David Hume (1711-76) opposed the argument on the following grounds (a brief response is given in italics):-
1. It begs the question: ‘Who designed the Designer?’
This is a category error. It is to confuse the Creator with his creation. It is to assume naturalism, which for no good reason rules out of court any possibility of an uncreated, non-material Creator
2. It does not give us any reason to suppose that a Designer, if the existence of such could be demonstrated, is the God of the Bible. A Designer need not be perfect, omniscient, or loving. Indeed, there might plausibly be more than one Designer, in which case we could better explain conflicts such as the existence of evil.
This is correct, but irrelevant. It does not follow that because the argument cannot tell us everything about God, it cannot tell us anything. We look elsewhere for confirmation of God’s nature.
3. The existence of evil indicates that if there was a single Designer, he/she/it could not be morally perfect. Therefore, the God of the Bible is ruled out of consideration.
This too is correct, but irrelevant. As Paley said, the presence of defect in an object that otherwise shows characteristics of having been designed does not prove that it was not designed. Again, we must look elsewhere for possible solutions to what is in fact a re-statement of the problem of suffering.
4. Analogies taken from the created order and from human design are invalid. Machines can be compared with one another so that we can say with confidence that if one machine, known to be designed, is similar to another in certain ways, we may infer that the second machine is designed. But while there are many machines, there is only one universe, and so there is nothing to compare it to.
We do not infer design of one object merely by analogy with another object. A single object, with nothing similar to compare it with, could be shown to have been designed by its own properties and characteristics.
5. Any coherent universe will appear to be designed to those intelligent creatures who live in it, since they lack the perspective to imagine anything else.
It does not follow that the appearance of design precludes the possibility of actual design.