Summary and Info
This book was the last of eight treatises from the 1830s that were commissioned by the Royal Society with advice from leading churchmen under the terms of a legacy from the Earl of Bridgewater. They aimed to support the idea that the natural world was made by a divine designer. William Prout, a respected physician and biochemist who specialised in nutrition and urology, argues in the introduction to this book that the biological adaptation seen in nature is divinely planned as a means to an end. His text covers chemistry, geology, the ocean, the planets, and processes of the human body. Remembered today for his discovery of hydrochloric acid in the gastric juices of animals, here Prout is on the front line in the early battles between scientific method and religious belief, a debate which continues to this day.