, for the agnostic, there is no clear cut evidence one way or the other about God’s existence, and if we are to behave responsibly regarding the formation of our beliefs, we will abstain from belief rather than commit ourselves on poor or inconclusive evidence. But is the agnostic right to make these conclusions? Next we shall examine an argument that suggests that we have plenty of grounds for reaching a conclusion in the theist/atheist debate, even if the evidence is not conclusive one way or the other.
Pascal’s Wager
Suppose that the agnostic is right, there really is no conclusive evidence one way or the other, and that without conclusive evidence one way or the other, we really ought not commit ourselves to either believing that God does exist, or that God doesn’t exist. However, one argument, from the French mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal, suggests that the lack of conclusive evidence one way or the other is no reason for us not to commit ourselves to believing in God. In brief, Pascal says that between believing or not, we should believe in God because we have the least to lose by it. Philosophers call this argument Pascal’s Wager. Put more formally, Pascal’s Wager looks something like this:

  1. If you believe in God and God exists, you will be rewarded in the afterlife.

  1. If you do not believe in God and God exists, you will be punished in the afterlife.

  1. If He does not exist nothing will happen to you in the afterlife, whether or not you believed in Him (He doesn’t exist to do anything to you in the afterlife).

  1. Clearly there is more to gain than lose from believing in God


5. It makes sense to believe in God
The central point is to do with hedging your bets. It may be easier to think about this in terms of getting or incurring financial rewards after we die. If you believe that God exists, and God does exist, then when you die you go to Heaven. However, if you doubt that God exists, and God does exist, then you go to hell. Heaven means getting a multi-billion pound pay off and spending the rest of eternity to spend it. Hell on the other hand means incurring a multi-billion pound debt and the rest of eternity to pay it off. Of course, if it turns out that God does not exist, you get nothing either way; there is no pay out in Heaven and no debt problem in Hell. Here, then, are the potential beneficial outcomes when you die depending on whether you believe or not.

God Does Exist

God Does Not exist

I believe in God

Win £10,000,000,000,000.00

£ 0.00

I do not believe in God

Lose £10,000,000,000,000.00

£ 0.00

Clearly, the potential benefits of believing are a considerable amount higher than not believing; the worst that can happen to a believer is that he gets no money. However, the worst that can happen to non-believer is that he gets in a lot of debt and the best is that he gets nothing. So, looking at it this way, Pascal’s argument is that even if there no evidence either way on the question of God’s existence, we should still form an opinion in favour of God’s existence since, in terms of potential benefits, it is plainly more sensible to believe.

There are numerous objections to Pascal’s Wager. Here are just three:
1. It isn’t clear that those who abstain from belief in God do so out of some choice to not believe. Those who abstain do so because there is no evidence from either side that they find convinces them. To put the point in a slightly different way, Pascal is asking people to believe in God for reasons that seem entirely unrelated to the usual reasons we do or don’t believe. Suppose someone tries to persuade me that someone rich is coming to town to hand out money by arguing that if they really are, then I will get some of that money. This seems like completely the wrong reason for forming such a belief. I would be better to form such a belief on the basis of evidence concerning whether such a person exists and whether they are travelling through this region. The best we can say for Pascal’s argument is that it provides evidence for the utility of believing but not the truthfulness of the belief
2. Look again at Pascal’s argument. A big claim is that if God does not exist, then a life spent believing in Him is not a life wasted. However, this may not be an assumption that Pascal is entitled to in a straightforward way. After all, is it clear that if God doesn’t exist, we lose nothing by believing, or gain nothing by not believing? To put things slightly differently, how much of religious practice involves abstinence, restraint, devotion, etc.? These are good things in lots of respects (and not just for the purposes of religion), but you might think that if there is no God and ‘life is more than just a read through’, so to speak, then we might benefit from a good spell of reckless behaviour. It might give us a more rounded view of life and enable us to milk every last drop of experience from the short time we are alive. If we think there is anything in this argument, then it might well be that something is lost by believing in God if God turns out not to exist.
3. There is a much bigger problem for Pascal’s Wager though. It isn’t clear that the real Wager is simply between believing or not believing. Imagine this: you spend your life chaste and pure, and devoted yourself to God by becoming a Franciscan Monk. You die, you find yourself heading towards the light, thinking, ‘fantastic, the Wager has paid off and God exists’. You then hear the following presumably loud and booming voice ‘I am Ganesh; behold my infinite love and wisdom. Tell me why did you choose to follow the false belief of Jesus and God when the signs were so clear that Hinduism is the truth?’. In such an instance, it looks as though you followed Pascal’s Wager and came down on the side of believing in God. However, it was not so simple and you chose the wrong God. You have lost anyway. The point is simple; it’s not just a choice about believing or abstaining, but about who to believe? There are a myriad religions, myriad Gods and so myriad ways to get it all wrong.
Guide To Resources
Cosmological Arguments

  • Blackburn, S. (1999) Think. Oxford University Press. Ch. Five.

(A simple introductory survey of the problem and useful in orientating students.)

  • Craig, W. L. (1980) The Cosmological Argument from Plato to Leibniz. The Macmillan Press.

