The Instigator
omar2345
Pro (for)
Tied
3 Points
The Contender
it_is_me
Con (against)
Tied
3 Points

Watchmaker argument is a bad argument for the existence of God

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Post Voting Period
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after 2 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/17/2019 Category: Philosophy
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,971 times Debate No: 120362
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (79)
Votes (2)

 

omar2345

Pro

I will like my opponent to start and give the argument as well.

Hopefully I change your mind.
it_is_me

Con

What makes a good argument?
Fayestteville State University defines a good argument as “one in which the premises give good reasons to believe the conclusion is true”(1) It’s important to note that an argument can leave room for doubt in order to be valid (not everything in life has been conclusively debunked or conclusively proven! ) and therefore the watchmaker analogy simply has to further the case for theism for it to not to be dismissed as a "bad" one. I believe that most critical thinkers would be happy with this definition and assume that Omar2345 is too.

Some background
Before we judge the argument, We must first make sure we’ve correctly understood it. The 17th century saw a major change in scientific thought; Isaac Newton had shown that the planets moved in predictable patterns and this gave raise to the concept of the “clockwork universe”. As the Encyclopaedia Britcannica explains, “Mechanics came to be regarded as the ultimate explanatory science: phenomena of any kind, It was believed, Could and should be explained in terms of mechanical conceptions. Newtonian physics was used to support the deistic view that God had created the world as a perfect machine that then required no further interference from Him, The Newtonian world machine or Clockwork Universe. ” (2) Of course, Many might argue that a universe governed by precise laws leaves no room for God; this is where the watchmaker argument comes in.

It must be stressed that the watch is not an analogy for human life (as some creationists and atheists, Such as Richard Dawkins, Wrongly believe) but a Newtonian universe. It could be argued that evolution is simply an extension of the mechanical universe (perhaps a more modern analogy would be the person who stumbles across a CD containing some computer code laying out a beautifully implemented genetic algorithm).

The argument
William Paley’s argument can be summarised as:
1. If you found a watch lying on the ground, A reasonable person would assume that there was a creator and that this watch didn’t just assemble itself. Just because the watch behaves in a predictable manor, Following rules, Doesn’t remove the need for a creator
2. Therefore, When a scientist discovers a clockwork universe, They too might assume that there is a creator behind it all. Just because the universe follows the laws of physics doesn’t remove the need for a creator.

I believe both the premises are reasonable (note, I’m not saying they’re conclusive) and therefore the argument falls short of being a bad one.

Demonstrating it is a "bad arument"
I won’t waste time attacking straw men, Therefore I will let Omar2345 explain why they think the argument completly fails. To do this, They will need to show that its premise is unlikely to be true or that there is a fault in its logic.

1. Http://faculty. Uncfsu. Edu/jyoung/what_is_a_good_argument. Htm
2. Http://abyss. Uoregon. Edu/~js/glossary/clockwork_universe. Html
Debate Round No. 1
omar2345

Pro

Thank you it_is_me for taking up this debate.

"In crossing a heath, Suppose I pitched my foot against a stone, And were asked how the stone came to be there; I might possibly answer, That, For anything I knew to the contrary, It had lain there forever: nor would it perhaps be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, And it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place; I should hardly think of the answer I had before given, That for anything I knew, The watch might have always been there. . . . There must have existed, At some time, And at some place or other, An artificer or artificers, Who formed [the watch] for the purpose which we find it actually to answer; who comprehended its construction, And designed its use. . . . Every indication of contrivance, Every manifestation of design, Which existed in the watch, Exists in the works of nature; with the difference, On the side of nature, Of being greater or more, And that in a degree which exceeds all computation. "

Watchmaker analogy (Wikipedia)


1. If you found a watch lying on the ground, A reasonable person would assume that there was a creator and that this watch didn’t just assemble itself. Just because the watch behaves in a predictable manor, Following rules, Doesn’t remove the need for a creator
2. Therefore, When a scientist discovers a clockwork universe, They too might assume that there is a creator behind it all. Just because the universe follows the laws of physics doesn’t remove the need for a creator.

You have a much fair watchmaker analogy which are trying to make it seem more reasonable than it actually is. A better way to put it is this.

1. The watch is complex
2. The watch had a designer
3. The universe is complex
4. Therefore the universe had a designer

I am going by this because it boils down to what the argument is instead of needless filler that you have put into it that you have added from William Paley's argument.

fallacies that it commits:

False analogy fallacy
"An analogy proposes that two concepts which are similar (A and B) have a common relationship to some property. "False analogy (Wikipedia). Going by this you have compared a watch to the universe. Making it seem like they are the same whereas you don't know. We know that a person made a watch but we do not know who created the universe. If this is true then it must also apply to God. God is complex. Therefore God also had a designer.

false cause
"You presumed that a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other. " false cause (yourlogicalfallacyis) We know the cause of a watch. A watchmaker whereas we don't know the cause of the universe. Saying the watch was created by a watchmaker is true because we can percieve it to be the case whereas saying the universe was created by a universe creator is false because we cannot percieve it to be the case.

