Paley vs. Hume This is a inductive argument about the origin and nature of God, religion, and the universe.

Essay by didyaCollege, UndergraduateA+, January 2003

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Paley vs. Hume

I read William Paley's, "The Argument from Design", and David Hume's, "Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion." What I established after reading these two arguments is that it is extraordinarily difficult to come to any conclusion about the origin of the universe and the world. Both are inductive arguments about the origin and nature of God, religion, and the universe; things that can never be proven true and absolute.

In Paley's argument for the existence of God, "The Argument from Design", Paley attempts to prove with his arguments that God is the Sole designer and creator of the universe. He compares the universe to a watch, and God to the watchmaker. In this argument, Paley asserts that the universe is so intricate and orderly that only a being of extreme immense intelligence could have designed and created it.

Paley makes the argument that everything that exhibits design can be inferred that it was in fact the product of intelligent design.

If you take a look at a watch, for example, one could determine that it was designed in one of two ways. If the person examining the watch has had prior experience with watches, then they would be able to state that it had indeed been designed. If the watch exhibited marks of intelligent design such as smooth surfaces or uniquely intricate parts, then they could again infer that some intelligent being made the watch. Since humanity, Earth, and the universe as a whole are so orderly and uniquely intricate, Paley infers that the universe had to have been created from some immensely intelligent being.

Paley then makes the argument that the universe exhibits design. By just merely existing for a given period of time, one can gather from experience that the universe has characteristics...