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Encyclopedia > Watchmaker analogy

The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy the argument states that design implies a designer. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the analogy was used (by Descartes and Boyle, for instance) as a device for explaining the structure of the universe and God's relationship to it. Later, the analogy played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe. The deepest visible-light image of the cosmos. ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and other thinkers. ... Analogy is either the cognitive process of transferring information from a particular subject (the analogue or source) to another particular subject (the target), or a linguistic expression corresponding to such a process. ... René Descartes René Descartes (IPA: , March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, worked as a philosopher and mathematician. ... Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (January 25, 1627–December 30, 1691) was an Irish natural philosopher (chemist, physicist, and inventor) noted for his work in physics and chemistry. ... Natural theology is the knowledge of God accessible to all rational human beings without recourse to any special or supposedly supernatural revelation. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ... Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ...


The most famous statement of the teleological argument using the watchmaker analogy was given by William Paley in 1802. Paley's argument was seriously challenged by Charles Darwin's discovery of natural selection. In the United States, starting in the 1980s, the concepts of evolution and natural selection (usually referred to as "Darwinism") become the subject of a concerted attack by Christian creationists. This attack included a renewed interest in, and defense of, the watchmaker argument by the intelligent design movement. The deepest visible-light image of the cosmos. ... William Paley William Paley (July, 1743 - May 25, 1805), English divine, Christian apologist and philosopher, was born at Peterborough, Northamptonshire. ... Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who achieved lasting fame by producing considerable evidence that species originated through evolutionary change, at the same time proposing the scientific theory that natural selection is the mechanism by which such change occurs. ... The Galápagos Islands hold 13 species of finches that are closely related and differ most markedly in the shape of their beaks. ... The intelligent design movement is a campaign based in the United States that calls for broad social, academic and political changes derived from the notion of intelligent design, a form of neo-creationism. ...

Contents

The Watchmaker argument

The watchmaker analogy consists of the comparison of some natural phenomenon to a watch. Typically, the analogy is presented as a prelude to the teleological argument and is generally presented as: A wrist watch A watch is a small portable timepiece or clock that displays the time and sometimes the day, date, month and year. ... The deepest visible-light image of the cosmos. ...

  1. If you look at a watch, you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent watchmaker.
  2. Similarly, if you look at some natural phenomenon X (a particular organ or organism, the structure of the solar system, life, the entire universe) you can easily tell that it was designed and built by an intelligent creator/designer.

In this presentation, the watch analogy (step 1) does not function as a premise to an argument -- rather it functions as a rhetorical device and a preamble. Its purpose is to establish the plausibility of the general premise: you can tell, simply by looking at something, whether or not it was the product of intelligent design.


In most formulations of the argument, the characteristic that indicates intelligent design is left implicit. In some formulations, the characteristic is orderliness or complexity (which is a form of order). In other cases it is clearly being designed for a purpose.


Arguments that emphasize the appearance of purpose (as in Voltaire, see below), often appeal to biological phenomena. It seems natural to say that the purpose of an eye is to enable an organism to gather information about its environment, the purpose of legs is to enable an organism to move about in its environment, and so on. Even for non-biological phenomena, scientific explanations in terms of purpose were accepted well into the 19th century. Natural phenomena were explained in terms of how they were designed for the benefit of humanity. It was held for instance, that the highest mountains on earth are located in the hottest climates by design -- so that the mountains might condense the rain and provide cool breezes where mankind needed them the most. (Ref.)


In arguments that emphasize on orderliness or complexity, the argument is often supplemented by a second argument that proceeds this way:

Phenomenon X (the structure of the solar system, DNA, etc.) must be the result of:

  1. random chance, blind fate, etc.
  2. natural causes, natural law
  3. intelligent design
In the case of a watch, for example , neither (1) nor (2) is plausible. The complexity of a watch means that it could never have come about through random chance or through any natural process; it must have been designed by an intelligent watchmaker. Similarly (the argument continues), the complexity of X means that it could never have come about through random chance or through any natural process; it must have been designed by an intelligent designer.

This argument is basically a process of elimination: three possible explanations are offered. When the first two (random chance, natural causes) are ruled out, intelligent design is left standing as the only plausible explanation.


