Talk:Watchmaker analogy

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December 2006[edit]

The Article is well worth reading as well as this discussion. I think the image of Gaia improved the article. I fixed the spelling here and will fix a few more. The poverty of spelling ability on this page reflects (IMHO) the poverty of clear thinking in the whole analogy, mostly or all on the "pro-analogy" side. Even multiple editors can't spell ("rearrangments"). I liked the bit about money growing on trees. Cute. Carrionluggage 22:16, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

History[edit]

File:Gaia (Greek Mythology).jpg
Gaia was one of the "Design team" who according to the Ancient Greeks brought creation into being.

Monotheists have suggested: if we find a watch in a field, it is too complex to have appeared there by natural process so they assume that there must have been a watchmaker responsible for its creation. Similarly, the argument goes, life is extremely complex and requires a creator. Polytheists have pointed out that the more historically correct assumption would be that a great multitude of people had contributed to the creation of the watch. The analogy then requires multiple creators.

The historical accuracy of single watchmaker vs a great multitude of contributors, comes into play in the Intelligent Design debate. The two sets of assumptions in the watchmaker analogy are one of the few reasoned arguments differentiating between the appropriateness of Monotheism vs Polytheism. If Intelligent Design is to be taught in science classes, the principle of parsimony, combined with the history of watchmaking, will require the teaching of polytheism as correct.

The watchmaker analogy before Paley[edit]

The Roman Cicero used ideas which later developed into the subject of this article. For Romans Tellus was the Romanised version of the Greek goddess, Gaia. Gaia played an important part in the Creation mythology of Ancient Greece. Creation mythology of traditional religions frequently gives a prominent role to a Mother goddess who gives birth to other things in creation. Frequently also love-making is involved. Gaia in some versions of the story made love to her son, Ouranos. Other parts of creation arose from this union. Cicero, by contrast, claimed that Caelus, the Romanised form of Ouranos, was the offspring of the ancient gods Aether and Hemera.

The Watchmaker analogy was anticipated by Cicero (106 BC43 BC) in De natura deorum, (About the nature of the gods), ii. 34 Cicero wrote in a polytheist context about what he thought was the design of the universe.

When you see a sundial or a water-clock, you see that it tells the time by design and not by chance. How then can you imagine that the universe as a whole is devoid of purpose and intelligence, when it embraces everything, including these artifacts themselves and their artificers?

— Cicero, quoted by Dennett 1995, p. 29, (Gjertsen 1989, p. 199)

This article seems to make little sense. While the article describes the watchmaker analogy as a false analogy, the watchmaker analogy is an argument, not a proof. While it's clearly a false analogy in the sense that it doesn't logically imply its conclusion, that's not what we typically mean when talking about false analogies in arguments.

A false analogy used in an *argument*, as opposed to one used in a logical proof, isn't one that "assumes that because two objects share one common quality, they must have another quality in common." After all, by that criterion, all analogies are false analogies. Rather, a false analogy, in an argument, is an analogy where the two objects aren't similar *enough* that you can draw similar conclusions about them. This means that if you want to show that the analogy is a false one, you can't just point out that the two objects are different; you need to be more specific than that. Ken Arromdee 17:30, 19 September 2005 (UTC)

The claim that Descartes wrote before the invention of the watch is contradicted in the very next section, which states the watch was invented in the 16th century. Why do we have a section of the invention of the watch, anyway? Very tangential.

The watchmaker analogy before Paley - David Hume[edit]

David Hume also used the watch analogy in his work "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion", from the charactre Cleanthes:

"Throw several pieces of steel together, without shape or form; they will never arrange themselves so as to compose a watch." and "But the ideas in a human mind, we see, by an unknown, inexplicable economy, arrange themselves so as to form the plan of a watch or house. Experience, therefore, proves, that there is an original principle of order in mind, not in matter."

Philosopher Andrew Pyle of Bristol University, states that Paley's Watchmaker analogy is essentially derivative of Cleanthes and simply a convoluted version, nevertheless reaching critical success (Paley's "Natural Theology"). Paley also notes some of the objections to the analogy in his work.

False analogy[edit]

The watchmaker has been called a false analogy because it assumes that because two objects share one common quality, they must have another quality in common.

  1. A watch is complex
  2. A watch has a watchmaker
  3. The universe is also complex
  4. Therefore the universe has a watchmaker

Critics say that the last step is illogical, because it concludes something that is not supported by the criteria, yet this itself is a false assumption. A false analogy to this argument would be:

  1. Leaves are complex cellulose structures
  2. Leaves grow on trees
  3. Money bills are also complex cellulose structures
  4. Therefore money grows on trees (which, according to the saying, it doesn't)

This is a false argument and avoids the concept of first causes.

