If we believe the folks over at Anti-Evo, no:
|[KF} And it is telling that somehow Paley’s time-keeping, self replicating watch seldom if ever gets seriously discussed by those who object to his key point.
[OBJECTOR} No [mocking, “outing” dimunitive], that’s the point. Watches don’t replicate…
Evidently, the objector did not pause to do his homework first or think about why I stated that there has been a strawman argument, one willfully ignoring Ch II of Paley’s 1806 work. Let me clip IOSE as just linked:
>> William Paley famously contrasted stumbling across a stone in a field with finding a watch in the same field; inferring design from the characteristics of a watch that are distinct from those of a stone. Especially, that “. . . its several parts are framed and put together for a [[functionally specific] purpose, e.g., that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day.”
This watch example is often derided in current discussions about origins (especially on the grounds that naturally occurring life forms are self-replicating and arguably can therefore modify themselves over time; i.e. evolve). However, this rebuttal rests on a simple strawman fallacy, as in Ch 2 of his Natural Theology
, Paley actually further developed his example:
Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch should after some time discover that, in addition to all the properties which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself — the thing is conceivable; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose . . . .
The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art . . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use.
[[Emphases added. (Note: It is easy to rhetorically dismiss this argument because of the context: a work of natural theology. But, since (i) valid science can be — and has been — done by theologians; since (ii) the greatest of all modern scientific books (Newton’s Principia) contains the General Scholium
which is an essay in just such natural theology; and since (iii) an argument ‘s weight depends on its merits, we should not yield to such “label and dismiss” tactics. It is also worth noting Newton’s remarks that “thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy [[i.e. what we now call “science”].
Observed cell-based life precisely fits the pattern Paley highlighted.Also, going beyond what Paley could have known, it uses coded symbolic information, has digital storage of this information, and also reading and guiding mechanisms that direct the replicating machinery and process. So, it is reasonable to consider whether “. . . its several parts are framed and put together for a [[functionally specific] purpose.”
In fact, the observed cell — which is what we need to explain the origin of — joins together (i) a metabolising entity that draws in energy and materials from its surroundings and processes them, ejecting wastes, to (ii) a symbol-based coded system that allows it to replicate itself.
That is, we are looking at a molecular scale von Neumann self-replicating, metabolising automaton . . . >>
In short, Paley prefigured the issues raised by our discussion of the von Neumann self replicator that has been found in the heart of cell based life. And in discussing the issue of additionality, he has put his finger on yet another point that shows the significance of the inference to design based on FSCO/I.
Sorry, I cannot say more, just now.
I have a crisis pivoting on a vote of no confidence on the legal force of UN Charter article 73 to attend to.
I only observed the above on seeing traffic patterns at my personal blog, per a brief check-up visit. (I don’t even have time to post there on important capacity-building issues for the moment, I only paused to speak here in urgently needed correction.)