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THE WATCHMAKER ANALOGY MADE famous by William Paley the analogy is a teleological argument - an argument for the existence of God or a creator based on perceived evidence of order, intelligence, purpose, design, or direction. It is something Richard Dawkins has become synonymous with - in terms of his opposition.

It is an argument which has been taken up by the creationist movement - who believe evolution is not a science and will one day be proven false.

The argument is: The complex inner workings of a watch necessitate an intelligent designer.

As with a watch, the complexity of X - a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the entire universe - necessitates a designer.

Paley wrote: "In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, and were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, that, for anything I knew to the contrary, it had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place. I should hardly think of the answer I had before given, that for anything I knew, the watch might have always been there.

"There must have existed, at some time, and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers, who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, and designed its use.

"Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature."

THE ARGUMENTS AGAINST DAWKINS is the 21st-century mouthpiece of revolutionary biologist Charles Darwin when it comes to arguing against intelligent design.

Darwin's natural selection proves life evolved over millennia and was not, in fact, created by an intelligence. He found nature was not so beneficent, and the distribution of species did not support ideas of divine creation.

Therefore, the argument for a 'divine watchmaker' can not be made. Dawkins has since argued life was the result of complex biological processes. Dawkins makes the argument that the comparison to the lucky construction of a watch is fallacious because evolutionists do not consider evolution "lucky". He says evolutionists consider the evolution of human life the result of millions of years of natural selection.

He therefore concludes, evolution is a fair contestant to replace God in the role of 'watchmaker'. There are other arguments against the watchmaker analogy.

One is that the watch is a faulty analogy. Philosopher David Hume said, it is almost preposterous to compare the universe to a watch as we know very little about the universe, and almost everything about a pocketwatch. He argued that for a comparison to make any sense it should be made between two objects we have equal understanding about.

A third criticism is that the watchmaker is arguably a far more complex organism than the watch, and if complexity proves intelligent design, then the question arises: who designed such a complex designer? This leads to infinite regress, something Dawkins has argued against many times.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 18, 2010
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