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A Critical Analysis of the Development of the Teleological Argument as expressed by Averroes and St.

Aquinas

By Mazaher Muraj

ABSTRACT
For centuries the most powerful argument for the existence of God has been the teleological argument, better known as the argument from intelligent design which has been espoused by Muslim thinkers as well as Christian. This essay will seek to critically analyze the development of the teleological arguments as expressed by Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and St. Aquinas in comparison to modern versions of this argument in order to view its progress and validity when standing against alternative theories to intelligent design proposed by atheists. Having established this, it will become known to us, where the teleological argument stands among the arguments in favor of the existence of a creator.

INTRODUCTION
The teleological argument aimed at finding the purpose of things is better known as the argument from intelligent design. It is an argument that has been advanced by philosophers and theologians over many centuries in order to prove the existence of God. Amongst the ancient Islamic theologians to advance this argument is Ibn Rushd (d. 1198), better known as Averroes in the western world. Averroes mainly advances the argument by use of two formulas; (1) induction by suggesting that the order of the universe can only be a result of intelligent design and (2) deduction by citing examples from the Quran where God has used intelligent design to form everything in the universe. However it is a combination of both which leads to the intelligent design hypothesis. Later scholars such as St. Thomas Aquinas (d. 1274) expanded on the teleological argument by empirically observing the design and order of the universe and thus suggested the premise which would lead to the conclusion that the universe was created by an intelligent designer. The methodology that shall be applied in order to critically assess the development of this argument as expressed by Averroes and Aquinas will be that of critical rationalism. This methodology is the most apt for this discussion because via the use of conjectures it seeks to find a solution to an existing question or problem and it seems that the teleological argument follows the same inquisitive method in order to determine its conclusion. An example of a philosopher to have used this method in order to reach a conclusion is William Paley in his watch maker analogy. This essay will seek to examine the arguments proposed by Averroes and Aquinas to prove the existence of God in order to critically analyze its development. The structure of this discussion will take the following format; (1) Averroes and Aquinas arguments will be critically examined in light of recent proposed arguments such as the finetuning argument, (2) the criticisms of the teleological argument will be assessed as to their validity, (3) it is important to discuss alternative proposals to intelligent design such as the multi-verse hypothesis. Having discussed the above points a conclusion will be derived determining the strength of the teleological argument in the 21st century.

MAIN DISCUSSION
The existence of God has been questioned for centuries and perhaps may continue to be questioned. As a result, philosophers and theologians have forwarded both philosophical and scientific arguments to confirm that God does indeed exist however nonbelievers, in response, have also lodged alternative theories that explain our existence and in the process, given criticisms of arguments that support the former conclusion. As mentioned, among the most famous arguments in support of Gods existence proposed is the teleological argument which is concerned with proving an intelligent designer behind the universes existence who is said to be God. The most interesting aspect about this argument is that it doesnt fall into the philosophical or scientific categories and largely relies on induction and analogies to prove its case. This alone has led to widespread criticism from atheists. Among the foremost Islamic philosophers and theologians supporting this argument is Ibn Rushd (who shall be referred to as his western name, Averroes) and St. Thomas Aquinas of the Christian faith. Whilst the former takes an inductive approach in relation to this argument, Aquinas is known to take an empirical approach via the use of observation. The arguments of each proponent will be discussed and critically assessed below in order to determine their validity in this modern age. Averroes Averroes produces the teleological argument in his work kitb alkhashf mainly by evoking examples from the Qurn. Such examples include that from chapter 88 verse 17 in which God asks the reader to consider and ponder over the creation of the camel whilst the proceeding and following verses point the readers attention to the creation of the heavens and the earth. Such examples can be cited from many places in the Qurn and thus the style of Averroes approach becomes clear relying heavily on deduction (in the manner of pondering over creation) [1]. There are many advantages to this method of approach but disadvantages also present themselves.

