Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s actually a column) appears in the Inland Empire Community News of Colton, California. It’s titled William Paley uses watch analogy to argue existence of God, intelligent design of universe, and the newspaper has a comments section.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher. It’s G. W. Abersold, an 87 year-old retired minister. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter (or column), enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
The name William Paley is not commonly known. However, in my opinion he is right there with Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton. His style is similar to the style of Jesus. Jesus used birds, lilies, coins, and sheep to illustrate truths. Paley used a watch – a timepiece.
Our readers are all familiar with William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — if something looks designed, then by golly it is designed. See also see David Hume’s rebuttal. There’s also the Curmudgeon’s rebuttal: Rethinking Paley’s Watchmaker Analogy.
Okay, back to the rev. He gives a lot of interesting information about Paley and then says:
By the way, Charles Darwin was a friend and supported Paley’s views.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Darwin was impressed by Paley in his younger years, but that Wikipedia article on the watchmaker argument also quotes Darwin’s autobiography, in which he said: “The old argument of design in nature, as given by Paley, which formerly seemed to me so conclusive, fails, now that the law of natural selection has been discovered.”
Skipping a bit, the rev tells us:
As previously mentioned, Charles Darwin was a contemporary and he endorsed Paley. So did Richard Dawkins, the famous evolutionary biologist. Particularly, he often praised Paley for his strong and logical belief in God as the supreme Designer. Even though Dawkins is an atheist and opposes creationism.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The rev gushes on and on, and at the end of his letter he says:
As a minister (Ret.) and a would-be theologian, I appreciate the William Paley analogy. I wish I had learned about the analogy seventy (70) years ago.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We assume the rev been a creationist all his life, and he just discovered Paley’s argument. He’s a happy man.
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