God and the World: William Paley's Argument from Perfection Tradition—A Continuing Influence
William Paley is best remembered for his formulation of the watch analogy in his classic Natural Theology (1802). What is less widely known is that in the same work, Paley, in response to Erasmus Darwin, anticipates the argument from perfection. The present discussion traces the argument from perfection tradition from its probable inception in Natural Theology through important moments in its subsequent history. The discussion will address its contemporary wide-ranging impact upon such thinkers as philosopher of religion Alvin Plantinga, as well as scholars standing outside the tradition, such as geneticist Richard Goldschmidt and paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould. The article concludes with a discussion of the theological significance of this research in terms of its impact upon the issue of the relationship between God and the world.
Harvard Theological Review
Theology and Christian Philosophy
Baldwin, John T., "God and the World: William Paley's Argument from Perfection Tradition—A Continuing Influence" (1992). Faculty Publications. 2450.