Natural Theology: The Gifford Lectures Delivered Before the University of Edinburgh in 1893

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Specialising in optics and the motion of fluids, physicist George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) was Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge for over fifty years, President of the Royal Society, Master of Pembroke College and the most prominent religious scientist of his age. First published in 1893, Natural Theology contains the text of ten lectures he gave at Edinburgh. Stokes favoured the design argument for the existence of a Christian god, arguing against Darwinism. He believed the Bible to be true, though at times metaphorical. The lectures move from substantive observations on cosmology, electricity, gravity, ocular anatomy and evolution through to non sequiturs regarding providential design, human exceptionalism, the supernatural, spiritual immortality, and Christ's dual materiality and divinity. Fossilising a moment of impending shift in the history of ideas, these lectures highlight an intellectual dissonance in the Victorian scientific establishment.