- by several editors

  • The missing step in the first sequence is that of comparing the probability of specified complexity forming by random rearragements with the four primary forces compared to the Universal Probability Bound. The second sequence argument is just a spoof. DLH 04:29, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

-I agree that the analogy is a false one and it's obvious at this point that there are plenty of logical refutations for the argument. This article's neutrality is biased and pro-analogy. The neutral unbiased fact is that this analogy is illogical and wrong. -fatrb38

Modern Watchmaker Analogy[edit]

The proper comparison above to the Watchmaker analogy would more likely be:

  1. Designers make paper-making machines
  2. Paper-making machines have quantifiably complex specified structures
  3. The probability of natural forces forming paper making machines is far smaller than the Universal probability bound (of all rearrangements of the universe over all time.)

To clarify the Watchmaker Analogy in modern terms, propose adding the following example:

  1. Designers make watches with quantifiably complex specified structures assembled in a quantifiably complex specified order.
  2. The probability of natural forces forming a watch is far smaller than the Universal probability bound (of all rearrangements of the universe over all time.)
  1. Self reproducing blue green algae require use of Photosynthesis and ATPsynthase molecular machines
  2. Photosynthesis and ATPsynthase molecular machines have quantifiably complex specified structures that are assembled in quantifiably complex specified orders.
  3. The probability of natural forces forming these structures (abiogenesis) is smaller than the Universal probability bound
  4. Therefore there is a high probability that self reproducing blue green algae were formed by a designer.

DLH 04:29, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Growing watches from seed[edit]

Watches have makers whether they are complex or not. A sundial is a simple kind of watch with no moving parts, but they do not occur naturally, and have to be made. Exceptionally, a suitable living tree might make a sundial if it was positioned on its own and there were suitable hour-stones marking the progress of its shadow. Exceptionally, a naive person might honestly mistake the ticking of a watch for the beating of a heart and conclude that a watch made out of wood or metal was a living thing.

Assuming that the watch that Paley encounters lying on the ground is taken to be a machine, rather than a living thing, the the reason why it has to have a maker and designer has little to do with being complex or not, but rather has to do with whether it is not a living thing or not. Living things can and do make copies of themselves, while machines like watches never do without the help of makers or designers. Watches (with the trival exception of that tree accidentally forming a sundial), never grow on trees or grow from seed.


To summarise:

  • if watches are NOT living things, then they must have designers and makers.
  • if watches ARE living things, then they need not have designers and makers at least for every generation - living things can make copies of themselves and grow from some kind of seed - this clause does not apply because watches (with the exception of trees acting as sundials) are not living things. Amongst other things, living things can be grown from seeds, or grow on trees or whatever, none of which watches are known to do.


Consider a lifeform such as a horse, which may or may not be complex, depending on how you define complex. A horse has a heart which beats a bit like a watch, and therefore a horse is a machine a bit like that watch.


Repeating our test:

  • if horses are NOT living things, then they must have designers and makers, but most people who are not naive accept that horses ARE living things, and thus this clause does not apply.
  • if horses ARE living things (and most non-naive people would agree that they are), then they need not have designers and makers at least for every generation - living things can make copies of themselves - note that you cannot prove a negative -

The biggest flaw in Paley's Watchmaker analogy is that he does not consider machines and living things comprehensively, but uses half of one and half of the other. Also, the argument should honestly consider borderline exceptions such as the living tree acting as an accidental sundial. Tabletop

This train of argument founders on abiogenesis. See the above Modern Watchmaker AnalogyDLH 04:33, 3 October 2006 (UTC)

Further differences among watches and many living things, including humans[edit]

Just wondering if any of the renowned critics of WA have asked any of these questions:

  • Do watches reproduce themselves?
  • If so, do watches ever mutate, so that offspring watches are different from ancestor watches?
  • Do watches reproduce sexually with other watches, shuffling their design criteria so that each offspring watch is of slightly different design from, and has parts slightly different from, its parent watches?
  • Do watches that tell time well have reproductive advantages over those that do not (perhaps from humans refusing to allow bad watches to breed)?

