Nature's Children

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Mark
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Nature's Children

Post by Mark » Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:15 pm

"While smaller prey are killed immediately, larger animals are first immobilised using a white, protein-rich, glue-like liquid produced by the two slime glands. This is squirted from the pores of the oral papillae over a distance of up to 30 centimetres and hardens very quickly when exposed to the air, so that the prey becomes caught in the sticky substance."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dVb9yUOek88
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Onychophora
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/002220.html
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Post by Irvine.J » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:37 pm

Now thats what i call a sticky situation!
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Mark
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Post by Mark » Fri Apr 04, 2008 2:21 pm

"Like so many others, he flatly refuses to look for himself. He is like the good bishops who refused to peer through Galileo’s telescope fearing they would see something that would make them heretics."
"Christians had similar troubles over the issue of slavery. They believed the Bible taught them it was honourable to own slaves, that it was OK to beat them, that black people were a cursed inferior race, that blacks were incapable of reading or writing and that blacks had no souls. Those religious beliefs blinded people to the obvious truths. It took a civil war to pry such superstitions loose."
"Man has infinite capacity to delude himself about his superiority. He can do it even without religion."

http://mindprod.com/animalrights/intel.html
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Post by larry cottrill » Fri Apr 04, 2008 4:04 pm

"Christians had similar troubles over the issue of slavery. They believed the Bible taught them it was honourable to own slaves, that it was OK to beat them, that black people were a cursed inferior race, that blacks were incapable of reading or writing and that blacks had no souls. Those religious beliefs blinded people to the obvious truths. It took a civil war to pry such superstitions loose."
If "Christians" believed that, why did so many of them become abolitionists? How did a William Wilberforce ever come into being? He didn't have a different Bible from the one everyone else was reading. Of course, by the time slaves were freed in England, the American brand of slavery was a different problem. Nevertheless, it was Christians (and especially clergymen) who spearheaded the abolitionist movement. Owning slaves had nothing to do with God, it had everything to do with holding onto wealth and power via super-cheap labor. Before and during the Civil War, a lot of white Christians risked their fortunes and their lives violating the Fugitive Slave Act to try to get runaways across the northern border into Canada. That was with yet the same Bible firmly in mind and in hand.

Long before the War for Independence, several of the New England colonies pleaded to Parliament to allow them to abolish slavery in their territories. That idea came largely from the preachers of the Great Awakening (guys who were really into their Bibles, incidentally). The British Parliament flatly refused them permission to do so. Even so, thousands of northern slaves were freed before and during the revolution, ninety years before the American Civil War. Again, largely the product of the dominant preaching in that era. The first man to fall to a British rifle ball in the Revolution was a freed black man. Yet all anyone seems to care about is how the framers of our Constitution eventually cooked up the pitiful Three Fifths Compromise. And of course, how Southern statesmen like Washington and Jefferson were brutal slaveholders who only freed their slaves in their wills after they had passed on. Cherry picking from history.

L Cottrill

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Post by Mark » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:15 pm

There were many unkind things in the Old Testament.

Leviticus 25:44-46: "Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly." (NIV)
http://www.religioustolerance.org/sla_bibl1.htm
Last edited by Mark on Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:37 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by Mark » Fri Apr 04, 2008 10:50 pm

I have a few quotes out of a new book I am reading.

"There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was called the Dark Ages. "(Ruth Hurmence Green)

"I contend we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." (Stephen Henry Roberts)

"From the view of the tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm." (Edward Abbey)

"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." (Ferdinand Magellan)

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created ....that the cat should play with mice." (Charles Darwin)

"I recall the story of the philosopher and the theologian. The two were engaged in disputation and the theologian used the old quip about a philosopher being like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat-which wasn't there. "That may be," said the philosopher, but a theologian would have found it." (Julian Huxley)

"Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question. (Johannes Kepler)

On his deathbed, Henry David Thoreau was asked by this aunt: "Henry have you made your peace with God?" Thoreau answered, "I didn't know we ever quarrelled." (Edward Waldo Emerson)

"When I was a young boy, my father taught me that to be a good Catholic, I had to confess at church if I ever had impure thoughts about a girl. That very evening I had to rush to confess my sin. And the next night, and the next. After a week, I decided religion wasn't for me." (Fidel Castro)

"Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenonmena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation?" (Joseph Heller)

So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs. (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
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Post by Mark » Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:47 pm

Lemurs, Lemuria, and folklore tidbits. ha

"Though the living modern lemurs are only found in Madagascar and several surrounding islands, the biogeography of extinct lemurs extending from Pakistan to Malaysia inspired the name Lemuria, which was coined in 1864 by the geologist Philip Sclater in an article "The Mammals of Madagascar" in The Quarterly Journal of Science. Puzzled by the presence of fossil lemurs in both Madagascar and India, but not in Africa nor the Middle East, Sclater proposed that Madagascar and India had once been part of a larger continent, which he named "Lemuria" for its lemurs."

"Sclater's theory was hardly unusual for his time. The acceptance of Darwinism led scientists to seek to trace the diffusion of species from their points of evolutionary origin; prior to the acceptance of continental drift, biologists frequently postulated submerged land masses in order to account for populations of land-based species now separated by barriers of water. Similarly, geologists tried to account for striking resemblances of rock formations on different continents. The first systematic attempt was made by Melchior Neumayr in his book Erdgeschichte in 1887. Many hypothetical submerged land bridges and continents were proposed during the 19th century, in order to account for the present distribution of species."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lemuria_%28continent%29

"The name "Lemuria" was actually invented by an English zoologist, Phillip L. Schlater, back in the early days of Darwinism, in order to explain the fossilized remains of lemurs similar to those that live in Madagascar only today. He proposed the existence of an antediluvian land-bridge or landmass between Madagascar and the Indian subcontinent, and he dubbed this hypothetical continent Lemuria."
"It is interesting that this name Lemuria has attached itself, in both antiquity and the present day, to some sort of supernatural, paranormal, ufological, and spectral activity."
http://home.earthlink.net/~mottimorph/Lemuria.html

Another group wanting to cash in on the lemur name.
http://triennial.cooperhewitt.org/desig ... laboratory
Last edited by Mark on Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by larry cottrill » Mon Apr 07, 2008 1:11 pm

"There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was called the Dark Ages. "(Ruth Hurmence Green)
The use of the term "Dark Ages" is abjectly silly. From Wikipedia (Topic: "Dark Ages"):

"Modern popular use

The public idea of the Middle Ages as a supposed "Dark Age" is also reflected in misconceptions regarding the study of nature during this period. The contemporary historians of science David C. Lindberg and Ronald Numbers discuss the widespread popular belief that the Middle Ages was a "time of ignorance and superstition", the blame for which is to be laid on the Christian Church for allegedly "placing the word of religious authorities over personal experience and rational activity", and emphasize that this view is essentially a caricature.[5] For instance, a claim that was first propagated in the 19th century[6] and is still very common in popular culture is the supposition that the people from the Middle Ages believed that the Earth was flat. According to Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, this claim was mistaken, as "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge [Earth's] sphericity and even know its approximate circumference."[7][6] Ronald Numbers states that misconceptions such as "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of natural philosophy", are examples of widely popular myths that still pass as historical truth, even though he says that they are not supported by current historical research.[8]"
"I contend we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." (Stephen Henry Roberts)
And I contend that all people are really theists. If you don't think the world's greatest atheists worship anything, have a look at how they live. Nietzsche's "Superman" was himself. He died in an insane asylum, his brain swiss-cheesed by syphilis. Thus, he was bound to his god to the very end.
"From the view of the tapeworm, man was created by God to serve the appetite of the tapeworm." (Edward Abbey)
From the point of view of the earth, the whole universe spins around us once a day. That doesn't make it true.
"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." (Ferdinand Magellan)
Again, all educated people knew the earth was a sphere. Historically, it's doubtful that the Church actually taught otherwise in Magellan's day. The sphericity of the earth was known to Pythagorus, and his students measured its diameter to a fair order of accuracy. From that, and the "shadow on the moon", they were able to deduce the diameter of the moon. From that, they were able to calculate the moon's distance from the earth. Today, we know that the ancient Greeks knew this. How do we know? It was preserved by scholars working through the "Dark Ages"! The Church is not our authority. God's word is. The Bible never claims the world is flat. Early theologians who thought that were basing it on mis-translations such as "the circle of the earth" -- but ancient Hebrew did not have a different word for "circle" and "sphere". In the book of Job (actually the oldest book in the Bible), God asks Job, "Where were you when I hung the world on nothing?"
"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created ....that the cat should play with mice." (Charles Darwin)
The cat playing with the mouse is as much a part of his hunting instinct as chasing, killing and eating. Darwin cannot accept God as a designer because his own sensibilities are offended when he tries to cast natural characteristics into his own imagination of a "moral code". But if the cat were much larger and killed and ate Darwin (or you, or me), God's laws would not be offended.
"I recall the story of the philosopher and the theologian. The two were engaged in disputation and the theologian used the old quip about a philosopher being like a blind man, in a dark room, looking for a black cat-which wasn't there. "That may be," said the philosopher, but a theologian would have found it." (Julian Huxley)
"I had motives for not wanting the world to have a meaning; consequently assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption.… The philosopher who finds no meaning in the world is not concerned exclusively with a problem in metaphysics, he is also concerned to prove that there is no valid reason why he personally should not do as he wants to do…. For myself, as, no doubt, for most of my contemporaries, the philosophy of meaninglessness was essentially an instrument of liberation…. We objected to the morality because it interfered with our sexual freedom." (Aldous Huxley, Ends and Means)
"Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question. (Johannes Kepler)
It is a historical error to conclude that Kepler was anything less than a devout Christian. He also wrote:

