Reviews

A beautifully told story with colorful characters out of epic tradition, a tight and complex plot, and solid pacing. -- Booklist, starred review of On the Razor's Edge

Great writing, vivid scenarios, and thoughtful commentary ... the stories will linger after the last page is turned. -- Publisher's Weekly, on Captive Dreams

Monday, March 3, 2014

What's Wrong With the Cosmos?

Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey - Standing Up in the Milky Way
Season 1 Episode 1
Giordano Bruno's spiritual epiphany about the universe; a compressed version of the cosmic calendar.

'Nuff said.

68 comments:

  1. Oh my word. Bruno is perhaps the Che Rivera of Science!: he is a hero just so long as you remain impervious to any knowledge of what he actually did.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What would be the best place I could find info on Bruno? I've been googling, but with few results (most are very vague, give few facts and just declare Bruno a science martyr or a wannabe-sorcerer).

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just when you thought the atheists were beyond parody, they go and dig themselves deeper...

    Ay, caramba, dude!

    ReplyDelete
  4. When I read the title, I reflexively replied, "I am."

    ReplyDelete
  5. Re: Bruno - The old Catholic Encyclopedia article is good, in that it mentions that Bruno, in addition to abandoning the Dominican Order to which he was vowed, was excommunicated by the Calvinists and the Lutherans(?!) and spent time in the Protestant court of Elizabeth in England, published scathing denouncements of the Catholic Church, denied the divinity of Christ and - well, you get the picture: the Church was very little concerned about his cosmology in comparison to his heresy and vow breaking. Loosed cannon hardly describes how out of control this dude was.

    So, after foolishly returning to Italy after years spend as a sometimes darling in the Protestant North until he evidently proved to be too loose a cannon even for Lutherans, Calvinists and Anglicans, he ended up in the hands of the Inquisition in Venice. The Vatican, aware of his shenanigans, got him extradited. He then sat in a Roman prison for 6 years - nobody knows why, one guess is that they couldn't turn him loose again, given his track record, yet didn't really want to kill him (contrary to popular belief, the Inquisition, at least in Italy, wasn't very bloodthirsty). They were hoping he'd repent and recant his heresy so they could hand him back to the Dominicans or find some other way to keep a lid on him. That's just a theory, nobody really know since the Inquisition was rather like Confession in that its discussions with the accused are treated as completely private.

    Yet, because he had some (equally 'creative') ideas about the stars, many of which that would have gotten him laughed out of the room by real astronomers at the time - the 'Church hates Science' crowd has adopted him as a patron saint.

    Here's the link: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03016a.htm

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mmm. Well, yes, but the old Cath. Encyclopedia didn't have anything useful to allow about this spiritual epiphany of the universe TOF refers to. Can such a thing be read? Or merely read of? I was poking at Yates & a later scholar with a long stick several hours before seeing this post.

      Delete
    2. Bruno is to astronomy as New Age is to quantum mechanics.

      That is, he had some woo-woo Hermetic notions and he co-opted Copernicanism as something that would illuminate it. He knew nothing of astronomy. Stanley Jaki, who translated his "The Ash Wednesday Supper" made the wry comment that had the Copernicans bothered to read it, they would have burned Bruno.

      The Supper is on line here: http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~matc/Readers/renaissance.astro/6.1.Supper.html
      Like most Renaissance-era literature, it is almost unreadable to a Late Modern.

      Delete
  6. Why the derision? Does anyone think Bruno's epiphany was not spiritual? Is there anything in that description that indicates Bruno is being treated as a scientist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Why the derision? Does anyone think Deepak Chopra's epiphany was not spiritual? Is there anything in that description that indicates Chopra is being treated as a scientist?"

      There. Do you now understand the issue? No program about science would ever even mention Deepak Chopra, except to debunk him, because his claims are recognized for what they are, fad-religion wrapped in pseudoscience. Giordano Bruno is no different, but "Cosmos" brings him up because its producers have bought the folk-legend that Bruno was in any way a scientist or even a philosopher of science, when he was most certainly neither.

      Delete
    2. Did Deepak Chopra argue for any particular scientific advancement? I understand Bruno is not a scientist. It was also clear from the document at Dartmouth that argued very strongly for the better scientific model in the document linked to. In an era when pretty much every scientist was also a mystic to one degree or another, why is Bruno a worse representative than anyone else?

      Delete
    3. http://www.math.dartmouth.edu/~matc/Readers/renaissance.astro/6.1.Supper.html

      Delete
    4. Deepak Chopra can throw around the buzzwords of quantum physics about as well as Bruno can throw around those of Copernicanism; neither shows a more than superficial understanding of the theories in question. And the Ash Wednesday Supper can only be said to "argue" "very strongly" for Copernicanism in so far as its "arguments" are very strongly-worded—in that they consist almost entirely of meaningless puff-words for Copernicus and abuse for his opponents.

      "Possessed of a grave, elaborate, careful, and mature mind" means "one smart guy"; "not inferior, except by succession of place and time, to any astronomer who had been before him" means "just the best ever, except for some stuff we've found out about since his death"; "in regard to natural judgment ... far superior to Ptolemy, Hipparchus, Eudoxus" means "just the best ever" without the aforementioned qualification, and isn't even true (there was then no reason to prefer Copernicus to Ptolemy—Ptolemy was a slightly more elegant model and their predictive power was identical). "A man who had to liberate himself from some false presuppositions of the common and commonly accepted philosophy, or perhaps I should say, blindness" means "pre-Copernicans suck", and nothing else. None of those is an argument, they're bald assertions and consist mostly of opinions on matters you yourself admit Bruno was not qualified to judge.

