Teleology explains phenomena by their ends or purposes.  Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-1274 AD) is credited with the classic teleological argument for God's existence.  Aquinas developed five philosophical proofs for God (Quinquae viae), of which the teleological proof was the "fifth way."  These five proofs are:
  1. The argument for the unmoved mover
  2. The argument for the first cause
  3. The argument from contingency
  4. The argument from degree
  5. The teleological argument1
Aquinas' teleological argument argues for God's existence from design.  Since the universe demonstrates order and design, Aquinas wrote that there must be a designer, and that designer is God.  Now many in various fields felt that this argument merits due consideration, and recently there were formed many avenues to propagate this, and it is called "intelligent design."

Atheists have countered that although the universe and particularly biologic life may appear to be designed, evolution explains all of its diversity and complexity.  This ideological conflict between the advocates of intelligent design and evolution resulted in Judge John E. Jones, III, of the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, rendering his judgment on December 20, 2005 that "intelligent design" was religion and not science, and thus intelligent design curriculum was barred from the classroom.2

Thus the teleological argument for God, in the garb of "intelligent design," was rejected as "junk science" by those of science, and labeled as unworthy to be called science.  The judicial system agreed, ruling in favor of evolution.

However, does this mean that Aquinas' teleological argument based on design is without merit?  I think it is premature to intellectually kill an idea that has been around for over 700 years when there is objective information that supports it.  Just as the Catholic church could not abide any theory that didn't support the geocentric view of the earth, and severely punished Galileo Galilei with house arrest for the remainder of his life because he did not comply with their demands3, even so the unscientific aspects of atheistic evolution will eventually be fully exposed, and the truth regarding such matters will no longer be forcibly hidden from the view of the common man.

Please consider now the evidence for design, i.e., that the presence of design DEMANDS the presence of a DESIGNER.  One of the great champions of design demanding a designer is John Clayton.  Mr. Clayton was an atheist, but converted to Christ.  He has a web page called Dandy Designs4 and if a person really wants to be open-minded about this debate, they should view Clayton's accounts of designs that supports a DESIGNER..  There are other fine articles on another webpage Mr. Clayton manages5, and these should also be considered in this debate.  In addition, Ted Stewart has presented 9 examples of design in the animal kingdom that testify to the existence of a divine designer6.  These are as follows:
  1. The Honey Bee and the Midge
  2. The Seeing Worm
  3. The Sophisticated Eyes of the Triobite
  4. The Ten Eyes of the Horse Shoe Crab
  5. The Kangaroo's Inimitable Pouch
  6. The Sea Wise Salmon
  7. The Prison Flower and the Fly
  8. Two Digestive Systems of the Bear
  9. The Radar System of the Bat
Let us for a moment consider the migration of the Monarch Butterfly.  These beautiful creatures are very well-known for their very long migrations.  However, no single Monarch Butterfly can make the entire journey.  Rather, it takes three or four generations just to make the entire migration.  Their migration can entail some considerable transatlantic crossings.  However, how can they know where to go when they have never been there before, and how can they always return to the same areas without failure?  The Wikipedia article on Monarch Butterfly makes this astute comment:

How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research; the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and a time-compensated Sun compass that depends upon the circadian clock that is based in their antennae.7

However, how do you account for such an incredible inherited flight pattern in the Monarch Butterfly by using the theory of evolution?  Clearly such an inherited flight pattern can't come into existence by the accumulation of countless genetic mutations over eons of time.  The entire mechanism must be intact from the beginning for such a flight pattern to have ever occurred.  Any absence of this inherited flight pattern would have caused the demise of the species.  Clearly the students of Darwin have no feasible explanation for this simple observation.  Surely this implies a creator, because design like this cannot occur without a Designer.

Again, let us consider for a moment the long-distance migratory ability of certain birds.  I would not be able to get anywhere in Boston, Massachusetts without a GPS in my car.  However, these incredible creatures can fly thousands of miles to a specific destination without the need of such aids.  How can they do that?  Consider the following statement:

Navigation is based on a variety of senses.  Many birds have been shown to use a sun compass.  Using the sun for direction involves the need for making compensation based on time.  Navigation has also been shown to be based on a combination of other abilities including the ability to detect magnetic fields (magnetoception), use visual landmarks as well as olfactory clues.8
A specific example of this incredible "hard-wired" ability is in the Bar-tailed Godwit.  This bird migrates between Alaska and New Zealand, the vast majority of the trip being over open ocean, flying day and night over a distance of 7258 miles, nonstop.9   Truly this is a staggering distance!  It is without doubt that they fly this route without any visual cues because all they see is ocean and sky for most of their journey, and at night they probably see very little at all.  And yet, they have no difficulty arriving at their desired location.

As with the Monarch Butterfly, we have the same dilemma about the navigation systems in the birds.  We must not only account for their ability to use a sun compass, but also their ability to detect magnetic fields and other properties.  These would explain why these wonderful creatures can fly at night without ever losing their way.  However, how can we explain this phenomenon with the theory of evolution?  These multiple mechanisms of navigation in the same bird cannot be something that is built by a wonderful random occurrence of genetic accidents over eons of time.  The navigation system in such birds must have been intact from the beginning of the species.  We must understand that this is "hard-wired" genius!  Any incompleteness and these exquisite navigation systems would have doomed the entire species.

These are only two examples of design that demands a Designer, and as I have noted above, such examples are plentiful and readily available for review on John Clayton's web pages.  However, the champions of evolution will sweep them away with a wave of the hand.  They will always turn to their own holy grail, yes, their "trinity"--i.e., that natural selection plus survival of the fittest plus eons of time will explain everything.  However, such an answer is completely inadequate.  No science experiment has ever been able to demonstrate how these things can produce a new species with different genes than the previous species.  Evolutionists reject creation because it cannot be reproduced in the laboratory.  However, their basic thesis on how additional genetic material was added so as to produce a new species also cannot be demonstrated in the laboratory either.  Therefore, based on their own reasoning, their own "trinity" should also be rejected.

Baxter summaries the design idea very well:
The teleological argument is very simple.  The intricate design found throughout the universe could not possibly have come without some kind of supreme architect and designer behind it. Where there is order there must be an orderer. Where there is plan, there must be a planner.10

In considering the classical arguments for the existence of God, I must note that the teleological argument is actually scriptural.  Paul appeals to the same phenomena for the same conclusion:

Romans 1:18–20 (NASB95) — 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (Emphasis mine)

Design demands a Designer, not an undocumentable fantasy like evolution's "trinity."

  6. Stewart, Ted. Apologetics II: New Discoveries that Confirm the Bible. Sunset International Bible Institute, Lubbock, TX, (c) 2001, pp 28-29.
  10. Baxter, BB. I Believe Because: A Study of the Evidence Supporting Christian Faith. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, (c) 1971, p 64.