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Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 1 Did Christian Theology Help Cause Science?: The Jaki-Duhem and Merton Theses Explained Eric V. Snow Copyright 1996-98 © Dale.

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Presentation on theme: "Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 1 Did Christian Theology Help Cause Science?: The Jaki-Duhem and Merton Theses Explained Eric V. Snow Copyright 1996-98 © Dale."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 1 Did Christian Theology Help Cause Science?: The Jaki-Duhem and Merton Theses Explained Eric V. Snow Copyright © Dale Carnegie & Associates, Inc. Read aloud Karl Popper’s comment in Jaki, “Origin of Science,” p. 152, n. 45. Read aloud British Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s concession, C:CS?, p. 11; Rationality assumption issue: Universe knowable since God is rational, not whimsical, and so made a knowable, observable universe. Read aloud Karl Popper’s comment in Jaki, “Origin of Science,” p. 152, n. 45. Read aloud British Philosopher Alfred North Whitehead’s concession, C:CS?, p. 11; Rationality assumption issue: Universe knowable since God is rational, not whimsical, and so made a knowable, observable universe.

2 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 2 If Christianity is blamed for causing science then Christian theology should be credited for causing science. UN’s Environmental Programme’s Global Biodiversity Assessment’s condemns Christian ideas that desacralized nature, made man distinct from the world. 1. Read aloud quotes from UN’s report, as in p. 26, “C:CS?”; Origin, p. 107;154, n65 2. Read Jaki’s witty retort, p. 27, “C:CS?”; Origin of Science, p Read aloud quotes from UN’s report, as in p. 26, “C:CS?”; Origin, p. 107;154, n65 2. Read Jaki’s witty retort, p. 27, “C:CS?”; Origin of Science, p. 107.

3 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 3 Bad or incomplete explanations for the rise of science Must explain why modern science rose in early modern Europe first, not elsewhere. Other civilizations also had peace, wealth, social organization, educated elite, etc. –Limits to sociological explanations Intellectual climate is absolutely crucial –Ideas have consequences –Marxist/materialist bias against analyzing –Cultures won’t automatically develop science Quote Jaki, in C:CS?, p. 3; Savior of Science, p. 35; avoid loose, broad def. of “sci.,” why Europe different, and thus first, needs explanation; Sarton’s loose def.s, “Origin,”75. 84: Sci. besides math, geom., created by late Medieval/early Mod. Europe (physics—external world)

4 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 4 Christian ideas, not just Greek, needed for the birth of science Definition of self-sustaining “science” crucial, it isn’t wisdom or practical technology. Duhem-Jaki thesis: Christian theology after centuries eventually drives out or restrains pagan ideas so science can be born. Merton thesis: Like Weber’s on Calvinism helping cause the rise of capitalism. Puritanism’s beliefs and practical values promoted the rise of science in England. Read aloud def.of science in C:CS?, p. 3; Duhem-Jaki: Assert continuity between Medieval & early modern science: Who did Galileo & Da Vinci depend upon? Buridan, Oresme, etc.

5 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 5 For science to develop, what Christian ideas did it need? Time is conceived of as linear, from creation, not cyclical, as per pagan view; is quantifiable. –Christians don’t want crucifixion literally repeated!; 1x for all. Clarifies cause-effect relationships, succession actions –Chinese example of chronological confusion Avoids complacency and/or hopelessness since no lasting developmental progress is possible. –E. Indian examples, repetition causes also stagnation, etc. Chinese example, quote Jaki, in C:CS?, p. 7. East Indian examples, C:CS?, p. 12; Reincarnation/transmigration of souls: Goal is to try to escape cycle, join Brahma; Sci. abs. Req. quantifying observations; Medievals quote Wis. Sol. 11:21 very freq. Origin, 85; Aristotle’s complacency: inventions for comfort several times in prior centuries, Origin, 93. 1x for all, p. 94.

6 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 6 What bad pagan ideas prevented the rise of science? Organismic view of nature hinders scientific mind-set: –All of universe/world one huge organism that is born, lives, dies, reborn. (Applies to it cyclical view of time/reincarnation). Denies creation from nothing, ex nihilo; world always existed. –Pantheistic: Everything is divine and/or alive, has its own consciousness. Mankind not qualitatively different from world. –If has will of own, universe can’t be reliably predicted, has no firm, steady laws of nature. Heavenly laws not = to earthly laws –It conceives of stars, planets, rocks, water in oceans, etc., as alive, as gods, as divine, etc. Planets named for gods. –Christianity allowed for the de-animation of the heavens and of nature: Non-living rocks, inorganic outer space made modern science of astronomy possible; laws of physics then universal. Quote Buddhist monk attacking creation ex nihilo, C:CS?, p. 6; to Chr., world inferior to Creator; Avoids mystically, unanalytically exalting it and/or seeking unity with it. “ALL IS ONE” claim. vs. Gen. 1:26; To have sci., man must see self as dif., since image of God, and God dif., man dif., His highest product, so have confidence in reason. Quote Jaki, “Origin,” p , 69+:Sav.,68+:Greks mainly saw heavens as divine, dif. From earth, like Plato,Ptlmy,Arist.;vs. Anaxagrs.,Demc.(atoms)

