Re: [asa] Was Adam a real person? (ancient science)

From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
Date: Sun Apr 13 2008 - 23:41:54 EDT

Bernie,
The situation is more complex. There have always been explanations,
whether we class them as animistic or practical way back when. It's been
a long time since human beings understood how to knap flints and get
cutting edges, a longer time since they recognized that they could strike
a tremendous blow with a rock.
When we reach the classic Greek period, we have reports of observation.
Aristotle proved that the earth is a sphere, but hardly was a scientist.
Going back to the Babylonians, there were observations of astronomical
events, but there did not seem to be more than a counting of periodic
events and simple extrapolation. Ptolemy tried to build a predictive
model, but Kepler showed that it could not be done with the assumption of
circular motion. One may refer to all these matters as ancient science,
but the majority will say that it is prescientific.

The later use of /scientia/ to apply to any orderly study is usually
denied in current usage. When have you heard of theology as the queen of
the sciences except in a historical context? Who refers to philosophy or
rhetoric as a science?

It is commonly claimed that Galileo, who gave geometric patterns for what
he learned about acceleration, was the first scientist. I seem to recall
that there were a few earlier adumbrations of something like this. Kepler
also used geometry, but argued simply that the ideal geometric solids
governed planetary positions. He could not have known that there weren't
enough Platonic solids to match the actual number of planets. So many
will insist that we do not have science until we get to Newton, who
constructed a mathematical model that covered terrestrial and
astronomical patterns, but did not explain why there was gravitational
attraction.

The building of explanatory models is commonly taken as required for
science, as the term is currently used. If you want to use the term in a
broader sense, you can expect some resistance. Indeed, I gather that
Moorad wants to restrict the term to physical phenomena that can be
directly tested in a laboratory. This excludes geology, with its
historical element; psychology, with thoughts that cannot be directly
measured; etc. But most are not so restrictive.

Note that language is flexible. You may use science broadly, but expect
opposition from those who insist that it may only be used in a narrower
sense. Just remember that it is impossible to satisfy everyone, Remember
the fable of the father and son with their donkey trying to satisfy every
critic.
Dave (ASA)

 Sun, 13 Apr 2008 19:50:01 -0700 "Dehler, Bernie"
<bernie.dehler@intel.com> writes:
> Moorad- so you are saying there was no science until the Greeks came?
> Pre-Greek, no science. Greek, science.
>
> "Where did everything came from?" That is a scientific question.
> Only the Greeks had an answer, and before that, you are saying the
> question wasn't asked or if it was, there was no scientific answer?
> I say there always was a "modern science" answer, but science has
> changed along the way.
>
> Science is like a human. An embryo is human. So is a child. So is
> an adult. Major changes in form, but it is all 100% human.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Alexanian, Moorad [mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu]
> Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 6:04 PM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person? (ancient science)
>
> On page 178 of "What is Life" Schrödinger quotes John Burnet who
> said, "....it is an adequate description of science to say that it
> is 'thinking about world in the Greek way.'"
>
> Moorad
>
>
> ________________________________
>
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu on behalf of Dehler, Bernie
> Sent: Sat 4/12/2008 7:10 PM
> Cc: asa@lists.calvin.edu
> Subject: RE: [asa] Was Adam a real person? (ancient science)
>
>
>
>
>
> For those who claim there is no ancient science, I have two
> questions:
>
>
>
> 1. When, exactly, did science begin? Please be specific and
> concise- 5 sentences or less.
> 2. Is saying "there was no ancient science" like saying
> "there was no ancient business?" Business today didn't exist in the
> ANE. Today it is thousands (or millions) times more complicated.
> Today we have world markets, derivatives, high-speed computer stock
> trading, board of directors, stock, bonds, futures, commodities,
> mortgages, various forms of debt (home equity, credit card, reverse
> mortgage, etc).
>
>
>
> My point, there was ancient science just like there was ancient
> business, but the "memes" for each have considerably evolved.
>
>
>
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>
>

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Received on Sun Apr 13 23:47:06 2008

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