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contriver of one watch, when he inserted within , from brutes to the human species; without perit a mechanism suited to the production of another ceiving, as we proceed, any alteration whatever watch, was, in truth, the maker and contriver of in the terms of the comparison. The rational that other watch. All the properties of the new animal does not produce its offspring with more watch were to be referred to his agency: the de- certainty or success than the irrational animal; a sign manifested in it, to his intention: the art, to man than a quadruped, a quadruped than a bird; hun as the artist : the collocation of each part to nor (for we may follow the gradation through its his placing: the action, etlect, and use, to his whole scale) a bird than a plant; nor a plant than counsel, intelligence, and workmanship. In pro- a watch, a piece of dead mechanism, would do, ducing it by the intervention of a former watch, he upon the supposition which has already so often was only working by one set of tools instead of been repeated. Rationality, therefore, has nothing another. So it is with the plant, and the seed to do in the business. If an account must be given produced by it. Can any distinction be assigned of the contrivance which we observe; if it be debetween the two cases; between the producing manded, whence arose either the contrivance by watch and the producing plant; both passive, un- which the young animal is produced, or the conconscious substances; both, by the organization trivance manifested in the young animal itself, it which was given to them, producing their like, is not from the reason of the parent that any such without understanding or design; both, that is, account can be drawn. He is the cause of his offinstruments ?
spring in the same sense as that in which a garII. From plants we may proceed to oviparous dener is the cause of the tulip which grows upor. animals; from seeds to eggs. Now I say, that the his parterre, and in no other. We admire the bird has the same concern in the formation of the flower; we examine the plant; we perceive the egg which she lays, as the plant has in that of the conduciveness of many of its parts to their end seed which it drops; and no other, nor greater. and office; we observe a provision for its nourishThe internal constitution of the egg is as much a ment, growth, protection, and fecundity; but wo secret to the hen, as if the hen were inanimate. never think of the gardener in all this. We atHer will cannot alter it, or change a single feather tribute nothing of this to his agency; yet it may of the chick. She can neither foresee nor deter- still be true, that without the gardener, we should mine of which sex her brood shall be, or how ma not have had the tulip: just so it is with the sucny of either; yet the thing produced shall be, from cession of animals even of the highest order. For the first, very different in its make, according to the the contrivance discovered in the structure of the sex which it bears. So far, therefore, from adapt thing produced, we want a contriver. The parent ing the means, she is not beforehand apprised of is not the contriver. His consciousness decides the effect. If there be concealed within that smooth that question. He is in total ignorance why that shell a provision and a preparation for the produc- which is produced took its present form rather tion and nourishment of a new animal, they are than any other. It is for him only to be astonishnot of her providing or preparing: if there be ed by the effect. We can no more look, therefore, contrivance, it is none of hers. Although, there to the intelligence of the parent animal for what fore, there be the difference of life and perceptivity we are in search of, a cause of relation, and of between the animal and the plant, it is a differ. subserviency of parts to their use, which relation ence which enters not into the account; it is a and subserviency we see in the procreated body, foreign circumstance: it is a difference of proper than we can refer the internal conformation of an ties not employed. The animal function and the acorn to the intelligence of the oak from which it vegetable function are alike destitute of any de- dropped, or the structure of the watch to the insign which can operate upon the form of the telligence of the watch which produced it; there thing produced. The plant has no design in pro- being no difference, as far as argument is concernducing the seed, no comprehension of the nature ed, between an intelligence which is not exerted, or use of what it produces; the bird, with respect and an intelligence which does not exist. to its egg, is not above the plant with respect to its seed. Neither the one nor the other bears that sort of relation to what proceeds from them, which a joiner does to the chair which he makes.' Now
CHAPTER V. a cause, which bears this relation to the effect, is what we want, in order to account for the suita Application of the Argument continued. bleness of means to an end, the fitness and fitting of one thing to another; and this cause the parent Every observation which was made in our first plant or animal does not supply.
