David Hume

Problems With The Teleological Argument

David Hume's Objections

  1. First Objection - The nature of analogical arguments:

    1. The conclusion of an analogical argument is only as strong as the analogy between the compared things.

    2. Any dissimilarity between the compared things proportionately weakens the analogy.

      1. There are more dissimilarities than similarities between the universe and a machine.

      2. We have limited experience with the Universe

      3. We should not expect the parts of the Universe to exhibit the same qualities as the whole (fallacy of composition)

      4. The Universe may be best understood from a non-human point of view (anthropocentrism)

      5. The final cause of the universe is not much like the final cause of a machine.

  2. Second Objection - Reductio Ad Absurdum (assume the argument works: if order exists in minds, and if the only examples of minds are human minds, then it follows that) -

    1. God can have no infinite attributes.

    2. God cannot be perfect;

      1. God may not be the originator of the pattern of the universe;

      2. This may be only one of many creations (God could be infantile or elderly);

      3. There could be more than one God;

      4. God(s) would have to be generated;

      5. God(s) has a body

  3. Third Objection - The only legitimate conclusion from the argument is that the universe came into being (i.e., is temporal) and follows some design (we can make no causal inferences about the nature of the designer).

  4. Fourth Objection - Panentheism?

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