I don’t know if this has been pointed out before, but I’ve realized another big flaw amongst the many in the Intelligent Design argument.

Intelligent Design proponents argue lamely that an archaeologist digging up a stone statue can rightly conclude that the object was created by ‘a designer’. This is the same argument referred to by Richard Dawkins, citing William Paley, who drew a parallel with the way in which the existence of a watch compels belief in an intelligent watchmaker, hence the complexity of life is supposed to compel the belief in ‘a creator’.

These arguments always specify ‘a designer’ or ‘a creator’, and my point simply is that if we are to pursue that reasoning logically, a watch is the work of a variety of craftsmen, designers, metalworkers, glassworkers, etc. many are involved in making it. A piece of sculpture isn’t necessarily the work of one individual, and simply seeing its complexity cannot tell us how many were involved in making it.

So the Intelligent Design argument begins to fall apart simply on that point, creationists cannot explain why they say ‘a designer’ - they can then only fall back on scriptural ‘evidence’, which they cannot offer as being scientific.

So we have to ask them ‘Why only one?’

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi William,

The trouble is, we know how slippery these religious people are. It is also true that only one person can make a watch or a sculpture, and that is what they hold onto for dear life.

I think it is much simpler to point out to these idiots how badly 'designed' the universe is. There is so much wastage, extinction, corruption, and failed processes that if a god or gods did design it, then they should go back to college to learn their trade properly.

Also Creationism/ID doesn't really answer any questions. It simply moves the goal posts. Who designed the designer? And who designed the designer that designed the designer? And who designed the designer that... you get the idea.

It's actually quite easy to pull apart Creationism/ID but we need to make our voices heard. If we don't confront them every time, they get away with their weak arguments.


William and Rex,

I would disagree. I would say that if a watch presuposes a watchmaker then it also presupposes a reason for making the watch. And I would say that if you follow back all these presuppositions you reach a point where you merge base instinct with extant features. I find it really hard to explain this so perhaps you will indulge me on a 'story'...

I pick up a plate of food but the plate is really hot so I drop it and the food spills all over the dirty floor. I go hungry. Our instinct is to drop something that hurts us is it not? Perhaps I die because I starve and my genes don't get passed on.

You pick up a plate of food and you are REALLY hungry. The plate is hot but you hold on to it and you eat. You are fed but you burnt your hand. In fact you burned it so badly you can't use it anymore. You die later of starvation through your inability to use that hand.

Another person picked up the same plate and held onto it long enough to eat enough to survive to the next meal but without wounding their hand so badly as to be unable to take the next meal. They live and procreate and pass on their genes.

Exactly which instinct is designed? Did some designer choose to create all three versions of us and let two die for it? Substitute 'hot' for 'poisonous' or 'dangerous to reach' or whatever fits your period of life and you can't escape it... a designer would design their marvellous preferred, elevated life-form, to NOT BE ABLE to make a choice here. Their life-form-in-a-niche would perform like a circus monkey, doing the same thing every time, to the designer's choice.

You can take the decision making back as far as you like, to apes, to fish, to protozoa... it's the same debate. Either the designer set everything to chance or he/she/it did not exist. Ockham's razor will let you decide the rest.
This is a great thought that I haven't seen before. I suppose then the intelligent designer would be a team or committee, and would still be supernatural. To me, intelligent design and all other creationist ideas are just new dressing on old biblical concepts, attempts to seduce people into beleiving ridiculous concepts that have no basis. I know that it's important to have arguments to counter these people but it's hard for me to have patience with them.
An omnipotent designer would not need a team to help him/her/it.

Better to argue ad infinitum.
You are right to say that the watchmaker argument falls apart as there are multiple designers involved in making a watch and that would indiciate polytheism which is a no-no amongst the christ-o-moths.

If, for example, you carried on walking in the wood or whatever and came across say, a Rubiks' cube then you would have to say "this has been designed". But within the confounds of this ridiculous argument we know that the rubiks cube was not made by a watchmaker. For this poor but pervasive argument to work then we have to believe that every watch, every nuclear power station, everything with a pivot or an axle or whatever is designed by one entity. Clearly they aren't. The argument falls apart.
Hi William,

Reading your post, I thought of the difference between (the Abrahamic) God as a creator and man as a creator. God supposedly brought his creation into being from nothing. In that sense, man doesn't create anything. Art, tools, theories, and ideas are all built on prior advances. We are innovators, not prime movers (creators). That excavated statue or first clock didn't have a designer: they had many designers, going way back in time.

The very first watchmaker did not create the first watch within a conceptual void. He innovated from prior advances such as springs, cogs and levers. Not even Galileo had a truly original idea. He had a genius for innovation, yet could not have "created" a single one of his designs without borrowing from those who preceded him.
“The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” ~Albert Einstein
But an omnipotent designer would not need pre-designers, a team, little elves or anything else. He could design a watch, life, soccer, satellite TV from scratch.

No point even getting into this argument with a creationist of ID-er. The argument from ad infinitum (if the universe needs a god then who made the god an who made him...) is so much cleaner. Ockham's Razor.


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