"Geometry ... coeternal with God ... and reflecting in the Divine mind has supplied God with the examples ... for the furnishing of the world so that it became the best and most beautiful, and (even) the most similar to the Creator."
"Great is our Lord and great is His strength and there is no number to His wisdom. Praise Him heavens, praise Him sun, moon, planets, whatever sense you may use to perceive, whatever tongue to express our Creator. Praise Him heavenly harmonies, praise Him you witnesses of the (now) detected harmonies. Praise also you, my Soul, your Lord the Creator as long as I shall be. For from Him and Through Him, and in Him is all ... To Him be praise, honour and glory into all eternity. Amen." (Beer, A. Kepler -- Four Hundred Years, Oxford, Pergamom Press, 1975, pp 75 & 361)

What Kepler is saying is that God's laws are the mechanism for everything He does, even if we never do discover the details.
On his deathbed, Henry David Thoreau was asked by this aunt: "Henry have you made your peace with God?" Thoreau answered, "I didn't know we ever quarrelled." (Edward Waldo Emerson)
I probably should make peace with dozens of people that I didn't realize I have offended (as well as many I DO know about). My ignorance does not make the offenses excusable.
"When I was a young boy, my father taught me that to be a good Catholic, I had to confess at church if I ever had impure thoughts about a girl. That very evening I had to rush to confess my sin. And the next night, and the next. After a week, I decided religion wasn't for me." (Fidel Castro)
What a brilliant citing of a great theological authority! Conveniently, there is no need to confess imprisoning thousands, and murdering dozens or hundreds of them.
Christianity has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried. - G. K. Chesterton
Jesus did not come to create a church of good people. He came to call men back into the relationship they were originally created for. There is a vast difference.
"Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenonmena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation?" (Joseph Heller)
How much reverence could you have for a God that would let you pick and choose which laws of biology and chemistry are aesthetically acceptable?
So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind
Is all the sad world needs. (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)
But that is NOT all the sad world needs. It is a sad world because sin is more popular than redemption. A few people were able to be kind to one another while imprisoned at Auschwitz. These were the people who saw fellow prisoners as people created in God's image, even if they never put it in those words.