      The rest is similar, apart from some bad-mouthing of "mere" theorizing. There's an additional theme centered on the claim that Copernicus "was not able to go deep enough and penetrate beyond the point of removing from the way the stumps of inconvenient and vain principles, so as to resolve completely the difficult objections, and to free both himself and others from so many vain investigations, and to set attention firmly on things constant and certain"—which, of course, Bruno claims his own "philosophy" ("or perhaps I should say," patent-medicine) does do. As Jaki notes, "It is also to be noted that Bruno's high praises of Copernicus serve as a convenient backdrop to bring out more forcefully his own supereminent greatness."

      "These scientists do pretty good as far as they go, but they only clear the way for my school of thought, which promises to go still further, and see Truth as it really is, and promise various benefits from this deeper insight."—That is the gist of everything Bruno writes. It is also the entire speaking and writing career of Deepak Chopra summed up in one sentence. Chopra actually employs more of the relevant scientific jargon than Bruno, who mostly contents himself with ways of restating "Copernicus was super smart and just plain awesome" (and virtually never fails to add "but I'm even smarter")—sometimes, Chopra even uses the jargon of quantum physics correctly (albeit in contexts where it's not really applicable), while Bruno seems not to have even been comfortable enough with Copernican theory to make a more than very general (ab)use of its concepts.

      Delete
    5. There is also a difference between "pretty much every scientist was also a mystic to one degree or another" and "fad-religion wrapped in pseudoscience". Scientists who are also mystics, even when they derive mystical concepts from their science, can be and ought to be, and often are, good scientists (and they often tend also to be good at their mysticism). Bruno and Chopra are lousy mystics, wrapping themselves in then-current science buzzwords to shore up their very wispy claims to legitimacy.

      Delete
    6. Perhaps if you had a contemporary contrast to Bruno, who wasn't wrapped in pseudoscience, it would make this more clear. I recall this site also having many negative things to say about Galileo's mysticism. What I have not seen is a person from that time who did not fold mysticism into their natural philosophy. Who is a better choice for having a "spiritual epiphany" about heliocentrism than Bruno? How much different was he from his contemporaries?

      Delete
    7. Again you conflate "mysticism" as such with fad-religion. This is you being a bigot, "they all look alike" to you. There are occasionally some overlaps but as a general rule, legitimate mysticism in Christendom is not Hermetic; Hermeticism is the fad religion that's popped up in Europe and the Near East since the time of Alexander the Great, from alchemy to Scientology. It is a dumbed-down version of Greco-Persian esotericism with some Semitic elements—a syncretism of the Greek mysteries (like those of Eleusis), the peripheral weirdness that accreted on the margins of Zoroastrianism, and the purely practical astrological/alchemical good-luck charms of Assyria.

      Among other things, Hermeticism hypostasizes evil, which it usually identifies with the body or with sexuality or with self-interest as such, and claims that such "evil" is necessary for human "growth". That is bad metaphysics—"evil" is a lack, not a thing in its own right, and in itself is only "necessary" because "A" implies the possibility of "not-A"—and makes God the ultimate author of all evil; it is not a philosophy a Christian can legitimately hold.

      Kepler's mysticism was Neoplatonic. Galileo's was some mix of Plato and Aristotle. Both are blamed on this site when their mysticism interferes with their science (as when Galileo insisted on perfect circles rather than ellipses, in planetary motions, for pseudo-Pythagorean math-worship reasons, or when Kepler assumed his mathematical models were demonstrated by Neoplatonic number-associations rather than evidence); they are not blamed merely for being mystics. Galileo could not have avoided a certain degree of mysticism without apostasizing from his religion, which is also our host's religion.

      Delete
  7. Again you conflate "mysticism" as such with fad-religion. This is you being a bigot, "they all look alike" to you.

    Actually, that's you asking for special pleading, asking me to treat one sort of system as being better mysticism than another sort of system, without any evidence for so doing.

    However, that's really beside the point of my questions. I've been asking why we shouldn't consider Bruno to have a "spiritual epiphany about the universe"; and later asked if you had a better candidate for such spiritual epiphanies. I don't want to get into comparing different mystical systems, or discussing the value of having one at all, in this thread.

    So, considering we have not even seen this show, how do you know you'll even disapprove of the way Bruno is mentioned in it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spiritual epiphanies about the physical universe? What a waste of time. The senses and experimental apparatus are sufficient for that. That realization, by the bye, is the reason that the West invented science.

      And you basically just confirmed my assertion: to you, all mysticism is equally invalid, and you simply deny that there is any grounds for choosing between them. "All you n*****s look alike to me."—That is your position in a nutshell, the entire content of your argument. Tell me, do you actually know anything about Hermetic thought, or Christian for that matter? I actually know both, multiple schools of each in fact (I have not only delved into the Corpus Hermeticum and the Renaissance alchemists, but have read the Lesser Key of Solomon and John Dee—on the Christian side I know Augustine, Aquinas, the Cistercians, and some Orthodox mystical theology), and am in fact qualified to pick between them. The fact that you don't know the difference does not mean that there is no difference. "Generalization from the self" is a logical fallacy.

      And I already explained why I'd disapprove of the way Bruno is mentioned; it's in my very first response to your first comment. Bruno has no place being mentioned in connection with science. It is impossible for a science-show to legitimately concern him except to ridicule his nonsense. He had far less to do with actual science than Robert Bellarmine, who actually debated the philosophy of science with Galileo. Bruno, again, merely name-dropped Copernicus and used the brute concept of heliocentrism—without reference to Copernicus' specific theories concerning it—as the text for esoteric dissertations.

      Delete
    2. Even if Bruno could be said to have any "epiphanies" regarding science, the actual things he said about it were all opposed to the Scientific Revolution. You obviously didn't read the linked Ash Wednesday Supper, or you'd have noticed all those places where Bruno dismisses "mere" math and "mere" theory—the whole point of the Scientific Revolution is that the math and the theory are suddenly considered descriptions of reality, not just models of "appearances".

