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by Luther Lee
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'The consciousness of knowing little, need not beget a distrust of that which he does not know.' In Natural Theology William Paley set out to prove the existence of God from the evidence of the beauty and order of the natural world. Famously beginning by comparing the world to a watch, whose design is self-evident, he goes on to provide examples from biology, anatomy, and astronomy in order to demonstrate the intricacy and ingenuity of design that could only come from a wise and benevolent deity. Paley's legalistic approach and skilful use of metaphor and analogy were hugely successful, and equally controversial. Charles Darwin, whose investigations led to very different conclusions in the Origin of Species, was greatly influenced by the book's cumulative structure and accessible style. This edition reprints the original text of 1802, and sets the book in the context of the theological, philosophical, and scientific debates of the nineteenth century.
From the Publisher
First published in 1803, this title should be on the shelf of anyone interested in the history of the origins controversy.
About the Author
Matthew D. Eddy is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary and the University of Durham and has recently held fellowships at the Dibner Institute (MIT), Harvard University, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) and the University of Notre Dame's Erasmus Institute. He has just finished editing (with David M. Knight) Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science, 1700-1900 (Ashgate,2005). David Knight has edited the British Journal for the History of Science and served as President of the British Society for the History of Science. In 2003 he received the American Chemical Society's Edelstein Award for History of Chemistry.
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