Self refuting fallacy
Mentioned it in the first response so I am going to mention it here again. "A self-refuting idea is a logical fallacy that occurs when concept A is used to deny concept B, Although concept A logically depends on concept B. " Self-refuting idea (RationalWiki) The problem with this is that if we logically use this like for God it must also have a designer then that designer would also require designer. It causes an infinite regression which is why it is self-refuting.
it_is_me

Con

Omar2345’s version of the watchmaker argument is a strawman
You acknowledge that my version of the argument is “a much fairer watchmaker analogy” and then go on to present your own, Weaker, Version. You need to engage with the argument in its strongest form, Particularly if it’s the one your opponent has presented, Otherwise your response is nothing but a strawman.

Moreover, Your version isn’t even a fair representation of the Paley/Wikipedia quote you opened your second round with. Complexity is not directly referred to anywhere in that block of text, In fact it starts by asking where a stone came from (which would be an odd example to use if William Paley was trying to find an example of complexity in nature! ) Therefore, All you’ve done is shown that a weak version, Touted by some creationists and atheists unaware of its original form/context, Is bad.

It isn’t a false analogy
As I already explained in my opening round, The analogy of a clockwork universe wasn’t one Paley came up with – he was simply incorporating the generally accepted metaphor used by the top scientists of his day. The argument would be that because things such as the motion of the planets follow precise, Predictable, Equations (rather than a God constantly nudging them into place) then the universe runs like clockwork. An argument isn’t fallacious simply by virtue of being an analogy; whilst inductive arguments have their limitations, I don’t think we can dismiss all such arguments (otherwise we’d spend our lives thinking any unknown must be a special case or an exception to the rule! )
Nor does your ‘who designed the designer’ argument work – it would be like saying that a watch doesn’t have a designer on the grounds that is raises the question “who made the watchmaker”. As God is transcended, God exists outside of time and therefore does not require a beginning/cause.

It isn’t a false cause
Are you saying that all inductive arguments are bad?
Firstly, The yourlogicalfallacyis link provide is related to finding correlations in sets of data (which is completely irrelevant to what you then go on and say! ) Secondly, Most inductive argument follows the form ‘we know x is true in all the cases we can perceive/observe, Therefore let’s assume it is true in similar situations we can’t observe/perceive’. I don’t see why the watchmaker argument is worse than any other form of inductive reasoning.

It isn’t self-refuting
As explained above, Any argument raises further questions and therefore this can’t be the criterion for a bad argument!

To summarise
Omar 2345’s strawman version of the watchmaker arguiment might be bad, However that doesn’t mean all presentations of it are. Moreover, The argument’s weaknesses (e. G being an inductive argument) might stop it from being a great argument however this doesn’t automatically make it a bad one or allow us to completely dismiss it.
Debate Round No. 2
omar2345

Pro

You acknowledge that my version of the argument is “a much fairer watchmaker analogy” and then go on to present your own, Weaker, Version. You need to engage with the argument in its strongest form, Particularly if it’s the one your opponent has presented, Otherwise your response is nothing but a strawman.
I am boiling it down while you are adding things to the argument which wasn't in there. I gave you William Paley's idea about the argument and I found nothing on the lines of "When a scientist discovers a clockwork universe, They too might assume that there is a creator behind it all. Just because the universe follows the laws of physics doesn’t remove the need for a creator. " In what way did William Paley speak about physics or scientists? He didn't from the extract I gave that was his words. Not yours which you improved. That argument isn't William Paley's watchmaker argument instead it is it_is_me's watchmaker argument because of the additional ideas you added in. Mine was straight forward and simple whereas you are adding things which William Paley did not even say. Either you are lying by saying this is what William Paley said or own up to making it into it_is_me's watchmaker argument.

Moreover, Your version isn’t even a fair representation of the Paley/Wikipedia quote you opened your second round with. Complexity is not directly referred to anywhere in that block of text, In fact it starts by asking where a stone came from
"who comprehended its construction, And designed its use. . . . Every indication of contrivance, Every manifestation of design, Which existed in the watch, Exists in the works of nature; with the difference, On the side of nature, Of being greater or more, And that in a degree which exceeds all computation. "= complexity. Did you even read that?

