-- Dr. Thursday
Here is Duhem:
What is true of all living beings, is also true of scientific doctrines: It is through struggle that selection is made among them; it is the conflict which fragments and sweeps away the false ideas; it is the struggle which forces the right ideas to make more precise and more valid the proofs which they claim to themselves; it is the struggle which forces the fruitful ideas to deliver all their products.And here is Chesterton:
Now this struggle of ideas is impossible if science is entirely in one single locality; when this absolute centralisation is in effect one finds before long in each branch of knowledge only one teacher, and the disciples of that teacher. The teacher, no longer exposed to being contradicted, and long since accustomed to seeing his best ideas received as products of a genius, hardly has any concern to protect himself from an exaggerated confidence in his own judgment, confidence which delivers him defenseless against the habit of making errors. The disciples, receiving their master's teachings as oracles instead of improving them with free discussions through a contact with opposite doctrines, yield to the nonchalant habit of repeating a lesson already learned which ends in no longer being comprehended.
Precisely because we feel how dangerous it would be to let French science reach that point, we desire to see our universities vigorously armed for engaging in a contest with one another. We wish that a doctrine proclaimed in Lyon may see an opposite doctrine rise in Toulouse or Nancy, that a doctrine proclaimed in Paris might develop in Lille or in Bordeaux. We wish that in France each man of science may find at every moment these two essential conditions for scientific work: the freedom which permits him to put forward all his ideas, and the opposition which obliges him to produce only mature ideas.
[PD quoted in SLJ, Uneasy Genius: The Life and Work of Pierre Duhem 133; see my note at the end.]
Because a man prayed and fasted on the Northern snows, flowers could be flung at his festival in the Southern cities; and because fanatics drank water on the sands of Syria, men could still drink cider in the orchards of England. This is what makes Christendom at once so much more perplexing and so much more interesting than the Pagan empire; just as Amiens Cathedral is not better but more interesting than the Parthenon. If any one wants a modern proof of all this, let him consider the curious fact that, under Christianity, Europe (while remaining a unity) has broken up into individual nations. Patriotism is a perfect example of this deliberate balancing of one emphasis against another emphasis. The instinct of the Pagan empire would have said, "You shall all be Roman citizens, and grow alike; let the German grow less slow and reverent; the Frenchmen less experimental and swift." But the instinct of Christian Europe says, "Let the German remain slow and reverent, that the Frenchman may the more safely be swift and experimental. We will make an equipoise out of these excesses. The absurdity called Germany shall correct the insanity called France."
[GKC Orthodoxy CW1:304]
I might add that Jaki has a caveat about the implications regarding "evolution", and I could add my own. But I think we can examine the ideas here without jumping to any unwarranted conclusions; Chesterton (and Jaki) have plenty to say about Darwin, as they remember to distinguish proper science from improper philosophy - but we shall defer that topic for the time being.
A note about the Duhem quote: There appears to be a typographical error in SLJ's text. In checking the footnote reference, there is a diswcrepancy of pagination, so it seems that the article by Duhem must be what SLJ would note as "1989(13)" and not "1898(12)", but I do not have access to the materials in question to verify. The footnote of the citation gives page 246 for "1898(12)" but the bibliography has "On the General Problem of Chemical Statics", JPhCh 2:1-42 and 91-115. Item 13, however, is "Une soutenance de thèse de doctorat à la Faculté des Sciences de Bordeaux", RPBSOu 244-50 (avril); which agrees with the context of the quotation.