The Stone's Answer to the Atheist. (From Dr. Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise.)
Infidelity, Natural Theology, Geology, Palaeontology, Design, Mineralogy, Chemistry, Natural Law
Quotes William Paley's famous use of a supposedly undesigned and ahistorical stone as a point of contrast for the designed watch in introducing the central analogy of his Natural Theology. Demonstrates that, by contrast, the geologist can give a history for the stone, of whatever form it takes. Notes, in particular, that if the stone should contain fossil remains, these 'might afford examples of contrivance and design, as unequivocally attesting the exercise of intelligence and power, as the mechanism of a watch or steam-engine [...] bears evidence of intention and skill in the workman who invented and constructed them' (24). Observes that all rocks are made up of minerals composed of simpler elements which have been 'at all times regulated by the self-same system of fixed and universal laws, which still maintains the mechanism of the material world, and we can find no account of all this beautiful and exact machinery, if we accept not that which would refer its origin to the antecedent will and power of a supreme creator' (25).
© Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical Project, Universities of Leeds and Sheffield, 2005 - 2020
Printed from Science in the Nineteenth-Century Periodical: An Electronic Index, v. 4.0, The Digital Humanities Institute <http://www.sciper.org> [accessed ]