Argument From Design: Darwin Vs. Paley

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Darwin versus Paley Darwin, like other intellectual greats such as Einstein, was not overly fond of school. He thought early level mathematics showed no real-world applications, and he could barely be bothered to attend lectures concerning the classics. Spending his time hunting or collecting beetles was, for the young naturalist, a far better - and certainly more interesting - use of his time. However, for all his dislike of the education system he was subjected to, Darwin did find two bright points shimmering amongst the dreary haze of his schooling at Cambridge: Euclid, and Paley. In the works of both he greatly admired the clear, rational arguments set forth, especially by Paley (Oldroyd, 61). It is ironic, then, that his theory later had to do battle with - and ultimately ruin - the arguments set…show more content…
His reasoning is based in a theory of “argument from design” which, put simply, states that objects that show design have designers, and, since the parts of the Earth - its life forms, even light - show design, they too must have a designer. It should be noted that the argument from design was not originally made by Paley. Rather, the theory can be found as early as 360 B.C. in Plato’s Laws. It wasn’t until the seventeenth century, however, that it became more popular with Enlightenment thinkers. Paley’s goal for Natural Theology was, of course, to prove the existence of a Divine Being. The way he went about it, however, was rather interesting. Instead of telling his readers to simply put faith in the Bible and members of the clergy, he instead put forth a rational, scientific argument to support the divine. It seems odd to a modern reader, who might often think science and religion are mutually exclusive, but, considering it was written during the Enlightenment, the methods used fit the period

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