Throughout his life, he remained controversial. Omissions? Why have the Gods afflicted me? After becoming rector of Musgrave (1775), Dalston (1776), and Appleby (1777), he was made archdeacon of Carlisle (1782) and later a canon of St. Paul’s (1794), subdean of Lincoln (1795), and rector of Bishop-Wearmouth (1795). He was a utilitarian with deep Christian convictions. Moreover, he recognized in his M notebook that the thesis of evolutionary continuity between men and animals did not require an explicit avowal of his conviction that brain was the agent of thought.118 And in any case, his materialism was of a rather benign sort; at least he so expressed it in an annotation in Abercrombie's Inquiries concerning the Intellectual Powers (1838): “By materialism I mean, merely the intimate connection of thought with form of brain — like kind of attraction with nature of element.”119 This belief would have held little terror for British intellectuals, who were quite familiar — some even comfortable-with Locke's anti-Cartesian argument that there was nothing contradictory in supposing God could make matter to think.120 Finally, even if the intellectual atmosphere of early nineteenth-century Britain were inhospitable to Darwin's brand of materialism, there is little reason to believe he breathed a different air at mid-century while preparing his manuscript. As popular lecturers, contributors to elite journals, and textbook writers, they were among the prime interpreters of science for the industrializing and secularizing society of Victorian England. The book strongly influenced Charles Darwin. If you cite from these documents, whether for personal or professional purposes, please give appropriate citation with both the name of the author (J.W. Gascoigne attributes this in part to the development of science as a specialised vocation. Metrics details. PubMed Google Scholar, Richards, R.J. Wartick. William Paley (1743-1805) is a name which echoes through history. As his work on natural selection developed, he focused more on chance than design, and his own religious views tended towards agnosticism. The point is that simply pointing out a flaw in a design does not mean an entire object is undesigned. The preceding post is the property of J.W. Black Friday Sale! Today, Darwinism is employed primarily on the side of atheism rather than religion. Many miss this important distinction even to this day. Yet the genius of his work is found in broader principles, which moderns should note. As Carlyle recognized—and Arnold deplored—the nineteenth century was the ‘Age of Machinery’. Nevertheless, they added, the highest benefits of science are intellectual—scientific reasoning trains the mind as effectively as a classical education and leads to a true understanding of the natural world. For these reasons, natural theology was an important part of the intellectual culture into which Charles Darwin was born and educated. However, this description is so brief as to be simplistic. The main source of this support came from theologians arguing for a kind of natural theology ‘based on the assumption that one could come to know the mind of the Creator from studying Creation.’ In an even more surprising twist, Gascoigne argues that Darwin’s own Origin of Species was developed in an intellectual context steeped in natural theology, and actually shares some important characteristics with this tradition. Posts about British natural theology written by J.W. Mechanism and Meaning: British Natural Theology and the Literature of Technology, 1820-1840 . The essential principle of utilitarianism was, as mentioned earlier, put forth by Hutcheson. *I am indebted to the discussion of Paley’s life found in the introduction of the Oxford Classic’s edition of Paley’s Natural Theology, which I have cited above. The site features a “spotlight” on the main page for various fantastic reads. Conclusion. We have seen the diverse array of arguments which Paley offered in favor of Christianity. I am sure none of them are uncontroversial, but Paley places his defense of this points squarely within his analysis of those artifacts which he considers to be designed (i.e. As John Gascoigne, Professor of History at the University of New South Wales, pointed out in his talk at the symposium, the Church was a major supporter of science in its earliest stages of development. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login). CORE is a not-for-profit service delivered by Paley was a masterful writer whose arguments continue to influence apologists and draw ire from atheists to this day. This blog is protected by Creative Commons licensing. Regarding the first, this point seems obvious. By viewing any part of this site, you are agreeing to this usage policy. From popular expositions of steam engines to mechanics textbooks to industrial travel narratives to histories of technology, the material, literary, and generic forms of these texts constructed the ‘machine’ as an intelligible object of public culture, as part of nature, as passive servant to human agents, and as the product of complex development.
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