      Is it that hard for you to accept that the traditional folklore and mythology concerning this figure is contradicted by historical records? Because that's all that's really going on here.

      Delete
    3. *Carthusian mystical theology, not Cistercian. Apparently I think religious orders starting with C all look alike.

      Delete
    4. Spiritual epiphanies about the physical universe? What a waste of time.

      Such close-mindedness, and from a believer in spirituality, no less. As a scientist recently reminded me, ideas come from all sorts of places, and sometimes ideas from the silliest places turn out to have value.

      The senses and experimental apparatus are sufficient for that. That realization, by the bye, is the reason that the West invented science.

      Science, as a separate field of study from philosophy or spirituality, hadn't actually been invented by the time of Bruno, to my understanding.

      However, if the sense and experimental apparatus were sufficient to show that the earth is just one world among many worlds (the key reason Bruno was mentioned, a reason entirely absent on this blog, possibly from a simple oversight), why didn't anyone take that position before Bruno's epiphany?

      And you basically just confirmed my assertion: to you, all mysticism is equally invalid, and you simply deny that there is any grounds for choosing between them. "All you n*****s look alike to me."—That is your position in a nutshell, the entire content of your argument.

      1) So far, I've been mostly concerned with asking questions. To the degree I had an argument, it was "all this scorn seems unjustified". After watching the show, that's only been confirmed.
      2) One of those questions has be seeking a answer to who would be a better representative from your preferred mystical view? Given that you have been silent on this issue, I can only come away with the answer that there is no such person. You're just complaining because your team scored a 0 on this particular part of the exam.
      3) A much better metaphor would be that of a hiring manager asking prospective employees why they should be chosen to fill a position. I asked you to differentiate yourself, instead you complained that I failed to see how much better you were sans explanation.
      4) I'll be a little more direct this time: every time you compare your lack of ability to assert presumed superiority to those of black people who face(d) a determination to be treated as sub-human, you undermine the confidence any reasonable reader could make in your ability to tell sky from ground. It is rude and shallow to appropriate these sorts of struggles in your cause.

      Delete
    5. Tell me, do you actually know anything about Hermetic thought, or Christian for that matter?

      A little of the latter; almost none the former. However, since you have been the one supporting the decision that Bruno's adoption of the former disqualifies him from being used as someone who first put forth the idea of earth as one of many worlds, really up to you to make a convincing argument in that regard. With all the knowledge you brag of having, it should not be difficult, if such an argument exists.

      And I already explained why I'd disapprove of the way Bruno is mentioned; it's in my very first response to your first comment.

      Cosmos found a reason: Bruno's enthusiastic support for the notion of earth as one of many planets, and the sun as one of many stars. Tyson called it a lucky guess, pointing out Bruno had no evidence and was not a scientist. If, 300 years from now , we do find some sort of connection between consciousness and quantum mechanics, than Chopra will be remembered as having popularized that idea in the mainstream, through a lucky guess. It's no reason to treat his guesses today as better than any other guesses. Bruno benefits from having guessed correctly.

      Bruno has no place being mentioned in connection with science. It is impossible for a science-show to legitimately concern him except to ridicule his nonsense. He had far less to do with actual science than Robert Bellarmine, who actually debated the philosophy of science with Galileo.

      Bellermaine was a geocentrist, was he not? That would put him in the opposite direction of what Cosmos was looking for. If Cosmos had been looking to do a treatise on the scientific method for the validity of models, perhaps Bellermine would have been a better choice.

      Delete
    6. Even if Bruno could be said to have any "epiphanies" regarding science, the actual things he said about it were all opposed to the Scientific Revolution. You obviously didn't read the linked Ash Wednesday Supper, or you'd have noticed all those places where Bruno dismisses "mere" math and "mere" theory—the whole point of the Scientific Revolution is that the math and the theory are suddenly considered descriptions of reality, not just models of "appearances".

      I went back and looked for any appearances of the word "mere", and didn't see that. I'm sure that you meant he used the attitude, though, and not that specific word with "math" or "theory". I have no problem with that.

      What I did find interesting is that this lead me to the 47th inserted comment. In the surrounding work, Bruno gets the math wrong, but very correctly points out that more than half of a sphere can be illuminated by a light source, and describes a type of observation where this occurs very clearly, because light scatters when coming around an object, while the commentator has bungled the science here, bringing up an irrelevant point to try to explain an observed phenomenon.
      Commentator: In what follows, Bruno, instead of giving a legitimate, easily comprehensible and not too rigorous illustration of his conclusion, throws to the wind rigorous reasoning. He fails to perceive that the eye is anything but a mere point.
      Bruno: let him see by experiment that by placing a rod by his eye, his sight will be wholly blocked from seeing the light of a candle placed at a certain distance; but the more the same light is brought closer to the rod, by moving the latter away from the eye, the less will his sight be blocked; and if the rod comes finally so close to the light as to touch it, as it touched beforehand the eye, the rod will not perhaps impede [the sight of the candle] as much as it should because of its thickness.

      Is it that hard for you to accept that the traditional folklore and mythology concerning this figure is contradicted by historical records? Because that's all that's really going on here.

      Did you watch the program? Outside of suggesting that On the Nature of Things was banned, what parts of it were contradicted by the historical records?

      Delete
    7. disqualifies him from being used as someone who first put forth the idea of earth as one of many worlds

      How about that in 1277 the Bishop of Paris condemned the proposition that there could not be many worlds?
      How about Nicholas of Cusa in the 1400s?

      what parts of [Cosmos] were contradicted by the historical records?

