In his book Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity, Collected from the Appearances of Nature, first published in 1802, William Paley wrote
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I had found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place. I should hardly think of the answer which I had given before, that for anything I knew the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone? Why is it not as admissible? When we come to inspect the watch, we perceive—what we could not discover in the stone—that its parts are framed and have been put together.
We notice more: we find a series of wheels, the teeth of which catch in, and apply to, each other, conducting the motion to the balance and from the balance to the pointer. Further, we notice that the wheels are made of brass to prevent rust; the springs of steel (no other metal being so elastic); that over the face of the watch there is placed a glass, a material employed in no other part of the work, and without which the hour could not been seen without opening the case. This mechanism being observed, the inference, we think is inevitable: the watch must have had a maker, and been designed for a purpose.
Paley’s question was, “Does the watch have an intelligent designer?”
My question is, “Does the watch belong to someone?”
[Cross-posted to SOLO.]