Hi, I am studying a philosophy subject on God, freedom and evil. The subject is predominantly concerned with arguments for and against the existence of God, focusing on theist and naturalist theories.

My assessment task is as follows:

"Choose an argument for or against the existence of God from amongst the best arguments discussed in the present unit. Set out your chosen argument in standard form . Then assess the argument. Make sure that you assess each of: support, acceptability (to both Theist and Naturalist), and success. The conclusion of your essay should be a verdict on the success of the argument that you have chosen.

Marking criteria:
Demonstrated your comprehension of the material being studied.
 Demonstrated your ability to critically analyse philosophical arguments.
 Demonstrated your ability to state and defend a philosophical position.
 Demonstrated your ability to state philosophical arguments clearly.
 Demonstrated your ability to reference other people’s ideas – even in situations where no direct quote is being used.
 Demonstrated your ability to research a philosophical topic.

Important Note: Taking a critical position is crucial. Your own position must be stated clearly and you must provide a philosophical defence for the position you take. It is not sufficient to merely describe other peoples’ position or positions"

It must be 2000 words in length.

I have chosen William Paley's Teleological Stonemaker/Watchmaker argument (see attached file). I am really struggling to break the argument down and develop my own position. I have read numerous author's take on his argument, and the general consensus appears to be that Paley's argument is flawed and self-defeating - i.e., not successful. I could no doubt find arguments in his favour if I looked hard enough but it seems that it would be easier to argue against Paley than for him. I have not yet developed a philiosophical defence.

This is my first philiosophy subject and I am finding it really complex and confusing.

Can you please assist me in developing my argument? I will need to use academic sources to support my argument. I can provide you with more resources if required.

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In the discussion that follows, I examine William Paley’s watchmaker argument for the existence of God. I begin by presenting the argument’s place in the a posteriori collection of theist arguments, and I juxtapose these seemingly empirical modes of reasoning with typically scientific examples of positing and proving the existence of entities – in the course of which I begin to make a case for why such arguments for the existence of God may do no more than fail. I then take up the issue of whether Paley’s argument is, basically, the argument from simple analogy, and I make the case in the affirmative. This has the result of showing how Paley’s argument is susceptible to Hume’s criticisms, and I point out how evolution’s refutation of Paley fits into a very Humean picture. In so doing, I attempt to make the overall case that arguments from analogy of the extreme degree employed by Theists can only be vulnerable to counterarguments and counterexamples such as offered by Naturalists and evolution. Finally, I close the paper by suggesting a way in which Theists might salvage a great deal of value from arguments such as Paley’s.

Preamble – the a posteriori and the theoretical
Here at the outset, it is important to take into consideration the ‘type’ of argument Paley’s argument is taken to be. The watchmaker line of reasoning falls under the broad category of a posteriori arguments for the existence of God; as opposed to a priori arguments such as the ontological argument, a posteriori arguments—such as the cosmological argument and teleological arguments, the latter under which Paley’s falls—purport to start with observation of particular features or properties of the world, of reality, and then work ‘backwards’ to an explanation of those features or properties. So, somewhat unlike ontological arguments, whose premises seem concerned with only concepts and their definitions and with logical moves, a posteriori arguments have as one or more of their premises claims about how things are....
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