"Even damnation is poisoned with rainbows." (Leonard Cohen, The Old Revolution)

L Cottrill

Mark
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Post by Mark » Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:51 pm

"There was a time when religion ruled the world. It was called the Dark Ages. "(Ruth Hurmence Green)

{The use of the term "Dark Ages" is abjectly silly.}
You raise a good point there Larry, it is unfair to pick upon any one age, one could say the Stone Age was the darker. ha A gradual evolution of ideas occurs all along the timeline of man. Still, it was quite a different world back then. "In European historiography, the term Dark Age(s) refers to the Early Middle Ages, the period encompassing (roughly) 476 to 1000 AD."
I have to wonder as more pieces of the puzzle/clues are here now to work with, how fast will knowledge accelerate in the future. I recall a line from an endearing French movie I saw in my college film history class. The title was "My Mother's Castle". http://www.imdb.com/media/rm687185152/tt0099266
The father is a school teacher and somewhat of a naturalist, and don't quote me, but pehaps at a dinner table with religious relatives, he doesn't view Man as brilliant, but rather remarks words to the effect that "God doesn't bother with microbes." Might we advance to such a stage as that in the future and look back to this period in time as "The Microbe Ages?" ha
From a biologist's point of view I suppose we truly are a cluster/colony of various specialized microbial cells, all of them going about their business without fully knowing how their universe works, but collectively as organs they have some fascinating common sense about them. Maybe it's like that flock of birds I posted earlier, none really leading the way, but working together starting to take on a singular consciousness, or order out of chaos.
http://tinyurl.com/5fv6bs
http://www.worldhistory-poster.com/en
It seems Man is constantly replacing human parts with artificial devices and it can only be a matter of time before they put this computer I'm typing on inside someone's head interfacing directly with the brain. Soon the line will blur and man will consume other sources of energy that taste as intellectually sweet as an apple, but for which is in reality only an electrical signal processed in a certain way. We are already electrical machines to a great degree, but will become better machines let's hope that have no need to kill for a living.
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Post by Mark » Tue Apr 08, 2008 7:25 pm

"I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designedly created ....that the cat should play with mice." (Charles Darwin)

{The cat playing with the mouse is as much a part of his hunting instinct as chasing, killing and eating. Darwin cannot accept God as a designer because his own sensibilities are offended when he tries to cast natural characteristics into his own imagination of a "moral code". But if the cat were much larger and killed and ate Darwin (or you, or me), God's laws would not be offended.}
Whether it is God's law or Nature's Law I guess we both have to agree it entails a great deal of suffering.
The topic brings to mind "Letters From The Earth."

Deeply perplexed -- and the Creator noticed it, and said, "Ask. I will answer."
"Divine One," said Satan, making obeisance, "what are they for?"
"They are an experiment in Morals and Conduct. Observe them, and be instructed."
There were thousands of them. They were full of activities. Busy, all busy -- mainly in persecuting each other. Satan remarked -- after examining one of them through a powerful microscope: "This large beast is killing weaker animals, Divine One."
"The tiger -- yes. The law of his nature is ferocity. The law of his nature is the Law of God. He cannot disobey it."
"Then in obeying it he commits no offense, Divine One?"
"No, he is blameless."
"This other creature, here, is timid, Divine One, and suffers death without resisting."
"The rabbit -- yes. He is without courage. It is the law of his nature -- the Law of God. He must obey it."
"Then he cannot honorably be required to go counter to his nature and resist, Divine One?"

"No. No creature can be honorably required to go counter to the law of his nature -- the Law of God."
After a long time and many questions, Satan said, "The spider kills the fly, and eats it; the bird kills the spider and eats it; the wildcat kills the goose; the -- well, they all kill each other. It is murder all along the line. Here are countless multitudes of creatures, and they all kill, kill, kill, they are all murderers. And they are not to blame, Divine One?"
"They are not to blame. It is the law of their nature. And always the law of nature is the Law of God. Now -- observe -- behold! A new creature -- and the masterpiece -- Man!"
Men, women, children, they came swarming in flocks, in droves, in millions.

"What shall you do with them, Divine One?"

