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Turning Points in Natural Theology from Bacon to Darwin
 
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Turning Points in Natural Theology from Bacon to Darwin
The Way of the Argument from Design
 
 
Palgrave Macmillan
 
 
 
 
 
06 Aug 2012
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£55.00
|Hardback In Stock
  
9780230108844
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DescriptionReviewsContentsAuthors

Natural theology is the attempt to harmonize the scientific knowledge of one's era with scriptural and other religious teachings. Arguments from Design discusses crucial moments in the historical development of natural theology in England from the time of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) to that of Charles Darwin (1809-82), as well as looking at crucial developments before and after the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The book's central argument is that while the argument from design remains the rhetorical method of choice for natural theologians throughout the three centuries in question, the locus and object of design undergo a change. The book undertakes to track and account for those changes, which have significant relevance for the current controversy surrounding intelligent design (ID).


Description

Natural theology is the attempt to harmonize the scientific knowledge of one's era with scriptural and other religious teachings. Arguments from Design discusses crucial moments in the historical development of natural theology in England from the time of Francis Bacon (1561-1626) to that of Charles Darwin (1809-82), as well as looking at crucial developments before and after the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. The book's central argument is that while the argument from design remains the rhetorical method of choice for natural theologians throughout the three centuries in question, the locus and object of design undergo a change. The book undertakes to track and account for those changes, which have significant relevance for the current controversy surrounding intelligent design (ID).


Reviews

"This interesting and original book, a volume in the 'Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters' series, traces key moments in the emergence of natural theology, a meta-scientific philosophy of religion that argues for divine attributes and their relationship to the natural world, including the history of life on Earth and the extinction and evolution of species over time. Focusing on the historical from the early 17th century and philosopher Francis Bacon, through the 19th century and naturalist Charles Darwin, Peterfreund (English, Northeastern Univ.) considers the British meta-scientific discourse community, examining how advocates of natural theology's understanding of systems and design offer a means of tracing the evolving debate on the merits of "intelligent design" (attributions of design to God) in relation to select observable natural phenomena. In five chapters, the author provides a historically situated chronology of rhetorical contributions, highlighting connections among major figures, along the trajectory of natural theology writings and emerging theories of intelligent design - as articulated by Francis Bacon, Robert Boyle, Sir Isaac Newton, William Paley, and Charles Darwin. Readers with an interest in natural theology, creationism debates, and intersections of philosophy, religion, and principles of science will likely find this informative book of interest. Summing Up: Recommended." - Choice
 
"In this thought-provoking and nuanced study, Peterfreund tracks the changes that the argument from design underwent during the period from Bacon to Darwin. In situating different conceptual metaphors of design in their historical, philosophical, and scientific contexts, Peterfreund makes significant contributions to the interdisciplinary science studies." - Robert Markley, W.D. and Sara E. Trowbridge Professor, University of Illinois


Contents

An Argument about the Argument from Design
Natural Theology, Leading up to Bacon
Getting Back to the Garden and the Temple: Bacon, the Design of the Creature, Deferral, and Instauration
Leaving Bacon Behind: Robert Boyle's Legacy and the Mechanization of Natural Theology
The Second Moses Reconsidered, or, Back to Bacon and Beyond: Mosaic Natural Theology in the Age of Newton
Systems within Systems: From Newton to Paley
From Paley to Darwin: The Design of the Macrosystem
Intelligent Design?



Authors

Stuart Peterfreund is a professor of English at Northeastern University. He is the author of William Blake in a Newtonian World: Argument as Art Argument as Science, and Shelley among Others: The Play of the Intertext and the Idea of Language.