      That Bruno was in any way persecuted for his astronomical views. De Santillana notes that there were eight counts in his indictment, and none of them involved astronomical theories.
      The character of Bellarmino as portrayed in the cartoon segment. (The portrayal of Italy in general!)
      The medieval view of the size of the universe.
      The medieval view of the significance of Earth's placement at the bottom of the universe.
      Like most of these scientific mavens, their rational devotion to the facts falls apart as soon as they cross over to the history department.

      They spent a lot of time on Bruno's mystical visions that would have been better spent on Aristotle, Ptolemy, d'Oresme, de Cusa, Copernicus, Tycho, and others who actually conducted rational scientific investigations. They could have explained the reasons the geocentric model made scientific sense and the genuine difficulties of proving heliocentrism scientifically.

      Delete
    8. They spent a lot of time on Bruno's mystical visions that would have been better spent on Aristotle, Ptolemy, d'Oresme, de Cusa, Copernicus, Tycho, and others who actually conducted rational scientific investigations.

      There's the real issue: they're chanting the tribal mythology, complete with vilifications of the traditional tribal enemies, and not doing real history, let alone real science (which is what the show's supposed to be about).

      My objection to this Bruno horse-hockey is that they're presenting Christianity in general and the Catholic Church in particular as hidebound and reactionary, wedded to traditional myths at the expense of facts...and their evidence for this claim consists of uncritically presenting a bunch of long-debunked folklore and legendry as if it were historical fact. Apparently nobody involved knows the definition of "chutzpah"—this isn't the pot calling the kettle black, it's the pot calling the fork a cooking vessel.

      Delete
    9. Thank you, TheOFloinn, for taking my questions seriously enough to answer them. However, one of your answers disagree with some of the more mainstream sources, and I'm curious if you feel that's because they are terribly biased or not.

      Before that, I do want to say that I thought the animation was very biased and unfair, particularly in regard to the color schemes. Regarding the character of a historical figure like Bellarmine, I think that's at least somewhat open to interpretation, but would agree they wanted to, and did, put him in as harsh a light as possible. You have cause for complaint there.

      That Bruno was in any way persecuted for his astronomical views. De Santillana notes that there were eight counts in his indictment, and none of them involved astronomical theories.

      I'm starting here because it will play into other questions. Wikipedia lists the eight charges (apparently using Firpo as a source), one of which was "claiming the existence of a plurality of worlds and their eternity", which certainly seems like an astronomical claim. Did Firpo lie or invent this? Did De Santillana give a different list of charges, or possibly interpret this charge as not related to astronomy?

      How about that in 1277 the Bishop of Paris condemned the proposition that there could not be many worlds?
      How about Nicholas of Cusa in the 1400s?


      My admittedly shallow understanding is that 1277 condemnations said it could not be heretical to discuss the existence of many worlds, but that these condemnations were later annulled, and that specifically the it could have heretical to discuss other worlds, after that annullment. Also, these condemnations did not propose a positive view, just that the discussion should be allowed. Is that inaccurate?

      Nicholas of Cusa did seem to posit this existence; he's even described as an influence on Bruno in that regard. However, I read that his works weren't widely known until the 1900s, while the Bruno controversy was discussed somewhat widely in the 1700s, and so Bruno was the first to attempt to popularize the idea of many worlds. Would you disagree?

      The medieval view of the size of the universe.
      The medieval view of the significance of Earth's placement at the bottom of the universe.


      First, I highly doubt there was so much unity in the medieval ages about notions like "size of the universe" or "significance of Earth's placement" that you could talk about a singular medieval view (in fact, you have discussed multiple such views in the past regarding the second, have you not?). Second, from what I recall of the Ptolemaic and Copernican models, both posited a fixed sphere of stars around the planets. So, the discussion of the reasoning Bruno accepted, in rejecting that there was a fixed sphere of finite dimension around the solar system, seems relevant, the actual measure of that dimension does not.

      They spent a lot of time on Bruno's mystical visions that would have been better spent on Aristotle, Ptolemy, d'Oresme, de Cusa, Copernicus, Tycho, and others who actually conducted rational scientific investigations. They could have explained the reasons the geocentric model made scientific sense and the genuine difficulties of proving heliocentrism scientifically.

      They could have, and that would make for very good topics of discussion on a show about the scientific method and/or about determining heliocentrism. However, the episode I watched was about the way nature inspires people and the importance of that inspiration, and the magnificence of the universe. Rational scientific investigations can be ignited or directed by such inspirations, and the results are occasionally fruitful.

      Delete
    10. Sophia's Favorite,

      You will find very little real history or real science in network television. I was not expecting either one. I was expecting a story highly grounded in fact, designed to inspire and enthuse. Real science and real history, by contrast, involve much drudgery. Both the science and history seem to be in agreement with the mainstream of the scientific and historical consensus. That's all I'll ever expect from this series.

      In a country where over 40% of the populace accepts some form of creationism, one of the fall-outs is going to be people reacting to the culture around them.

      Regarding in particular the Catholic Church, even TheOFloinn noted it takes them a long time to respond to empirical evidence (in chapter 9 of the Smackdown). Is that not hidebound and reactionary?

      Delete
    11. even TheOFloinn noted it takes them a long time to respond to empirical evidence (in chapter 9 of the Smackdown). Is that not hidebound and reactionary?

      No, Chapter 9 noted that only the Church held out for empirical evidence. Everyone else got on board because Newton's math made it easier, despite the fact that two key falsifications have been waved off.

      over 40% of the populace accepts some form of creationism

      That's pretty good, since for over 90% of the populace it doesn't matter.

      Delete
    12. @One Brow: If taking a long time to respond to empirical evidence makes one hidebound and reactionary, then people currently repeating accounts of history that were disproved before World War I probably shouldn't be criticizing anyone else. The Catholic Church currently has no problems with empirical evidence, but the people who made Cosmos are still espousing hoary bromides that originated with 18th-century French anti-clericals. Even if the Catholic Church had once been as hidebound and reactionary as you assert (with fanatical, if not berserker defiance of known historical fact), the people who made Cosmos are the ones currently denying the "state of the question", in the field of historical investigation—and substituting uncritically excepted traditional folklore for actual scholarship.

