Paley, William

Paley, William
(1743-1805)
   An Anglican bishop and apologist, Paley, while not an original thinker, was gifted in the art of writing popular presentations of apologetics, as in A View of the Evidence of Christianity (1794), which was required reading at Cambridge University for decades. Today Paley's most discussed work is Natural Theology (1802), which includes his famous defence of the argument to design. As Paley puts it, if you are walking across a heath and encounter a watch, you would surely conclude that it had been designed. But the human eye is an even more exquisite example of craftsmanship and therefore likewise requires an inference to a designer. Paley's argument would receive a sharp challenge from the purported elimination of teleology in Darwinian evolution as captured in Richard Dawkins's memorable book title The Blind Watchmaker.
   Further reading: Paley 1819, 1825 and 1849

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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