The Achilles heel of the argument is that it fails if there exists a plausible explanation of phenomenon X in terms of natural processes. And this makes it vulnerable to advances in science, which has progressively found more and more naturalistic explanations for natural phenomena, and progressively abandoned explanations in terms of teleology. The location of mountains, for instance, is now explained in terms of plate tectonics. The structure of biological organisms is explained in terms of natural selection. The structure of the solar system is explained in terms of the nebular hypothesis and its refinements. And so on. Teleology (telos: end, purpose) is the philosophical study of design, purpose, directive principle, or finality in nature or human creations. ... Bridge across the Álfagjá rift valley in southwest Iceland, the boundary of the Eurasian and North American continental tectonic plates. ... The Galápagos Islands hold 13 species of finches that are closely related and differ most markedly in the shape of their beaks. ... A planetary disc forming in the Orion Nebula. ...


History

Cicero

Cicero (106 BC43 BC) anticipated the watchmaker analogy in De natura deorum, (About the nature of the gods), ii. 34 This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Centuries: 3rd century BC - 2nd century BC - 1st century BC Decades: 150s BC 140s BC 130s BC 120s BC 110s BC - 100s BC - 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC Years: 111 BC 110 BC 109 BC 108 BC 107 BC - 106 BC - 105 BC 104 BC... Centuries: 2nd century BC - 1st century BC - 1st century Decades: 90s BC 80s BC 70s BC 60s BC 50s BC - 40s BC - 30s BC 20s BC 10s BC 0s BC 0s Years: 48 BC 47 BC 46 BC 45 BC 44 BC 43 BC 42 BC 41 BC 40 BC...

When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence, when it embraces everything, including these artifacts themselves and their artificers? Wall sundial Wall sundial in Warsaws Old Town A sundial measures time by the position of the sun. ... A water clock or clepsydra is a device for measuring time by letting water regularly flow out of a container, usually through a tiny aperture. ...

—Cicero, quoted by Dennett 1995, p. 29, (Gjertsen 1989, p. 199)

Invention of Clocks

Historically speaking, it was necessary for watches to be invented before there could be watchmaker analogies. But before there were watches (small portable clocks), there were clocks... and the possibility of clock analogies. A wrist watch A watch is a small portable timepiece or clock that displays the time and sometimes the day, date, month and year. ...


The first reasonably accurate mechanical clocks were developed early in the 14th century. They used falling weights to supply power and were not portable. A clock (from the Latin cloca, bell) is an instrument for measuring time. ...


Rene Descartes

Rene Descartes
Rene Descartes

One of the earliest expressions of the idea that human and animal bodies are clockworks made by God can be found in the work of René Descartes. René Descartes, painting by Frans Hals, ca. ... René Descartes, painting by Frans Hals, ca. ... René Descartes (March 31, 1596 – February 11, 1650), also known as Cartesius, was a noted French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist. ...


Descartes developed the concept of Cartesian dualism, which held that human beings are composed of two distinct substances: matter and spirit. According to this theory, humans have both material bodies and non-material souls, whereas animals have only material bodies but no souls. Cartesian dualism was Descartess principle of the separation of mind and matter and mind and body. ...


Descartes believed that the material bodies of both humans and animals were basically machines. In Part V of his Discourse on Method (1637), Descartes provided a brief synopsis of his thinking about all aspects of the physical world. This discussion includes a long exposition of his theory about the cause of the circulation of the blood: that the heart functions like a furnace, heating the blood and forcing it to expand out into the circulatory system. This motion of the blood, he wrote, The Discourse on Method is a philosophical and mathematical treatise published by René Descartes in 1637. ... Events February 3 - Tulipmania collapses in Netherlands by government order February 15 - Ferdinand III becomes Holy Roman Emperor December 17 - Shimabara Rebellion erupts in Japan Pierre de Fermat makes a marginal claim to have proof of what would become known as Fermats last theorem. ...

follows as necessarily from the very arrangement of the parts [i.e. the heart, the blood, and body heat] ... as does the motion of a clock from the power, the situation, and shape of its counterweights and wheels.

Discourse on Method , translated by John Veitch The Discourse on Method is a philosophical and mathematical treatise published by René Descartes in 1637. ...

Descartes had a hydraulic theory of how the brain causes the muscles to move the body. He explains that the "common sense" causes an animal or human body to move by "distributing the animal spirits through the muscles".

Nor will this appear at all strange to those who are acquainted with the variety of movements performed by the different automata, or moving machines fabricated by human industry, and that with help of but few pieces compared with the great multitude of bones, muscles, nerves, arteries, veins, and other parts that are found in the body of each animal. Such persons will look upon this body as a machine made by the hands of God, which is incomparably better arranged, and adequate to movements more admirable, than is any machine of human invention. An automaton (plural: automata) is a self-operating machine. ...

Descartes then goes on to assert that brute animals have no reason at all, and pauses to consider an objection: that there are some things that animals do better than humans.

