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Oct 14, 2008


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I don't agree with Stark's assessment of Greek science. Not to say that he may be right, but I think he overlooks a simpler explanation: they were not experimentalists. So when it seemed obvious to them that heavier things fell faster than lighter ones, that was enough. No need to drop things.

I used to think that they disdained experiments because, being at the top of a slave culture, they thought that manual labor was beneath them. But it turns out that they simply distrusted any evidence that came in through the senses. (I think that's somewhere in the Dialogues.) They had lots of evidence that the senses were not to be trusted - they knew about mirages, for example.

And they thought somewhat along these lines: suppose we do an experiment involving dropping and bouncing balls - how do we know that the next time we do it there might be different forces affecting the outcome? Of course the results will be different - what's the point?

They excelled in mathematics and geometry, because those were (and still are) things you can do entirely in your mind.

"The Christian image of God is that of a rational being who believes in human progress, more fully revealing himself as humans gain the capacity to better understand. (4)"

Now that's an interesting point. I've been reading Friedman's "The Hidden Face of God", in which he traces the disappearance of God in the Bible as the OT progresses. (Early on, God was right there with Adam And Eve and their family - even after the Fall. He speaks to the prophets, but as time goes on, less and less. I think Solomon was the last person God ever spoke to directly.) So as humankind grew and grew, God dealt directly with them (us) less and less.

I suppose you could say that Stark means "spiritually revealing".

Michael W. Kruse

Mike, I think your observations about the Greeks probably is an extension of Stark's thoughts here. Anthropomorphizing inanimate objects would certainly lead you away from experiments and testing. I think suspect your observations about math or on target as well.

Interesting thoughts by Friedman. Seems to me like there is a movement from speaking only to a central representative like Abraham or Moses toward everyone being filled with the Spirit in Acts. I think particularly we get a sense that life should be a deepening relationship with God. As there are more and more people going deeper and deeper it seems that would be a tendency over time to see more of God revealed.


Scientific "rationalism" and the technologies that flow from it are all about the motive of power and control which has always been THE FUNDAMENTAL DRIVE of the entire Western "cultural" project--even its so called "religion".

My favourite book(s) re the origins, development, and consequences of this drive to total power and control at the root of the entire Western "cultural" project are:

1. Technics and Civilization

2. The Pentagon of Power (both under the subtitle of the The Myth of the Machine--or rather MEGAMACHINE) by Lewis Mumford.

With the scientific revolution the quest for total power and control became really big time due to the new powerful technologies thus developed.

Mumford was profoundly pessimistic re the future of humankind. In his last interview before he died in 1989, he expressed profound dismay/despair because ALL of the dreadful
de-humanising trends and tendencies that he described had warned us about had gotten "profoundly" worse. And he quite rightly could see that there was no counter-vailing force that could/would make any difference.

Meawhile every aspect of USA "culture" (and increasingly by extension the entire world) is now totally dominated by the "values" of the Pentagon military-industrial-"entertainment" complex.

The "culture" of death literally rules in the USA. What Mumford called the NECROPOLIS.

And what is science anyhow. It is a method of objectifing every one and every thing and thus of gaining control over every one and everything. And thus of eventually DESTROYING everything---that is both humankind altogether, and the biosphere too.

It (science) arose at a time when the focus of Western "culture" shifted from contemplation of The Divine to that of focusing exclusively on the mortal human being and his/her possibilities fo "self"-fulfilment.

The Divine Light and even the possibility of Divine Life, was thus in very short time eliminated from the cultural landscape of Europe---thus we has Niezsche's famous "god is dead" declaration.

Or as William Blake told us in all of his works (poetry/art/writings) everyone, was put to sleep by Newtons's single (godless) vision. The sleep that IS left-brained reason or the reductonist method of scientism divorced from The Wisdom of The Heart, inevitably produces monsters.

There is NO Wisdom within the Protestant tradition because it shares the same dismally reductionist (meat-body only) model of what we are as human beings that scientism has produced or describes.

Have you read the news recently or turned on your TV. What you see on TV is ALL that there is of USA "culture" now---nothing more, thats it. "Reality" TV rules.

And of course "jesus" is just another banal consumer product, and effectively advertised as such too.

Unless the thus inherent power drive is tempered by the Wisdom of The Heart or the disposition of Prior Unity with The Divine Conscious Light we inevitably have ended up with the scenarios described by Mumford and all the other critics of the technopolis--both scholarly and the many works of dis-topian science "fiction".

And as Mumford pointed out there was (and is not now) any countervailing force that is capable of turning the MEGAMACHINE around.

The megamachine has an immense power/force behind it with its own inevitable "logic" or pattern pattening. And ALL possible alternatives have long since been ground to rubble or turned into a consumer or life-style product.

Any seemingly new possibility immediately gets coopted, banalised or emptied of any virtue, and is turned into another consumer product.

Michael W. Kruse

Sue, we are not as far apart as you may think. The Enlightenment and Modernist projects have ultimately been about achieving human autonomy. While science emerged out of desire to understand God through the ordered world that God had created, It was co-opted by the Enlightenment project and elevated to idolatry.

As with most things we make idols of, the thing itself is often quite good in its proper context. That is why it makes such an attractive idol. Many good things have come from science even in its distorted state. The issue is not science but rather the drive toward human autonomy. Science has been a means to an inappropriate end.

My hope is the recapture of science from the Modernist agenda which holds it captive, and restoring it to its important role as one of the ways in which interact with God and God's creation.

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