The advantages of Averroes approach (which is deductive reasoning) are many since it is commonly used to find logical answers or truths in many fields of study such as mathematics and literature analysis. Amongst the advantages is that deductive reasoning follows a step by step pattern on order to reach an end point in a finite statement. This can best be seen in the analogy given by William Paley of a watch and a watch maker. He states that a watch containing a set of cogs rotating in a set order which make the watch function must require an answer to the origin of how such a complex mechanical item came to be. Thus there must be a watch maker who designed the watch [2]. Averroes uses this approach by referring to the proof of God through creation saying that its complexity requires an intelligent designer and refers to a fly as an example. He indicates that since man, as intelligent as they are, cannot even piece together something as minute and complex as a fly, there must be a complex and final existent that put together the complex structure that is the universe [3]. However, Averroes use of deductive reasoning has seen to have many disadvantages. Since any statement in deductive reasoning begins with a premise and ends with a conclusion, if the premise is incorrect therefore the conclusion will also be incorrect even if it has followed the pattern of deductive reasoning. Although this disadvantage may be valid, it can be seen that Averroes escapes this since rather than starting from an initial point, he starts from the end point and seeks to reach the origin. He concludes that everything that exists has a design and from there steps back to reach the premise that God is the designer that designer everything. A question posed by Richard Dawkins is why stop at God? If a watch considered to be complex requires an intelligent designer, then cant God require a designer more complex than itself? [4] This is an interesting question which cannot be answered via the teleological argument but the cosmological argument. The cosmological argument seeks to find the point of origin which certainly exists since if it did not then we would not exist at all. The first event to have occurred requires a cause and thus the cause is believed to be God. Aquinas The teleological argument is the fifth of St. Thomas Aquinas five ways and it seeks to establish the purpose or end of things using empirical observation in this instance it seeks to establish the existence of an intelligent creator. However, unlike Averroes who uses deductive reasoning, Aquinas resorts to the use of inductive reasoning which follows a set of 3 premises leading to a conclusion. The premises, according to Aquinas, have come about due to empirical observation and are as follows; (1) All things have an order and work for an end, (2) the order of the universe cannot be explained by chance but only by

design, and (3) design and purpose is a product of intelligence. Thus Aquinas is led to the conclusion (4) nature is directed by a divine intelligence or a great designer [5]. Induction has benefits however the use of this approach in the teleological argument is very problematic and, in my opinion, cannot be held as a valid approach in proving the existence of a Designer. The benefit of inductive reasoning is that it allows a person to derive a conclusion based on probability. Aquinas, clearly using observation as a basis to conclude the hypothesis that the universe has been intelligently designed, states that the probability of design being the answer is more likely than the answer being chance. Thus the second premise (mentioned above) eliminates the possibility of the universe resulting due to chance implying chance to be impossible. The problem with this is that probabilities are not always true. The error of Aquinas use of inductive reasoning is in the structure of the premise since it is limited to generate an answer that is specifically sought after even though it may follow a logical step by step pattern. If the premise is wrong then the answer will be wrong even though it appears to be correct in the formula used by Aquinas. The second problem with this approach to the teleological argument is that probability is not certain and by concluding an answer based on a set of probabilities for a question as important as the existence of God leaves some observations unconsidered, which may result in the wrong conclusion. The positive attribute of Aquinas approach is the use of observation since this enables his teleological argument to become an empirical one. The advantage of observation is that it allows for data to be gathered and thus using this data a conclusion can be made. Aquinas, having observed the order of the universe makes a conclusion from what he has seen. Observation is a useful tool in order to view how something functions and as we shall see later, is also a part of the fine tuning argument. Difference between the approach of Averroes and Aquinas The difference between Averroes and Aquinas with regards to the teleological argument is that the formers use of deductive reasoning is not always empirical since Averroes evokes examples from the Qurn in order to establish an intelligent designer who created the universe. Using the Qurn as a basis is a foundationalist approach and is only valid if a person believes or accepts the correctness of the text being relied upon. However the examples that Averroes uses are examples that can be observed and further pondered upon. Aquinas use of inductive reasoning seeks to be empirical however since it is based on