It is also very worth of remark that, though there are many animals that manifest more industry than we in certain of their actions, the same animals are yet observed to show none at all in many others: so that the circumstance that they do better than we does not prove that they are endowed with mind...; on the contrary, it rather proves that they are destitute of reason, and that it is nature which acts in them according to the disposition of their organs: thus it is seen that a clock composed only of wheels and weights can number the hours and measure time more exactly than we will all our skill.

Note that Descartes is writing before the invention of pocket watches, so his examples of clockworks are clocks powered by weights. Descartes' God is a clockmaker, not yet a watchmaker.


Invention of the Watch

A gold pocket watch
A gold pocket watch

A pocket watch or watch is a small portable clock. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (800x697, 123 KB) fr:: Montre gousset cs:: Kapesní hodinky de: Deutsch: Taschenuhr en: English: Pocket watch it: Italiano: Orologio da taschino (cipolla) es: Español: Reloj de bolsillo Template:ગુજરાતી ગુજરાતી: ખિસ્સામાં રાખવાની ઘડિયાળ ja: 日本語: 懐中時計 pl: Polski: Zegarek kieszonkowy pt: Português: Relógio de bolso... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (800x697, 123 KB) fr:: Montre gousset cs:: Kapesní hodinky de: Deutsch: Taschenuhr en: English: Pocket watch it: Italiano: Orologio da taschino (cipolla) es: Español: Reloj de bolsillo Template:ગુજરાતી ગુજરાતી: ખિસ્સામાં રાખવાની ઘડિયાળ ja: 日本語: 懐中時計 pl: Polski: Zegarek kieszonkowy pt: Português: Relógio de bolso... A gold pocket watch An early reference to the pocket watch is in a letter in November 1462 from the Italian clockmaker Bartholomew Manfredi to the Marchese di Manta, where he offers him a pocket clock better than that belonging to the Duke of Modena. ... A wrist watch A watch is a small portable timepiece or clock that displays the time and sometimes the day, date, month and year. ...


In the early 16th century, the development of reliable springs and escapement mechanisms allowed clockmakers to compress a timekeeping device into a small, portable compartment. In 1524, Peter Henlein created the first pocket watch. A simple escapement. ... Events March 1, 1524/5 - Giovanni da Verrazano lands near Cape Fear (approx. ... Peter Henlein (1479/1480 - August 1542) from Nuremberg is considered the inventor of the portable watch. ...


For more information on the early development of watches, see the entry for clock. A clock (from the Latin cloca, bell) is an instrument for measuring time. ...


Invention of the Orrery

A small orrery showing earth and the inner planets
A small orrery showing earth and the inner planets

What makes a watch a suitable component in an argument from design is that a watch is composed of clockworks -- that is, a watch has many moving parts which interact with each other in complex ways. Image File history File links Orrery_small. ... Image File history File links Orrery_small. ... A teleological argument (or an argument from design) is an argument for the existence of God based on evidence of design in nature. ...


An orrery or armillary sphere -- a machine that models the solar system and the motion of the planets, using a complex set of clockworks -- has a similar appeal. Since the construction of an orrery clearly requires intelligence and design, so (it can be argued) the construction of the actual solar system, whose parts and motions are similar to those of the orrery, must have required intelligence and design. An orrery is a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in heliocentric model. ... Armillary sphere An armillary sphere (also known as spherical astrolabe) is a model of the celestial sphere, invented by Eratosthenes in 255 BC. Its name comes from the Latin armilla (circle, bracelet), since it has a skeleton made of graduated metal circles linking the poles and representing the equator, the... Jupiter at South Station, part of Museum of Science, Boston scale model This was also used in FETCH! with Ruff Ruffman Solar system models, especially mechanical models, called orreries, that illustrate the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system have been built for centuries. ... An orrery is a mechanical device that illustrates the relative positions and motions of the planets and moons in the solar system in heliocentric model. ...


The first modern orrery was built circa 1704 by George Graham, an English clockmaker and member of the Royal Society. Graham gave the first model (or its design) to the celebrated instrument maker John Rowley of London, who made a copy for Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery, thus the name. Events Building of the Students Monument in Aiud, Romania. ... George Graham (1674?-1751) was an English clockmaker and inventor and a member of the Royal Society. ... Charles Boyle, 4th Earl of Orrery (July 28, 1674 - August 28, 1731), the second son of Roger, 2nd earl, was born at Chelsea. ...


Joseph Wright's picture "The Orrery" (c. 1766) is an excellent portrayal of both an orrery and the wonder and awe that conveyed. An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump (1768). ...


