a reply to: ServantOfTheLamb
'David Hume (1711-1776) offered a number of the most memorable philosophical criticisms to Paley's watch analogy before Darwin's theory of evolution
had been discovered. His criticisms can be separated into three major distinctions:
His first objection is that we have no experience of world-making. Hume highlighted the fact that everything we claim to know the cause of, we have
derived the inductions from previous experiences of similar objects being created or seen the object itself being created ourselves. For example, with
a watch, we know it has to be created by a watch-maker because we can observe it being made and compare it to the making of other similar watches or
objects to deduce they have alike causes in their creation. However, he argues that we have no experience of the universe's creation or any other
universe's creations to compare our own universe to and never will; therefore, it would be illogical to infer that our universe has been created by an
intelligent designer in the same way that a watch has.
The second criticism that Hume offers is about the form of the argument as an analogy in itself. An analogical argument claims that because object X
(a watch) is like object Y (the universe) in one respect, both are therefore probably alike in another, hidden, respect (their cause, having to be
created by an intelligent designer). He points out that for an argument from analogy to be successful, the two things that are being compared have to
have an adequate number of similarities that are relevant to the respect that are analogised. For example, a kitten and a lion may be very similar in
many respects, but just because a lion makes a "roar", it would not be correct to infer a kitten also "roars": the similarities between the two
objects being not similar enough and the degree of relevance to what sound they make being not relevant enough. Hume then argues that the universe and
a watch also do not have enough relevant or close similarities to infer that they were both created the same way. For example, the universe is made of
organic natural material, but the watch is made of artificial mechanic materials. He claims that in the same respect, the universe could be argued to
be more analogous to something more organic such as a vegetable (in which we can observe for ourselves does not need a 'designer' or a 'watchmaker' to
be created). Although he admits the analogy of a universe to a vegetable to seem ridiculous, he says that it is just as ridiculous to analogize the
universe with a watch.
The third criticism that Hume offers is that even if the argument did give evidence for a designer; it still gives no evidence for the traditional
'omnipotent', 'benevolent' (all-powerful and all-loving) God of traditional Christian theism. One of the main assumptions of Paley's argument is that
'like effects have like causes'; or that machines (like the watch) and the universe have similar features of design and so both also have the same
cause of their existence: they must both have an intelligent designer. However, Hume points out that what Paley does not comprehend is to what extent
'like causes' extend: how similar the creation of a universe is to the creation of a watch. Instead, Paley moves straight to the conclusion that this
designer of the universe is the 'God' he believes in of traditional Christianity. Hume, however takes the idea of 'like causes' and points out some
potential absurdities in how far the 'likeness' of these causes could extend to if the argument were taken further as to explain this. One example
that he uses is how a machine or a watch is usually designed by a whole team of people rather than just one person. Surely, if we are analogizing the
two in this way, it would point to there being a group of gods who created the universe, not just a single being. Another example he uses is that
complex machines are usually the result of many years of trial and error with every new machine being an improved version of the last. Also by analogy
of the two, would that not hint that the universe could also have been just one of many of God's 'trials' and that there are much better universes out
there? However, if that were taken to be true, surely the 'creator' of it all would not be 'all loving' and 'all powerful' if they had to carry out
the process of 'trial and error' when creating the universe?
Hume also points out there is still a possibility that the universe could have been created by random chance but still show evidence of design as the
universe is eternal and would have an infinite amount of time to be able to form a universe so complex and ordered as our own. He called that the
'Epicurean hypothesis'. It argued that when the universe was first created, the universe was random and chaotic, but if the universe is eternal, over
an unlimited period of time, natural forces could have naturally 'evolved' by random particles coming together over time into the incredibly ordered
system we can observe today without the need of an intelligent designer as an explanation.
The last objection that he makes draws on the widely discussed problem of evil. He argues that all the daily unnecessary suffering that goes on
everywhere within the world is yet another factor that pulls away from the idea that God is an 'omnipotent' 'benevolent' being.'
To get out of the room you just make mention of all computers you have experienced in your life and say there are absolutely no examples of a computer
coming together naturally.
edit on 16-4-2017 by coomba98 because: (no reason given)