If so, perhaps said critics and said criticisms should be added to the article. Just wondering... Unimaginative Username 00:40, 13 October 2007 (UTC)

Gratutitous[edit]

GRATUITOUS CONCLUDING SENTENCE:

This article concludes as of 10/29/05 with this erroneous (and tangential) assertion: "Darwin later returned to faith in God and even read scripture to his family on his deathbed."

Darwin's deathbed conversion is an old urban legend based on accounts by his visitor Lady Hope, as per this Wikipedia article:: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Hope

I recommend the article's final sentence be omitted (and have attempted to remove it...). Thanks, 208.201.231.139 23:21, 29 October 2005 (UTC) Ron Goldthwaite, rogoldthwaite@ucdavis.edu

Specified complexity; God(s)[edit]

Two points.

  • The article begins by mentioning specified complexity. While this has some bearing on the watchmaker analogy, this term is a recent invention, and it would be better to re-word to something less specifically from intelligent design (not least to be fair to non-ID creationists).
  • Near the start of the article there's a ridiculous section on polytheism. This is possibly in response to earlier remarks on monotheism, but neither has a monopoly on the watchmaker analogy. In fact, if we're to consider ID in its more-secular-than-thou mode, this false dichotomy precludes space aliens.

I object - I find the polytheism argument as cogent as or more cogent than the others, though I find the whole of "Intelligent Design" and the watchmaker analogy to be twaddle. Carrionluggage 22:16, 18 December 2006 (UTC)

I'll edit unless anyone reasonably objects. --Plumbago 17:51, 6 December 2005 (UTC)

Featured Article[edit]

Barbara Shack 12:56, 24 December 2005 (UTC)Is this article yet good enough to get it featured? I think its on the way. Lets work to improve it.

TWADDLE is TWADDLE

These kinds of arguments may have been worthwhile in the days of Cicero, or even Descartes, because laboratory equipment was almost nonexistent or, at any rate, much less powerful than today. Charles Darwin was not yet born, nor was Gregor Mendel. In the absence of good laboratories, breeding research (Mendel), or detailed biological and fossil studies (Darwin), it made sense to argue about divine creation of living things within the time periods spanning the Cambrian to the Holocene. Today, it is silly to pursue that - why are not Creationists satisfied to say God made the Universe, with its laws (including Evolution) and perhaps, possibly, started living things on their journey in the pre-Cambrian? The arguments are as useful as those about how many angels can stand on the head of a pin.Carrionluggage 04:26, 22 December 2006 (UTC)

Because there are different types of creationists (Christians) and they can't agree with each other. Each one has a custom version of beliefs. Some don't want Evolution theory, a 4.56 billion year Earth, sand that covers the beaches in a million years, radioactive elements with huge half-lives. For me, it is interesting to talk about these subjects and I like to point out the flaws in creationism. 142.216.102.6 (talk) 13:42, 15 September 2017 (UTC)

Copyright[edit]

The images were all in Wikipedia before. I assume their copyright status has already been checked. Please tell me if it hasn't. If I hear nothing I'll put the images back later.

the retina as "poor design"[edit]

hello, my name is Sara, I am a medical student and really enjoyed this article on the watchmaker analogy.

however, I would like to suggest to remove the example of the retina as "poor design" for the following reason:

There is actually a very useful aspect to the way it is designed, although maybe not visible at first. The light sensitive "rods and cones" are directly adjacent to the choroid membrane, because they have to rely on this pigment layer for nutrition and for the constant recycling of their pigments. If the rods and cones were at the forefront of where light hits (which in the article is suggested would be "good design"), there would maybe be no blindspot, but there would be no possibility to recycle the pigments and to obtain enough energy for the retina to function efficiently and continuously.

Also, I think that care should also be applied when concluding from the fact that something can go wrong in a design (like an ectopic pregnancy) that hence the overall design is "poor". It is only a small percentage that "goes wrong", which, even before modern medicine, did not lead to the extinction of the human race. Hence the benefits of such a design to the whole population (if there are any that we may not understand) would clearly have outweighed the risk carried by an individual. After all, the design of cells we would, I believe, agree on is "smart" overall, even though it can go wrong and lead to cancer.

This being said, I think the example of the "false analogy" should definitely be in the main article!! I think nowadays any logically thinking mind would agree that the "watchmaker analogy" is not a sound argument.

best wishes, and great job..

