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Paley's Argument From Design, And Hume's Counter-Analogy

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Autor:   •  August 28, 2010  •  765 Words (4 Pages)  •  624 Views

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Hume's counter-analogy does not succeed in undermining Paley's argument from design. Paley clearly explains to his reader that humans are so complicated that we must have been made by a designer. Hume argues that since the universe is not a human art, and is more like an animal, it does not need a designer. Paley argues that the complexity and functionality of a watch clearly shows that it was made by a designer. Animals are also complex and functional, therefore, Hume does not change the argument adequately enough to effectively counter it.

Paley lays his argument as such: a watch is like the universe in complexity and functionality, a watch needs a designer, therefore, the universe needs a designer as well. Paley's argument centers around the simile between a watch and the universe . He points out that the watch is complicated with many parts, yet all work together to form a functional machine. Paley shows in his argument that all the pieces of the watch are put together for a definite purpose. No matter how many watches were made before this one, Paley explains that the watch still has a maker. Watches cannot be designed by other watches, some superior being must have created at least the first one. The designer obviously understands how the watch works and how to create it to function properly.

With this premise, Paley introduces the connection between the watch and our universe. He explains clearly that if a watch needs a designer, surely the far more complex universe should need one to. Paley justifies the existence of God through this watch and universe simile. He concludes that if a watch needs a superior designer, then the universe needs a maker as well, this maker being God.

Hume attempts to counter Paley's argument by saying that the universe is more like an animal than a work of human art. He says that because the universe is not a human art, it does not need a maker, just as animals do not need makers. Therefore, Paley argues, the universe also does not need a designer, and because of this, God does not exist. Hume does not effectively counter Paley's argument because he simply replaces a complex watch with an even more complex animal in his statements. He does not successfully address the fact that animals were at some point created as well. They could not exist infinitely, they had to have come from somewhere. Paley explains the creation as being through God.

Paley bases his argument on something he knows for a fact: a watch needs


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