Logical Fallacy #4: Argument from Final Consequences – The Teleological Argument

It is well known that the way that we humans experience time, that every event has a consequence. Teleology is the philosophical idea that events lead to an ultimate end and finality. To be final requires some form of destiny. To have destiny implies a plan, which requires the will of a designer or planner, generally seen as the creator or a god. The error is to see the end result requiring the initial conditions rather than recognising that multiple different initial conditions can end in a similar result – that is, this philosophy has the events and consequence equation back to front. The philosophy has a number of other issues, but when it comes to the Argument from Final Consequences, this is the bit we are interested in.

If I bump the cup off the table, then it will fall. Unimpeded the cup will fall to the ground and smash. Each event has a logical and predictable next event, which results in a final consequence. Yet it doesn’t. Their is no final consequence because the smashed cup will now be swept up by someone and put in the bin, the bin will be taken out to the street curb, the waste disposal company will pick it up and eventually someone may find the broken pieces of the cup in land fill many years later.

Final Consequences suggests that from the broken cup on the ground, one can determine that it was knocked off the table. Seems logical, and that may be true. Or someone may have misjudged the table and let the cup go at the side of the table when putting it down. More importantly Teleology suggests that if the final conclusion of the broken pieces of the cup are the land fill, then when the broken pieces are found, the examiner can figure out which table it was knocked off, because that is the only explanation that fits the destiny of the cup.

Teleological destiny precludes alternate chains of events leading to the specific circumstances that have resulted. Destiny requires a fixed outcome, which not only removes self will, but also implies that all the universe is fixed in someway – that what happens next is not only the only way it could have gone, and that it can be predicted by some being with sufficient resources. We refer to these beings as gods. The implication is generally that the god chose the outcome, and knew it was coming. A single fixed chain of events requires a fixed universe since any non-fixed chain could interfere with the fixed chain, which creates paradox.

Even if a god being able to predict the future were true, and there is no evidence to support this, it is then extremely arrogant for a human to assume they have this ability to understand the subtle causal chain of events that only a god can govern to backtrack the exact and specific events that lead to this outcome.

Examples of Argument’s from Final Consequences:

* Humans exist on this world, so the world was created to support humans, which means the universe was created to support this world and thus also support humans.

* Any woman who is raped was asking for it

* My winning the lottery happened because I had a miserable life

In all of these, the outcome is being used to justify the course of actions that the arguer believes to be true, regardless of any presence or absence of evidence.

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