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.

Comments
41 - 60 of 69 Comments Last updated Jun 22, 2012
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#41 Jun 21, 2012
Peru_Serv wrote:
<quoted text>
Do you really? How do you know that?
Oh look out, it's Peru with his "How do YOU know, where you THERE?!?" argument! Cosmic Sheep last Thursdayism ad absurdum.
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#42 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
If you think there is a lesson about how science works in assuming the watch is man-made, please explain it. Religion is faith and faith is confidence in what we believe, but cannot prove. It doesn't mean we don't try.
The sperm finds the egg. How does it know to do that?
The stone rolls downhill and gathers moss. How does it know to do that?

“Pissing people off since 1949”

Level 8

Since: Apr 08

Seffner, FL

#43 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Name anything. An atom, a black hole, a water molecule at 4 deg C. How did it get there? I think that's more difficult to understand than how a neanderthal evolved into a homo sapien.
The watch is only an analogy. This will date me, but have you seen "The God's must be Crazy?" A coke bottle falls out of an airplane and falls into a remote area in Africa where no one has seen anything like it. To you or me it's just a piece of glass. But the tribe of the one that found it was prepared to believe it was a gift from God. Whether the watch or the coke bottle was made by human hands is not the point. In essence, everything is miraculous just by the fact that it exists. But as I said first off, what is most amazing is how things know to reproduce.
Which only serves to prove that the ignorant will worship anything they do not understand.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult

“Pissing people off since 1949”

Level 8

Since: Apr 08

Seffner, FL

#44 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
If you think there is a lesson about how science works in assuming the watch is man-made, please explain it. Religion is faith and faith is confidence in what we believe, but cannot prove. It doesn't mean we don't try.
The sperm finds the egg. How does it know to do that?
A very teenie-tiny GPS. Or goddidit with magic. Not sure which is the case.

;-)
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#45 Jun 21, 2012
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
The sperm thing requires you actually studying a bunch of biology.
Now, when you find a watch on the ground, how do you know it is made by human hands?
You are dodging the question, likely because there is no linguine to answer it with. Use your own words.
Not sure what linguine refers to. I have explained several times that one need not know who/what made the watch. The point of an analogy is to empower an author to express a concept in a way that will enable a reader to better comprehend. I may be wrong (please enlighten me), but I believe Paley is expressing his opinion that the creation smacks of intelligence beyond his understanding. That things happen naturally doesnít do it for me, sorry.
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#46 Jun 21, 2012
polymath257 wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes.
<quoted text>
I'm not even sure that is a meaningful question. To 'come from' implies something else in existence. But if 'nature', i.e. the u niverse is all that exists, then that simply isn't the case. Also,'coming from' implies that time is active. Again, time is a *natural* process, you already must have nature to have time. Again, a problem with the question.
How do you know that nature/universe is all that exists? And if it is, how much of it do you know and understand?
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#47 Jun 21, 2012
The Dude wrote:
<quoted text>
The stone rolls downhill and gathers moss. How does it know to do that?
Is this a trick question? I thought a rolling stone gathers no moss?

“Maccullochella macquariensis”

Since: May 08

Melbourne, Australia

#48 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Not sure what linguine refers to. I have explained several times that one need not know who/what made the watch. The point of an analogy is to empower an author to express a concept in a way that will enable a reader to better comprehend. I may be wrong (please enlighten me), but I believe Paley is expressing his opinion that the creation smacks of intelligence beyond his understanding. That things happen naturally doesnít do it for me, sorry.
It's a good thing that science doesn't depend on what "does it" for you, then, isn't it?
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#49 Jun 21, 2012
Bluenose wrote:
<quoted text>
The overwhelming majority of sperm do not, in fact, find an egg. The sperm do not know how to do anything. They simply swim in the very limitied number of directions available (at least in mammals). It is not suprising that out of the millions and millions of sperm a few do manage to find an egg. Of course in other animals it can be a lot more wasteful of sperm. Coral for example eject countless billions of sperm cells so that a vanishingly tiny proportion might find egg cells to fertilise.
That is how matural things often work. It may not be particularly efficient, but it does not have to be. It only has to work well enough.
You are making the classic error of athropomorphising the process - your question is a dead give away. Maybe you need to study a bit of biology so that you don't make such basic mistakes in the future.
Anthropomorphizing. I had to look that up. Dead give away to what? Attributing human characteristics to sperm? Maybe I am, but how is that a mistake? Sperm were born to swim. Why?

Mistakes are how we learn. Sperm on the other hand have no such luxury. Perhaps that is the reason there needs to be so many. But knowing how something works doesnít explain why it works or even exists in the first place.

“Maccullochella macquariensis”

Since: May 08

Melbourne, Australia

#50 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
How do you know that nature/universe is all that exists? And if it is, how much of it do you know and understand?
Perhaps you need to get a better dictionary then. Just sayin...

