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Paleys Teleological Argument This paper will examine the argument put forward by William Paley in 1802 in his Natural Theology Paley offers an argument from design that purports to show a clear and distinct reason why one should hold a belief in God due to the inherent features of the world It is attempted in this paper to firstly show that the argument should be rejected on the grounds of lacking a rationally flowing set of premises and conclusions and secondly that the criticisms made by David Hume concerning the argument hold more weight than is generally granted by other philosophers and should have convinced one even before the advent of Darwinian theory Added to this it will be considered as to whether or not Darwin actually did destroy teleological arguments forever William Paleys teleological argument is but one example of the formulation of an argument from design but nevertheless one that deserves some attention Although the origins of the thesis can be reasonably traced back as far as ancient Greek philosophy in the form of Lucilius Bablos Paleys version was the true precursor for later deliberations on the subject as it was the first to truly attempt to affirm Gods existence by appealing to an inference to the best explanation on the grounds of intuitively observable datum However this may not be a just interpretation Perhaps one could say that Paleys argument is deductive in the sense that he first establishes a principle and coupled with other seemingly plausible premises uses it in order to reach his desired conclusion Although he constantly uses the word inference it is far from clear that he is actually inferring anything procuring to the general usage of the term In any event there is little doubt th at Paley became the antecedent for later writers such as Tennant Swinburne and du Nouy who all proposed broader based arguments of the same
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