Introduction

But can there be any person . . . who can consider the regular movements of the heavenly bodies, the prescribed courses of the stars, and see how all is linked and bound into a single system, and then deny that there is any conscious purpose in this and say that it is the work of chance Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 Bc), De Natura Deorum T he Almighty discovers more of his Wisdom in forming such a vast multitude of different sorts of Creatures, and all with admirable and irreprovable Art, than...

Of Mechanical Arrangement In The Human Frame

W e proceed therefore to propose certain examples taken out of this class making choice of such, as, amongst those which have come to our knowledge, appear to be the most striking, and the best understood but obliged, perhaps, to postpone both these recommendations to a third, that of the example being capable of explanation without plates or figures, or technical language.* I. I challenge any man to produce, in the joints and pivots of the most complicated, or the most flexible, machine, that...

Of The Vessels Of Animal Bodies

The circulation of the blood, through the bodies of men and quadrupeds, and the apparatus by which it is carried on, compose a system, and testify a contrivance, perhaps the best understood of any part of the animal frame. The lymphatic system, or the nervous system, may be more subtile and intricate nay, it is possible that in their structure they be even more artificial than the sanguiferous but we do not know so much about them. The utility of the circulation of the blood, I assume as an...

Compensation

Compensation is a species of relation. It is relation, when the defects of one part, or of one organ, are supplied by the structure of another part, or of another organ. Thus, I. The short, unbending neck of the elephant, is compensated by the length and flexibility of his proboscis.* He could not have reached the ground without it or, if it be supposed that he might have fed upon the fruit, leaves, or branches of trees, how was he to drink Should it be asked, Why is the elephant's neck so...

Application Of The Argument

T his is atheism for every indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation. I mean that the contrivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the complexity, subtlety, and curiosity of the mechanism and still more, if possible, do they go beyond them in number and variety yet, in a multitude of...

The Elements

W hen we come to the elements,* we take leave of our mechanics because we come to those things, of the organization of which, if they be organized, we are confessedly ignorant. This ignorance is implied by their name. To say the truth, our investigations are stopped long before we arrive at this point. But then it is for our comfort to find, that a knowledge of the constitution of the elements is not necessary for us. For instance, as Addison* has well observed, 'we know water sufficiently,...

Of The Personality Of The Deity

C ontrivance, if established, appears to me to prove every thing which we wish to prove. Amongst other things it proves the personality of the Deity,* as distinguished from what is sometimes called nature, sometimes called a principle which terms, in the mouths of those who use them philosophically, seem to be intended, to admit and to express an efficacy, but to exclude and to deny a personal agent. Now that which can contrive, which can design, must be a person.* These capacities constitute...

Of The Muscles

M uscles, with their tendons, are the instruments by which animal motion is performed. It will be our business to point out instances in which, and properties with respect to which, the disposition of these muscles is as strictly mechanical, as that of the wires and strings of a puppet. I. We may observe, what I believe is universal, an exact relation between the joint and the muscles which move it. Whatever motion, the joint, by its mechanical construction, is capable of performing, that...

Of The Succession Of Plants And Animals

T he generation of the animal no more accounts for the contrivance of the eye or ear, than, upon the supposition stated in a preceding chapter, the production of a watch by the motion and mechanism of a former watch, would account for the skill and intention evidenced in the watch so produced than it would account for the disposition of the wheels, the catching of their teeth, the relation of the several parts of the works to one another and to their common end, for the suitableness of their...

Relations

W hen several different parts contribute to one effect or, which is the same thing, when an effect is produced by the joint action of different instruments the fitness of such parts or instruments to one another, for the purpose of producing, by their united action, the effect, is what I call relation * and wherever this is observed in the works of nature or of man, it appears to me to carry along with it decisive evidence of understanding, intention, art. In examining, for instance, the...

Chapter Xxii

My opinion of Astronomy has always been, that it is not the best medium through which to prove the agency of an intelligent Creator* but that, this being proved, it shews, beyond all other sciences, the magnificence of his operations. The mind which is once convinced, it raises to sublimer views of the Deity, than any other subject affords but is not so well adapted, as some other subjects are, to the purpose of argument. We are destitute of the means of examining the constitution of the...

Application Of The Argument Continued

E very observation which was made, in our first chapter, concerning the watch, may be repeated with strict propriety concerning the eye concerning animals concerning plants concerning, indeed, all the organized parts of the works of nature.* As, I. When we are enquiring simply after the existence of an intelligent Creator, imperfection, inaccuracy, liability to disorder, occasional irregularities,* may subsist, in a considerable degree, without inducing any doubt into the question just as a...

Prospective Contrivances

I can hardly imagine to myself a more distinguishing mark, and, consequently, a more certain proof of design, than preparation, i. e. the providing of things beforehand, which are not to be used until a considerable time afterwards for this implies a contemplation of the future, which belongs only to intelligence. Of these prospective contrivances the bodies of animals furnish various examples. I. The human teeth afford an instance, not only of prospective contrivance, but of the completion of...

Chronology Of William Paley

1743 July Paley born to William Paley 1711-99 and Elizabeth Clapham c. 1713-96 of Giggleswick in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Baptized in Peterborough Cathedral. 1758 Admitted to Christ's College, Cambridge. Studies mathematics with William Howarth at Topcliffe. 1759 Matriculates at Christ's. Studies algebra, geometry, natural philosophy, logic, metaphysics, and moral philosophy. 1757 Joins the Hyson Club and begins lifelong friendship with John Law. 1760 George III crowned King of Great...