Robert Boyle

During the 17th century, a new vision of the universe, and of natural law, emerged. God was no longer seen as constantly active in the world, but as a relatively distant creator being who created the universe, set it in motion, and left it to run under the control of natural laws. Robert Boyle (1627-1691), for instance, argued that the universe Robert Boyle Robert Boyle (January 25, 1627–December 30, 1691) was an Irish natural philosopher (chemist, physicist, and inventor) noted for his work in physics and chemistry. ... Events A Dutch ship makes the first recorded sighting of the coast of South Australia. ... Events March 5 - French troops under Marshal Louis-Francois de Boufflers besiege the Spanish-held town of Mons March 20 - Leislers Rebellion - New governor arrives in New York - Jacob Leisler surrenders after standoff of several hours March 29 - Siege of Mons ends to the city’s surrender May 6...

is like a rare clock, such as may be that at Strasbourg, where all things are so skilfully contrived, that the engine being once set a-moving, all things proceed according to the artificer's first design, and the motions... do not require the particular interposing of the artificer, or any intelligent agent employed by him, but perform their functions upon particular occasions, by virtue of the general and primitive contriance of the whole engine. The Strasbourg astronomical clock is located in the cathedral of the French city of Strasbourg. ...

—quoted in G. J. Whitrow, Time in History, Oxford University Press, 1988 Gerald James Whitrow ( June 9, 1912, Kimmeridge, Dorset - June 2, 2000) was a British mathematician, cosmologist and science historian. ...

In this conception, the universe manifests the wisdom and power of a God who could create a universe so skillfully that, once it had been set in motion, would run properly without any further intervention by its creator. It was felt that a universe that required constant divine tinkering in order to run properly would have reflected badly on its creator's skills, the way that a watch that keeps time poorly would reflect badly on the watchmaker's skills. This increased regard for the laws of nature was one of the reasons for the growing skepticism regarding reports of miracles (that is, reports of events that defied natural law).


Robert Hooke

Hooke's drawing of a flea.
Hooke's drawing of a flea.

The great experimental scientist Robert Hooke (16351703) understood watches. He formulated Hooke's law, invented the anchor escapement and may have invented the balance spring before Christiaan Huygens.(Ref.). Greyscale picture of Robert Hookes drawing of a flea in his Micrographia. ... Greyscale picture of Robert Hookes drawing of a flea in his Micrographia. ... Robert Hooke, FRS (July 18, 1635 – March 3, 1703) was an English polymath who played an important role in the scientific revolution, through both experimental and theoretical work. ... Families Tungidae â€“ sticktight and chigoe fleas (chiggers) Pulicidae â€“ common fleas Coptopsyllidae Vermipsyllidae â€“ carnivore fleas Rhopalopsyllidae â€“ marsupial fleas Hypsophthalmidae Stephanocircidae Pygiopsyllidae Hystrichopsyllidae â€“ rat and mouse fleas Leptopsyllidae â€“ bird and rabbit fleas Ischnopsyllidae â€“ bat fleas Ceratophyllidae Amphipsyllidae Malacopsyllidae Dolichopsyllidae â€“ rodent fleas Ctenopsyllidae Flea is the common name for any of the small... Robert Hooke, FRS (July 18, 1635 – March 3, 1703) was an English polymath who played an important role in the scientific revolution, through both experimental and theoretical work. ... Events February 10 - The Académie française in Paris is expanded to become a national academy for the artistic elite. ... Events February 2 - Earthquake in Aquila, Italy February 4 - In Japan, the 47 samurai commit seppuku (ritual suicide) February 14 - Earthquake in Norcia, Italy April 21 - Company of Quenching of Fire (ie. ... Hookes law accurately models the physical properties of common mechanical springs at small extensions. ... The anchor escapement is a type of escapement, the mechanism in a clock that maintains the swinging of a pendulum for accurate timekeeping. ... The balance spring is a scientific device invented by Robert Hooke. ... Christiaan Huygens Christiaan Huygens (pronounced in English (IPA): ; in Dutch: )(April 14, 1629–July 8, 1695), was a Dutch mathematician, astronomer and physicist; born in The Hague as the son of Constantijn Huygens. ...


He was also a pioneer in the development and use of the microscope. His revolutionary book Micrographia.(Ref.) featured drawings of life as it had never been seen before — through the lens of a powerful microscope. (The picture on the right is one of many which Hooke drew from a microscope.) A microscope (Greek: micron = small and scopos = aim) is an instrument for viewing objects that are too small to be seen by the naked or unaided eye. ... Hookes drawing of a flea Micrographia is a historical book by Robert Hooke, detailing the then twenty-eight year-old Hookes observations through various lenses. ...


