blind watchmaker

Quick Reference

A term coined in 1986 by the British ethologist Richard Dawkins (born 1941) to denote natural selection, alluding to the Argument from Design, an argument for the existence of God put forward in 1802 by the theologian William Paley (1743–1805). Paley argued that if he found a watch while crossing a heath he would conclude that it must have had a maker, because it is too intricate and precise to have arisen by accident, and that for the same reason the intricacy and precision of the works of nature forced him to conclude that they too must have had a maker, namely God; but Dawkins argued that natural selection operates like a blind watchmaker in fashioning the complicated structures of nature.

Subjects: Psychology.

Reference entries

Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) English biologist