7 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 7 More bad pagan ideas that hindered scientific development Must avoid pseudo-scientific “explanations” that have nothing to do with what occurs in physical reality. –Astrology: Idea that the positions of stars determine human destiny crippling to taking initiative in life. –Chinese examples: Yin/Yang, I Ching (Book of Changes) for divinations. –People don’t search for better, more correct explanations of natural phenomena when they think they know the “causes” already. Read alleged final causes into events, substances. –Aristotle’s “four elements” theory example, pagan Greek. Chinese examples, C:CS?, p. 8, top; Christian opp.to astrology more successful than in other civiliz.: Augustine against, etc.

8 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 8 What Christian ideas promoted the rise of science? The external world is both real and fundamentally orderly. –People won’t carefully investigate, analyze, or quantify illusions and chaos; meditating on nature isn’t “science.” –Hindu/Buddhist concept of Maya, “All is illusion,” cripples would-be physical sciences in India, China, etc. –If nature whimsically controlled by millions of gods, deities, godlets, spirits, and demons, not predictable. –Christian view that God is rational and trustworthy, so therefore His physical creation is knowable; man’s mind reliable. –Islam’s Allah much more willful and unpredictable than Jehovah, ultimately hinders Islamic science. Quote C:CS?, pp ; Oresme’s clock maker metaphor for God; later somewhat misused by Deists; Christ’s body real (I Jn, vs. Gnostics), so physical world real; historical events must be real for Chr. to be true; bal. ult. purpose for man’s life w/ mechanism’s reliability, as Scholasticism, vs. Soc. on Anaxg., Darwin; Origin,105-6.

9 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 9 Balance between faith and reason needed Balanced synthesis of Thomas Aquinas and Scholasticism critical to late Medieval science’s rise. –Catholicism ultimately finds a way to accept much of Aristotle’s philosophy without going overboard either way. –Had to reject bad ideas of Aristotle (heavens alive) while accepting good ones (logic) to have science. –Bishop of Paris Tempier’s 1277 condemnation crucial. Islam’s lack of balance stops its scientific development. –Muslim philosophers Mutazilites, Avicenna, Averroes subordinate Islamic theology to Aristotle’s ideas. –Muslim theologians Al-Ghazzali and al-Ashari often very mystical, emphasized Allah’s will over His reason. C:CS?, p15. Ghazzali’s “Incoherence of Philosophers” promoted occasionalism, God’s constant direct intervention in creating all effects in world. Averroes double truth theory, that religious truth not = to phl. Truth, denies metaph. unity of intel. & phys. World; But to have mod. sci., must with certainty & clarity deny error, not say “all right,” false tol.: MUST deny bad pagan ideas like Aristotle’s “Heavens,” “Physics.” Tempier, per Duhem, “Origin,” 70, 139.

10 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 10 Merton’s thesis: Did Puritanism help cause science? Sociological, “externalist” explanation, not intellectual, “internalist,” from within science’s own history. 17 th century science in England promoted by Puritan values of utility, reason, empiricism, and seeking the glory of God. Serve God through serving the community through useful trades, “callings,” vs. monastic ideal of contemplative withdrawal from world. Reason and education both praised for practical purposes; vs. speculative philosophy, scholasticism. High % of 17 th century British scientists Puritans.

11 Jaki-Duhem & Merton Theses 11 Biblical beliefs and values helped to cause science World’s overemphasis on Galileo’s condemnation by Catholicism’s Inquisition gives false impression. –Galileo and da Vinci depended on Oresme, Buridan, their medieval predecessors. –Jaki-Duhem and Merton theses make important correctives. –Synthesis of Greek philosophy, Hindu-Arabic numerals, and Christian theology created true self-sustaining science. Sources: –Stanley Jaki, The Savior of Science, The Origin of Science and the Science of Its Origin, Science and Creation. –Robert Merton, “Science in Seventeenth Century England.” –Pierre Duhem, Le System du Monde: Proposed project to translate it into English, distribute to universities. Must note continuity from medieval period to early modern; for unbiased history of sci., don’t jump from Greeks to Galileo (Herbert Spencer, Wm. Whewell 19 th c. error); Jaki, “Origin,”


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