chapter, concerning the watch, may be repeated It is farther observable concerning the propaga- with strict propriety concerning the eye; concerntion of plants and animals, that the apparatus em-ing animals; concerning plants; concerning, inployed exhibits no resemblance to the thing pro- deed, all the organized parts of the works of naduced; in this respect holding an analogy with ture. As, instruments and tools of art. The filaments, an I. When we are inquiring simply after the theræ, and stigmata of flowers bear no more re-existence of an intelligent Creator, imperfection, semblance to the young plant, or even to the seed, inaccuracy, liability to disorder, occasional irrewhich is formed by their intervention, than a chisel gularities, may subsist in a considerable degree, or a plane does to a table or chair. What then are without inducing any doubt into the question: the filaments, antheræ, and stigmata of plants, but just as a watch may frequently go wrong, seldom instruments strictly so called ?
perhaps exactly right, may be faulty in some III. We may advance from animals which bring parts, defective in some, without the smallest forth eggs, to animals which bring forth their ground of suspicion from thence arising that it young alive; and of this latter class, from the low- was not a watch; not made; or not made for the est to the highest; from irrational to rational life, I purpose ascribed to it. When faults are pointed
out, and when a question is started concerning | numerous; for they will be so in proportion to ou the skill of the artist, or dexterity with which the ignorance. They will be more or fewer to differwork is executed, then, indeed, in order to defend ent persons, and in different stages of science. these qualities from accusation, we must be able, Every improvement of knowledge diminishes their either to expose some intractableness and imper- number. There is hardly, perhaps, a year passes, fection in the materials, or point out some invinci- that does not, in the works of nature, bring some ble difficulty in the execution, into which imper- operation, or some mode of operation, to light, fection and difficulty the matter of complaint may which was before undiscovered, - probably unsusbe resolved; or if we cannot do this, we must ad- pected. Instances of the second kind, namely, duce such specimens of consummate art and con- where the part appears to be totally useless, I be trivance, proceeding from the same hand, as may lieve to be extremely rare; compared with the convince the inquirer of the existence, in the case number of those, of which the use is evident, they before him, of impediments like those which we are beneath any assignable proportion; and, perhave mentioned, although, what from the nature haps, have never been subunitied to a trial and of the case is very likely to happen, they be un- examination sufficiently accurate, long enough known and unperceived by him. This we must continued, or often enough repeated. No accounts do in order to vindicate the artist's skill, or, at which I have seen are satisfactory. The muti. least, the perfection of it: as we must also judge lated animal may live and grow fat, (as was the of his intention, and of the provisions employed case of the dog deprived of its spleen,) yet may be in fulfilling that intention, not from an instance defective in some other of its functions; which, in which they fail, but from the great plurality of whether they can all, or in what degree of vigour instances in which they succeed. But, after all, and perfection, be performed, or how long prethese are different questions from the question of served, without the extirpated organ, does not the artist's existence; or, which is the same, whe- seem to be ascertained by experiment. But to ther the thing before us be a work of art or not: this case, even were it fully made out, may be apo and the questions ought always to be kept sepa- plied the consideration which we suggested con. rate in the mind. So likewise it is in the works cerning the watch, viz. that these superfluous of nature. Irregularities and imperfections are parts do not negative the reasoning which we in. of little or no weight in the consideration, when stituted concerning those parts which are useful, that consideration relates simply to the existence and of which we know the use: the indication of of a Creator. When the argument respects his contrivance, with respect to them, remains as it attributes, they are of weight; but are then to be was before. taken in conjunction (the attention is not to rest III. One atheistic way of replying to our obupon them, but they are to be taken in conjunc servations upon the works of nature, and to the tion) with the unexceptionable evidences which proofs of a Deity which we think that we perceive we possess, of skill, power, and benevolence, dis- in them, is to tell us, that all which we see must played in other instances: which evidences may, neces
ecessarily have had some form, and that it might in strength, number, and variety, be such, and as well be its present form as any other. Let us may so overpower apparent blemishes, as to in- now apply this answer to the eye, as we did duce us, upon the most reasonable ground, to be- before to the watch. Something or other must lieve, that these last ought to be referred to some have occupied that place in the animal's head; cause, though we be ignorant of it, other than de must have filled up, we will say, that socket; we fect of knowledge or of benevolence in the author. will say also, that it must have been of that sort