The argument would be that because things such as the motion of the planets follow precise, Predictable, Equations (rather than a God constantly nudging them into place) then the universe runs like clockwork.
Why does this not apply to God? Does God not run like clockwork?

As God is transcended, God exists outside of time and therefore does not require a beginning/cause.
This is another argument added in which it is not supported by this argument. What you have also committed is an unfalsifable claim. Meaning you cannot prove this to be the case nor can I disprove it. Instead you provided a claim which has no answer. It is like me saying unicorns exist in a universe outside of our own. I cannot prove that nor can you disprove that. No way is this going to be taken seriously because the definition of God does not state that. You and the theists you listen to have added that in.
God: (in Christianity and other monotheistic religions) the creator and ruler of the universe and source of all moral authority; the supreme being. (Google: God define)

I don’t see why the watchmaker argument is worse than any other form of inductive reasoning.
This is not a rebuttal to my claim which shouldn't be taken as is even though he titled it like that. God and a watch is not comparable. We can see the watch being created so when we see a watch out in the open we can assume that the watch was created by a watchmaker, That same standard cannot be applied to universe makers. This is because we have not perceived how the universe was created since we were born after it was. Meaning we must first realise how the universe was created before we assume how this universe started.

The argument’s weaknesses (e. G being an inductive argument)
Inductive reasoning: Inductive reasoning is a method of reasoning in which the premises are viewed as supplying some evidence for the truth of the conclusion. (Google: Inductive argument)
To even do inductive reasoning we must have some evidence. We have no evidence of how the universe was created therefore inductive reasoning does not work. When we have evidence of how universes are created then we can apply inductive reasoning.

To summarise
it_is_me fails to realise I have boiled down the argument while also still remaining true to what it is. The problem Con has is that he/she does not understand this. Instead Con thinks that his/her argument is not filled with filler instead thinks it gets straight to the point. What I would do with this argument if I was him/her would be this:
1. A watch has a creator
2. It is a watchmaker
3. A universe has a creator
4. It is God/universe creator
I did what it_is_me is incapable of doing. Making it clear what he/she means instead of adding unnecessary filler.

Back to you
it_is_me

Con

Omar2345’s defence of strawmen arguments
You acknowledge that my version of the argument is better than the one you’re attacking. Ignoring your opponent’s improved version of the argument whilst responding to your own, Weaker, Version is a classic case of strawmanning!
Nowhere in your opening challenge did you specify that you were only willing to engage with William Paley’s presentation of the watchmaker analogy – in fact you even started off the debate by stating “I will like my opponent to start and give the argument as well. ” I started and gave my version of argument; if you can only handle the argument in its feebler forms then I wonder how you can be so confident in your atheism.

William Paley didn’t even invent the watchmaker analogy – for example Jean-Jacques Rousseau presented a version in 1762 (1), 40 years before Paley. Therefore, I see no reason why Paley’s version should be the only version permitted. I guess you were expecting a creationist to pop up and present an incoherent mess, Ready for you to decisively demolish and parrot the standard responses. I’m sorry to disappoint.

William Paley’s version
Your quote uses the phrase “Every indication of”, Which would imply that Paley is referring to more than one factor (i. E. Not just complexity). The watchmaker analogy quote that you give is an introduction that forms part of an entire book (2); you complain that I’ve added extra words to his argument however what about the additional 199, 000 words that Paley himself adds in the following chapters?

You also ask where I get the idea that Paley is responding to scientists. As I have already explained in my previous two rounds and you've completely ignored, The concept of a clockwork universe was very fashionable at the time; either it’s a massive coincidence that Paley goes with what was the most widely used metaphor for the universe by his contemporaries or it is deliberate attempt to respond to them.

Does God not run like clockwork?
The definition of God, Which you go onto quote, Defines God as a “supreme being”. A supreme being is not a clockwork-like mechanism, Therefore if God were to exist, He would not run like clockwork.

God’s transcendence
I brought up God’s transcendent nature in response to your ‘who made God’ comment – it wasn’t an entirely new argument in support of theism. If you agree that this is off-topic then presumably you’re happy to drop your ‘who designed the designer’ line of enquiry.

Inductive reasoning
The fact that you had to go off and Google what inductive reasoning is suggests to me that you don’t really understand the difference between inductive and deductive arguments. The Standford Encyclopedia points out that “there is no doubt that analogies have suggested fruitful lines of inquiry in many fields” (3) In other words, You cannot label an argument as bad simply because it’s an inductive analogy. If you take the watchmaker argument to be a deductive proof of God’s existence then I would agree that your criticisms succeed, However if you instead treat it as a weak form of inductive reasoning, Which it was originally intended as, Then I believe that it has some merit and your criticisms end up missing the point.