"Put into each individual, in differing shades and degrees, all the various Moral Qualities, in mass, that have been distributed, a single distinguishing characteristic at a time, among the nonspeaking animal world -- courage, cowardice, ferocity, gentleness, fairness, justice, cunning, treachery, magnanimity, cruelty, malice, malignity, lust, mercy, pity, purity, selfishness, sweetness, honor, love, hate, baseness, nobility, loyalty, falsity, veracity, untruthfulness -- each human being shall have all of these in him, and they will constitute his nature. In some, there will be high and fine characteristics which will submerge the evil ones, and those will be called good men; in others the evil characteristics will have dominion, and those will be called bad men. Observe -- behold -- they vanish!"
"Whither are they gone, Divine One?"
"To the earth -- they and all their fellow animals."
"What is the earth?"
"A small globe I made, a time, two times and a half ago. You saw it, but did not notice it in the explosion of worlds and suns that sprayed from my hand. Man is an experiment, the other animals are another experiment. Time will show whether they were worth the trouble. The exhibition is over; you may take your leave, my lords."
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/twainlfe.htm
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Post by Mark » Wed Apr 09, 2008 2:14 am

"Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenonmena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of creation?" (Joseph Heller)

{How much reverence could you have for a God that would let you pick and choose which laws of biology and chemistry are aesthetically acceptable?}
I guess that would be "unconditional love". ha

"Just so with diseases. If science exterminates a disease which has been working for God, it is God that gets the credit, and all the pulpits break into grateful advertising-raptures and call attention to how good he is! Yes, he has done it. Perhaps he has waited a thousand years before doing it. That is nothing; the pulpit says he was thinking about it all the time. When exasperated men rise up and sweep away an age-long tyranny and set a nation free, the first thing the delighted pulpit does is to advertise it as God's work, and invite the people to get down on their knees and pour out their thanks to him for it."
"Shem was full of hookworms. It is wonderful, the thorough and comprehensive study which the Creator devoted to the great work of making man miserable. I have said he devised a special affliction-agent for each and every detail of man's structure, overlooking not a single one, and I said the truth."
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/twainlfe.htm

"If God had not allowed rabies in the world --or earthquakes or hurricanes or congenital malformations of infants, and so on, there would be no point in having knowledge of such things. If you conceal traps in my front yard, then my repeated attempts to get from my door to my car parked at the curb will produce in me knowledge about the consequences of my movements. And this knowledge will be useful to me, if I live long enough to aquire it, because it will enable me to avoid traps in the future. So this knowledge is good, it is gained from the experience of the evil which you have introduced into my yard, and without this knowledge I could not avoid the evils of the traps. But you are not morally justified in setting traps in my front yard--no matter how good or useful the knowledge about the consequences of my actions may be and no matter how dependent that knowledge is on my experiencing the jaws of the trap? (Eleanor Stump)
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Post by Mark » Wed Apr 09, 2008 3:18 am

"I contend we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours." (Stephen Henry Roberts)

{And I contend that all people are really theists. If you don't think the world's greatest atheists worship anything, have a look at how they live. Nietzsche's "Superman" was himself. He died in an insane asylum, his brain swiss-cheesed by syphilis. Thus, he was bound to his god to the very end.}
"He died in an insane asylum." Hmm ...

"This is a strange place, and extraordinary place, and interesting. There is nothing resembling it at home. The people are all insane, the other animals are all insane, the earth is insane, Nature itself is insane. Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at is worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm. Yet he blandly and in all sincerity calls himself the "noblest work of God." This is the truth I am telling you. And this is not a new idea with him, he has talked it through all the ages, and believed it. Believed it, and found nobody among all his race to laugh at it."
http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/twainlfe.htm

"Do not let yourself be deceived, great intellects are skeptical." (Friedrich Nietzsche)

"And I contend that all people are really theists."
I have been told that moments before a plane crash, no one onboard is an atheist. Seeing how people flee death or cling to life, it seems more accurate to say that just before death, no one is a theist. (Herb Berg)

“Every religion in the world believes that every other religion is superstition. And they’re all correct.” — Bob Avakian
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Post by Mark » Wed Apr 09, 2008 4:04 am

"Once miracles are admitted, every scientific explanation is out of the question. (Johannes Kepler)

{It is a historical error to conclude that Kepler was anything less than a devout Christian.}

Even though Kepler was religious, the concept he presents is still telling. If you explain an event as a miracle, then you don't have to explain it at all. In the Journal Nature, I got an email saying how important it is to further the ideas of science and not let Creationists introduce their "science" into the schools and universities. Because science requires proof and repeatability. If there is no proof, one should not try to enact supernatural explanations in a scientific environment just because the answer isn't at hand. Whose religion are you going to choose anyway to be fair? There are still primitive naked people on this earth running around having their peculiar beliefs and superstitions. Are their explanations of the world any less valid if we are accepting miracles?