II. There may be also parts of plants and ani- of substance which we call animal substance, as mals; as there were supposed to be of the watch, flesh, bone, membrane, cartilage, &c. But that of which, in some instances, the operation, in it should have been an eye, knowing as we do others, the use, is unknown. These form differ- what an eye comprehends, -viz, that it should ent cases: for the operation may be unknown, have consisted, first of a series of transparent yet the use be certain. Thus it is with the lungs lenses (very different, by the by, even in their of animals. It does not, I think, appear, that we substance, from the opaque materials of which the are acquainted with the action of the air upon the rest of the body is, in general at least, composed; blood, or in what manner that action is communi- and with which the whole of its surface, this cated by the lungs; yet we find that a very short single portion of it excepted, is covered ;) secondly, suspension of their office destroys the life of the of a black cloth or canvass (the only membrane of animal. In this case, therefore, we may be said the body which is black) spread out behind these to know the use, nay we experience the necessity, lenses, so as to receive the image formed by of the organ, though we be ignorant of its opera- pencils of light transmitted through them; and tion. Nearly the same thing may be observed of placed at the precise geometrical distance at what is called the lymphatic system. We suffer which, and at which alone, a distinct image could grievous inconveniences from its disorder, without be formed, namely, at the concourse of the refractbeing informed of the office which it sustains in ed rays: thirdly, of a large nerve communicating the economy of our bodies. There may possibly between this membrane and the brain; without also be some few examples of the second class, in which, the action of light upon the membrane, which not only the operation is unknown, but in however modified by the organ, would be lost to which experiments may seem to prove that the the purposes of sensation that this fortunate part is not necessary; or may leave a doubt, how conformation of parts should have been the lot, not far it is even useful to the plant or animal in which of one individual out of many thousand indiviit is found. This is said to be the case with the duals, like the great prize in a lottery, or like some spleen; which has been extracted from dogs, singularity in nature, but the happy chance of a without any sensible injury to their vital func- whole species; nor of one species out of many tions. Instances of the former kind, namely, in thousand species, with which we are acquainted, which we cannot explain the operation, may be but of by far the greatest number of all that exist;
and that under varieties, not casual, or capricious, corns and mermaids, sylphs and centaurs, the but bearing marks of being suited to their respect- fancies of painters, and the fables of poets, realized ive exigencies :—that all this should have taken by examples. Or, if it be alleged that these may place, merely because something must have occu- transgress the limits of possible life and propagapied those points in every animal's forehead ;-or, tion, we might, at least, have nations of human that all this should be thought to be accounted for, beings without nails upon their fingers, with more by the short answer," that whatever was there, or fewer fingers and toes, than ten; some with must have had some form or other,” is too absurd one eye, others with one ear, with one nostril, oi to be made more so by any augmentation. We without the sense of smelling at all. All these, are not contented with this answer; we find no and a thousand other imaginable varieties, might satisfaction in it, by way of accounting for appear- live and propagate. We may modify any one ances of organization far short of those of the eye, species many different ways, all consistent with such as we observe in fossil shells, petrified bones, life, and with the actions necessary to preservation, or other substances which bear the vestiges of although affording different degrees of convenienanimal or vegetable recrements, but which, either cy and enjoyment to the animal
. And if we carry in respect of utility, or of the situation in which these moditications through the different species they are discovered, may seem accidental enough. which are known to subsist, their number would It is no way of accounting even for these things, be incalculable. No reason can be given why, to say that the stone, for instance, which is shown if these deperdits ever existed, they have now disto us (supposing the question to be concerning a appeared. Yet, if all possible existences have petrifaction,) must have contained some internal been tried, they must have formed part of the conformation or other. Nor does it mend the an- catalogue. swer to add, with respect to the singularity of the But, moreover, the division of organized subconformation, that, after the event, it is no longer stances into animals and vegetables, and the disto be computed what the chances were against it. tribution and sub-distribution of each into genera This is always to be computed, when the question and species, which distribution is not an arbitrary is, whether a useful or imitative conformation be act of the mind, but founded in the order which the produce of chance or not: I desire no greater prevails in external nature, appear to me to concertainty in reasoning, than that by which chance tradict the supposition of the present world being is excluded from the present disposition of the the remains of an indefinite variety of existences; natural world. Universal experience is against of a variety which rejects all plan. The hypotheit. What does chance ever do for us? in the sis teaches, that every possible variety of being human body, for instance, chance, i. e, the opera- hath, at one time or other, found its way into extion of causes without design, may produce a wen, istence, (hy what cause or in what manner is not a wart, a mole, a pimple, but never an eye. said,) and that those which were badly formed, Amongst inanimate substances, a clod, a pebble, a perished; but how or why those which survived liquid drop, might be; but never was a watch, a should be cast, as we see that plants and animals telescope, an organized body of any kind, answer are cast, into regular classes, the hypothesis does ing a valuable purpose by a complicated mechan- not explain; or rather the hypothesis is inconsistism, the effect of chance. In no assignable ent with this phenomenon. instance hath such a thing existed without inten The hypothesis, indeed, is hardly deserving of tion somewhere.
