Nineteenth-century natural theology

In J. H. Brooke, F. Watts & R. R. Manning (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology. Oxford Up. pp. 100 (2013)
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In the nineteenth century, natural theology was ‘natural’ because the evidence was taken from direct observation of the natural world, or from observations made in the increasingly specialised settings of science. It was ‘theological’ because such evidence was interpreted in light of the attributes of God laid out in the Bible and in Christian doctrine. However, the extent to which the evidence of revelation was augmented or superseded by the facts provided by reason varied between authors. This chapter discusses how different authors structured their design arguments, and shows that design arguments were increasingly recalibrated to incorporate new scientific evidence. But the basic premise of a theistically designed world also remained widely accepted by scientists and the reading public alike at the dawn of the twentieth century.



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Matthew Eddy
Durham University

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