The puddle analogy supposes a puddle awakens to think, “This is an interesting hole that I’m in. This hole must have been made for me.” The analogy asserts that the universe happens to allow life to exist and that any observation of design by intelligent life is an illusory assumption. In other words, this is equating a puddle thinking about its environment to intelligent life observing an intelligible world by mere chance. In contrast, the proponent of the analogy depicts humanity suddenly awakening to observe nature and asserting no meaning for the balance of nature for life to exist. The puddle analogy is a secular answer to the universe being fine-tuned for life especially for intelligent life on a finely-balanced planet.
The simple refutation of the puddle illustration is what it assumes — abiogenesis — that life can naturally arise from nonliving material. Life from nonliving matter is still without any evidence (cf. Miller-Urey experiment). A quick response is: “The puddle analogy is as dead as the idea of nonliving matter creating life.” Nonliving material has not and cannot produce life. Abiogenesis is a philosophic assertion from blind faith that is completely unscientific.
The puddle analogy also conflates direct and indirect design. This atheistic thinking does not separate God’s direct creation from the effects of the created order. God directly created the atmosphere, the sediments of earth, and natural laws, so that weather affects sand and water fills holes. This thinking is as erroneous as comparing the process of DNA replication to the formation of sand dunes. The brickmaker’s brick is directly designed and its impression in mortar is indirectly designed.
The puddle analogy is informally the puddle fallacy. It is a false equivalent of indirect design to direct design. Life especially intelligent life does not equate to an unconscious puddle coming to think about its environment. Only by assuming the secular perspective does this make sense. A puddle is liquid not solid or gas and as it is liquid just so to fit an environment of a pothole that has the right conditions to support a puddle. This is indirect design by the functional result of design that stands on the premise that God created the universe and set natural laws.
In conclusion, the puddle analogy is as dead as abiogenesis. The puddle can only be a reflection of indirect design and only intelligent life can reflect upon that. Intelligent life can distinguish between direct and indirect design. Furthermore, the teleological argument still stands.
The Teleological Argument by Biocomplexity
1. Complex systems that are more complex than intelligent design are designed (i.e. smart phones are more complex than ink pens).
2. Biology is more complex than intelligent design.
3. Therefore, biology is intelligently designed.