PH 110, Fall 2013
In this essay I will discuss the teleological, ontological and cosmological arguments for the existence of God, giving examples from writings done by Paley, Anselm, and Aquinas, respectively. After explaining each strategic argument using examples, I will discuss why I find the cosmological argument least compelling of the three.
I will begin with discussing the teleological argument as I find it the most compelling and convincing. A teleological argument states that something, which is designed, implies that it must have come from a designer. This type of argument looks to nature and the world or universe as evidence to prove the particular argument.
William Paley was a believer in Natural Theology, which means looking to nature and the world to prove God exists, so he chose to use a teleological argument in his writings to prove the existence of God.
I will discuss Paley's watch argument where he explains how the complex and ordered inner working of a watch shows that there must have been a watchmaker to construct it. Here, he compares a watch to the universe by stating that since the universe is a complex and ordered thing, just like a watch, it has to have a similar universe-designer, which he believes this maker of the universe to be God. I believe the most convincing aspect of Paley's argument is at the beginning of his writing "Natural Theology". When referring to a stone lying on the ground, Paley states "Ã¢ÂÂ¦ and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer" (Paley, pg. 47).