probability, it may not always be correct. The problem with Aquinas view is that it takes the view of positivism and thus commits the fallacy of reductionism which eliminates all other possibilities in order to reach a set end. The overlooking of some observations cannot lead to a certain answer. Averroes approach, in my view, to a certain extent makes the teleological argument plausible due to its logical backward thought process in order to find the initial point the intelligent designer. Carrying no assumptions further aids its cause since the examples given in the Qurn force a person to ponder over its root cause. Aquinas approach contains many problems however his use of observation also makes the argument plausible since it enables the argument to become a scientific one, though not wholly. Having considered the approach of both Averroes and Aquinas, who died a century apart from each other, we shall now explore the development of the teleological argument in recent times in order to assess its progress and validity in the 21st century: Fine Tuning of the Universe One of the most recent developments of the teleological argument which further strengthens the view that the hand of an intelligent designer is responsible for the creation and order of the universe is the fine tuning argument which has been advocated by chemists and physicists alike. The argument for fine tuning of the universe is a modern approach or an extension of the teleological argument as presented by Averroes and Aquinas however it can be considered to have both similarities and differences. The similarities are that as with Aquinas approach, it is based on probability and observation of the smallest details of the universe. The difference is that the approach of Averroes and Aquinas is not considered to be scientific whilst the fine tuning argument contains an element of science within it e.g. the consideration of protons, if even slightly different, can mean that life would be impossible, etc. There are many examples that can be produced to show that the universe is fine tuned. One such example is if the initial explosion of the big bang had differed in strength by as little as one part in 10 to the power 60, the universe would have either quickly collapsed back on itself or expanded too rapidly for stars to form. In either case, life would be impossible [6]. This example and others are used to indicate that that a single difference to the current system in which we live would result in drastic changes to the extent that life would not exist. Therefore fine tuning of the universe in this way should lead one to conclude that there is an intelligent designer who has designed the

universe. Since evidence of fine tuning can be found in many places, the probability of this conclusion outweighs the probability that the universe came into existence by chance. Thus God, the designer, exists. Some skeptics may suggest that the fine tuning argument used by religion to prove God is actually another way to explain something that cannot yet be explained by science God of the gaps. Science is based on observation and probability and the fine tuning of the universe, having observed the order of the universe, displays that the probability of intelligent design is greater than the probability of chance. It can be seen that the teleological argument has progressed in the form of the fine tuning argument since the time of Averroes and Aquinas albeit it complements Aquinas method of observation. Although this development provides for a more rational argument for the existence of a creator, the fine tuning of the universe has been attempted to be explained by alternate theories. These theories are many however the main and most plausible ones will be discussed and critically analyzed below:

Alternate theory to fine tuning

Multi-verse Hypothesis Scientists and philosophers do not dispute the fact that the universe contains evidence of fine tuning however they have not arrived at the same conclusion as proponents of the existence of an intelligent designer thus proposing alternate theories. One such theory is the multi-verse hypothesis which suggests that if there exists a vast multitude of universes i.e. many universes, then there may be an unsurprising possibility that from among them, at least one contains all the necessary conditions for life to be possible when it came into existence [7]. This hypothesis thus explains the evidence for fine tuning in our universe however there are a number of issues with this theory which will be discussed below. The first major problem with this hypothesis is that it is not supported by any evidence to the extent that other universes need to be invented in order for this theory to be considered valid. An example given by Robin Collins which espouses this criticism is that of a dinosaur skeptic stating that dinosaur bones do not indicate that dinosaurs exist rather they have been produced in a dinosaur bone producing field. This postulation would seem absurd to a sane person since there is evidence that animals leave behind fossilized remains whilst there is no evidence for the existence of a dinosaur bone producing field and therefore due to the evidence of these remains , the claimants theory

would instantly be rejected [8]. Since there is no evidence for a universe other than the one in which we live to exist, the multi-verse hypothesis cannot be favored over the theory of intelligent design by a designer. Although it may not be the case, but it may seem as if this hypothesis has led an atheist to seek an answer to fine tuning other than intelligent design, out of desperation and thus is not a scientific claim. The second major problem with the multi-verse hypothesis is that a mechanism which produces many universes sounds even more complex than the order of the universe and thus we are left with the same initial question who designed the mechanism producing many universes? This question can become a cosmological one seeking to find an initial point of causation however the issue of design may come about due to the design of the universe producing mechanism. Therefore this creates more questions than it does solutions. Therefore it can be seen that the multi-verse hypothesis cannot stand as a valid theory due to the lack of evidence in its favor as well as the complications the theory results in as explained above.

CONCLUSION
This essay sought to critically analyze the development of the teleological argument for the existence of God as expressed by Averroes and Aquinas in the early 11th and 12th century by comparing it with the modern form of the teleological argument, known as fine tuning, in order to establish the existence of an intelligent designer.

