Can We Prove that God Exists?

posted Nov 30, 2012, 2:36 AM by Professor Katz   [ updated Dec 3, 2012, 1:53 PM ]
....or do we just need to believe?

The 'Argument from Design', especially the part of that called the 'Teleological Argument', has been very persuasive over the centuries.  The basic claim is that the order and the complexity found in the universe can best be explained by the existence of God the Creator.

William Paley (1743-1805), in his book,
Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity (London, 1802) came up with an interesting analogy:

In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, 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. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer I had before given, that for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there. (...) There must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use. (...) Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation.

The 'Argument from Design' has itself evolved, and the analogy of the watch found on the ground has become the Parker pen found on the moon:


In many ways, the Argument from Design is a zombie, having been killed dead in 1779, with the posthumous publication of the book by David Hume (1711-1776), Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion.

It's really more complicated than Parker pens on the moon.  Have a look at one of the following general articles, which are listed in order of complexity.  The bottom of the list, of course, is the article in Wikipedia: