William Paley and the watchmaker

Jun 16, 2012 | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: Daily Kos

First, some background: William Paley was a 19th century theologian and philosopher who is best known for using the parable of finding a watch on the ground and wondering about its origin.

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“I Am No One Else”

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#1
Jun 16, 2012
 
Watchmaker argument is fallacious, it is an inference based on the fact that we know watches are made. If we did no know watches were made, then when we find one, we'd assume it was just always there, and rightfully so.
ChicBowdrie

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#2
Jun 18, 2012
 
CT yanqui imagines William Paley would be less surprised to find a watch having found its component parts first. What would impress me more is seeing that watch reproduce! Which evolved first, the chicken or the egg?

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#3
Jun 19, 2012
 
ChicBowdrie wrote:
CT yanqui imagines William Paley would be less surprised to find a watch having found its component parts first. What would impress me more is seeing that watch reproduce! Which evolved first, the chicken or the egg?
Neither, they evolved at the same time.

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#4
Jun 19, 2012
 
What is amusing about Paley's argument is that all the animals and plants he passed by on that beach didn't inspire the same confidence they were designed as the watch. Why not? Because we *know* that trees and plants propagate naturally. We know that they don't have the simplicity that designed items have. And we know that the symmetries and construction of a watch could not happen naturally (i.e. without intelligent intervention). We know exactly the opposite for living things.

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#5
Jun 19, 2012
 
polymath257 wrote:
What is amusing about Paley's argument is that all the animals and plants he passed by on that beach didn't inspire the same confidence they were designed as the watch. Why not? Because we *know* that trees and plants propagate naturally. We know that they don't have the simplicity that designed items have. And we know that the symmetries and construction of a watch could not happen naturally (i.e. without intelligent intervention). We know exactly the opposite for living things.
Well, technically we only infer that the watch was made, and we infer more that it was humans hands, only because we have seen this happen. In reality, we don't know it was made, nor do we know it was made by human hands, unless it has a stamp saying "Made In China."

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#6
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, technically we only infer that the watch was made, and we infer more that it was humans hands, only because we have seen this happen. In reality, we don't know it was made, nor do we know it was made by human hands, unless it has a stamp saying "Made In China."
The question of whether an artifact was made with purpose is a relevant one in archaeology, especially when dealing with early human evolution. There, you have to distinguish between rocks that have simply fallen and broken apart and similar rocks that were purposefully made into tools. The way to deal with this is to find out what sorts of fissures can happen naturally and which can happen from purposeful action and find differences between these two kinds of fissures.

No natural mechanism exists to make a watch: the natural state of the metals is in an ore, not the allows seen; the natural state of the gears would not be to be aligned; etc, etc, etc. Many specifics for a watch point to an intelligence behind the making of the watch.

In contrast, we know that nature allows the propagation of life. We know that living species change over time. We know the properties of the chemicals that were present on the early earth. ALL of these suggest that the variety of life is a natural process.

Paley fails.

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#7
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
Well, technically we only infer that the watch was made, and we infer more that it was humans hands, only because we have seen this happen. In reality, we don't know it was made, nor do we know it was made by human hands, unless it has a stamp saying "Made In China."
An interesting exercise is to figure out how we would recognize artifacts produced by another intelligent species. Their design specifications may well be quite different from ours. Their aesthetics may be quite different from ours. So how could we distinguish things that they consciously made from natural objects?

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#8
Jun 20, 2012
 
polymath257 wrote:
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The question of whether an artifact was made with purpose is a relevant one in archaeology, especially when dealing with early human evolution. There, you have to distinguish between rocks that have simply fallen and broken apart and similar rocks that were purposefully made into tools. The way to deal with this is to find out what sorts of fissures can happen naturally and which can happen from purposeful action and find differences between these two kinds of fissures.
No natural mechanism exists to make a watch: the natural state of the metals is in an ore, not the allows seen; the natural state of the gears would not be to be aligned; etc, etc, etc. Many specifics for a watch point to an intelligence behind the making of the watch.
In contrast, we know that nature allows the propagation of life. We know that living species change over time. We know the properties of the chemicals that were present on the early earth. ALL of these suggest that the variety of life is a natural process.
Paley fails.
Yes, the archaeology stuff.:p I was only referring to the original argument of finding the watch on the path. However, we are still inferring in the ore point you made, we just have seen no other situation which contradicts that so we can safely make the connection. Doesn't mean it would be impossible for a watch to come about through natural means, just highly improbable because of how we understand the universe to function.

I'm probably skirting the edge of existentialism here though and should back off before I fall into that pit. LOL
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#9
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
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Neither, they evolved at the same time.
Work with me on this. Did birds evolve from dinosaurs? And did dinosaurs have wombs or lay eggs? I have to go with eggs evolving first.
ChicBowdrie

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#10
Jun 20, 2012
 
polymath257 wrote:
What is amusing about Paley's argument is that all the animals and plants he passed by on that beach didn't inspire the same confidence they were designed as the watch. Why not? Because we *know* that trees and plants propagate naturally. We know that they don't have the simplicity that designed items have. And we know that the symmetries and construction of a watch could not happen naturally (i.e. without intelligent intervention). We know exactly the opposite for living things.
Aren't you ignoring the fact that Paley's argument is based on an analogy? Just as I can imagine a time before watches, I can imagine a world without animals and plants. How could I know that the beauty and aroma of a rose can happen without intelligent intervention?

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#11
Jun 20, 2012
 
polymath257 wrote:
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We know the properties of the chemicals that were present on the early earth.
Do you really? How do you know that?

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#12
Jun 20, 2012
 
ChicBowdrie wrote:
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Work with me on this. Did birds evolve from dinosaurs? And did dinosaurs have wombs or lay eggs? I have to go with eggs evolving first.
Eggs don't evolve, only the organism inside the egg is effected by the DNA alterations. ;)

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#13
Jun 20, 2012
 

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ChicBowdrie wrote:
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Aren't you ignoring the fact that Paley's argument is based on an analogy? Just as I can imagine a time before watches, I can imagine a world without animals and plants. How could I know that the beauty and aroma of a rose can happen without intelligent intervention?
If the rose did not depend on pollination, then it would not have survived with beauty and pleasant aroma, it would have been eaten.
ChicBowdrie

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#14
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
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If the rose did not depend on pollination, then it would not have survived with beauty and pleasant aroma, it would have been eaten.
Eaten by who? There are no animals yet.
ChicBowdrie

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#15
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
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Eggs don't evolve, only the organism inside the egg is effected by the DNA alterations. ;)
First, you said eggs and chickens evolved at the same time. Now, eggs don't evolve. How did eggs first appear?

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Jun 20, 2012
 

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ChicBowdrie wrote:
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Eaten by who? There are no animals yet.
Animals came first, land plants came after, in reality. Only in mythology could the inverse even happen.

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#17
Jun 20, 2012
 

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ChicBowdrie wrote:
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First, you said eggs and chickens evolved at the same time. Now, eggs don't evolve. How did eggs first appear?
I fail to see your point.
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#18
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
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Animals came first, land plants came after, in reality. Only in mythology could the inverse even happen.
Why? Where did the O2 come from that the animals breathed? And what did they eat?

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#19
Jun 20, 2012
 
ChicBowdrie wrote:
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Why? Where did the O2 come from that the animals breathed? And what did they eat?
You really dropped out of elementary school, huh?

45% of today's oxygen comes from algae, algae lives in ... wait for it ... wait for it ... water! Algae is one of the oldest plant life we have, but it doesn't fossilize well so it may be much older. Roses are land plants, not aquatic plants, land plants evolved after land animals, or flying ones, forget the precise order off hand.
ChicBowdrie

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#20
Jun 20, 2012
 
KittenKoder wrote:
Watchmaker argument is fallacious, it is an inference based on the fact that we know watches are made. If we did no know watches were made, then when we find one, we'd assume it was just always there, and rightfully so.
KittenKoder wrote:
I fail to see your point.
Whether it's a watch, a rose, or an egg, I see a master designer behind it. How do you see it?

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