the consideration which we have given to it. IV. There is another answer, which has the What should we think of a man who, because same effect as the resolving of things into chance; we had never ourselves seen watches, telescopes, which answer would persuade us to believe, that stocking-mills, steam-engines, &c. made, knew the eye, the animal to which it belongs, every not how they were made, or could prove by testiother animal, every plant, indeed every organized mony when ihey were made, or by whom, - would body which we see, are only so many out of the have us believe that these machines, instead of depossible varieties and combinations of being, riving their curious structures from the thought which the lapse of infinite ages has brought into and design of their inventors and contrivers, in existence; that the present world is the relict of truth derive them from no other origin than this; that variety; millions of other bodily forms and viz. that a mass of metals and other materials other species having perished, being by the defect having run when melted into all possible figures, of their constitution incapable of preservation, or and combined themselves in all possible forms, of continuance by generation. Now there is no and shapes, and proportions, these things which foundation whatever for this conjecture in any we see, are what were left from the accident, as thing which we observe in the works of nature; best worth preserving; and, as such, are become no such experiments are going on at present; no the remaining stock of a magazine, which, at one such energy operates, as that which is here sup- time or other, has, by this means, contained every posed, and which should be constantly pushing mechanism, useful and useless, convenient and ininto existence new varieties of beings. Nor are convenient, into which such-like materials coula there any appearances to support an opinion, that be thrown? I cannot distinguish the hypothesis every possible combination of vegetable or animal as applied to the works of nature, from this solustructure has formerly been tried. Multitudes of tion, which no one would accept, as applied to a conformations, both of vegetables and animals, collection of machines. may be conceived capable of existence and succes V. To the marks of contrivance discoverable in sion, which yet do not exist. Perhaps almost as animal bodies, and to the argument deduced from many forms of plants might have been found in them, in proof of design, and of a designing Crethe fields, as figures of plants can be delineated ator, this turn is sometimes attempted to be given, upon paper. A countless variety of animals namely, that the parts were not intended for tho might have existed, which do not exist. Upon use, but that the use arose out of the parts. This the supposition here stated, we should see uni- distinction is intelligible. A cabinet-maker rube
his mahogany with fish-skin; yet it would be the duck to swim; but what would that avail, if too much to assert that the skin of the dog-fish there were no water to swim in? The strong, was made rough and granulated on purpose for the hooked bill, and sharp talons, of one species of polishing of wood, and the use of cabinet-makers. bird, determine it to prey upon animals; the soft, Therefore the distinction is intelligible. But I straight bill and weak claws of another species, think that there is very little place for it in the determine it to pick up seeds: but neither deterworks of nature. When roundly and generally mination could take effect in providing for the affirmed of them, as it hath sometimes been, it sustenance of the birds, if animal bodies and vege amounts to such another stretch of assertion, as it table seeds did not lie within their reach. The would be to say, that all the implements of the peculiar conformation of the bill and tongue and cabinet-maker's work-shop, as well as his fish-skın, claws of the woodpecker, determines that bird to were substances accidentally configurated, which search for his food amongst the insects lodged behe had picked up, and converted to his use; that hind the bark, or in the wood, of decayed trees: his adzes, saws, planes, and gimblets, were not but what should this profit him, if there were no made, as we suppose, to hew, cut, and smooth, trees, no decayed trees, no insects lodged under shape out, or bore wood with; but that, these their bark, or in their trunk? The proboscis with things being made, no matter with what design, which the bee is furnished, determines him to or whether with any, the cabinet-maker perceived seek for honey: but what would that signify, if that they were applicable to his purpose, and flowers supplied none ? Faculties thrown down turned them to account.
