Friday, August 03, 2007

Galileo's Mistake, pt. 1

From the introduction to Wade Rowland's Galileo's Mistake: A New Look at the Epic Confrontation between Galileo and the Church:

I came to share a conviction that the roots of what is most disturbing in the modern world find their nourishment deeper in history [than 18th-century rationalism and 19th-century romanticism], in what is often called the Scientific Revolution. ... On the one hand, the Scientific Revolution endowed Western civilization with the ability to manipulate nature to an almost magical degree. On the other, it prompted a shift in the prevailing view of the acquisition of knowledge and of moral thought that deprived civilization of any effective means to manage the career of science and to ameliorate its unwanted impacts. It bequeathed unprecedented power and wealth while at the same time undermining the foundations of the wisdom necessary to their judicious and benevolent use. It expanded the creative horizons of humanity while reducing the mass of individual humans to the status of commodities and consumers. It improved health and longevity while promoting unprecedented spiritual and existential dis-ease.