Religion vs Reason.Richard Dawkins, Charles Darwin and the Creation of Life

Article excerpt

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. …

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