  • Davies, B. (2003) An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. Chapter Three.

(A very popular textbook for philosophy courses on religious topics which students should find accessible.)

  • Hume, D. (1948) Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. (edited with an introduction by Norman Kemp Smith) Social Sciences Publishers.

(Even if no other historical text is used throughout the unit, this one should really be consulted. Hume’s Dialogues are easy to read and often state the positions in these arguments more clearly than modern textbooks.)
Teleological Arguments

  • Blackburn, S. (1999) Think. Oxford University Press. Ch. Five.

(A simple introductory survey of the problem and useful in orientating students.)

  • Davies, B. (2003) An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion. Oxford University Press. Chapter Four.

(A very popular textbook for philosophy courses on religious topics which students should find accessible.)

  • Dawkins, R. (1996) The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe without Design. Norton Publishing.

(Dawkins is eminently readable and teachers and lecturers will find this text useful for getting quick summaries of why evolutionary theory can easily account for the complexity of natural phenomenon.)

  • Hume, D. (1948) Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. (edited with an introduction by Norman Kemp Smith) Social Sciences Publishers.

(Even if no other historical text is used throughout the unit, this one should really be consulted. Hume’s Dialogues are easy to read and often state the positions in these arguments more clearly than modern textbooks.)

  • Manson, N. (ed.) (2003) God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science. Routledge.

(A useful book for teachers and lecturers who want to get some grounding in the more scientific arguments against the cosmological argument for God’s existence.)

  • Paley, W. (1963 [1802]) Natural Theology. Bobbs-Merrill.

(Famous statement of the teleological argument for God’s existence, which is also accessible to students.)
Agnosticism and Pascal’s Wager

(There is very little in the way of student-friendly material on agnosticism but teachers and lecturers may well find something in the following books.)

  • Smart, J.J.C. and Haldane, J.J. (2003) Atheism and Theism (2nd Edn). Blackwell.

(A useful book on matters in religious philosophy and the debate between theists and atheists, but really not useful for students.)

  • Clifford, W.K. ‘The Ethics of Belief’ (1877), in Clifford, W.K. (1999) The Ethics of Belief and other Essays. Prometheus Books.

(Classical statement of agnostism. Students may find it hard to extract the simple agnostic claims from Clifford’s broader claims about the ethics of belief though.)

  • Pascal, B. (1966) Pensées (trans. A.J. Krailsheimer). Penguin.

All of the following journals specialise in the Philosophy of religion and frequently publish papers relevant to the material taught in this module.
Disputatio Philosophica: An International Journal Philosophy and

Faith and Philosophy

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion


The Journal of Religion

Journal of Religious Ethics

Journal of Religious Thought

Philosophy and Theology

Religious Studies


Religion and Theology
Web Resources
There are many easy to find web-resources, but the following are to be particularly recommended for both teachers and students.
Stanford Encylopedia (

Especially Relevant Entries:

Cosmological Argument

Teleological Argument for God’s Existence

William Paley

Pascal’s Wager

Agnosticism and Atheism
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

Especially Relevant Entries:

Design Arguments for the Existence of God

William Paley

Pascal’s Wager
Film and Radio Resources

My Night at Maud’s (Pascal’s Wager) (1969)

Inherit the Wind (Evolution and Intelligent Design) (1960)

The Existence of God:

Intelligent Design:


The Cosmological Argument

  1. Everything has a cause.

  1. Nothing is its own cause.

  1. A chain of causes cannot be infinite.

  1. There must be a ‘first cause’.

  1. God is the ‘first cause’.

Teleological Argument - Essay/Assessment Outline

1 Teleology = God =

2 Type of argument =
3 Basic argument =
4 History of the argument =
5 Formal argument , PaleyÕs analogy and meaning =
6 Problems with analogies and formal argument =
7 Challenge of science - Darwin etc =.
8 Result of challenge =
9 Post-scientific synthesis =
10 Conclusion - back to the question and claim made for the argument - God necessary? Type of God(s)? View of the universe - simplicity is best - Is God a simple or a complicated answer

Higher Philosophy - Unit Assessment 2004

Problems in Philosophy
Arguments for the existence of God

ÒYou can believe that God exists, but you cannot prove it.Ó

To what extent do you think the teleological argument for the existence of God demonstrates that this point of view is incorrect?

Higher Philosophy - Unit Assessment 2004

Problems in Philosophy
Arguments for the existence of God

ÒYou can believe that God exists, but you cannot prove it.Ó

To what extent do you think the teleological argument for the existence of God demonstrates that this point of view is incorrect?

Higher Philosophy - Unit Assessment 2004

Problems in Philosophy
Arguments for the existence of God

ÒYou can believe that God exists, but you cannot prove it.Ó

To what extent do you think the teleological argument for the existence of God demonstrates that this point of view is incorrect?

But, of course, that is the problem. Why should one believe in the first place in an objective and absolute morality? Some would answer, among other things, that the alternative, namely, ethical relativism or subjectivism, turns out on reflection to be philosophically indefensible (is it not possible to be morally mistaken?) and certainly impossible to put into practice (can one live apart from the practice of ideals and values?).

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