Your comment about needing observable evidence demonstrates your complete lack of understanding in this field – it is precisely when we have no direct evidence/deductive arguments that inductive reasoning becomes useful. For example, It’s when a detective is first at the murder scene that they resort to inductive reasoning (e. G. If most other shootings in that part of town are gang related, They might assume that this one is too and start off with that line of enquiry) Once forensics, CCTV and witness statements etc have been collated, Their inductive arguments either get discounted or replaced with stronger evidence. Therefore, If we have no stronger arguments to help us figure out why the universe is the way it is then this is the perfect time to resort to inductive ones such as the watchmaker analogy.

To conclude
Omar 2345’s version of the watchmaker argument is a strawman – by their own admission it is less reasonable than the one I am presenting and defending. Adding background, Explaining it and correcting misunderstanding is not padding.
Therefore, All Omar 2345 has done is shown that their strawman version of the argument is a bad one. They have failed to show that the watchmaker analogy in it’s strongest form has no merit.

1. Https://evolutionnews. Org/2012/04/reason_not_reve/
2. Http://darwin-online. Org. Uk/content/frameset? ItemID=A142&pageseq=1&viewtype=text
3. Https://plato. Stanford. Edu/entries/reasoning-analogy/#Exa
Debate Round No. 3
79 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
@omar2345:"How about many centralized governments? "

This makes no sense. Anarchy is the absence of government; the presence of many (smaller) governments doesn't change that.

"More like a partnership where people agree to be taxed in order to receive benefits. "

Like paying for a service? Nothing wrong with paying for services.

How about people pay for a service (anything) with taxation?

Except taxation isn't paying for a service; it's a compulsory obligation enforced with the threat of harm. In other words, It's robbery.

"What is so good about sovereignty? "

The converse of this argument should suffice:

"Why is the infringement of one's individual rights a bad thing? The only ones who can gauge and act in one's own best interests is the individual. The subversion of the individual's capacity to act in his/her interest undermines the pursuit one makes towards a better condition for him or herself. It undermines an individual's expression of self whether through labor, Or the behavior of property. It undermines an individual's pursuit of his or her happiness. "
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
@Athias

"A political state in which a centralized government is absent. "
How about many centralized governments? More like a partnership where people agree to be taxed in order to receive benefits. How about people pay for a service (anything) with taxation?

"Sovereignty. "
What is so good about sovereignty?
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
@omar2345: "Can you define Anarchy? "

A political state in which a centralized government is absent.

"Why? The benefits of Anarchy? "

Sovereignty.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
@Athias

"I don't consider there to be any drawbacks in Anarchy? "
Can you define Anarchy?

"Why just the United States? I think the people of the world ought to adopt an anarchist political philosophy. "
Why? The benefits of Anarchy?
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
My apologies. I didn't mean my response to be a question.
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
omar2345: "What would you consider drawbacks to Anarchy? "

I don't consider there to be any drawbacks in Anarchy?

"Do you think the people of the United States should follow Anarchy? "

Why just the United States? I think the people of the world ought to adopt an anarchist political philosophy.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
@Athias

"Anarchy"
What would you consider drawbacks to Anarchy?
Do you think the people of the United States should follow Anarchy?
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
@omar2345: "What do you propose that will provide a better alternative? "

Anarchy.
Posted by omar2345 3 years ago
omar2345
@Athias

"It undermines an individual's pursuit of his or her happiness. "
What do you propose that will provide a better alternative?
Posted by Athias 3 years ago
Athias
@omar2345:

Why is the infringement of one's individual rights a bad thing? The only ones who can gauge and act in one's own best interests is the individual. The subversion of the individual's capacity to act in his/her interest undermines the pursuit one makes towards a better condition for him or herself. It undermines an individual's expression of self whether through labor, Or the behavior of property. It undermines an individual's pursuit of his or her happiness.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by dsjpk5 3 years ago
dsjpk5
omar2345it_is_meTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Countering thots poor vote. Hes supposed to analyze the points made, not introduce his own arguments.
Vote Placed by Thoht 3 years ago
Thoht
omar2345it_is_meTied
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Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: The fallacies in the argument Omar brings up are correct. Con tries to guard the argument from them by defining what he perceives God is, but has no knowledge of the functioning of God. He is pretending to have knowledge he cannot have. Who is Con to say God does not operate like clockwork and that God does not have a creator? The ironic thing, perhaps, is that the watchmaker argument may be valid if you permit that God may have a creator. The problem is that while this would be some indication that a God may exist, it would mean that he isn't actually God. Con has to say that God is either simple or an extradimensional being. He has no way to prove either point. The watchmaker argument thus fails as an argument for God. It fails on either one count or the other.

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