Sara

  • There is actually a very useful aspect to the way it is designed, although maybe not visible at first. The light sensitive "rods and cones" are directly adjacent to the choroid membrane, because they have to rely on this pigment layer for nutrition and for the constant recycling of their pigments. If the rods and cones were at the forefront of where light hits (which in the article is suggested would be "good design"), there would maybe be no blindspot, but there would be no possibility to recycle the pigments and to obtain enough energy for the retina to function efficiently and continuously.
Which is odd, since Cephalopod eyes do have the rods and cones oriented in the opposite direction and their eyes seem to still function perfectly adequately. Hrimfaxi 00:22, 22 May 2006 (UTC)

Hi again. yes, in the cephalopod eyes, the rhabdomeres (which is how their photoreceptors are called, as they are different from and not to be confused with rods and cones...) are indeed towards the outer part of the retina. However, their optic nerve is also extensively simplified, does not contain amacrine, horizontal or bipolar cells. This means that their simplified optic nerve can fit in between the choroid and the photoreceptors, without disturbing nutrition flow. With the human eye, this would not be possible. to place amacrine, horizontal and bipolar cells between the rods/cones and the choroid would make energy supply inefficient.. solution: place the optic nerve on top of the rods/cones, trade some light (without which we can obviously survive and procreate because there is more than enough above the sea...) for more energy supply, and adapt our eye to the inreased "above seawater sunlight radiation". quite "intelligent" actually. so, again, I would argue not to use this example for "poor design". There is a whole section in wikipedia under "poor designs" about that, why not take some that are undisputable? I am only playing devil's advocate here... cheers.

Complexity[edit]

I forget where I read this argument, but the argument was that if you were walking along in an area with a bunch of rocks, you would see rocks of diferent shapes and colors, none of them spherical, or completely one color. But if you saw a spherical rock that was one consistent color you might think that someone had made the rock like that. The point was a spherical rock is actually much simpler than a non spherical rock and the reason why you think something is created is not because it's complex but because it's diffrent than what you naturally see. If People made 10,000,00 pocket watches and made a beach out of them, then the next day you were born you would think that watch beaches were natural and if a rock washed ashore you would think it odd, and that it must have been disigned, not because it's complex, but because it's different. 24.237.198.91 09:45, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

On the surface, it sounds like it is making a good point but actually it isn't. BTW, I'm not a creationist. I am an atheist but I am going to destroy your example anyway. The reason why rocks have various shapes is because these are macro objects and through time, they are eroded and broken on various faces. However, if you magnify them under a microscope, you will always see the crystals present. The crystal shape comes from an intrinsic property of molecules that causes them to self arrange. They arrange in cubic (face centered cubic, body centered, simple) or hexagonal or trigonal, tetragonal, etc. There is no crystal structure for spherical. So a crystal with a spherical shape will never form. Besides that, random processes are not likely to form a sphere from a bulk material (a macro object). You might find a giant cubic crystal of NaCl or pyrite, but this is due to intrinsic properties. Furthermore, stars and planets are more or less spherical, but that is due to design by physics (gravity + huge bulk material that is molten or a gas or plasma). You will never find a cubic star or planet. More could be said but I am going to stop. Vmelkon (talk) 04:46, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Teleology[edit]

Teleological order is different from, and more strict than definitions of order using the concepts of entropy used in the physical sciences. Any complete congelation of the individual elements of a watch may properly be called, in a physical sense, the assembly of a watch. However, teleological order demands that the gears of a watch turn, and that the watch keep time by motion of the hands, and even that the time measurement be relatively accurate. Such requirements select a minuscule set of the possible assemblages of the elements of the watch.

The matter should be brought forth as a demonstration of the principles of order. Steve (talk) 03:29, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

"Such requirements select a minuscule set of the possible assemblages of the elements of the watch". I don't see why the watch needs to be accurate. Besides, matter is made of tiny parts (atoms). So how many atoms can I stick on the surface, on the side, on the gears, here and there and still keep the watch running? Make the watch bigger and more possibilities exist, different ways to put atoms onto it. Vmelkon (talk) 05:02, 20 February 2014 (UTC)

Watchmaker or Clockmaker[edit]

In what way is the watchmaker analogy different from the clockmaker hypothesis? Shouldn't the page of the clockmaker hypothesis be redirected to this site? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 213.51.106.185 (talkcontribs)

No it shouldn't. They are unrelated ideas, similar only in name. There is already talk about that on the Clockmaker page. Meggar 01:20, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
Clockmaker hypothesis redirects to this article. Steve Dufour (talk) 18:20, 5 May 2009 (UTC)

Creation Paradox[edit]

The most interesting fact about the watchmaker analogy is that it is an attempt to prove we were created by a sentient being or a group of them. But in this attempt, it creates a troublesome paradox. Wouldn't our creator, as well need to have been created? If so, then the analogy is a broken, misdirected failure of logic. If not, then if the watchmaker didn't need to be created, why does the watchmaker even have to be assumed to exist? It is, no matter what the answer, a broken, misdirected failure to disprove the evolution theory.