      Delete
    13. TheOFloinn,

      You noted they held out for almost 90 years after getting empirical evidence, then tried excusing that by saying it wasn't convincing to the layman (but somehow, a 4mm deviation on a 29m drop was so much easier for a layman to understand).

      In science, we note that often new theories have to wait for acceptance until another generation assumes the forefront. In the Church, it might be three generations instead.

      I would suggest that in society where people who science decide education are elected by popular vote, this matters regarding every voter, and a 40% average is far too high.

      Delete
    14. Sophia's Favorite,

      As I asked above, is there any reason to consider Firpo an unreliable source? If not, calling out the producers for using disproved history, when it seems they were using accepted history, does not strike me as being reasonable.

      What is your list for the eight charges Bruno faced?

      Delete
    15. You are putting the question in wrong place, since the primary question is not whether Firpo is a good source, but whether your interpretation of the charge identified by him, as listed in Wikipedia, based on what it sounds like to you with no further research, is correct. And, indeed, one should be stopped for a moment by the fact that 'plurality of worlds' -- usually a label for a set of theological positions about divine creation, as can be seen by looking at the corresponding section in Duhem's Systeme du monde -- was on its own merely controversial rather than heretical. The charge, though, is not plurality of worlds but plurality of worlds and their eternity; and the reference is to Bruno's book on the infinity of the world, which is very clearly influenced by Lucretius; and thus the phrase in this context is a claim that he advocated Epicureanism, which at the time was understood to be a denial of a Creator at all. And while Bruno denied holding anything contrary to the Catholic faith, all signs are still that he himself saw his claims in this area as primarily about God's relation to creation.

      Of course, if you have evidence that it was indeed a specifically astronomical rather than a theological position, it would be interesting to hear it.

      Delete
    16. Brandon,

      It's fairly plain to me from Bruno's works that he accepts the existence of a Creator. Of course, perhaps I misunderstood.

      His major work on this was "On the Infinite Universe and Worlds", was it not? I read the introductory epistle, and found no hint of the denial of a Creator. In fine Aristotelian form, he speaks about the need for the Creator to keep things going. Perhaps you could point out something that would justify a claim that the "plurality of worlds and their eternity" equated to the lack of a Creator in Bruno's work?

      http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/brunoiuw0.htm#IUWTOC

      On the other hand, perhaps you only mean that the Church executed Bruno based on a false understanding of his work. Was that your intent?

      Delete
    17. His major work on this was "On the Infinite Universe and Worlds", was it not? I read the introductory epistle, and found no hint of the denial of a Creator. In fine Aristotelian form, he speaks about the need for the Creator to keep things going. Perhaps you could point out something that would justify a claim that the "plurality of worlds and their eternity" equated to the lack of a Creator in Bruno's work?

      In St Thomas Aquinas' Philosophy, the UNITY of the world and of its movement around Earth was proof of the UNITY of the Creator.*

      It is therefore highly probably (and I have heard this affirmed) that Bruno believed in a plurality of Creators.

      * Part of Prima Pars is pretty philosophical, and Q 11 A 3 is what you should be looking for.

      Delete
    18. HGL,

      Thank you for your response. I did not understand the last paragraph at all. Were you referring to Aquinas' work to explain the meaning of a work a few centuries later?

      Why would we take a "highly probable" position on Bruno's beliefs, when we have his writings?

      You seem to be making the argument that, since belief in the unity of the world suggests a belief in the unity of God, belief in the plurality of words suggests a belief in a plurality of gods. To me, that sounds similar to the Fallacy of the Converse. How do you justify that position?

      Delete
    19. 1) I take highly probable positions about Bruno's beliefs and how he came by them because for one thing I have not actually read Bruno's writings (I found introduction to Ash Wednesday Supper very gruelling) and for another thing when I see a mistake, I like to see where the right road to the right conclusion has a branch off to that particular mistake.

      2) I refer to Aquinas' work because it is right, and because it is reasoned, i e points a road to the right conclusion mapped out in such a way as making me able to see where the branch off to the wrong conclusion is.

      Note that I am only accidentally speaking about Aquinas, but really about the arguments he is using.

      Also, since Bruno was a Dominican, he must have been very familiar not only with the arguments, but also with the form in which St Thomas put them.

      3) On the level of SUGGESTING as opposed to IMPLYING there are no such things as fallacies. Fallacies are concerned with perceiving an implication where there is only a suggestion.

      Now, I think Bruno actually did fall for that fallacy.

      In an argument, which was by St Thomas Aquinas placed in Q11 A3 (corpus), the Unity of the World (as unified in one action, the daily turn of all of it around Earth) is not only suggesting but actually (if it is true) PROVING the unity of God.

      A plurality of worlds (or a non-unified action within the world, since the "many worlds" of Bruno are visible to each other as stars) would of course NOT prove a plurality of gods. It would however suggest it. And considering what Giordano Bruno was burned for, I think he fell for the suggestion.

      I admit I have neither read the actual text of any of his works (and after a taste of Ash Wednesday Supper I am not sure I will later either) nor the actual text of the condemnation, of the verdict.

      But by works of reference I have come by the notion he was both pantheist (for each "world" as in each "solar system") and polytheist (for the god of each solar system being distinct from the god of any other solar system).

      I find this - especially the polytheist part - fits in with his denial of Geocentrism precisely at the point of ... well, what St Thomas Aquinas put in Q11 A3.

