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  • richardmitnick 3:29 pm on January 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Philosophy,   

    From Byron Jennings of TRIUMF at Quantum Diaries: “The Role of the Individual in Science and Religion” 

    bj
    Byron Jennings

    “Lady Hope (1842 – 1922)[1] in 1915 published a claim that Charles Darwin (1809 – 1882) on his death bed had recanted his views on evolution and God. This story published thirty-three years after Darwin’s death was strongly denied by his family but has made the rounds of various creationist publications and web sites to this day. Now my question is: Why would anyone care? It may be of interest to historians but nothing Darwin wrote, said, or did has any consequences for evolution today. The theory itself and the evidence supporting it have moved far beyond Darwin. But this story does serve to highlight the different role of individuals in science as compared to religion or even philosophy.

    I have always considered it strange that philosophy places such importance on reading the works of long dead people—Aristotle, Descartes, etc. In science, Newton’s ideas trumped those of both Aristotle and Descartes, yet very few scientists today read Newton’s works. His ideas have been taken, clarified, reworked, and simplified. The same thing applies to the scientific writings of other great and long dead scientists. Nothing is gained by going to the older sources. Science advances and the older writings lose their pedagogical value. This is because in science, the ultimate authority is not a person, but observation.”

    Byron strikes again!! A fabulous article. Read the whole article here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
  • richardmitnick 4:31 pm on December 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Philosophy, ,   

    From Byron Jennings, TRIUMF via Quantum Diaries: “Can Science Answer the ‘Why’ Question?” 

    Byron Jennings is one of the finest and most thoughtful writers we have.

    i1
    Byron Jennings

    “The development of science is often portrayed as a conflict between science and religion, between the natural and the supernatural. But it was equally, if not more so, a conflict with Aristotelian concepts: a change from Aristotle’s emphasis on why to a dominant role for how. To become the mainstream, science had to overcome resistance, first and foremost, from the academic establishment and only secondarily from the church. The former, represented by the disciples of Aristotle and the scholastic tradition, was at least as vociferous in condemning Galileo as the latter. Galileo, starting from when he was a student and for most of his career, was in conflict with the natural philosophers. (I decline to call them scientists.) His conflict with the church was mostly towards the end of his career, after he was fifty and more seriously when he was nearing seventy. The church itself even relied on the opinions of the natural philosophers to justify condemning the idea the earth moved. In the end science and Galileo’s successors won out and Aristotle’s natural philosophy was vanquished: the stationary earth, the perfect heavens (circular planetary orbits and perfectly spherical planets), nature abhorring a vacuum, the prime mover and so on. For most of these it is so long and good riddance. So why do philosophers still spend so much time studying Aristotle? I really don’t know.”

    See Byron’s full post here.

    Participants in Quantum Diaries:

    Fermilab

    Triumf

    US/LHC Blog


    CERN

    Brookhaven Lab

    KEK

     
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