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 is equating a puddle thinking about its environment to humanity suddenly awakening to observe nature and assert meaning in the balance of nature for life to exist. The puddle analogy is a secular response to the universe being fine-tuned for life especially for intelligent life to exist on a planet finely-balanced for the survival of life. 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. One must first assume that the universe happens to support life without design despite fine-tuning of natural laws that allow life.
A quick response is: “That analogy is as dead as the idea that the universe merely happens to allow and support life to exist.” This is to assume that life could probably come from nonliving material. The simple refutation of the puddle illustration is what it assumes — that life can come from nonliving material (abiogenesis) without any evidence and the universe just happens to allow the existence of life. No one has observed the nonliving material of the universe has and can produce life. Life from nonliving material is observably unscientific.
The atheistic view erringly conflates the impression and effect of design with its coincidental result. This is like asserting that a bullet from a pistol cannot be designed if it coincidentally leaves gunpowder residue on the shooter’s hand. Furthermore, this is like observing writing on the beach as designed and assuming the impression of the finger in the sand is unintentional, so the writing must also be an unintended effect. The brickmaker directly designs the brick and indirectly designs the brick’s impression in mortar. The impression of design does not disprove design. No one can reasonably dismiss the process of DNA replication because cancer exists.
Informally, the puddle analogy is “the puddle fallacy.” Formally, the analogy is a non-sequitur by assuming natural effects are unintended so the cause must be unintended implying no design. This is begging the question to reach the desired answer. The argument is also a false equivalent that life especially intelligent life equates to an unconscious puddle coming to think about its environment. Only by assuming an atheistic perspective does this make sense. A hole must have the right conditions to bear water. One must first assume that holes coincidentally bear water and that no Creator exists for the natural laws and processes to allow water to pool within an impression of solid matter. The effect of an impression with a functional result of holding water stands on the premise that the universe has natural laws balanced for this to occur. Why is the universe balanced for life to exist?
In conclusion, the puddle analogy is as dead as nonliving matter’s ability to originate life. The puddle is an effect of design and intelligent life can recognize that. Intelligent life can distinguish between intended design and its impression. The argument for God’s design of life 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.