The Creator also created the concept of creation. In fact He created the concept of existence. :-) Steve Dufour (talk) 18:15, 4 May 2009 (UTC)


"It is, no matter what the answer, a broken, misdirected failure to disprove the evolution theory." How can you disprove a theory that hasn't been proven? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 205.241.135.66 (talk) 23:03, 12 March 2010 (UTC)

You can't "prove" any scientific theory in natural sciences. That's an impossibility because it would require the examination of the entire space-time of the universe. None of the other theories in physics, biology or chemistry are "proven" either. A theory is tested and if it is found to have reliable predictive quality then it's used until someone can show that it breaks down in a specific situation. In layman's terms: "the proof of the pudding is in the eating". DAud IcI (talk) 05:41, 7 August 2017 (UTC)


The true paradox is only revealed when one moves from the particular example to examine the undelying general principle: a complex thing suggests a maker; the more complex a thing the greater the probability of it having a designer; an infinitely complicated thing is thus infinitely likely to have a creator; God is the most complicated thing in the universe, He is therefore the one thing most likely to have a creator, and His creator to have a creator - and so on to infinity. Thus the watchmaker argument collapses to absurdity under the weight of its own logic. Cassandra. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 92.12.99.115 (talk) 18:49, 6 August 2014 (UTC)

POV?[edit]

As I'm new here, I'd rather not jump straight into editing until I understand more fully what is expected - the etiquette of the site. So I'll point out a problematic piece of text under the 'challenges' section:

But to argue that because there are mistakes in organisms they were not designed in the first place is faulty reasoning as well. A watch may have defects in it, but that does not mean that no one designed it! Furthermore, many biological features that were considered defects, such as the inverted retina, turned out to be examples of clever design.[2]

While I may agree that dismissing the watchmaker argument on the basis of defects is open to such a criticism as this, the way in which it is stated (or exclaimed, in fact) makes it read as the editor trying to convince the reader of this.

But the real problems are in the final sentence. To use the term 'many' when only providing a single example is only the start. It then states outright that the inverted retina is an example of 'clever design' - definite POV here. And the reference cited is an article by a man with worryingly vague credentials, copyrighted by Creation Ministries International and published in the supposedly peer-reviewed Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal - which is produced by Answers In Genesis. Though I'm unable to judge the article's scientific validity, it's origin makes me suspicious. While removing it may not be the best option, to cite it as definitive evidence of 'clever design' is clearly not befitting an encylopedia. ApathyAndExhaustion 08:05, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

Agreed - removed last two sentences of that. Vsmith 14:12, 6 July 2007 (UTC)
You guys are missing the biggest thing about this. The whole edit in which the discussed section was added is bad, not at alll within the standards of the rest of the article. and laid out as an argument to the reader. This includes offhand claims like "this is clearly wrong" and very poor references about how the fossil record has "proven darwin wrong". I'm removing it. Whoever wrote it can feel free to rewrite it as an encyclopedic text and reinsert it. Moquel 13:25, 11 July 2007 (UTC)
Actually, I just noticed that the first paragraph of this article does a much better job of challenging the analogy than the section in question even comes close to. Moquel 14:00, 11 July 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:Blind Watchmaker.jpg[edit]

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Image:Blind Watchmaker.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images lacking such an explanation can be deleted one week after being tagged, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot (talk) 19:03, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

References[edit]

The references section needs to be changed. Are the links "external links" that were not used directly as references but are relevant to the topic? Or are they just "references" that were used directly in the article? The section needs to be split into these two sections that make the distinction. Reinderientalk/contribs 19:32, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, I converted "external references" to the more standard "external links", and replaced the inline instances of "(ref)" with more wikified inline references. I hope this helps. Reinderientalk/contribs 19:47, 14 July 2008 (UTC)

Challenge section[edit]

The criticisms of the watchmaker analogy, the Boyd and Richardson citation of

"That is, a man's mother and father make the man, not a god. And people, animals, and plants have many biological mistakes in their design."

