Cases against Teleological Arguments

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Mosesquine
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Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Mosesquine » March 29th, 2018, 2:05 pm

The aim of this post is to provide cases against teleological arguments. The teleological arguments are, by definition, the arguments for theism such that the things in the world are created by purposes (i.e. telos, in Greek), or sometimes called 'design arguments for theism'. I think that the teleological arguments or the design arguments for theism are wrong. First, I am going to show that all teleological arguments have in common to appeal some similarities between complexities and the natures of the world. Second, I am going to provide some cases such that the common points among teleological arguments are harmful and dangerous for our intelligibility.

First, the structure of the most teleological arguments is as follows:

(1) All things that are complex were designed.
(2) The world we live in is a thing that is complex.
Therefore, (3) The world we live in was designed.

The argument above is sometimes supported by an analogy of a clock in a desert such that when we find a clock in a wild desert we are supposed not to think the clock was automatically produced there but to think that someone made the clock and put it there, and the like.

Second, the thought that is expressed in the teleological arguments, i.e., similarity between complex things (e.g. the clock in the desert) and the world we live in is seriously wrong due to the following reasons. Some similarities exist, but they are not sufficient to support the teleological arguments. The number of differences between the clock in the desert and the world we live in is higher than the number of common points between them. So, it's the trick in the teleological arguments. If some people accepted the teleological arguments without reflections, then they would be foolish such that they can't distinguish different things from the same things.

Now, here's the argument to get people out of the magic of the teleological arguments:

(1) All arguments that make people foolish to be unable to distinguish similar (or the same) things from different (or not the same) things are very wrong.
(2) The teleological argument is an argument that makes people foolish to be unable to distinguish similar (or the same) things from different (or not the same) things.
Therefore, (3) The teleological argument is very wrong.

The thought in the teleological arguments is not acceptable for its unintelligent nature.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » March 30th, 2018, 9:16 am

(1) All things that are complex were designed.
(2) The world we live in is a thing that is complex.
Therefore, (3) The world we live in was designed.
You didn't need to disprove that argument. It was circular and unsupported: it falls down by itself.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Namelesss » March 30th, 2018, 11:01 pm

Mosesquine wrote:
March 29th, 2018, 2:05 pm
The aim of this post is to provide cases against teleological arguments. The teleological arguments are, by definition, the arguments for theism such that the things in the world are created by purposes (i.e. telos, in Greek), or sometimes called 'design arguments for theism'.
A problem with the absurd hypothesis of 'design from complexity' is that everything is 'complex' to an idiot!
There is rational logic, well defined, clear, and there is emotional psychological, egoic (pseudo-) 'logic'.
The apologists who's brains are riddled with 'beliefs' engage in the latter. Their 'logic' is just for the purpose of validating their beliefs, unlike the former.

anonymous66
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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by anonymous66 » May 30th, 2018, 7:51 am

I just finished Thomas Nagel's book Mind and Cosmos, and in it he calls himself an atheist with an aversion to any kind of theism, and expresses his affinity for an Aristotelian teleology.

So apparently, you can get teleology without theism, although I can't imagine what that would look like.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Karpel Tunnel » May 30th, 2018, 4:18 pm

Mosesquine wrote:
March 29th, 2018, 2:05 pm
Some similarities exist, but they are not sufficient to support the teleological arguments. The number of differences between the clock in the desert and the world we live in is higher than the number of common points between them.
This seems to me to be the least justified part of the argument. I think it would be solid if you fleshed this out and probably in relation to the range of the Anthropic Principle arguments from weak to strong versions.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » May 30th, 2018, 7:34 pm

anonymous66: So apparently, you can get teleology without theism, although I can't imagine what that would look like.
It could look like the world you see around you. It only requires that life forms have sufficient free will to develop aims and purposes, i.e., teleology. The aims need not be clearly defined, only conducive to their evolution.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by anonymous66 » May 31st, 2018, 4:13 am

Felix wrote:
May 30th, 2018, 7:34 pm
anonymous66: So apparently, you can get teleology without theism, although I can't imagine what that would look like.
It could look like the world you see around you. It only requires that life forms have sufficient free will to develop aims and purposes, i.e., teleology. The aims need not be clearly defined, only conducive to their evolution.
That's a little different from what Nagel has in mind. He sees problems with the current naturalistic materialistic assumptions in science. Specifically, he sees issues with the idea that life came from non-life and that complex life evolved from simple life(there are a few other problem areas) because of a series of fortunate accidents. He rejects theism, but believes that some from of Aristotelian teleology is a better explanation. I can't imagine a teleology that would be responsible for life coming from non-life and complex life evolving from simple life.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » June 3rd, 2018, 5:31 am

I can't imagine a teleology that would be responsible for life coming from non-life and complex life evolving from simple life.
It need not be responsible for it but only suitable for it's development, i.e., the universe is conducive to the formation and evolution of life, and where there is life there is the the potential for teleology, aims and purpose, to develop. Designed or not designed are not the only two options, there is room for both order and disorder, purposeful activity and aimless meandering, in the Universe. Not everything is sensible, only about 5% of the material Universe is physically perceptible to us, we have no idea how we got here, but some idea where we can go.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by anonymous66 » June 3rd, 2018, 8:01 am