      I also find it interesting that CSL who was not a Geocentric used a somewhat more roundabout proof for the existence of God in Miracles. Not that it is wrong, but his choice is an admission on his part that without Geocentrism the Prime Mover Argument will not argue that God is One.

      Dawkins believes there is a prime mover and an ipsum esse per se subsistens or at least an ens per se necessarium in the sense of Q2 A3 as much as St Thomas Aquinas did. ONLY the argument by design in Q2 A3 (an article with five arguments in all) is being attacked, or rather Dawkins identifies the designer with "monkeys typing while edited". And with death and infertility as "editor" for biological life and presumably other kinds of destruction or non-success as editor for other kinds of order. But as to Prime Mover and Prime Necessary existence, except for verbally repeating Kant in saying it is impossible to disprove the regress to infinity, he is not actually believing teh regress to infinity that St Thomas is talking about, he is identifying Prime Necessary Existence with either subatomic particles (many, precisely as with Bruno's gods just many more and much smaller ones) or energy forming such, and he is identifying the Prime Mover with energy, probably with many Quanta of it and therefore there too he is missing part of St Thomas' argument because Q 11 A 3 presupposes Geocentrism which Dawkins believes - as much as Bruno - to be illusory.

      Delete
    20. Hans-Georg Lundahl,

      My take-away of your post: you found the Ash Wednesday Supper difficult reading, and didn't bother looking at the link to "On the Infinite Universe and Worlds" link. Instead, you have decided to analyze Bruno's beliefs through what you think their reflections would be in the writings of Aquinas. I completely reject that this is a reasonable way to evaluate what a person believes. It only serves to hide what Bruno wrote from you; among other things, it hides that one of Bruno's arguments is that an infinite God would never create a finite universe, as that would be below such a God.

      It's interesting that you think without geocentrism, the Prime Mover argument (which fails regardless, but that is beside the point) does not argue God is One, and that this is relevant to Bruno's beliefs somehow. Why would Bruno need such an argument? Since we know today geocentrism is false, has this affected in any way your belief that God is One?

      I agree suggesting is not implying. Sounding similar to is not the same as being. If you wish to use fine distinction to justify your line of thought, it serves you ill to fail to recognize fine distinctons in what someone else says.

      You would have Dawkins believe in a Prime Mover and a prime necessary that are unintelligent. I don't know if he would agree or not. It's quite possible he believes there is no necessary thing at all.

      Delete
    21. I completely reject that this is a reasonable way to evaluate what a person believes. It only serves to hide what Bruno wrote from you; among other things, it hides that one of Bruno's arguments is that an infinite God would never create a finite universe, as that would be below such a God.

      I have been aware of that one too, and this argument is heretical as it limits the power of choice God has in creation.

      Since we know today geocentrism is false, has this affected in any way your belief that God is One?

      a) we do very much NOT know that.
      b) I am a Christian and a Catholic before being a Thomistic Philosopher.

      I think both would independently answer your question.

      it serves you ill to fail to recognize fine distinctions in what someone else says.

      Where did I ever do so?

      You would have Dawkins believe in a Prime Mover and a prime necessary that are unintelligent. I don't know if he would agree or not. It's quite possible he believes there is no necessary thing at all.

      Have you ever heard phrases like "energy can never be created and never be destroyed"? That is very much the essence of a belief in a "necessary being" which by its necessity of being confers being on other things that are by themselves more contingent ("particles are shifting concentrations of energy" or "bodies - solid, liquid, gas or plasma - are shifting agglomerations of atoms").

      My take-away of your post: you found the Ash Wednesday Supper difficult reading, and didn't bother looking at the link to "On the Infinite Universe and Worlds" link.

      I did not see that link.

      If I had, I might have been interested enough to read it. Unless it was as cumbrous and obsessed with irrelevant introductions as Ash Wednesday Supper.

      Instead, you have decided to analyze Bruno's beliefs through what you think their reflections would be in the writings of Aquinas.

      No. What is IN the writings of Aquinas has two different qualities: being the argument it is, and being in the writings of St Thomas and expressed in his words.

      And being the argument it is means it is relevant to the arguments of Bruno being what they are (as opposed to their quality of being in his writings and being put in his words).

      Your plea for a kind of isolation of the arguments of Bruno from those of Aquinas and from those of Galileo, in which they cannot be speaking about same subject (and ultimately therefore not be contradicting each other either) is a total breakdown of philosophical reasoning.

      I may have been mistaken in believing Bruno subjectively may have come to believe in many gods because he came to believe in many worlds.

      But I am not mistaken in believing that the belief in many worlds in the sense of a lack of common centre of movement as a visible fact would be one road which might lead to the errors of Bruno and that that may have been one reason why St Robert who had tried and eventually condemned Bruno was also eager to, not to make Galileo abjure (he attested Galileo had not needed that), but put the theory out of circulation before some other idiot went the road of Bruno.

      Delete
    22. Hans-Georg Lundahl,

      Since you are aware of Bruno's argument regarding an Infinite Creator, then it would seem you agree he did not think of different gods creating each world. I am glad we reached agreement there.

      I suppose I could have said that "given the conservation of mass-energy in large-scale phenomena, we know that geocentrism is false". If you are willing to postulate an influx of energy that keeps the sun circling a stationary earth, such energy having no other detectable effect, of course you can still proclaim geocentrism. However, I don't feel remiss for saying we know geocentrism is false.

      Where did I ever do so?

      As I indicated, on not noticing the difference between "sounds similar to" and actually claiming an instance of a fallacy, and then going into a lecture about how the fallacy itself did not apply.

      Have you ever heard phrases like "energy can never be created and never be destroyed"?

      Sure, but even that does not fully apply on the quantum level. Further, the net energy of the current universe seems to be zero, to my understanding. So, that means by your reasoning, it can all be contingent.

      And being the argument it is means it is relevant to the arguments of Bruno being what they are (as opposed to their quality of being in his writings and being put in his words).