I wonder if the word "biological mistakes" is correct? I mean, evolutionary pathology (something leading to death before reproduction) is one thing, but how can genetic disorders (the link from the phrase) all be biological mistakes? Doesn't that presuppose a design from which you can call something a mistake? Some 'disorders' like Sickle-cell disease increase survival (heterozygous) in malaria-striken parts of the world (all other things being equal, i.e., no medicine, etc.) So I wonder if there is another way to write this? Rhetth (talk) 18:29, 20 December 2008 (UTC) Again, the criticism errs in using principles of teleology - "errors" and such - in criticizing errors in "quality" instilled by an inferior Designer. If evolution has no teleology, it cannot be used to exemplify biological "error."Steve (talk) 03:32, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

I changed the title "Challenge for the Watchmaker Argument" for "Criticism", since I think is not only more accurate but also more in-tune with the wikipedia guideline. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 85.58.2.243 (talk) 14:02, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

Proposed Cleanup[edit]

I feel this article has become unwieldy and unfocused. I am proposing a cleanup.

There are a number of individual threads running through this article:

  • discussing the Watchmaker Analogy w.r.t complexity
  • discussing the Watchmaker Analogy w.r.t purpose
  • discussing watches, clockworks, etc
  • a collection of references to timepieces in historical writings

First, we should recognize, that at the point in history where these arguments were given, the watch/clock/sundial was one of the most technologically advanced objects. Today, we would discuss computers and spacecraft -- using timepieces as an example doesn't mean the arguments are related. Therefore, the discussion of the "Invention of the Watch" should be removed.

As presented here, the Watchmaker Analogy deals solely with complexity: "the complexity of X necessitates a designer". While most authors take the analogy further and attempt to add a discussion of purpose, purpose is not central to the argument. Therefore, I feel this article should be structured in the same way: address complexity first, and then leave the discussion as an endnote.

I feel much of history section which doesn't suppose the analogy should be removed. e.g. Cicero is only using a sundial as an example of a purposeful object.

The discussion of purpose should be removed from the first "The Watchmaker argument" section; perhaps moved to a new section.

Comments?

--Jdeboer (talk) 00:08, 22 February 2009 (UTC)

Yes, a cleanup of this nature seems quite appropriate.

--adsouza —Preceding undated comment was added on 07:12, 24 February 2009 (UTC).

The bulk of this cleanup is done.

--Jdeboer (talk) 06:01, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Darwin Section does not belong[edit]

There is not a single criticism of the Watchmaker theory in this section. And it does not belong at all in this article, because Natural Selection does not necessarily preclude a Watchmaker. I won't remove until some suitable time and comments appear. --Blue Tie (talk) 23:29, 13 March 2009 (UTC)

The point isn't that naturalistic explanations preclude external interference, it's that they make said interference unnecessary. Ilkali (talk) 00:54, 14 March 2009 (UTC)
Some of the Darwin references mention Paley, but I have not seen a specific reference to the watchmater's analogy in the source material. If Darwin truly did reference the analogy in his work, some of the section should remain. I won't object if you further reworked the article. --Jdeboer (talk) 04:16, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Deism?[edit]

There is another "Watchmaker analogy" in Deism which says that God created the Universe and then just let it run on its own. (To quote from that article: "Isaac Newton's discovery of universal gravitation explained the behavior both of objects here on earth and of objects in the heavens. It promoted a world view in which the natural universe is controlled by laws of nature. This, in turn, suggested a theology in which God created the universe, set it in motion controlled by natural law, and retired from the scene. (See the Watchmaker analogy.)") Should this also be mentioned in this article? Steve Dufour (talk) 16:20, 2 May 2009 (UTC)

Steve Dufour, I would argue that this is THE watchmaker analogy, the one that's of central importance to intellectual history, and that this article hijacks an idea with a respectable pedigree for the purpose of peddling creationism/intelligent design. The whole entry should be scrapped, or recategorized, and a new entry written along the lines that you suggest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2.234.217.7 (talk) 17:48, 13 July 2013 (UTC)

Essayish[edit]

I think this article is actually an WP:ESSAY happenstance otherwise adhering to the WP editing style. I find the connection between the Watchmaker analogy and Intelligent Design spurious, except as regarding, section Creationist revival:

The defense's expert witness John Haught noted that both Intelligent Design and the watchmaker analogy are "reformulations" of the same theological argument

where a connection can actually be attested.

This article is really not about the Watchmaker analogy, it is about an anti-creationist line of reasoning (it's OK, I'm anti-creationist myself!) describing the Watchmaker analogy as a fallacy, which it is only if certain statements are regarded as true, I'll explain why I think it is so. The unsourced section The Watchmaker argument describes:

  • (1) The complex inner workings of a watch necessitate an intelligent designer.

