The Watchmaker Argument – Debunked (Teleological Argument – Refuted)…


Date: June 22, 2019

01) The Watchmaker Argument – Debunked (Teleological Argument – Refuted)

“As most famously presented by William Paley in his theological work titled “Natural Theology”, the Watchmaker Analogy (teleological argument) is a recurring argument for a designer, which, by way of analogy, asserts that complexity requires a designer.

The way Paley put it is essentially as follows: if you were walking across a field and saw a watch lying upon the ground, you wouldn’t assume that it had come together by chance because it’s too ordered and complicated. Rather, you would assume that it had a conscious and intelligent designer. By way of analogy, Paley then went on to argue that because life and indeed the universe is ordered and complicated, it too must’ve had a conscious and intelligent designer.

Throughout the video I pint-point several flaws and fallacies that those who use the Watchmaker tend to commit, but for a very brief summery (extremely brief), they are as follows:

1. False Analogy:

An analogy is a comparison between things that have similar features for the purpose of explaining a principle or an idea, and in this case, Paley insists that a comparison can be made between the complexity of a watch and the complexity of the universe, which both imply that they had a designer.

2. False Cause Fallacy:

Essentially, like all False Cause Fallacies, the Watchmaker Argument mistakenly confuses correlation with causation. It recognizes a relationship between complexity and designers, and then concludes that one necessarily implies the other.

3. Ignores Evolution by Natural Selection:

It completely ignores evolution by natural selection. Without getting into it too deeply, natural selection has been completely and utterly proven to be an unconscious process that has given rise to countless complex and purposed organisms. The watchmaker argument ignores this in the attempt to substantiate it’s black and white fallacy (deliberate designer or randomness).

4. Special Pleading:

Its core premise asserts that purpose and complexity requires a designer, and so if we draw the Watchmaker Argument out to its logical conclusion – that there is a god and that it created the universe and everything in it, then by applying the argument’s logic to itself we must conclude that this god too had a designer, and so on and so forth for infinity…

5. Contradiction:

The Watchmaker Argument is self-contradicting. The argument first assumes that a watch is different from nature, which it indirectly claims is uncomplicated and random. However, it then states that since the universe is so complicated and ordered it too must have a creator. Thus, it gives the universe two incompatible and contradicting qualities.

6. Shoemaker:

The Watchmaker Argument doesn’t imply a designer – it implies that there are many designers. After finding that watch upon the ground, imagine if you then saw beside it a shoe. Would you assume that a watchmaker made that shoe? Of course not – you would assume that a shoemaker made it.

7. Ex Nihilo The Watchmaker Argument acts as if a watchmaker creates a watch from nothing, when this simply isn’t true.

A watch, like all human creations, is a rearrangement of energy and mater that already existed.

8. Doesn’t Support Theism:

The Watchmaker Argument doesn’t support theism. Even if it were accepted as a sound argument, it would only prove that a universe had a universe designer – and that’s it. It wouldn’t prove a particular religion to be true.

9. Incompetent Design:

An all-powerful and all-loving god would not create organisms with the type of suboptimal design that can be seen in nature. Meaning that either that god isn’t omnipotent or that it isn’t omnibenevolent – or both!”

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