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Paley's Natural Theology [Paperback]

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Item description for Paley's Natural Theology by William Paley...

William Paley's classic brings depth to the history of intelligent design arguments. The contrivance of the eye, the ear, and numerous other anatomical features throughout the natural world are presented as arguments for God's presence and concern. While there are distinctive differences between Paley's argument and those used today by intelligent design theorists and creationists, it remains a fascinating glimpse of the nineteenth-century's debate over the roles of religion and science.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   292
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 6" Height: 9"
Weight:   1 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 5, 2005
Publisher   Coachwhip Publications
ISBN  1930585217  
ISBN13  9781930585218  

Availability  0 units.

More About William Paley

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Paley (1743-1805) was the most successful theological author of the late eighteenth century. His principal writings included works on moral and political philosophy, the evidences of Christianity and natural theology.

William Paley was born in 1743 and died in 1805.

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Product Categories

2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Religious Studies > Science & Religion
3Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > Science
4Books > Subjects > Science > History & Philosophy > History of Science

Reviews - What do customers think about Paley's Natural Theology?

Intelligent Design is not a Recent Invention  May 17, 2007
This Oxford World's Classics edition of William Paley's (1743-1805) most famous work is a handy way to become acquainted with the theory of Natural Theology that played such a major role in Victorian intellectual circles--at least until Darwin published his "Origin of the Species" in 1859. This edition reproduces the text of the first edition published in 1802. Equally important, it contains a highly helpful introduction by editors Matthew D. Eddy and David Knight which places the book within the context of Victorian thought prior to Darwin. "Natural Theology is the practice of inferring the existence and wisdom of God from the order and beauty of the world," write the editors. Its most familiar version is Deism (or belief in a remote creator), which combines Newton's concept of physical laws with the idea of a clock--God creates the clock but allows it to function on its own. The editors explain the history of this idea prior to Paley, and how given the scepticism of individuals like Gibbon, Hume, Diderot and Voltaire, Natural Theology was pressed into service to fight off what were seen as attacks on Christianity. Paley's work was tremendously popular and read well into the 18th century. God is seen as benevolent and concerned with ensuring the happiness of the human race, such as by creating "pleasure" for example. Robert Chambers "Vestiges," the Bridgewater Treatises, and other key examples of Victorian grappling with these issues is discussed, and the stage is set for Darwin who wrote "Origins" 50 years or so after Paley's death (but had read him). In addition to this fine introduction, this edition contains a bibliography, chronology, and suggestions for further reading. Particularly helpful are 48 pages of "Explanatory Notes" contributed by the editors which identify and explain key individuals, concepts, and books. Oh, and of course, Paley well anticipated the current intelligent design argument, which we learn even predates him. Is there anything new under the sun? I wonder.
Classic of Science & Religion  May 2, 2005
Paley's argument for a designer is relevant to any historical discussion on the origins debate. The Coachwhip Publications 2005 reprint edition (ISBN 1930585217) is inexpensive and contains an additional bibliography of more recent teleological arguments.
Historically relevant  Feb 19, 2003
William Paley sure was an intelligent man. His reasoning was flawless and his knowledge ample (he knew a lot considering the knowledge of his time). Unfortunately , Paley lived before Darwin published "The origin of species" and like any other priest of his time (and the vast majority of the people in his time too) he believed God had nicely fix every little detail so he and all human kind would live in a perfectly "fit for human" world. He believed in the design of the "superior being" (God, of course) and he nicely explained it at the beginning of Natural Theology. This is a must to anyone interested in the evolution of evolutionary thought, and wants to know about one strong theological basis Victorians had opposing evolution.

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