Kepler tidbits.
"While Kepler was working on his Harmony of the World, his mother was charged with witchcraft. He enlisted the help of the legal faculty at Tübingen. Katharina Kepler was eventually released, at least partly as a result of technical objections arising from the authorities' failure to follow the correct legal procedures in the use of torture. The surviving documents are chilling."
"The truly important non-rational element in Kepler's work is his Christianity. Kepler's extensive and successful use of mathematics makes his work look 'modern', but we are in fact dealing with a Christian Natural Philosopher, for whom understanding the nature of the Universe included understanding the nature of its Creator."

"Like most people of the time, Kepler accepted the principle of astrology, that heavenly bodies could influence what happened on Earth (the clearest examples being the Sun causing the seasons and the Moon the tides) but as a Copernican he did not believe in the physical reality of the constellations. His astrology was based only on the angles between the positions of heavenly bodies ('astrological aspects'). He expresses utter contempt for the complicated systems of conventional astrology."
"It seems that even in Kepler's student days there were indications that his religious beliefs were not entirely in accord with the orthodox Lutheranism current in Tübingen and formulated in the 'Augsburg Confession' (Confessio Augustana). Kepler's problems with this Protestant orthodoxy concerned the supposed relation between matter and 'spirit' (a non-material entity) in the doctrine of the Eucharist. This ties up with Kepler's astronomy to the extent that he apparently found somewhat similar intellectual difficulties in explaining how 'force' from the Sun could affect the planets. In his writings, Kepler is given to laying his opinions on the line - which is very convenient for historians. In real life, it seems likely that a similar tendency to openness led the authorities at Tübingen to entertain well-founded doubts about his religious orthodoxy. These may explain why Maestlin persuaded Kepler to abandon plans for ordination and instead take up a post teaching mathematics in Graz. Religious intolerance sharpened in the following years. Kepler was excommunicated in 1612. This caused him much pain, but despite his (by then) relatively high social standing, as Imperial Mathematician, he never succeeded in getting the ban lifted."
http://www-groups.dcs.st-and.ac.uk/~his ... epler.html

"...we must choose between two assumptions: either the souls which move the planets are the less active the farther the planet is removed from the sun, or there is only one moving soul in the center of all the orbits, that is the sun, which drives the planet the more vigorously the closer the planet is, but whose force is quasi-exhausted when acting on the outer planets because of the long distance and the weakening of the force which it entails." (in ref. 1, p 261)

In the second edition of the book, which he wrote when he was fifty, he stated that such souls "do not exist" and added:

"If we substitute for the word "soul" the word "force" then we get just the principle which underlies my physics of the skies...For once I firmly believed that the motive force of a planet was a soul...Yet as I reflected that this cause of motion diminishes in proportion to distance, just as the light of the sun diminishes in proportion to distance from the sun, I came to the conclusion that this force must be something substantial-"substantial" not in the literal sense but...in the same manner as we say that light is something substantial, meaning by this an unsubstantial entity emanating from a substantial body."

What we are seeing here is a gradual emergence from medieval concepts. At first, Kepler thought the planets moved because they had souls-they were alive, magical, not just lumps of matter. Later, he realized a more mechanical approach was more appropriate. He wrote in a letter:

"My aim is to show that the heavenly machine is not a kind of divine, live being, but a kind of clockwork, insofar as nearly all the manifold motions are caused by a most simple, magnetic, and material force, just as all motions of the clock are caused by a simple weight. And I also show how these physical causes are to be given numerical and geometrical expression."(ref. 1, page 345)
http://galileoandeinstein.physics.virgi ... epler.html

