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Wednesday, September 08, 2010

The Source of Science

"There is but one source for science: It must come from the Medieval insistence on the rationality of God." -- Alfred North Whitehead

6 comments:

  1. I disagree. What was necessary were certain leaps of faith with which atheism and theism were equally consistent. One of them was the conviction that the universe was mathematically ordered, and hence that nature could be mathematized. Another—which is less discussed, probably because it is more embarrassing—was the gratuitous assumption that, other things being equal, more intuitive explanations are more probable explanations.

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  2. Well, disagree you may PSH, but the historical work on the Scientific Revolution has pretty firmly tied it to its Christian roots; see, for instance, Grant's The Foundations of Modern Science in the Middle Ages. Or listen to the actual words of any of the luminaries of the Scientific Revolution. You are merely asserting that atheism could have done the job -- of course, it's impossible to prove it couldn't have, but the historical evidence is massively against you.

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  3. I took the quotation as identifying a logical prerequisite for science. ("It must come from the Medieval insistence on the rationality of God.") Perhaps the author was making a sociological point, but that isn't clear on the face of it.

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  4. I think he meant it neither logically nor sociologically, but historically. In our, actual world, science actually arose from that Medieval belief.

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  5. Sorry, I accidentally deleted a comment from one Race Cannon. (When I try to moderate comments from my phone, "Publish" and "Delete" wind up about a centimeter apart, and sometimes I aim for "P" and hit "D".)

    My answer, Race: Nyame.

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  6. Perhaps Race Canon is not a person, nor even a pseudonym, but a set of beliefs, probably nasty.

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