Like Descartes, he compared natural organisms to man-made artifacts, concluding that artifacts paled in comparison with the "Omnipotency and Infinite perfections of the great Creatour" (Ref.). Hooke compared the way watches were assembled with the workings of the organisms he was examining. He saw these pictures as providing further proof that life was divinely designed.

For, as divers Watches may be made out of several materials, which may yet have all the same appearance, and move after the same manner, that is, show the hour equally true, the one as the other, and out of the same kind of matter, like Watches, may be wrought differing ways; and, as one and the same Watch may, by being diversly agitated, or mov'd, by this or that agent, or after this or that manner, produce a quite contrary effect: So may it be with these most curious Engines of Insect's bodies; the All-wise God of Nature, may have so ordered and disposed the little Automatons, that when nourished, acted, or enlivened by this cause, they produce one kind of effect, or animate shape, when by another they act quite another way, and another Animal is produc'd. So may he so order several materials, as to make them, by several kinds of methods, produce similar Automatons

—Robert Hooke, Micrographia(1664)

Other Writers

The English divine William Derham (26 November 16575 April 1735) published his Artificial Clockmaker in 1696, a teleological argument for the being and attributes of God. The watchmaker analogy was also made by Bernard Nieuwentyt (1730). William Derham (November 26, 1657 - April 5, 1735), English divine, was born at Stoulton, near Worcester. ... November 26 is the 330th day (331st on leap years) of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Events January 8 - Miles Sindercombe, would-be-assassin of Oliver Cromwell, and his group are captured in London February - Admiral Robert Blake defeats the Spanish West Indian Fleet in a battle over the seizure of Jamaica. ... April 5 is the 95th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (96th in leap years). ... Events April 16 - The London premiere of Alcina by George Frideric Handel, his first the first Italian opera for the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. ... The year 1696 had the earliest equinoxes and solstices for 400 years in the Gregorian calendar, because this year is a leap year and the Gregorian calendar would have behaved like the Julian calendar since March 1500 had it have been in use that long. ... Bernard Nieuwentyt (1654-1718) was a Dutch philosopher, mathematician, physician, magistrate, and theologian. ... Events Pope Clement XII elected September 17 - Change of emperor of the Ottoman Empire from Ahmed III (1703-1730) to Mahmud I (1730-1754) Anna Ivanova (Anna I of Russia) became czarina Births April 16 - Henry Clinton, British general (d. ...


Voltaire

Voltaire (1694-1778) was fond of the argument from design, but also seemed aware of its limitations and treated it gingerly. In his unpublished A Treatise on Metaphysics (1736) Voltaire considered the watchmaker analogy and concluded that it probably indicated the existence of a powerful intelligent designer, but that it did not prove that the designer must be God. Voltaire at 24 years of age by Nicolas de Largillière. ...

[One way] of acquiring the notion of a being who directs the universe...is by considering ... the end to which each thing appears to be directed... [W]hen I see a watch with a hand marking the hours, I conclude that an intelligent being has designed the springs of this mechanism, so that the hand would mark the hours. So, when I see the springs of the human body, I conclude that an intelligent being has designed these organs to be received and nourished within the womb for nine months; for eyes to be given for seeing; hands for grasping, and so on. But from this one argument, I cannot conclude anything more, except that it is probable that an intelligent and superior being has prepared and shaped matter with dexterity; I cannot conclude from this argument alone that this being has made the matter out of nothing or that he is infinite in any sense. However deeply I search my mind for the connection between the following ideas — it is probable that I am the work of a being more powerful than myself, therefore this being has existed from all eternity, therefore he has created everything, therefore he is infinite, and so on. — I cannot see the chain which leads directly to that conclusion. I can see only that there is something more powerful than myself and nothing more.

—Voltaire, From Chapter 2 of A Treatise on Metaphysics, second version, 1736. Translated by Paul Edwards

Laplace

The watchmaker analogy has been used to support the argument that the complexity of the structure of the solar system can be explained only by an intelligent designer. Today, that explanation has been replaced by the nebular hypothesis. A planetary disc forming in the Orion Nebula. ...


As the story (Ref.) goes, Laplace explained his theory of celestial mechanics to Napoleon. Napoleon, who had not heard God mentioned in the exposition, asked what role God played in Laplace's system. Laplace famously replied, "I have no need of that hypothesis". To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For other uses, see Napoleon (disambiguation). ...


