William Paley 's Watch Analogy Essay

William Paley 's Watch Analogy Essay

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In the branch of philosophy which focuses on the existence of God, there are three primary arguments: cosmological, design, and ontological. In this paper, I will be focusing on two of the most influential arguments by design, a simplified version of the fifth argument by Aquinas as well as William Paley’s watch analogy. I will also be outlining the strengths of the argument, but most importantly, criticizing the several flaws within both variations of the argument by design. I will also criticize against and argue that the argument from design is a weak argument in comparison it’s competing hypothesis, specifically, the theory of evolution due to the lack of testability or “novel” predictions within the hypothesis.
In Sober’s book: Core Questions in Philosophy: A Text with Readings, Sober provides an alternate, simplified version of the design argument by Aquinas (Sober, 2012, p. 59-60):
(P1): “Among objects that act for an end, some have minds whereas other do not.”
(P2): “An object that acts for an end, but does not itself have a mind, must have been designed by a being with a mind.”
(P3): “Hence, there exists a being with a mind who designed all mindless objects that act for an end.”
(C): “Hence, God exists.”
In other words, Aquinas believed there to have existed two different types of objects: those which are goal-driven and have minds, and those which are goal-driven and are mindless. However, it is crucial to the understanding of Aquinas’ design argument that Aquinas believed all objects were goal-driven and “acted for an end”. Sober provides the following example that in Aquinas’ teleological view, a rock would retain its hardness “in order to resist destruction” (Sober, 2012, p. 60). I disagree with Aquinas’ stance th...


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...and improve a large portion of our understanding in the field of genetics and physical anthropology. In contrast, the argument from design, a theistic and creationist theory, has accomplished nothing towards the advancement of current science and has been unable to provide any sort of testable or novel predictions at all. As a result, I must argue against Aquinas and Paley that the lack of testability with the argument from design is a significant weakness and detriment to the legitimacy of the argument.
In conclusion, in this essay I have described the basic components to both Aquinas’ and Paley’s argument from design. I have also criticized Aquinas’ use of the Birthday Fallacy in one premises of his argument. Lastly, I have identified several weak-points of the argument from design and creationism as a whole in comparison to modern-day hypotheses such as evolution.

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