This argument should be sourced, it would probably be easy. The late modernist (including modernism and postmodernism) 20th century thinking would oppose this kind of indiscriminate use of "complex", since it could refer to:

We regard

(1) and (2) implies "there is an intelligent creator"

as flawed because

(1.a) and (2) implies "there is an intelligent creator"

is regarded as true, but

(1.b) and (2) implies "there is an intelligent creator"

as not necessary true. This distinction between (1.a) and (1.b) wasn't known in the 19th century. In regard to the the Watchmaker analogy as formulated by William Paley, mixing up middle 19th c. reasoning with late 20th c ditto is then just an anachronism.

The Watchmaker fallacy on the other hand, is an anti-creationist argument to be dated to the 20th c.. I think this is the real topic of the article, and it should be written as such. Rursus dixit. (mbork3!) 08:41, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Watchmaker analogy[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Watchmaker analogy's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "nejm":

Reference named "AAAS":

  • From William Alston: "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter A" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  • From Intelligent design: "Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called "flaws" in the theory of evolution or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to "critically analyze" evolution or to understand "the controversy." But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one." AAAS Statement on the Teaching of Evolution American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 16, 2006
  • From Charles Hartshorne: "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter H" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 7 April 2011. 
  • From Karl Barth: "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 2012-11-17. 
  • From Teach the Controversy: "Some bills seek to discredit evolution by emphasizing so-called "flaws" in the theory of evolution or "disagreements" within the scientific community. Others insist that teachers have absolute freedom within their classrooms and cannot be disciplined for teaching non-scientific "alternatives" to evolution. A number of bills require that students be taught to "critically analyze" evolution or to understand "the controversy." But there is no significant controversy within the scientific community about the validity of the theory of evolution. The current controversy surrounding the teaching of evolution is not a scientific one." AAAS Statement on the Teaching of Evolution American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 16, 2006

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 05:46, 11 June 2013 (UTC)

Watchmaker analogy similar to evolution[edit]

A point I have found with this analogy is that it can also be used for evolution! Just as you can't suddenly design & create a watch in one afternoon, so you can't pop an animal into existence. Rather, you start with something that is simple but good enough to work & keep improving on that, organisms also keep evolving & improving. As with a piece of art, you start on it, & keep improving it until you are happy with it. In my opinion, no art is ever "done".

(Yes I see the flaw that these both involve a designer. But evolution works!) — Preceding unsigned comment added by 124.170.207.136 (talk) 06:41, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Yes, that is right. The modern digital watch wasn't designed from zero. It started off way back in ancient times when someone discovered how to make copper metal, then someone else found how to make tin, then someone else, started making molds and method to melt these metals, then people had a need to keep time. The history of technology is very long, but it is a form of evolution. If I walk along the beach and see a watch, I know that there are no natural processes that are going to make copper, glass, and the molds and tools required to shape these. I can safely conclude that it was designed by a human or similar being. When it comes to the cell, no tools and molds are required. The components for a cell are formed through chemistry. So, I don't see a connection between a watch and a cell. Vmelkon (talk) 15:30, 17 February 2014 (UTC)
Actually it started long before coppermaking when someone stuck a stick into the ground to use its shadow to show time.·maunus · snunɐɯ· 09:46, 21 September 2016 (UTC)

Unsourced and innacurate info[edit]

It should be removed but for whatever reason people keep putting it back without explanationApollo The Logician (talk) 11:59, 18 December 2016 (UTC) Apollo The Logician (talk) 11:59, 18 December 2016 (UTC)

What should be removed for inaccuracy is a matter determined via consensus. WP:BRD Lipsquid (talk) 19:08, 18 December 2016 (UTC)

Actually look back there is no incorrect comtent, I must have mistaken this page for another. There is unsourced content that makes pretty big claims about the subject of the article it should be removec there should be no debate about that. Apollo The Logician (talk) 09:57, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

WP:Weasel[edit]

How is it in violation of WP:Weasel? Apollo The Logician (talk) 20:52, 19 December 2016 (UTC)

lede section[edit]

User:Apollo The Logician is insisting on changing the lede section from "The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument, which by way of an analogy, states that design of creation (like a watch) implies a designer. The analogy has played a prominent role in natural theology and Deism, which accepted a Creator but rejected Biblical inerrancy and the supernatural interpretation of events such as miracles."

to

"The watchmaker analogy or watchmaker argument is a teleological argument, which by way of an analogy, states that there is a designer as evident by observatioms made of the world The analogy has played a prominent role in natural theology and Deism."