Thomas Paine

All the knowledge man has of science and of machinery ... comes from the great machine and structure of the universe. The constant and unwearied observations of our ancestors upon the movements and revolutions of the heavenly bodies ... have brought this knowledge upon earth. It is not Moses and the prophets, nor Jesus Christ, nor his apostles, that have done it. The Almighty is the great mechanic of the creation; the first philosopher and original teacher of all science. Let us, then, learn to reverence our master, and let us not forget the labors of our ancestors.

Thomas Paine , The Age of Reason, Part II, Section 21 This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Age of Reason is a philosophical treatise written by the 18th Century British intellectual Thomas Paine, best remembered as the author of the political pamphlet Common Sense, credited with exciting colonial opinion in support of the American Revolutionary War. ...

William Paley

William Paley.
William Paley.

Perhaps most famously, William Paley (17431805) used the analogy in his book Natural Theology, or Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity collected from the Appearances of Nature, published in 1802. In it, Paley wrote that if a pocket watch is found on a heath, it is most reasonable to assume that someone dropped it and that it was made by a watchmaker and not by natural forces. William Paley This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... William Paley This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ... William Paley William Paley (July, 1743 - May 25, 1805), English divine, Christian apologist and philosopher, was born at Peterborough, Northamptonshire. ... // Events February 14 - Henry Pelham becomes British Prime Minister February 21 - - The premiere in London of George Frideric Handels oratorio, Samson. ... 1805 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... --69. ... A gold pocket watch An early reference to the pocket watch is in a letter in November 1462 from the Italian clockmaker Bartholomew Manfredi to the Marchese di Manta, where he offers him a pocket clock better than that belonging to the Duke of Modena. ...

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; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater or more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation.

—William Paley, Natural Theology (1802)

Paley went on to argue that the complex structures of living things and the remarkable adaptations of plants and animals required an intelligent designer. He believed the natural world was the creation of God and showed the nature of the creator. According to Paley, God had carefully designed "even the most humble and insignificant organisms" and all of their minute features (such as the wings and antennae of earwigs). He believed therefore that God must care even more for humanity. A Laughing Gull on the beach in Atlantic City. ... Antennae (singular antenna), are the paired appendages connecting to the first (and in crustaceans also to the second) segment of the head of the members of all subphyla of the arthropods except Chelicerata. ... Families Suborder Archidermaptera extinct Suborder Forficulina Pygidicranidae Diplatyidae Anisolabididae Labiduridae Apachyidae Spongiphoridae Chelisochidae Forficulidae Suborder Hemimerina Hemimeridae Suborder Arixenina Arixeniidae Earwig is the common name given to the order Dermaptera of insects characterized by large membranous wings folded underneath short leathery forewings (thus the literal name of the order - skin...


Paley recognised that there is great suffering in nature, and that nature appears to be indifferent to pain. His way of reconciling this with his belief in a benevolent God was to assume that life had more pleasure than pain. (See Problem of Evil). Omnibenevolence is the property of being perfectly good, attributed by some religions to God. ... In the philosophy of religion and theology, the problem of evil is the problem of reconciling the existence of evil or suffering in the world with the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent God or Gods. ...


As a side note, a charge of wholesale plagiarism from this book was brought against Paley in the Athenaeum for 1848, but the famous illustration of the watch was not peculiar to Nieuwentyt, and had been used by many others before either Paley or Nieuwentyt. To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Athenaeum, also Athenæum or Atheneum, is used in the names of institutions or periodicals for literary, scientific, or artistic study. ... 1848 is a leap year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


Darwin

Charles Darwin in 1880
Charles Darwin in 1880

When Charles Darwin (18091882) completed his studies of theology at Christ's College, Cambridge in 1831 he read Paley's Natural Theology and believed that the work gave rational proof of the existence of God. This was because living beings showed complexity and were exquisitely fitted to their places in a happy world. Charles Darwin in 1880, as an old gentleman. ... Charles Robert Darwin FRS (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist who achieved lasting fame by producing considerable evidence that species originated through evolutionary change, at the same time proposing the scientific theory that natural selection is the mechanism by which such change occurs. ... 1809 was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... 1882 (MDCCCLXXXII) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 12-day slower Julian calendar. ... Charles Darwins education gave him knowledge of medicine as well as the theology of current faith based ideas. ... Theology (Greek θεος, theos, God, + λογος, logos, word or reason) means reasoned discourse concerning religion, spirituality and God. ... Full name Christs College Motto Souvent me Souvient I Often Remember Named after Christ Previous names Gods-house (1437), Christs College (1505) Established 1505 Sister College(s) Wadham College Master Prof. ... Leopold I 1831 (MDCCCXXXI) was a common year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Arguments for and against the existence of God have been proposed by philosophers, theologians, and other thinkers. ...


