Structure of the Human Eye and Ear [1/2]
Rev. Daniel M'Allum, M.D.
Anatomy, Physiology, Design, Natural Theology, Theology of Nature, Biblical Authority, Light, Psychology, Immaterialism
The author's objective is to describe the anatomy and physiology of the organs of vision and hearing in 'familiar and popular language', and to 'draw out those views of the character of God, which the subject suggests'. He observes that William Paley has pursued such a course with almost unequalled perspicuity, but thinks that there are still things to be added to Paley's descriptions. Moreover, where Paley sought to 'prove the existence of God, and to infer the character of the Divine Being from the appearance of design observable in all his works' without the aid of revelation, M'Allum pretends to 'no such lofty aim'. He assumes the 'unquestionable certainty of revealed truth', including the 'existence, supremacy, and other perfections of the Godhead', and uses the structure of the ear and eye as 'illustrations of what the great Creator is, in so far as his character may be inferred from his works, mutilated and reft of original excellence, as by the fall they acknowledgedly are'. (675) The introduction is followed by a lengthy account of the human eye and of the nature of light. Discussing the processing of the focused image on the retina, M'Allum observes: 'Whatever belongs to the connexion between matter and mind is beyond our attainment and conception' (680).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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