and human beings to the external conditions of existence. The Bridgewater Treatise on The hand, written by the surgeon Charles Bell, was a brilliant exposition of special teleology. The most frequently reprinted and most widely translated Bridgewater monograph was William Buckland's. Paley had made the human body the main source of evidence for design, though he also used plants and animals. Geology now provided a new range of facts that exemplified adaptation and contrivance. In particular palaeontology, with its extinct and unfamiliar forms of life, enriched the canon of design examples by adding new, in some instances bizarre, organic forms from the geological past.
Yet the close relationship between religion and science that had existed in natural theology dissolved in stages, and the language of providential design disappeared from scientific discourse in a process of the secularisation of the study of nature. The period 1815-1914 saw the disappearance of natural theology as a genre of scientific literature. To attribute this decline to Darwinism is probably inadequate as an explanation. Admittedly, Darwin's notion of natural selection turned the argument from design (special teleology) inside out by stating that anything not well adapted (not properly designed) simply will not survive in the struggle for life: 'in one sense Darwinism is Paleyism inverted'.29 Design in the sense of special teleology is therefore not proof of intent but merely the chance result of the struggle for life. Yet as repeatedly urged by Peter Bowler, Darwinism - defined in terms of natural selection -never became widely accepted among biologists and palaeontologists of the second half of the nineteenth century, and a 'Darwinian revolution' in this sense never occurred. The origin of species proved compelling, but not in converting the scientific community to evolution by natural selection - only to evolution by natural means. Many scientists incorporated general teleology in models of orthogenetic or more specifically also of theistic evolution, the Christians among them grafting evolutionism onto one of the several, existing harmonisation schemata.30
A more significant factor in the decline of the scientific discourse of design may have been that its social functions were taken over by Darwinism. Robert Young, in pointing to the contiguity between theological and scientific belief systems, has contended that the argument from design helped maintain the socio-political status quo, and that Darwinism could be appealed to for the same purpose. Both parties were in agreement with the Malthusian population
29 Gillispie, Genesis and geology, p. 219.
30 Bowler, The eclipse of Darwinism and The non-Darwinian revolution.
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