Tag Archives: teleological argument

Peter van Inwagen

Suppose that we were to divide a square into a million smaller squares by dividing each of its sides into a thousand equal parts. And suppose that we took the first million digits in the decimal part of pi and interpreted each as corresponding to one of the million squares by some simple correspondence rule (something like this: the top left square is assigned the first digit, the next square to the right is assigned the second digit, and so on). And suppose that we assigned a color to each of the numbers 0 through 0 and painted each of the small squares with the color corresponding to the number assigned to it.

What would we say if the result turned out to be a meaningful picture—a landscape or a still life or something equally representational—of surpassing beauty?

Peter van Inwagen, Metaphysics, Boulder, Colorado, 1993, p. 137

Bede Rundle

A person finds the arrangement of cards remarkable because it is one that is already familiar, which has special significance for him. We find it remarkable that the conditions for life are satisfied in our universe, because we are already intimately familiar with life. We think there is a contrary-to-chance match, but what we are familiar with is a consequence of these fundamental conditions. No one has given an advance characterization of a universe and then found that, contrary to chance, this universe conforms to the characterization, the characterization invoked being one derived from the given universe. But if no order has been initially specified to which things are found inexplicably to correspond, there is no call to postulate an intelligence to account for this otherwise inexplicable match.

Bede Rundle, Why there is Something rather than Nothing, Oxford, 2004, p. 36