The latter does not describe what the analogy is even if it were spelt correctly. Theroadislong (talk) 09:44, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

I have reverted User:Apollo The Logician edits because the changes have not been agreed by consensus for such a significant change. Having looked at his edits across many articles he seems to be a disruptive editor that does not follow Wikipedia protocols Robynthehode (talk) 11:34, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
It was already discussed on the talk page see above. Apollo The Logician (talk) 12:44, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
Discussion on a talk page does not mean consensus has been reached amongst those discussing the subject. Consensus is the accepted means by which the 5 pillars of Wikipedia are achieved. See WP:CON. Apollo The Logician Please read this. If consensus is not reached then the edit under discussion should not be made. Thanks. Robynthehode (talk) 13:17, 20 December 2016 (UTC)
obviously one editor can't block everyone else, that would give too much power tofrongr or POV editors. Apollo the Logician lacks consensus. Doug Weller talk 13:31, 20 December 2016 (UTC)

Regarding the attribution of the watchmaker analogy to Fontenelle, while reference 7 indeed support this claim, reading Fontenelle's book (that ref 7 cites), Conversations on the plurality of worlds only shows that Fontenelle used the watch analogy to describe the world as mechanistic, in a Newtonian way, to show how complexity can be understood by simple principles. It was not used as a reason that the world was created by a designer, a divine creator. Therefore, it has nothing much to do with the core of the argument. In fact, the book avoids discussion referring to god. It describes Nature in it own powers. Being, at the least, ambiguous, or agnostic, regarding the existence of God. Does someone know otherwise? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ran Feldesh (talkcontribs) 16:58, 31 December 2016 (UTC)

Description of the argument[edit]

I am not sure what is wrong with the edit I made to add a source to the definition of the argument. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Watchmaker_analogy&oldid=760425258 It was reverted twice, first with a claim that it was not a reliable source and then because "still doesn't say what u claim it to say." I don't claim it to say anything. Apollo The Logician I was just trying to add a source for disputed content. Is the argument against some other part of the argument text? If so, we should address that part of the article instead of deleting sources. Thanks.... — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2602:304:788B:DF50:D9F6:63D1:857A:104 (talk) 22:34, 16 January 2017 (UTC)

You kept adding a sentence that was unsourced for 5 years. I presumed you were trying to provide a source for that . Also are you Lipsquid? Apollo The Logician (talk) 15:44, 17 January 2017 (UTC)
I didn't add any sentences, I added a source. What is a lipsquid and what does it have to do with my edit, which contained no prose? 2602:304:788B:DF50:C563:5C23:96DD:C91C (talk) 04:03, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
I was wrong, there was a sentence. I still am not sure what is wring with the source. 2602:304:788B:DF50:C563:5C23:96DD:C91C (talk) 04:06, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
Nothig it is the sentence you added. You can add the source.Apollo The Logician (talk) 16:09, 18 January 2017 (UTC)
How long should the unsourced argument section remain before being deleted? 2602:304:788B:DF50:8CDD:5461:389A:631B (talk) 14:38, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
It is already cited below. It's just meant to be a brief summary.Apollo The Logician (talk) 14:40, 23 May 2017 (UTC)
If it is below then it is fine to remove as it is redundant. There is no wikipedia guideline supporting summaries of sections after the lead. MOS:ORDER and WP:LEAD 2602:304:788B:DF50:8CDD:5461:389A:631B (talk) 14:46, 23 May 2017 (UTC)

I removed the whole argument section since it looks so oversimplified and had no citation whatsoever. Under William Paley's section, the argument is actually quoted so the argument section is pretty much unnecessary. It looked like a sloppy oversimplification of Paley's more complex argument either way.Huitzilopochtli1990 (talk) 20:00, 20 August 2017 (UTC)

Strange wording[edit]

"before Darwin's theory of evolution had been discovered"

I'm not a native speaker so correct me if I'm wrong, but I think you can't "discover" a theory. A theory is a human construct, a model of reality. The implications of the above phrase are very strange, it almost sounds as if Darwin's theory was a divine revelation, but I'm sure that wasn't the intent. I think if should either be "before Darwin's theory of evolution had been formulated" or "before the phenomenon of evolution was discovered by Darwin" DAud IcI (talk) 05:41, 7 August 2017 (UTC)

Changed to "developed" ... but perhaps "published" would be better. Vsmith (talk) 12:52, 7 August 2017 (UTC)