Subsequently, on the Voyage of the Beagle, Darwin found that nature was not so beneficent, and the distribution of species did not support ideas of divine creation. In 1838, shortly after his return, Darwin conceived his theory that natural selection, rather than divine design, was the best explanation for gradual change in populations over many generations. A watercolor by the HMS Beagles draughtsman, Conrad Martens. ... In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biodiversity. ... The inception of Darwins theory began with a search for explanations of contradictions in current Creationist ideas, and led him to formulate his theory of evolution which was eventually published in his book On the Origin of Species. ... The Galápagos Islands hold 13 species of finches that are closely related and differ most markedly in the shape of their beaks. ...

It can hardly be supposed that a false theory would explain, in so satisfactory a manner as does the theory of natural selection, the several large classes of facts above specified. -- The Origin of Species The title page of the 1859 edition of On the Origin of Species. ...

Natural selection, Darwin argued, provides a plausible alternative to intelligent design as the explanation of biological complexity. "The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection had been discovered." Because natural selection is capable of explaining the origins of biological complexity, there is no reason to resort to the hypothesis of an invisible supernatural agency. To do so violates Occam's Razor. The Galápagos Islands hold 13 species of finches that are closely related and differ most markedly in the shape of their beaks. ... William of Ockham. ...


Evolutionary biology also offers a more plausible explanation of the cumulative, gradual evolution of life from simplicity to complexity as shown in the fossil record. Evolutionary biology is a subfield of biology concerned with the origin and descent of species, as well as their change, multiplication, and diversity over time. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Fossil. ...


Starting in the 1980s, the concepts of evolution and natural selection (usually referred to as "Darwinism") have become the subject of a concerted counter-attack by Christian creationists. This counter-attack has included a renewed defense of the Watchmaker Argument in the form of the Intelligent Design movement. Intelligent design (ID) is the concept that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. ...


Richard Dawkins

Richard Dawkins' book The Blind Watchmaker (1986) is a reply to the watch argument. Dawkins argues that highly complex systems can be produced by a series of very small randomly-generated steps, rather than an intelligent designer. He further points out the self-refuting nature of the argument: that if complex things must have been intellegently designed by something more complex than themselves, then anything posited as this complex designer (i.e. God) must also have been designed by something yet more complex, according to the argument. This image is a book cover. ... This image is a book cover. ... Clinton Richard Dawkins (born March 26, 1941) is an eminent British ethologist, evolutionary theorist, and popular science writer who holds the Charles Simonyi Chair in the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. ... Cover illustration by the zoologist Desmond Morris The Blind Watchmaker is a 1986 book by Richard Dawkins in which he presents an explanation of, and argument for, the theory of evolution by means of natural selection. ...


Challenges to the Watchmaker Analogy

Cultural anthropologists challenge the watchmaker argument both as a 1) faulty analogy and also as a 2) mistaken idea about the matching of people, animals, and plants to their natural settings. That is, a man's mother makes the man, not a God. And people, animals, and plants have many biological mistakes in their design. [1] Cultural anthropology, also called social anthropology or socio-cultural anthropology, forms one of four commonly-recognized fields of anthropology, the holistic study of humanity. ... A genetic disorder, or genetic disease is a disease caused by abnormal expression of one or more genes in a person causing a clinical phenotype. ...


Furthermore, the anthropologists Richerson and Boyd note that, though one woman may make a watch, the know-how that the watchmaker uses consists of the accumulated learning of many generations of technology workers that managed to make minor improvements on the traditions of prior generations. That is, the cultural evolution in watchmaking from generation to generation demonstrates the very Darwinian accumulation of variations between generations in a population that creationists try to use the watchmaker analogy to disprove. It is not even a case of the watchmaker standing on the shoulders of giants. Developing the art of watchmaking is a case of "midgets standing on the shoulders of a vast pyramid of other midgets." [2] By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ... Cultural evolution is the structural change of a society and its values over time. ... Population genetics is the study of the distribution of and change in allele frequencies under the influence of the four evolutionary forces: natural selection, genetic drift, mutation, and migration. ... The metaphor of dwarves standing on the shoulders of giants (Latin: Pigmaei gigantum humeris impositi plusquam ipsi gigantes vident) is first recorded in the twelfth century and attributed to Bernard of Chartres. ...