“Maccullochella macquariensis”

Since: May 08

Melbourne, Australia

#51 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Anthropomorphizing. I had to look that up. Dead give away to what? Attributing human characteristics to sperm? Maybe I am, but how is that a mistake? Sperm were born to swim. Why?
Mistakes are how we learn. Sperm on the other hand have no such luxury. Perhaps that is the reason there needs to be so many. But knowing how something works doesnít explain why it works or even exists in the first place.
Really? And why is that?

“I Am No One Else”

Level 7

Since: Apr 12

Seattle

#52 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Not sure what linguine refers to. I have explained several times that one need not know who/what made the watch. The point of an analogy is to empower an author to express a concept in a way that will enable a reader to better comprehend. I may be wrong (please enlighten me), but I believe Paley is expressing his opinion that the creation smacks of intelligence beyond his understanding. That things happen naturally doesnít do it for me, sorry.
It is a valid question, answer the question then I will enlighten you. How do you know that a watch you find on the ground is made by human hands?

“Maccullochella macquariensis”

Since: May 08

Melbourne, Australia

#53 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Anthropomorphizing. I had to look that up. Dead give away to what? Attributing human characteristics to sperm? Maybe I am, but how is that a mistake? Sperm were born to swim. Why?
Mistakes are how we learn. Sperm on the other hand have no such luxury. Perhaps that is the reason there needs to be so many. But knowing how something works doesnít explain why it works or even exists in the first place.
Oh, I get it, you think goddidit is the answer and so I must have some equivalent meme behind my position. Well sorry, I don't believe in sky pixies. Life can be explained with just one word - chemistry. If you don't like it, then boohoo for you, but in the end it all comes down to chemistry.
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#54 Jun 21, 2012
Bluenose wrote:
<quoted text>
Oh, I get it, you think goddidit is the answer and so I must have some equivalent meme behind my position. Well sorry, I don't believe in sky pixies. Life can be explained with just one word - chemistry. If you don't like it, then boohoo for you, but in the end it all comes down to chemistry.
I didnít project my views on you and I wonít get upset about what yours are. If chemistry does it for you, fine. Thanks for sharing that.
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#55 Jun 21, 2012
KittenKoder wrote:
<quoted text>
You need to go to school, open a textbook on biological evolution, and start reading. You are asking third grade level questions here, and if you're that stupid then you should not be on the internet, otherwise you are being a Poe.
What is a Poe?

“Pissing people off since 1949”

Level 8

Since: Apr 08

Seffner, FL

#56 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
What is a Poe?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe%27s_law

“I Am No One Else”

Level 7

Since: Apr 12

Seattle

#57 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
What is a Poe?
A parody of something:
rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law

I hope that link pastes because it explains it more completely. It's hard to tell if someone is parodying a zealot though, so most Poe's get bored because they can't get enough laughs. It's the new troll, but less annoying.
ChicBowdrie

Allentown, PA

#58 Jun 21, 2012
One final comment on the interesting evolution vs. creationist/ID arguments here and elsewhere. I think there is an effort to force proponents of intelligent design into a fundamental creationist YEC box. I don't think I am the only Christian/Jew/Muslim/theist who, while recognizing that the Holy Books are not scientific accounts, believes they contain evidence of a omnipotent Creator. That said, I would challenge anti-evolutionists to consider the possibility that creation is ongoing and that the Creator has used and continues to use evolution in the process. Why not? Is it any less miraculous than a water molecule or a virgin birth?

The challenge for evolutionists is even greater. Assuming life emerged from the premordial soup, where did the soup come from? "It was just there" doesn't cut it. We have a pretty good understanding of gravity, magnetism, photons and other unseen things--but what are the equations describing memory, instinct, and sexual desire? How many DNA molecules had to form by chance before one of them figured out how to invent or recognize the value of indigenous membranes and enclose itself therein? How many prokaryotic cells had to form and fail to split before they learned to do it perfectly, instinctively, and repetitively? Or did the first cell last long enough to figure out how to divide itself, remember what it did, and teach its offspring endosymbiosis and an openness to the concept of fertilization and the brave new world of eukaryotic cells and mitosis?
The Dude

Birkenhead, UK

#59 Jun 21, 2012
ChicBowdrie wrote:
<quoted text>
Is this a trick question? I thought a rolling stone gathers no moss?
Well obviously it can choose, since it knows to roll downhill.

“Pissing people off since 1949”

Level 8

Since: Apr 08

Seffner, FL

#60 Jun 21, 2012
The Dude wrote:
<quoted text>
Well obviously it can choose, since it knows to roll downhill.
Dude! I found a use for your expired kittens!

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist...

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