God gives an account of the world's master plan

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Parent debateThis argument is used in the debate Does God exist?.
Keywords: Teleological argument, God, Complexity, Universe[ edit ].


"If I see a clock, I suppose a watchmaker" (Voltaire). The universe forms a whole ordered by laws; this whole has produced stable planetary systems, then living organisms, and finally consciousness. To attribute such a sequence to chance alone is absurd. Each stage of cosmic development shows that a creative intelligence is at work.


“But in the end, all nature shows the infinite art of its author. When I speak of an art, I mean an assembly of means chosen on purpose to achieve a precise end: it's an order, an arrangement, an industry, a purpose followed. Chance, on the contrary, is a blind and necessary cause, which prepares, arranges and chooses nothing, and which has neither will nor intelligence. Now, I maintain that the universe bears the character of an infinitely powerful and industrious cause. I maintain that chance, that is, the blind and fortuitous concurrence of necessary causes deprived of reason, cannot have formed this whole. [I recognize the hand of a skilful sculptor: I admire the delicacy with which he has proportioned all the members of this body, to give them so much beauty, grace, majesty, life, tenderness, movement and action. How would this man respond if someone were to say to him: no, a sculptor never made this statue. It's true, it's made with the most exquisite taste, and in the rules of perfection; but it was chance alone that made it. Among so many pieces of marble, there was one that formed itself in this way; the rains and winds detached it from the mountain; a very violent storm threw it straight onto this pedestal, which had prepared itself in this place. It's a perfect Apollo, like the one in the Belvedere: it's a Venus that equals the Medici one: it's a Hercules that resembles the Farnese one. It's true, you'd think that this figure walks, that it lives, that it thinks, and that it's going to speak: but it owes nothing to art; and it's a blind stroke of chance, which has finished it off and placed it so well.”

Fénelon, Treatise on the existence of God, Éditions Universitaires, Grenoble, 1990.



Arguments forJustifications

Arguments againstObjections

  • Argument againstThe world is not orderly but chaotic
  • Argument againstThe notion of order is a projection of the human mind
  • Argument againstScience explains the order and complexity of the world
  • Argument againstA God in the image of man is too human to be credible
  • Argument againstThe physical-teleological argument does not prove the existence of a creator god, but only of an ordering demiurge.
  • Argument againstBeware of analogies used to show the existence of a god

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