"In fact, this belief system was so ingrained that even scientists themselves often fell prey to it. The most illustrative case is that of Johannes Kepler, who was convinced that the universe had to be arranged according to some grand scheme, and that the teachings of astrology were largely correct. In keeping with these ancient beliefs Kepler searched for a simple geometric model of the universe, largely ignoring the evidence to the contrary. Kepler's was a common dilemma faced by the thinkers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The ancient traditions exercised a strong pull on many scientists, who often allowed the supposed authorities of the past, or even simply the spirit of the past, to cloud their judgment and limit the progress made by their work.
"In the face of this threatened instability and change, common Europeans often turned to the Church for guidance, for the Church had been the most stable feature of the previous millennium, defining the phenomena of the often hard to understand natural world, and in essence telling the common churchgoer what to believe. The combination of the influence of the Church and the traditions which had been passed down for hundreds of years produced an attitude of mysticism which seemed to answer all of the difficult questions of everyday life. Events in the natural world occurred not because of the interaction of mechanical forces but because of the influence of the positioning of the planets. This was a convenient and well-ingrained belief system."
"One of the most prevalent superstitions of Europeans and their American brethren during the seventeenth century was the belief in the existence and powers of witches. The most notable extension of this belief was the hysteria in Salem, Massachusetts, which resulted in the trial of some 200 people for witchcraft during the summer of 1692. The Salem witch trials resulted in the execution of 20 people. The total numbers of executions in Europe are unknown for certain, but it is estimated that between 1550 and 1700, about 5000 women were executed for witchcraft in Switzerland, 700 in Germany, and 1000 in England. However, by the dawn of the eighteenth century the witch-hunts had largely ended."
"Throughout the seventeenth century, despite the breakthroughs made in astronomy and physics, most Europeans retained a belief in astrology, ghosts, and magic. German princes often relied on court astrologers as their closest advisors. Indeed, even Johannes Kepler sought to confirm the power of astrology with the results of his work, though he proved unable to do so."
http://www.sparknotes.com/history/europ ... on10.rhtml
Last edited by Mark on Wed Apr 09, 2008 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Mark
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Nature's Children

Post by Mark » Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:45 am

"The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church." (Ferdinand Magellan)

{Again, all educated people knew the earth was a sphere. Historically, it's doubtful that the Church actually taught otherwise in Magellan's day. The sphericity of the earth was known to Pythagorus, and his students measured its diameter to a fair order of accuracy. From that, and the "shadow on the moon", they were able to deduce the diameter of the moon. From that, they were able to calculate the moon's distance from the earth. Today, we know that the ancient Greeks knew this. How do we know? It was preserved by scholars working through the "Dark Ages"!}

Well, I guess a false posting of a Magellan quote is a good lesson not to believe/have faith in everything you read in books. Too often there are even grandiose myths in the history of the United States, a relatively recent story. ha
Imagine though living back in Magellan's time, there are many things that we know and can do today that would make us appear to have god-like powers to Magellan -- talking on a cell phone to someone halfway around the world at the speed of light or orbiting the earth in a few hours or exploding a hydrogen bomb or all our electronic gizmos, advances in medicine, etc.
Still though, you never knew what you would encounter so long ago, imagine the thrill of discovering new lands. Magellan kind of met with a sad ending though. (See Wiki topic at bottom of page)
http://claustrophobic.blogspot.com/2007 ... ellan.html


"Magellan's expedition was the first to circumnavigate the globe and the first to navigate the strait in South America connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Magellan's crew observed several animals that were entirely new to European science, including a "camel without humps", which could have been a llama, guanaco, vicuña, or alpaca. A black "goose" that had to be skinned instead of plucked was a penguin."
"Two of the closest galaxies, the Magellanic Clouds, were discovered by crew members in the southern hemisphere. The full extent of the Earth was also realized, since their voyage was 14,460 leagues (69,800km or 43,400mi)."

One less day discovered. ha
"Finally, the need for an International Date Line was established. Upon returning they found their calendars were a day behind, even though they had faithfully maintained the ship's log. However, they did not have clocks accurate enough to observe the very slight lengthening of each day during which they were underway on the journey (and since they traveled west, after circumnavigation they had rotated about the earth's axis exactly one time less, hence experiencing one less night, than if they had remained in Spain).[11] This caused great excitement at the time and a special delegation was sent to the Pope to explain the oddity to him."
"The course that Magellan charted was followed by other navigators, all of whom met with failure until the voyage of Sir Francis Drake some fifty years afterwards in 1577."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_Magellan
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