Material 2B: Understanding Paley's Model
The three days of instruction described here are intended to introduce students to the ideas proposed by William Paley in 1802 in the book Natural Theology. His model invokes the supernatural to explain adaptation and is a particularly clear example of the intelligent design ideas that were prevalent at that time. Students will have an opportunity to come to an understanding of the phenomena he was trying to explain and his explanation in part by reading an excerpt of his original writing. Students will also have direct experience examining the structure/function relationships in the mammalian eye that figured prominently in his writing. Finally, they will work in groups to imagine some of the prior knowledge and beliefs that were central in Paley's thinking.
Students will provide written answers to questions on the reading, the eye dissection experience, and the group discussion of Paley's prior knowledge and beliefs.