Argument From Design Essay, Research Paper
Argument from Design
In ?The Watch and the Watchmaker,? William Paley argues through analogy that since an intelligent designer must be assumed for the purpose-revealing watch, an intelligent Grand Designer may be inferred in explaining the purpose-revealing world. Both products, the world and watch, reveal an intricate and positive design; thus, each has to have its own intelligent designer. Also, because the universe is like a watch, we can infer it has an intelligent designer by the fact that it may be proved to be mechanical through mathematical concepts. He begins his argument by asking the reader to imagine crossing a heath and pitching one?s foot against a stone. If one were asked how the stone came to be there, it would not be absurd to suggest it had laid there forever. However, if a watch were found on the ground, it would be hardly acceptable to give the same answer as the stone. Paley continues by illustrating the precision and intricacies of the cogs and springs within a watch in relation to natural physical objects. In a watch ?several parts are framed and put together for a purpose,? where the parts being together are in a particular formation, there must be reasons for such a placement, giving away its cause of existence. And given that the watch has a purpose, Paley argued that this obvious design would force one to conclude “the watch must have had a maker; that there must have existed an artificer or artificers, who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer”. Perfection, like that in a watch, needs a creator because the coincidence or chance of being made without a creator is highly unlikely. The belief that a watchmaker will always exists, even if the individual does or know a watchmaker or has seen a watch made. No other explanation of a watch?s existence could be feasible or logical without believing that there was once a watchmaker. Whether the contraption works or not is not he focus; the focus is on whether a plan has been made for the instrument to reveal that a design was intended. In very complex machines, missing or undiscovered parts are more likely to arise; yet, such disorder would no doubt make an individual more curious as to the objects purpose. Although in some cases, a part may seem useless, the individual would continue to question and wonder what purpose that part serves. No one could believe that the watch was assembled together with sheer luck; therefore, an intelligent designer exists. The watch is definitely not made by the principle of order and it is not believable to say or think that the watch was not invented. One?s experiences with human designed artifacts leads him to infer the existence of a designer. Design cannot exist without the designer. Paley goes on to indicate, ?Every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature?. While the world is far more complex than a simplistic instrument, like a watch, it is no different when compared at the base levels, especially when seeing that both are so mechanical, showing elements of order.
When Hume sets out the argument from design to prove that the universe is like a watch, he emphasizes the concepts of cause and effect, where ?like effects prove like causes,? as he portrays himself through his spokesperson Cleanthes. From observed features of the natural world, Cleanthes argues a posteriori that the existence of a creator may be inferred. Like the concept of cause and effect, his main principle is that similar effects have similar causes. For example, the basis of comparison for a watch and the universe is that both are mechanical and function based on a set of orders; thus, intelligent designers, either divine or human, probably contrived each. Cleanthes tells the reader to ?contemplate the whole and every part of [the world]? because it is ?nothing but one great machine, subdivided into an infinite number of lesser machines, which again admit of subdivisions?. In other words, the structure of his argument is based on the premises that the world (or one of its parts) resemble a machine in some aspects and based on personal experience, humans know that other machines, the watch per se, have been created by intelligent designers; therefore, the world is the creation of an intelligent designer. He emphasizes on the fundamental elements of order within the universe as reasons to how the world functions so incredibly. Such intricacy requires a reason and meaning behind it, so if each object has a purpose based on this theory, then those purposes must have been given by someone, confirming the existence of a designer or creator. The principle of similar effects and similar causes is used to explain how an instrument like a watch or universe works within man?s existence. Because the universe and a watch have similar effects in that both are ?the productions of human contrivance?, through the principle, it is easily assumed that there must be a similar cause, which is that these products were created through an intelligent designer. Here, the intelligent designer for the universe is a divine existence and for the watch is man. Although the deity must be great and powerful, in certain ways, it may be similar to humans, in that both possess intelligence and purpose.
Through the character Philo, Hume acts as a skeptic who criticizes the argument from design. I agree with Philo?s notion that the design argument is based on a faulty analogy?humans do not know if an order in the creation or purpose of the world exists because they did see or know the exact the process. In comparison, the production of a watch may be observed therefore the intelligent designer exists, but the same theory of similar causes and effects may not be applied to such a grandeur object. The immensity of the universe definitely weakens the comparisons to human products. In the occasion in that the less similar the effect, it is inferred that the less probably that the concepts have to similar cause. Also, changing the domain of the argument will diminish the similarities between effect and cause. Philo states that ?but wherever you depart, in the least, from the similarity of the cases, you diminish proportionably the evidence; and may at last bring it to a very weak analogy, which is confessedly liable to error and uncertainty?the great disproportion bars all comparison and inference.? In other words, the low similarity between the objects brings about a lower probability of the face. There are many different ways in which changes may occur. An example of that is the level of intelligence between designers?obviously, a deity would by far be greater and knowledgeable than man. The sign of intelligence exhibited in a small part of the universe, like in the watch, cannot be extended as a theory for the entire universe. Although comparisons are needed to make a conclusion, such an unbalance, as in the case of the watch and the universe, is an unfair judgment. As opposed to generalizing the topics, it would be better to take into account each individual fact to make a better and stronger argument.