Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Huxley's Church and Maxwell's DemonFrom Theistic Science to Naturalistic Science$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Matthew Stanley

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226164878

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226164908.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 02 July 2022

The Uniformity of Natural Laws

The Uniformity of Natural Laws

(p.34) Chapter Two The Uniformity of Natural Laws
Huxley's Church and Maxwell's Demon

Matthew Stanley

University of Chicago Press

One of the most basic elements of Victorian (and, indeed, modern) scientific practice was the expectation that nature functioned according to fixed laws, which never varied in time or place. This uniformity of natural laws provided both a goal for scientific practice and a methodological guide. Both theistic and naturalistic scientists made the case that uniformity could only be expected and justified in their worldview, and used the concept as grounds for attacking their opponents. Maxwell and Huxley each spent significant energy describing, justifying, and searching for a uniform world, and in their work we can see the close binding of uniformity to their religious outlooks. The use and conceptualization of natural laws in scientific practice was very similar across the theistic/naturalistic border. Uniformity also touched closely on the problem of reconciling miracles and science, and this chapter examines Victorian theological approaches to that issue.

Keywords:   James Clerk Maxwell, Thomas Henry Huxley, uniformity of nature, natural laws, scientific naturalism, design argument, evangelical science, history of physics, age of the earth, miracles

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.