      I agree.

      Philosophical systems that have different axioms will result in different positions, and there is very little that system A can productively say about system B. If you were to say that Bruno can only be understood historically or culturally with an understanding of Aquinas, I agree. That does not mean that the system Aquinas erected has a specific comment it can make on the system of Bruno.

      Delete
    23. then it would seem you agree he did not think of different gods creating each world.

      I am not sure whether Bruno would have agreed that the universes - we would say solar systems - were CREATED by several different Gods.

      St Thomas' argument about oneness of God since oneness of Universe moving around earth was more of an argument for oneness of God as UPHOLDER of the Universe.

      When it comes to Bruno's Pantheism/Polytheism I think this would apply under and after the one creator.

      I suppose I could have said that "given the conservation of mass-energy in large-scale phenomena, we know that geocentrism is false".

      St Thomas did not subscribe to conservation of mass-energy in marge scale or other phenomena, since he was not identifying the NECESSARY BEING with mass-energy, but with God.

      If you are willing to postulate an influx of energy that keeps the sun circling a stationary earth, such energy having no other detectable effect, of course you can still proclaim geocentrism.

      Geocentrism is major proof that God is, as UPHOLDER of the Universe, providing the "influx of energy" that makes not just Sun but indeed All Universe circle around a stationary earth each day.

      And the detection of the influx is by the phenomena of day and night.

      That is the easiest way of stating Prima Via.

      You can perhaps as easily see now how restating things according to Heliocentrism would radically alter the philosophical concept of God, now that I spell it out?

      Delete
    24. As I indicated, on not noticing the difference between "sounds similar to" and actually claiming an instance of a fallacy, and then going into a lecture about how the fallacy itself did not apply.

      I suppose you refer to this passage:

      On the level of SUGGESTING as opposed to IMPLYING there are no such things as fallacies. Fallacies are concerned with perceiving an implication where there is only a suggestion.

      Now, I think Bruno actually did fall for that fallacy.

      Let me spell this out, so there is no mistake about how I understand things:

      I and Bruno agree that Heliocentrism and Plurality of Cosmoi suggest a plurality of gods-as-upholders-of-each-universe. I do not think they would prove it, but I think Bruno thought they proved it.

      Delete
    25. Sure, but even that does not fully apply on the quantum level. Further, the net energy of the current universe seems to be zero, to my understanding. So, that means by your reasoning, it can all be contingent.

      In that case you seem to believe in a net energy as zero as the necessary being.

      Delete
    26. Philosophical systems that have different axioms will result in different positions,

      An axiom that is not true gives a philosophy that is not true.

      and there is very little that system A can productively say about system B.

      On the contrary, a true philosophical system can productively understand all the false ones.

      If you were to say that Bruno can only be understood historically or culturally with an understanding of Aquinas, I agree.

      We agree on one thing.

      That does not mean that the system Aquinas erected has a specific comment it can make on the system of Bruno.

      I do not consider it as "the system Aquinas erected", but as a true philosophy which he attentively contemplated.

      And as such, according to previous, it was very apt to make specific comments about each and any false system.

      Indeed, St Thomas took a keen interest of actually doing so, whenever relevant to the subject.

      The pre-Socratics were wrong on this, Plato was right on that but wrong on that, Averroës is getting Aristotle at his worst in this question, Avicenna makes such a mistake.

      THAT is St Thomas Aquinas for you.

      Delete
    27. Hans-Georg Lundahl,

      You can perhaps as easily see now how restating things according to Heliocentrism would radically alter the philosophical concept of God, now that I spell it out?

      Are you, personally, a geocentrist? If not, has that caused a deviation from Aquinas in your concept of God? If not, then why should I accept this position?

      I do not think they would prove it, but I think Bruno thought they proved it.

      On what basis?

      In that case you seem to believe in a net energy as zero as the necessary being.

      So, it's impossible to reject a necessary being? I disagree.

      Delete
    28. An axiom that is not true gives a philosophy that is not true.

      All philosophies are untrue; some are just better models than others. No human has perfect understanding.

      On the contrary, a true philosophical system can productively understand all the false ones.

      Unfortunately, even if such a true system existed, you would have no reliable way to distinguish it from the false ones.

      I do not consider it as "the system Aquinas erected", but as a true philosophy which he attentively contemplated.

      I'm sure, but your consideration is not sufficient reason for me to adopt that position.

      Delete
    29. Are you, personally, a geocentrist?

      Yes.

      On what basis?

      On basis, AS SAID, of Bruno being found guilty of Polytheism and Pantheism. And on basis of that, as far as upholders of universes being concerned, being consistent with both a non-Geocentric take on Prima Via and with an Infinite Creator having a supposed obligation to create an infinite universe.

      For next one, I resume part of dialogue:

      Have you ever heard phrases like "energy can never be created and never be destroyed"?

      Sure, but even that does not fully apply on the quantum level. Further, the net energy of the current universe seems to be zero, to my understanding. So, that means by your reasoning, it can all be contingent.

      In that case you seem to believe in a net energy as zero as the necessary being.

      So, it's impossible to reject a necessary being? I disagree.

      Do you Dawkins is free to reject a necessary being that you hold to be such - a universe with a net energy of zero, or conservation of energy-mass - or do you mean you are yourself free to reject the proposition these are necessary.

      I also reject the proposition that either a net energy of zero or a conservation of mass-energy are necessary. But that is because I attribute necessary being to God.

      What you seem to do is attributing the predicate to either a net energy of zero or a conservation of mass-energy, all the while denying doing so because you want to verbally deny the concept that someone else, namely St Thomas, applies to something else, namely a personal God.

      Delete
    30. All philosophies are untrue; some are just better models than others. No human has perfect understanding.

