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Victorian Scientific NaturalismCommunity, Identity, Continuity$
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Bernard Lightman and Gowan Dawson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226109503

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226109640.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 28 November 2021

Where Naturalism and Theism Met: The Uniformity of Nature

Where Naturalism and Theism Met: The Uniformity of Nature

(p.242) 9 Where Naturalism and Theism Met: The Uniformity of Nature
Victorian Scientific Naturalism

Matthew Stanley

University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the uniformity of nature, an important element of scientific practice. This principle was justified by scientists in both theistic and naturalistic terms, despite its present association only with naturalistic thinking. In the Victorian period, the uniformity of natural laws was generally seen to be evidence for divine action. The methodological uses of uniformity were virtually identical among naturalistic and theistic scientists for much of the nineteenth century. This changed when the scientific naturalists were able to take control of the foundations of science education. Miracles are often said to be the chief evidence that uniformity is incompatible with theism, but this chapter shows mainstream Victorian thinking that allowed a productive compromise between them.

Keywords:   uniformity, natural laws, naturalism, theism, miracles, scientific practice

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