We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

William Paley Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all help you need with your essay and educational issues.

Get Access

William Paley Essay Sample

William Paley (CE 1743-1805) believed that the universe must have a designer; he believed this designer was God. His first argument to support his theory was design qua purpose. Paley believed that it was evident that nature came together for a purpose and not by chance. He used the human eye as an example. He argued that the eye was designed to serve a purpose for seeing and its complexity proposes that it must have come from an intellectual designer.

Paley also uses the example of the watch and the stone. A stone has no purpose and no outstanding design. A watch however comprises of complex components that serve the purpose of telling the time and if one component were out of its order then the watch would fail to work. Therefore someone must have designed it with, intelligence, wisdom and thought. He also used the example of a garden it is evident there is a designer at work, the gardener. The designer has put the rows of flowers into order. Paley used this to conclude that the Earth’s features serve a purpose therefore there must have been a designer with even greater wisdom, intelligence and thought.

Paley’s second argument is design qua regularity. He believed that by observing the universe and Newton’s laws of motion it was evident that there was a designer. Paley brought attention to the rotation of the planets in the universe and how they followed the universal laws. He argued that the way gravity held the planets in place was not by chance but by design. He debated that God was responsible for the magnificent order of the universe and if the effects of humans are alike to the effects of the universe then we it is possible to see a similarity of intelligence, wisdom and thought in both designers only one being much superior.

David Hume was a philosopher during a time where there were very strong catholic beliefs. He criticised Paley’s argument of God as a designer. He was urged by friends not to speak publicly about his beliefs, as this would cause great uproar, so he asked that his views were published after his death.

He criticised that “this world, for all he knows, is very faulty and imperfect, compared to a superior standard.”(Hume, Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, 1779).” Hume believed that the world had its faults and questioned why such a superior being like God would leave it imperfect. This is a very strong criticism because although there are such beautiful things around us for example rainbows and trees yet there are also many aspects that cause hurt and suffering such as hurricanes, earthquakes and disease. Hume questioned whether God gave up on this world and continued to make another perfect world.

Hume also debated that if there was a designer behind the complexity of the universe then there could not have been just one. He argued that it was not possible for one person to create such magnificence. This is not a very strong argument as it is said that God is almighty and more powerful than any human.

Hume criticised Paley that the world was not like a machine but more like a vegetable something that grows over time and adapts to its surroundings. This criticism contradicts itself because for a vegetable to grow someone has to plant it. So if the universe is alike to a vegetable, who planted the seed?

Hume believed that it might be possible that the universe has not evolved from a blind, cosmic accident. A more modern response may be that evolution has been the main factor for the development of the universe. Darwin (CE 1809-1882) argued Paley’s theory. He believed that the earth’s features had over time evolved; his explanation did not include reference to creation by God.

Darwin’s theory could well be accurate, as a giraffe has adapted to have a long neck in order to survive. A chameleon changes its colour to adapt to its surroundings. However this theory still does not include a designer and does not give explanation of the formation of complexity and design of things such as the human eye.

In conclusion to both sides of the argument, the argument for the belief that the universe has a designer at work appears to be stronger than its criticisms. Both aspects of Paley’s argument have evidence behind to support what he says. It is also possible to relate what Paley says to the things around us, for example a bird has wings for the purpose of flight and the regularity of the solar system.

Hume gives good criticisms, but to say that the world has evolved with no designer does not give explanation for the beauty, regularity and purpose around us.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

Peculiarities of various assignment types

The educational process is diverse and full of interesting writing tasks which help students develop their academic abilities. Different assignments types are created by professionals in order to enhance students’ level of analytical, critical and writing skills and to vary the learning process. As a student, you will encounter numerous tasks of diverse complexities throughout your student life. Sometimes, maybe, too complicated! They have different peculiarities, structural...

Making decisions in health and social care

Critically analyses the concepts, features, and importance of costs and accounting in making decisions in health and social care Cost accounting is a method used in accounting to capture a company’s or organisation’s production costs. It assesses the input costs of every step in production, fixed costs like depreciation of capital equipment. Cost accounting measures and records costs individually then compare the input results via...

Сhildren development

Physical development 7-12 years By the age of 7 a child enjoys things such as bike riding and rollerblading they are now able to tie and untie shoelaces without adult help, they are now starting to understand what rules are and are able to follow simple rules. At 8-12 years a child improves the physical skills that they have already developed and start to see...

Forex international trading market

Introduction Forex exchange is on the rise in Namibia; resulting in more people wanting to learn how to trade to try to increase their income so that they can enhance their standard of living. Forex Foreign exchange identifies the process of converting domestic currency into international banknotes at particular exchange rates (Bofah, 2017, para.1). As the number of foreigners in Namibia is increasing, more Namibians...

Aristotelian idea of God

This image produced in 1544 shows emerging's of the Judeo-Christians and Aristotelian's traditions. Aristotle was very interested in the idea of motion and said “The world is in a constant state of motion and change”. An example of how the world is changing is the growth of trees and plants. Aristotle believed in a prime mover, which is the being which creates change in the...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Couldn't Find What You Looking For?

Get access to our huge knowledge base which is continuously updated

Next Update Will Be About:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member