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The Teleological Argument

5. The Rise of Darwinism

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About this Lecture

Lecture

In this module, we look at the rise of Darwinism, and its implications for the design argument, focusing in particular on (i) Darwin’s naturalistic explanation for goal adapted phenomena (ii) Richard Dawkins’ challenge to design arguments from biological science (iii) Alfred Lord Tennyson’s expression of the anguish felt by believers towards the process of blind indifference displacing order and harmony (iv) the problem of evil (v) the indifference of evolutionary mechanisms to suffering in the process of natural selection, as noted by Dawkins (vi) Leibniz’s idea of the universe as the best of all possible worlds (vii) Blaise Pascal’s idea of redemption through divine grace.

Course

In this course, Professor John Cottingham (University of Reading) explores the teleological argument. In the first module, we introduce Aquinas’ teleological argument from regularity in the universe. In the second module, we examine various conceptions of harmony and order in the world. In the third module, we look at William Paley’s argument from design, using the analogy of a watch. In the fourth module, we explore David Hume’s objections to design type arguments, based on the limitations of analogous claims and causal inferences. In the fifth module, we come to examine the rise of Darwinism, before investigating ‘fine tuning’ in the sixth module. In the seventh module we evaluate teleological arguments, and the extent to which they help to ground belief in a personal God.

Lecturer

John Cottingham is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Reading and an Honorary Fellow of St John's College, Oxford. He has published thirty books — thirteen as sole author, a further nine editions and translations, plus (either as single or join editor) eight edited collections — together with over 115 articles or chapters in journals or books. His books include Descartes, The Rationalists, Philosophy and the Good Life, On the Meaning of Life, The Spiritual Dimension (Cambridge, 2005), Cartesian Reflections (Oxford, 2008), Why Believe? (Continuum 2009) and Philosophy of Religion: Towards a More Humane Approach (Cambridge, 2014). He is co-editor and translator of the three-volume standard Cambridge edition of The Philosophical Writings of Descartes. From 1993-2012 he was editor of Ratio, the international journal of analytic philosophy. The Moral Life, a Festschrift honouring his work on moral psychology, ethics and religion, was published in 2008.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Cottingham, J. (2022, June 21). The Teleological Argument - The Rise of Darwinism [Video]. MASSOLIT. https://massolit.io/courses/the-teleological-argument/the-rise-of-darwinism

MLA style

Cottingham, J. "The Teleological Argument – The Rise of Darwinism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 21 Jun 2022, https://massolit.io/courses/the-teleological-argument/the-rise-of-darwinism

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