Felix wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 5:31 am
I can't imagine a teleology that would be responsible for life coming from non-life and complex life evolving from simple life.
It need not be responsible for it but only suitable for it's development, i.e., the universe is conducive to the formation and evolution of life, and where there is life there is the the potential for teleology, aims and purpose, to develop. Designed or not designed are not the only two options, there is room for both order and disorder, purposeful activity and aimless meandering, in the Universe. Not everything is sensible, only about 5% of the material Universe is physically perceptible to us, we have no idea how we got here, but some idea where we can go.
I suppose it could be the case that our universe is suitable for the development of teleology and that teleology didn't exist until humans existed .. But, what Nagel is saying is that there are certain things that are too incredible to just say, "it was a fortunate accident". Materialism suggests it's because there was a fortunate accident- the thinking is that we are here, and if we assume there was no outside influence, then it must have been some fortunate accident (it wasn't planned).
In the past, the only other option was to say, "A deity is responsible". Nagel suggests there is a 3rd option. Teleology. Nagel suggests that somehow teleology (not an accident, not a deity) predates humankind and is the reason that life(and a few other things) exist.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Thinking critical » June 3rd, 2018, 6:30 pm

The reason for existance is a typical anthromorphical position, as humans we tend to analyse everything and look for reasons as a means to justify events....we have a tendency to attempt to make sense of everything we perceive.
Teleos emerges as a consequence of our train of thought, just as we have evolved to make sense of the world from a causal perspective, it is also in our nature to assign reason to the fundamental process which has given rise to our existance......however, this may simply be a case of searching for answers by asking wrong questions. Reason, purpose and intention it seems are simply not a necessary property of existance.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 4th, 2018, 1:01 am

anonymous66 wrote:
June 3rd, 2018, 8:01 am
I suppose it could be the case that our universe is suitable for the development of teleology and that teleology didn't exist until humans existed
unless, of course, a billion older intelligent life-forms were equally bent on finding themselves uniquely wond'rous.
.. But, what Nagel is saying is that there are certain things that are too incredible to just say, "it was a fortunate accident".
If they had been incredible, they wouldn't have happened. Whatever you have in front of your eyes, evidently did happen, so you may as well believe it.
Well, no, it's a lot simpler than that. Whatever you find has happened. It wasn't merely credible, it was inevitable.
Materialism suggests it's because there was a fortunate accident-
The fortunate bits, along with the unfortunate bits, the items that lasted and gave rise to further items, and the the ones that winked out in a millisecond, or withered away over a couple of eons, leaving no trace or record of their existence. It all just is.
like the thinking is that we are here, and if we assume there was no outside influence,
Where is the outside of existence?
In the past, the only other option was to say, "A deity is responsible".
Sure, it was reasonable to say: I make something useful out of the things I find lying around; therefore whatever looks functional must have been made by someone just like me, only more clever and powerful.
Nagel suggests there is a 3rd option. Teleology. Nagel suggests that somehow teleology (not an accident, not a deity) predates humankind and is the reason that life(and a few other things) exist.
Because they have a purpose? Purpose means serving a function. Function means somebody wants/needs something done. That's a plan. That's not a third option - that's just an invisible outside influence: a deity with an unknown plan.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Felix » June 4th, 2018, 5:40 am

Thinking critical: Reason, purpose and intention it seems are simply not a necessary property of existance.
Not necessary for existence, but necessary for life and it's evolution.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by anonymous66 » June 4th, 2018, 7:35 am

Alias wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 1:01 am
If they had been incredible, they wouldn't have happened. Whatever you have in front of your eyes, evidently did happen, so you may as well believe it.
Well, no, it's a lot simpler than that. Whatever you find has happened. It wasn't merely credible, it was inevitable.
Something happened. But are we just supposed to accept as a brute fact the idea that life came from non-life? Are we supposed to accept as a brute fact the idea that complex life evolved from simple life? It seems to me like science is in the business of asking just how things happened. "It was a fortunate accident" isn't much of an explanation.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 4th, 2018, 9:52 am

Felix wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 5:40 am
[Reason, purpose and intention it seems are simply not a necessary property of existance.]

Not necessary for existence, but necessary for life and it's evolution.
Why? Life tries every available option, discards what doesn't work and keeps truckin'.
What you see is the stuff that hasn't stopped existing yet. T
That doesn't mean it all has a purpos; it just means that this stuff was more durable than all the extinct stuff.

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Re: Cases against Teleological Arguments

Post by Alias » June 4th, 2018, 10:06 am

anonymous66 wrote:
June 4th, 2018, 7:35 am
Something happened. But are we just supposed to accept as a brute fact the idea that life came from non-life?
Your acceptance of rejection won't influence a fact. You can call it "brute" if think facts ought to be genteel.
Are we supposed to accept as a brute fact the idea that complex life evolved from simple life?
These days, it does seem to be devolving in the opposite direction - but only in one species, so far. Until dolphins start getting dumber, or kidneys lose their toxin-filtering capability, I'll consider this an anomaly.
It seems to me like science is in the business of asking just how things happened.
Science is not a business. But scientists do ask those questions, and come up with enough correct answers to develop effective anaesthetics and keep [most of] the airplanes aloft. So, that's something.
"It was a fortunate accident" isn't much of an explanation.
Why the "fortunate"? From whose POV?
Scientists trace back through the evidence of how processes operate, what was left behind following events, and make reasonable guesses how this or that might have come about. Then they test those guesses, throw away the ones that don't work, and keep trying. Quite a lot of explanations for a quite a lot of past events have been documented already. Many more are still in the works.
Scientists don't owe you a single, final explanation that fits on a bumper-sticker. That's what politicians are for.

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