upon animals at random, and without reference to But again. So far as this solution is attempted the objects amidst which they are placed, would to be applied to those parts of animals, the action not produce to them the services and benefits which of which does not depend upon the will of the ani- we see; and if there be that reference, then there mal, it is fraught with still more evident absurdity: is intention. Is it possible to believe that the eye was formed Lastly, the solution fails entirely when applied without any regard to vision; that it was the ani- to plants. The parts of plants answer their uses, mal itself which found out, that though formed without any concurrence from the will or choice with no such intention, it would serve to see with; of the plant. and that the use of the eye, as an organ of sight, VI. Others have chosen to refer every thing to resulted from this discovery, and the animal's ap: a principle of order in nature. A principle of plication of it? The same question may be asked order is the word: but what is meant by a princiof the ear; the same of all the senses. None of ple of order, as different from an intelligent Creathe senses fundamentally depend upon the election for, has not been explained either by definition or of the animal; consequently, neither upon his sa- example; and, without such explanation, it should gacity, nor his experience. It is the impression seem to be a mere substitution of words for reawhich objects make upon them, that constitutes sons, names for causes. Order itself is only the their use. Under that impression, he is passive. adaptation of means to an end; a principle of order He may bring objects to the sense, or within its therefore can only signify the mind and intention reach; he may select these objects: but over the which so adapts them. Or, were it capable of impression itself he has no power, or very little; being explained in any other sense, is there any and that properly is the sense.
experience, any analogy, to sustain it? Was a Secondly, There are many parts of animal bo watch ever produced by a principle of order? and jies which seem to depend upon the will of the why might not a watch be so produced as well as animal in a greater degree than the senses do, and an eye? yet with respect to which, this solution is equally Furthermore, a principle of order, acting blindly, unsatisfactory. If we apply the solution to the and without choice, is negatived by the observation, human body, for instance, it forms itself into ques that order is not universal; which it would be, if tions, upon which no reasonable mind can doubt; it issued from a constant and necessary principle; such as, whether the teeth were made expressly nor indiscriminate, which it would be, if it issued for the mastication of food, the feet for walking, from an unintelligent principle. Where order is the hands for holding? or whether, these things wanted, there we find it; where order is not want. being as they are, being in fact in the animal's ed, i. e. where, if it prevailed, it would be useless, possession, his own ingenuity taught him that there we do not find it. In the structure of the they were convertible to these purposes, though eye, (for we adhere to our example,) in the figure no such purposes were contemplated in their and position of its several parts, the most exact formation ?
order is maintained. In the forms of rocks and All that there is of the appearance of reason in mountains, in the lines which bound the coasts of this way of considering the subject is, that in continents and islands, in the shape of bays and some cases the organization seems to determine promontories, no order whatever is perceived, hethe habits of the animal, and its choice, to a parti- cause it would have been superfluous. No useful cular mode of life; which, in a certain sense, may purpose would have arisen from moulding rocks be called " the use arising out of the part.” Now and mountains into regular solids, bounding the to all the instances, in which there is any place channel of the ocean by geometrical curves; or for this suggestion, it may be replied, that the from the map of the world resembling a table of organization determines the animal to habits bene- diagrams in Euclid's Elements, or Simpson's Conic ficial and salutary to itself; and that this effect Sections. would not be seen so regularly to follow, if the VII. Lastly, The confidence which we place several organizations did not bear a concerted and in our observations upon the works of nature, in contrived relation to the substance by which the the marks which we discover of contrivance, animal was surrounded. They would, otherwise, choice, and design, and in our reasoning upon the be capacities without objects ; powers without em- proofs afforded us, ought not to be shaken, as it is ployment. The web-foot determines, you say, sometimes attempted to be done, by bringing for
