Thursday, February 21, 2008

Signs and Wonders

Quite a celestial day, Wednesday, wasn't it?

First, in the morning, the Space Shuttle Atlantis kisses the International Space Station goodbye and glides to gentle landing in Florida. Then, there is an eclipse of the Moon visible from the kingdom of Connecticut (as photographed, by Wild Bill, and posted at the right.) Then, as the delicious maraschino adorning this collection of events, the US Navy blows up a demented, earthbound satellite, somewhere over the pacific.

Just another day in the Life of these United States? Or something more sinister? We distort, you decide.


While I was reading on the 8:39 express this morning, Mathematics for the Non-Mathematician, by Morris Kline, expecting to take a holiday from politics, and history, I came across the following passage, and I was flabbergasted:

Fears, dread, and superstitions have been eliminated, at least in our Western civilization, by just those intellectually curious people who have studied nature's mighty displays. Those "seemingly unprofitable amusements of speculative brains" have freed us from serfdom, given us undreamed of powers, and, in fact, have replaced negative doctrines by positive mathematical laws which reveal a remarkable order and uniformity in nature. Man has emerged as the proud possessor of knowledge which has enabled him to view nature calmly and objectively. An eclipse of the sun occurring on schedule is no longer an occassion for trembling but for quiet satisfaction that we know nature's ways.We breathe freely knowing that nature will not be willful or capricious.

Professor Kline taught at NYU in the late 1960s. What professor today would dare to write a textbook so brimming with confidence or pride in the technical and spiritual accomplishments of Western Civilization? Even a math book?


Anonymous said...

wb sent me your blog address along w/pic of the eclipse. I'm very impressed. Nice thoughts. M.

Shropshirelad said...

Why, thank you. I appreciate you stopping by. And thanks for commenting!

Please come back again!