OCR support materials – teleological argument

Religious Studies H172: Philosophy of Religion G571

OCR support materials

Religious Studies H172: Philosophy of Religion G571

Suggested teaching time8 hoursTopicThe Teleological Argument
Topic outlineSuggested teaching and homework activitiesSuggested resourcesPoints to note
Introduction
  • General discussion: do they believe in God? Why or why not? What arguments can be brought?
  • Write up discussion.
  • This activity will vary according to the group and whether they studied the topic at GCSE.
The Teleological Argument from Aquinas and Paley
  • Issue students in groups with simple jigsaws. Some groups attempt to solve the jigsaws blindfolded, others by sight. Discuss what was learned. Is a complex thing like the universe more likely to be the product of design or chance? Is the jigsaw task a fair analogy?
  • Explain a simple version of the teleological argument for students to note in stages.
  • Simple children’s jigsaws (20-30 pieces). Students could make their own if time allows.
  • Any activity that pits intelligence against chance will make the point.
  • Alternatively students can be asked to go and find objects that appear designed by nature, by a human, or would be believed to be designed by God (see sample lesson).
  • Explain and lead discussion on Paley’s analogy of the watch.
  • Students to make guided notes on the arguments of Aquinas and Paley. Attempt to write Aquinas’ fifth way in plain English and compare to Paley’s argument. What is similar/different? Whose is more successful?
  • Philosophy of Religion (Jordan, Lockyer & Tate)
  • The Question of God (Palmer) contains the extract from Paley.
  • www.newadvent.org/summa                     gives the text from Aquinas.
Challenges to it from Hume; there could be other explanations for the apparent order of the universe
  • Research the criticisms that Hume makes of this argument. Write the criticisms in plain English. Rank them and attempt to write a response on behalf of the Theist.
  • Philosophy of Religion (Jordan, Lockyer & Tate)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Ideas (Raeper & Smith)
  • The Question of God (Palmer) contains an extract from Hume.
Challenges to it from Mill and Darwin
  • Students take notes from Mill’s criticism and Darwin’s Criticism from either video or text.
  • Teleological Argument Video (Dialogue Education – Peter Vardy)
  • www.tutor2u.net
Darwinist challenges that order comes through evolution and not a Divine Mind
  • Students consolidate work on Darwin by producing a PowerPoint explaining his ideas on evolution and how it affects this argument.
  • Assess whether Darwin’s ideas make it impossible to believe in God.
  • Philosophy of Religion (Jordan, Lockyer & Tate)
  • A Beginner’s Guide to Ideas (Raeper & Smith)
  • The Question of God (Palmer) contains an extract from Darwin.
  • The Philosophy Files (Stephen Law) contains a chapter entitled “Does God Exist?”
  • Examine modern debate on the teleological argument. Consider the anthropic principle, Swinburne and the criticism of Dawkins.
  • Teleological Argument Video (Dialogue Education – Peter Vardy)
  • Is there a God? (Swinburne)
  • The God Delusion (Dawkins)
  • This is an opportunity to stretch able students and engage interest.
Exam practice
  • Past examination question on topic. Students to carry out peer marking using levels of response.
  • Past papers.

 

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