ward to our view our own ignorance, or rather the tion, which did not contradict all the principles general imperfection of our knowledge of nature. we possess of knowledge; the principles accordNor, in many cases, ought this consideration to ing to which, things do, as often as they can be affect us, even when it respects some parts of the brought to the test of experience, turn out to be subject immediately under our notice. " True for- true or false. Its coats and humours, constructed, titude of understanding consists in not suffering as the lenses of a telescope are constructed, for what we know, to be disturbed by what we do not the refraction of rays of light to a point, which know. If we perceive a useful end, and means forms the proper action of the organ; the proviadapted to that end, we perceive enough for our sion in its muscular tendons for turning its pupil conclusion. If these things be clear, no matter to the object, similar to that which is given to the what is obscure. The argument is finished. For telescope by screws, and upon which power of instance; if the utility of vision to the animal direction in the eye, the exercise of its office as which enjoys it, and the adaptation of the eye to an optical instrument depends; the farther provithis office, be evident and certain, (and I can men- sion for its defence, for its constant lubricity and tion nothing which is more so,) ought it to preju- moisture, which we see in its socket and its lids, dice the inference which we draw from these pre- in its gland for the secretion of the matter of tears, mises, that we cannot explain the use of the spleen? its outlet or communication with the nose for carNay, more: if there be parts of the eye, viz. the rying of the liquid after the eye is washed with cornea, the crystalline, the retina, in their sub- it; these provisions compose altogether an appastance, figure, and position, manifestly suited to ratus, a system of parts, à preparation of means, the formation of an image by the refraction of rays so manifest in their design, so exquisite in their of light, at least, as manifestly as the glasses and contrivance, so successful in their issue, so precitubes of a dioptric telescope are suited to that pur- ous, and so infinitely beneficial in their use, as, in pose; it concerns not the proof which these afford of my opinion, to bear down all doubt that can be design, and of a designer, that there may perhaps be raised upon the subject. And what I wish, under other parts, certain muscles for instance, or nerves the title of the present chapter, to observe is, that in the same eye, of the agency or effect of which if other parts of nature were inaccessible to our we can give no account, any more than we should inquiries, or even if other parts of nature prebe inclined to doubt, or ought to doubt, about the sented nothing to our examination but disorder construction of a telescope, viz. for what purpose and confusion, the validity of this example would it was constructed, or whether it were constructed remain the same. If there were but one watch at all, because there belonged to it certain screws in the world, it would not be less certain that it and pins, the use or action of which we did not had a maker. If we had never in our lives seen comprehend. I take it to be a general way of in- any but one single kind of hydraulic machine, yet, fusing doubts and scruples into the mind, to recur if of that one kind we understood the mechanism to its own ignorance, its own imbecility: to tell us and use, we should be as perfectly assured that it that upon these subjects we know little; that little proceeded from the hand, and thought, and skill, imperfectly; or rather, that we know nothing pro- of a workman, as if we visited a museum of perly about the matter. These suggestions so fall the arts, and saw collected there twenty different in with our consciousness, as sometimes to pro- kinds of machines for drawing water, or a thouduce a general distrust of our faculties and our sand different kinds for other purposes. Of this conclusions. But this is an unfounded jealousy. point, each machine is a proof, independently of The uncertainty of one thing does not necessarily all the rest. So it is with the evidences of a affect the certainty of another thing. Our igno- Divine agency. The proof is not a conclusion rance of many points need not suspend our assur- which lies at the end of a chain of reasoning, of ance of a few. Before we yield, in any particular which chain each instance of contrivance is only instance, to the scepticism which this sort of in- a link, and of which, if one link fail, the whole sinuation would induce, we ought accurately to falls ; but it is an argument separately supplied ascertain, whether our ignorance or doubt concern by every separate example. An error in stating those precise points upon which our conclusion an example, affects only that example. The rests. Other points are nothing. Our ignorance argument is cumulative, in the fullest sense of that of other points may be of no consequence to these, term. The eye proves it without the ear; the though they be points, in various respects, of great ear without the eye. The proof in each example importance. A just reasoner removes from his is complete; for when the design of the part, and consideration, not only what he knows, but what the conduciveness of its structure to that design, he does not know, touching matters not strictly is shown, the mind may set itself at rest ; no future connected with his argument, i. e. not forming consideration can detract any thing from the force the very steps of his deduction : beyond these, his of the example. knowledge and his ignorance are alike relative.
Of the mechunical and immechanical Parts and
Functions of Animals and Vegetables. WERE there no example in the world, of con It is not that every part of an animal or vege trivance, except that of the eye, it would be alone table has not proceeded from a contriving mind; sufficient to support the conclusion which we or that every part is not constructed with a view draw from it, as to the necessity of an intelligent to its proper end and purpose, according to the Creator. It could never be got rid of; because it laws belonging to and governing the substance or could not be accounted for by any other supposi- / the action made use of in that part; or that eache 3 E