Friday, September 2, 2011

In order to consider the Scientific Method, we must first consider what Science is

I wrote a lot yesterday, in the tactile sense (pen and paper) and have only just begun to transcribe it... it will come in fragments, just as it is fragmentary in its character. But it helps move us along. And so, let us begin...

In order to examine this topic of the "Scientific Method", we first need to consider what "Science" is. As big as our chosen topic is, as argumentative as it may be, the matter of "science" is even larger and more argumentative.
This is neither a New Thig, nor one which has arisen from the usual issues blamed for "new" things, such as:
1. The Renaissance
2. The Protestant Reformation
3. The "Enlightenment" (which some of us call the Endarkenment)
4. The "rise of science"
5. The Industrial Revolution
6. Quantum Mechanics
7. Modern - that is, 20th and 21st century life.
and so on...

Why? Simply because the question as to What Is Science dates as far back as the 1200s, or even further.

For over 800 years, people have been debating on "science" - its definitions, its divisions and order, its methods... and even more amazing, these were people who
1. were friends
2. were quite orthodox in their belief and behavior, and not in any sense "protestant" (Though I think they were Reformers in the best sense, that is, in the sense of John the Baptist: they not only wished but worked to reform their lives, which we are all called to do.)
3. were authentic believers but at the same time they were "scientists" (if I may be permitted to use the term before we've defined it - we computer scientists do this, and I will talk about that another time.)

That is, these people wished to consider seriously the reality of things and apply their intellects - and indeed their whole energy - to understanding at least a little of that reality.

(to be continued)

note: three references on this topic I have here with me are:

1. The Division and Method of the Sciences - St. Thomas Aquinas' commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius, tr. Armand Maurer
2. Science and Creation inthe Middle Ages by Nicholas Steneck (this considers the work of Henry of Langenstein (d. 1397) on Genesis.
3. The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor tr. with notes by Jerome Taylor

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