I get what you mean but it sort of begs the question. You are saying that "life is just a natural event, it doesn't compare to something designed like a watch." Yet then you disqualify the subject of the analogy, namely life. So you are begging the question. Life shows design as compared to the watch. Of course it is different then the watch yet both show design. That is the analogy. If life shows complexity and design, it is up to the materialist to explain why. It is not enough to say, "nah, it is not really designed."
Argh...I find this almost impossible to explain because I'm having trouble finding a way to show the difference between human/animal design, what is considered natural design...and then distinguish that from what you consider intelligently designed.
See, what I don't agree with is that life shows the same evidence of design as compared to a watch. When human achievements are used as analogies it brushes over one major key point, and that is intent. Lets assume for a second that life is naturally "designed" meaning we as humans may recognize patterns and anomalies in the natural world, but it's simply a result of a "reactionary" process. What I mean by this is that nature doesn't start out with a plan, it's more of a trial and error process. Nature uses the "tools" it has to work with and the "design", no matter how bad is...is what it is until it can or needs to be naturally improved upon.
A watchmaker on the other hand is designing a watch from square one with an intent. Every step of the way is planned out using prior knowledge to get to a final result. If a tool is needed, it is made and used for a specific purpose. To me this is a huge distinction between the two. It's looking at a final design and not putting any context behind it. It's not accounting for all the factors and processes involved in getting to that point.
Secondly...when we talk about seeing design in nature we tend to forget that humans are really susceptible to seeing things that simply aren't there. We see faces in car grills, faces on mars, and even Jesus in a jam sandwich (I'm gonna copyright that by the way). So we have to be careful that we're not falling into this kind of trap when we look at nature. My friend and I were just hiking in Arches National Park and it's amazing how many of those rock formations look like giant penises....now we can assume two things from this....a) our brains will naturally see these things as a byproduct of our evolution b) God has a pretty juvenile sense of humor.
One last point is that of irreducible complexity in the ID debate. You say that it's up to the materialist to explain why things look designed, and more often than not they do. With the eye and the flagellum for example, "materialists" have shown that these are not IC as the ID proponents would argue. In almost all cases complex organisms and structures can be broken down and explained in a way that we expect to see if evolution is true. This is why I feel this whole watch in the desert thing just won't die. The ID proponents don't seem to want to accept that just because something looks to be so intricately designed, doesn't mean it's not coming from many simpler processes.
And yes...I realize the idea is to show evidence of design, but I think it really is comparing apples to orangutans.
Regarding the abusive God article.
1) Story is not over, he is judging God in mid stream.
2) He admits he is just a physical device, unable to decide for himself in the article and is therefore self refuting.
3) God is fair and takes in all the factors known by us and otherwise.
4) God gives mercy and gifts to those He desires and fairness to all the others.
I'm not sure I understand your points.
You say that he is judging God mid stream, but if we bring it back to the comparison that is like saying we should forgive the abusive husband/boyfriend because he still has some growing up to do. Abuse and manipulation is wrong no matter what the excuse. You can't give God a free pass simply because we're once again too dumb to fully see things for how they might be. In fact if you saw an adult abusing a child you would be outraged, yet God is allowed to make us all feel small and dumb, all the while demanding perfection and complete obedience.
You say God is fair, but you're basing this on what? Unless I am mistaken, you're basing this on his word. So if this hypothetical abusive husband claimed that he was fair and just when he smacked around his wife, we're supposed to take that for face value? Again, it's not an excuse. God should be held to the highest of standards and if we are in fact to small minded to get it, then he should be taking extra precautions to not be misinterpreted. When you're trying to gain trust and loyalty you don't do that by doing whatever you want and then yelling, "I'm the adult so I know what is best, as long as you're under my roof!!"
God also crushes Christians in falling bridges. God also gives Christian people cancer. If you know anything about how psychics use cold reading to appear to read minds you'll see that people are generally really good at remembering the "hits" and forgetting the "misses" no matter how many there are. I find this to be the case in religion as well. We're all happy when God shows us mercy and fairness and rewards us with something good, but every reason in the book is used when something bad happens.
Personally, I think God gets a lot of free passes based on his own word. There are so many examples in the bible (and in life) where God is not what he claims to be, yet we always justify this behavior in the same way abused people do. We lay blame on ourselves. Our self esteem and self worth are taken away from us, and all the while we continue to protect the abuser.