After having assessed both forms of the argument, I believe that the fine tuning argument provides more rational and logical grounds in which it can be stated that an intelligent designer led to the creation and design of the universe. In order to critically analyze the arguments development first it was necessary to discuss the methodology used by Averroes and Aquinas as well as establish their strengths and flaws. It was found that Averroes method was that of a backward step by step pattern with the aim of finding the initial point from the end. This type of reasoning is called deductive reasoning. Aquinas approach was completely different in the fact that due to the observation of the order of the universe, the probability of chance was eliminated in favor of the probability that a designer led to the universes existence. This type of reasoning is called inductive reasoning. These were the main differences of the two approaches however in analyzing the fine tuning argument we found that a combination of both approaches were used. When discussing the fine tuning argument, after having established it as a good modern example of the teleological argument, we came across a rival theory to explain fine tuning the multi-verse hypothesis. However after examining this theory in depth, we found that firstly, it lacked evidence thus the theory of an intelligent designer should take precedence and secondly the explanation itself needed an explanation of design since a universe producing mechanism seems likely to have been created or designed. In conclusion I believe that the teleological argument has come far with the emergence of the fine tuning argument. Averroes, although his approach of deductive reasoning is, in my view, better than Aquinas approach of inductive reasoning, he evokes examples from the Qurn and thus can be labeled a foundationalist. However in evoking these examples there is some element of fine tuning involved because he asks a person to ponder over the magnificence of the design of even the smallest biological organism the fly. Aquinas approach of inductive reasoning contains many problems however his use of observation makes for a basis to the beginning of the fine tuning argument. Thus both approaches combine, in my opinion, lead to the fine tuning of the universe conclusion. Just as I have concluded in other theology papers such as the discussion on the kalam cosmological argument, I believe that although the teleological argument of the 21st century may aid in the belief of a superior existent which is an intelligent designer, arguments such as these do not prove God on their own (even though they prove

a strong case in affirmation) rather God is proved when a combination of these arguments are expressed.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books

Clark, K. J. 2008. Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. 2nd ed: Broadview Press. Web sites

Neil A. Manson. 2009. The Fine Tuning Argument. [ONLINE] Available at:http://home.olemiss.edu/~namanson/Fine%20tuning %20argument.pdf. [Accessed 11 June 12]. 2005. Introduction to Philosophy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/governance.shtml. [Accessed 13 June 12]. Strafford Grammar School. 2005. Philosophy of Religion. [ONLINE] Available at:http://scandalon.co.uk/philosophy/teleological.htm. [Accessed 13 June 12]. Wikipedia. 2009. Watchmaker analogy. [ONLINE] Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy#Richard_Dawkins. [Accessed 21 June 12]. Journal

Kukkonen, T, 2002. Averroes and the Teleological Argument. Religious Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), Published by: Cambridge University Press, pp. 405-428.

REFERENCES
[1] Kukkonen, T, 2002. Averroes and the Teleological Argument. Religious Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), Published by: Cambridge University Press, pp. 405-428. [2] Strafford Grammar School. 2005. Philosophy of Religion. [ONLINE] Available at:http://scandalon.co.uk/philosophy/teleological.htm. [Accessed 13 June 12]. [3] Kukkonen, T, 2002. Averroes and the Teleological Argument. Religious Studies, Vol. 38, No. 4 (Dec., 2002), Published by: Cambridge University Press, pp. 405-428. [4] Wikipedia. 2009. Watchmaker analogy. [ONLINE] Available at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watchmaker_analogy#Richard_Dawkins. [Accessed 21 June 12]. [5] 2005. Introduction to Philosophy. [ONLINE] Available at: http://philosophy.lander.edu/intro/governance.shtml. [Accessed 13 June 12]. [6] Clark, K. J. 2008. Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. 2nd ed: Broadview Press. [7] Neil A. Manson. 2009. The Fine Tuning Argument. [ONLINE] Available at:http://home.olemiss.edu/~namanson/Fine%20tuning %20argument.pdf. [Accessed 11 June 12]. [8] Clark, K. J. 2008. Readings in the Philosophy of Religion. 2nd ed: Broadview Press.