For example, when John Harrison in 1759 created the most accurate watch that had ever been made for use on sailing ships, he used techniques from many generations of traditions in watchmaking and added in "a number of clever tricks borrowed from other technologies of the time, such as using bimetallic strips (you have seen them coiled behind the needle of oven thermometers and thermostats)" that kept his clocks from changing their rate even when the temperature rose and fell. There are so many hundreds of generations of innovations that go into making any good watch that "William Paley's famous Argument from Design would better support a polytheistic pantheon than his solitary Christian Creator; it takes many designers to make a watch." [3] John Harrison John Harrison (March 24, 1693–March 24, 1776) was an English clockmaker, who designed and built the worlds first successful chronometer (maritime clock), one whose accuracy was great enough to allow the determination of longitude over long distances. ... thermocouple and Peltier_Seebeck effect. ... Bi-metallic thermostat for buildings A thermostat is a device for maintaining the temperature of a system within a range by controlling, either directly or indirectly, the flow of heat energy into or out of the system. ... A teleological argument (or an argument from design) is an argument for the existence of God based on evidence of design in nature. ... Polytheism multiple gods or deities. ... The creator god is the divine being that created the universe, according to various traditions and faiths. ...


Also, critics of the watchmaker analogy note that it assumes a background of cultural knowledge -- familiarity with watches, clockworks, and time-keeping devices in general. It is this familiarity with watches that enables people easily to identify a watch as an artifact of human design. But (the objection goes) we have no analogous knowledge of the culture of an alleged designer of the universe, and thus conclusions about supposed design in nature cannot be drawn on the basis of an analogy to a watch.(Ref.)


In 2005, Paley's watchmaker argument became an issue considered by the court in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the "Dover trial," where plaintiffs successfully argued that intelligent design is a form of creationism, and that the school board policy requiring the presentation of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution as an "explanation of the origin of life" thus violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In his ruling, the judge stated that the use of the argument from design by intelligent design proponents "is merely a restatement of the Reverend William Paley's argument applied at the cell level"[4] and that the argument from design is subjective.[5] Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. ... In 1832, while travelling on the Voyage of the Beagle, naturalist Charles Darwin collected giant fossils in South America. ... The first ten Amendments to the U.S. Constitution make up the Bill of Rights. ... The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights. ... This article is in need of attention. ...

"For human artifacts, we know the designer's identity, human, and the mechanism of design, as we have experience based upon empirical evidence that humans can make such things, as well as many other attributes including the designer's abilities, needs, and desires. With ID, proponents assert that they refuse to propose hypotheses on the designer's identity, do not propose a mechanism, and the designer, he/she/it/they, has never been seen. In that vein, defense expert Professor Minnich agreed that in the case of human artifacts and objects, we know the identity and capacities of the human designer, but we do not know any of those attributes for the designer of biological life. In addition, Professor Behe agreed that for the design of human artifacts, we know the designer and its attributes and we have a baseline for human design that does not exist for design of biological systems. Professor Behe's only response to these seemingly insurmountable points of disanalogy was that the inference still works in science fiction movies. -- Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, page 81

References

  1. ^ Richerson & Boyd 2005, pp. 152-153
  2. ^ Richerson & Boyd 2005, p. 50
  3. ^ Richerson & Boyd 2005, pp. 51-52
  4. ^ Ruling, Whether ID Is Science, page 79 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District 2005
  5. ^ "It is readily apparent to the Court that the only attribute of design that biological systems appear to share with human artifacts is their complex appearance, i.e. if it looks complex or designed, it must have been designed. (23:73 (Behe)). This inference to design based upon the appearance of a "purposeful arrangement of parts" is a completely subjective proposition, determined in the eye of each beholder and his/her viewpoint concerning the complexity of a system." Ruling, Whether ID Is Science, page 81

The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. ... The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. ... The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. ... Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. ...

See also

The Clockmaker hypothesis is a tenet of deism that states that some higher power, such as God, created the universe (for example, in the Big Bang) and then stepped aside after the moment of creation. ...

Bibliography

  • Richerson, Peter J. & Boyd, Robert (2005), Not by Genes Alone: How Culture Transformed Human Evolution, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-71284-2.

External references


  Results from FactBites:
 
watchmaker - Search Results - MSN Encarta (145 words)
A watchmaker is an artisan who makes and repairs watches.
A modern watchmaker is more likely to repair a wristwatch or a pocketwatch than to actually create a watch from scratch.
The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God.
watchmaker analogy: Information from Answers.com (3856 words)
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the analogy was used (by Descartes and Boyle, for instance) as a device for explaining the structure of the universe and God's relationship to it.
Later, the analogy played a prominent role in natural theology and the "argument from design," where it was used to support arguments for the existence of God and for the intelligent design of the universe.
That is, the cultural evolution in watchmaking from generation to generation demonstrates the very Darwinian accumulation of variations between generations in a population that creationists try to use the watchmaker analogy to disprove.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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