Outline of William Paley’s Watchmaker and Design Argument

Does the universe exhibit design, like a watch? Does a design imply a designer?

The argument from design is sometimes call the teleological argument. Telos means end (as in “endzone” in football) or purpose or goal.

Here is the summary of his main points.

What conclusion would you draw if you found a watch on the road out in the heath (countryside)?

I. Premises

A. Premises boiled down

1.. A watch found out in the heath (countryside) is a product of intelligent design (purpose).

2. The universe resembles, is like the watch. (Argument from analogy)

3. Therefore, the universe is (probably) a product of intelligent design (purpose)

4. The universe is vastly more complex and gigantic than a watch.

5. Therefore, the (probable) designer of the universe is powerful and vastly intelligent.

II. Paley Eliminates Options

A. The best option is that the watch is product of intelligent design. You’ll see it if he eliminates these inferior options or rationalizations:

1.. We have not seen a watch before or being made, so we really can’t infer it’s designed

2. Watch’s / universe’s imperfections do not exclude a designer

3. We cannot figure out everything about the watch / universe, so we can’t infer it’s designed

4. Watch / universe are not one out of possible combinations

5. Watch / universe is not product of impersonal principle of order

6. Order or intricacy of watch / universe is not merely our human mind imposing order on watch / universe

7. Watch is not product of laws of metallic nature

8. Our ignorance about a watch / universe does not mean we can’t draw some inferences about watch / universe

B. Therefore, watch / universe is product of intelligent design; it’s the best option


Outline of Hume’s Argument against Design

ARTICLES IN SERIES (alphabetical order)

Aristotle’s Virtue Ethics

Clifford’s Ethics of Belief

Descartes’s Meditations I and II

Hick’s Evil and God of Love

Hume’s Argument against Design

Hume’s Theory of Knowledge

James’s Will to Believe

Kant’s Ethics

Locke’s Theory of Knowledge

Mill’s Ethics

Nietzsche’s Madman and the Death of God

Paley’s Watchmaker and Design Argument

Plato the Soul Man

Plato’s View of Justice and the Soul

Rachels’s Moral Objectivism

Ryle’s Category Mistake

Sartre’s “Existentialism and Humanism”

Socrates’s “Apology”


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