Have you ever read Natural Theology by William Paley? One could say that in it he makes the famous “Watchmaker” analogy. But really, the entire book is little other than the watchmaker analogy. If you were to compare the boringess-interestingness factor of Paley’s book with a similar number of pages of anything written by Darwin, it would look like this:

************************************************* Darwin
* Paley

where being over to the right is more interesting. And that could be ANYTHING by Darwin.

I have a small story to tell you (which you may have heard before) and then a recommendation of something to click on.

The story is this. One day, I was sitting around my house, probably around 7 or 8 years old, when my uncle, who was hardly ever around because he was a missionary and usually off in some exotic land such as Costa Rica or Canada, called me over and showed me something in his hand.

“I found this while I was walking into the Moose River, going fishing.” That was a place not far from where he was living at the time, in the Adirondack Mountains. “I had it fixed once, but it stopped working, and then I had it fixed again. It works fine now, but I can never really use it because I prefer my watch. Here, you can have it,” and he gave me this:

Photo on 2-27-12 at 4.jpg

Here is what William Paley says about watches you find on the ground in the woods:

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 any thing I knew to the contrary, it had lain there for ever: 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 which I had before given, that, for any thing I knew, the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? why is it not as admissible in the second case, as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, viz. that, when we come to inspect the watch, bla bla bla on and on and on.

Those of you who know the Moose River area will immediately recognize that it is very heath-like in places, and swampy. One is fairly unlikely to find a stone, though, as it is mostly floodplain. Most likely, if you found a stone it would be some sort of artifact.

So yes, dear reader, the following things are true: 1) My uncle, a Franciscan Priest, while crossing the heath found a watch upon the ground. And, 2) William Paley knew nothing about watches, evolution, or for that matter, geology.

And all that is just a fancy introduction to something you should read:

The Watchmaker Analogy: not an argument

The ‘watchmaker analogy’ has been around for quite some time.. and it was refuted shortly after it’s explication (in fact, Paley was refuted by Hume before Paley was born)….

Quite recently, Fazale Rana (a member of Reasons to Believe) directed me to his claim that “Kai ABC Proteins Re-invigorate the Watchmaker Argument for God’s Existence” with the invitation to ‘explain how is reasoning is faulty’.

Ask and thou shalt receive.

That is an essay a guest post by Brian Lynchehaun at Crommunist, and it is HERE. I suggest adding it to your list of links you pass out when certain things are said to you.

Comments

  1. #1 Crommunist
    February 27, 2012

    Hey Greg, that article is actually written by Brian Lynchehaun, who is a guest author on my blog.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    February 27, 2012

    Oh. No wonder it was so good!!!

    (only kidding)

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