Is God a watchmaker?

This recent letter to The Jerusalem Post Letters page prompted my reply (below):

Sir:

Your opinion piece concerning belief in God (“Faith vs. facts” April 26) was accompanied by a remarkable illustration of the interior of a watch.  I wonder whether this was the author’s intention.  Did T.M. Luhrman have in mind the 19th century British theologian William Paley, who wrote that anyone regarding the fine detail and precision of a watch cannot but conclude that it was created by a watchmaker?  Considering the complexity of a watch, how much more so that the complexity of the natural world requires a Maker.

Fred Gottleib, Jerusalem

_________________________________________________

May 3, 2015

Sir:

Fred Gottleib (letter, April 28) is wrong when he asserts that because of the fine detail of a watch, “anyone..cannot but conclude that it was created by a watchmaker,” then “how much more so would the complexity of the natural world require a Maker.”  This is a fallacious argument based on nineteenth century philosophy.  In fact it is a syllogism defined as “a kind of logical argument that applies deductive reasoning to arrive at a conclusion based on two or more propositions that are asserted or assumed to be true.”  Note that they are “asserted” or”assumed,” but not proven.

In the 19th century a watch was considered advanced technology, but in fact it is a simple device run by a spring.  In our more advanced time, a person finding an actual living organism (such as a sheep) cannot be sure whether it was naturally produced or it is a laboratory product, produced by a man (a biologist) by cloning.  Now that we know about DNA and we understand the great complexity of the natural world there is no need, according to Occam’s theorem of accepting the simplest satisfactory explanation, to assert the existence of a “Maker” to explain it.

Yours
Jack S. Cohen, Netanya
The writer is a retired Professor of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Advertisements

One thought on “Is God a watchmaker?

  1. Well put, Yaakov. – though I do recall when I proposed that “analogy isn’t proof” you wernt too happy:

    perhaps some analogies are more equal than others.

    Love to all,

    Baruch

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s