Structure of the Human Eye and Ear [2/2]
Rev. Daniel M'Allum, M.D.
Anatomy, Sound, Design, Theology of Nature, Creation, Discovery, Serendipity, Instruments, Immaterialism, Psychology
Galileo Galilei , Isaac Newton , Thomas Reid
The writer begins with a discussion of the nature of sound, followed by an account of the anatomy of the human ear. The article concludes with a section headed 'The Argument', in which four numbered arguments are given. The first argument is that 'He that formed the eye and planted the ear must be a Being of infinite Power'. M'Allum contrasts divine power and ingenuity with that of human artists, reporting that the discovery of the telescope was a matter of the 'merest accident'. He observes that the communication between the organs of sight and hearing and the immaterial mind operates in a fashion which 'laughs at human wisdom to discover'. How it is done, 'we may not ask; for who can follow the Creator into his inner sanctuary'? The second argument is for divine wisdom. M'Allum considers that both the comprehensible mechanism of hearing and seeing, and those aspects 'where Science blushed that she could tell no more', should leave the reader acknowledging this. (749) The disparity of human and divine art is again emphasised. The third argument is for divine goodness. Drawing on an extensive quotation from William Paley's Natural Theology, M'Allum seconds the view that the pleasure humans derive from their senses of sight and hearing is an argument for divine goodness. The final argument—for the 'Incomprehensibility of the Deity'—is based on the incomprehensibility of the process by which images on the retina 'inform the immaterial man, the spiritual intelligence, of the colour, the size, the figure, and the position of things innumerable in heaven above, and in earth beneath' (751). M'Allum uses this case to illustrate the 'folly of incredulity in man, when the incomprehensibility of truth is the pretence for rejecting it', observing that 'the mysteries of Nature are as profound as the mysteries of Revelation' (752).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
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