      Having perfect understanding is ONE thing, having a system which is completely true AS FAR AS IT GOES is another thing. Thus, a philosophy has no need of being untrue because it has a human author for its formulation.

      Unfortunately, even if such a true system existed, you would have no reliable way to distinguish it from the false ones.

      First off, it would contain no unnecessary or counterintuitive axioms. Second it would - precisely as I am showing, if not to you at least hopefully to others that Thomism is - be able to understand the salient error of each erroneous philosophy.

      I'm sure, but your consideration is not sufficient reason for me to adopt that position.

      I did not ask you to take my consideration as a reason for you to adopt it. I was asking you to consider I so considered it and that therefore your previous coment was to me pointless.

      Delete
    31. Yesterday you repeated your question whether I was a geocentrist. But I had already answered it and defended my position:

      I suppose I could have said that "given the conservation of mass-energy in large-scale phenomena, we know that geocentrism is false".

      St Thomas did not subscribe to conservation of mass-energy in marge scale or other phenomena, since he was not identifying the NECESSARY BEING with mass-energy, but with God.

      If you are willing to postulate an influx of energy that keeps the sun circling a stationary earth, such energy having no other detectable effect, of course you can still proclaim geocentrism.

      Geocentrism is major proof that God is, as UPHOLDER of the Universe, providing the "influx of energy" that makes not just Sun but indeed All Universe circle around a stationary earth each day.

      And the detection of the influx is by the phenomena of day and night.

      Delete
    32. On basis, AS SAID, of Bruno being found guilty of Polytheism and Pantheism. And on basis of that, as far as upholders of universes being concerned, being consistent with both a non-Geocentric take on Prima Via and with an Infinite Creator having a supposed obligation to create an infinite universe.

      OK. I will not try to persuade you otherwise, then.

      Do you Dawkins is free to reject a necessary being that you hold to be such - a universe with a net energy of zero, or conservation of energy-mass - or do you mean you are yourself free to reject the proposition these are necessary.

      I reject that there is any necessary being, at all. However, I'm not inclined to engage in a sustained discussion on that in this comment thread.

      Having perfect understanding is ONE thing, having a system which is completely true AS FAR AS IT GOES is another thing. Thus, a philosophy has no need of being untrue because it has a human author for its formulation.

      Every philosophical system is true as far as it goes, because the only place a formal system can go is formal knowledge.

      First off, it would contain no unnecessary or counterintuitive axioms.

      This standard assume the universe would be intuitive, and that everyone's intuitions regarding it will be the same. I see no reason for either to be true.

      Second it would - precisely as I am showing, if not to you at least hopefully to others that Thomism is - be able to understand the salient error of each erroneous philosophy.

      I agree that Thomism can identify points with which Thomism disagrees.

      Delete
    33. Every philosophical system is true as far as it goes, because the only place a formal system can go is formal knowledge.

      Er, no.

      Philosophical systems are not comparable to grammars rather than to cognitive content.

      This standard assume the universe would be intuitive, and that everyone's intuitions regarding it will be the same. I see no reason for either to be true.

      I said that it could have no counterintuitive axioms. Not that it could not have any seemingly at least counterintuitive conclusions. "Parallel lines always meet" would be an example of a counterintuitive axiom, if what is meant are straight lines.

      But apart from that, your general idea, of universe not being intuitive. That would explain why you assume all philosophies to be wrong.

      Of course, that is a conclusion from Atheism in any of its forms. Precisely as of Gnosticism. If the true Origin and Upholder of your life and reason is either not able or not willing to give you what it takes to intuitively grasp first truths and to go on rationally from there, then there can be no truth.

      Do you know for a true statement that this is so?

      I agree that Thomism can identify points with which Thomism disagrees.

      But perhaps not points that are erroneous as such, eh? Do you mean "any such points at all" or do you mean "all points it would itself consider as erroneous"?

      The second would only amount to Thomism being erroneous. The first would amount to Thomism being miraculously the opposite of infallible, miraculously always wrong.

      Delete
    34. My admittedly shallow understanding is that 1277 condemnations said it could not be heretical to discuss the existence of many worlds, but that these condemnations were later annulled, and that specifically the it could have heretical to discuss other worlds, after that annullment. Also, these condemnations did not propose a positive view, just that the discussion should be allowed. Is that inaccurate?

      Somewhat.

      First of all, the condemned thesis is not "it is heretical to discuss the factual existance of other worlds". The condemned thesis is "Quod causa prima non posset plures mundos facere."

      That "the first cause" - which Orthodoxy identifies with God - "were not able to create more than only one world." Or "several worlds". It is N°34 in the original list and it is N° 9 in the sorted list under the chapter "errors about God":

      En lengua romance en Antimodernism y de mis caminaciones : Capitulum VI ... Et primoordinantur qui sunt de deo, scilicet
      http://enfrancaissurantimodernism.blogspot.com/2012/01/collectio-errorum-in-anglia-et-parisius.html


      Now, discussing a theoretical possibility was NEVER heretical. What could be heretical or orthodox or within orthodoxy but not guaranteed by it was affirming something as true, including about factual possibilities and impossibilities.

      The 1276 never dealt with the question whether there are more than one world.

      They were not revoked per se either.*

      Redoutant cette dérive fidéiste qui s'était amorcée suite à l'intervention de Tempier, le pape Jean XXII allait réhabiliter la doctrine thomiste par la canonisation, en 1323, de Thomas d'Aquin, suivie, deux années plus tard, de la levée, par Etienne Bourret, de tout interdit que cette doctrine avait pu encourir de par la condamnation de 1277, comme il a été dit ci-dessus.

      As to "Redoutant cette dérive fidéiste" that is a Modern Scholar's analysis. But as to Stephen III Bourret of Paris lifting any interdict which Thomism could have incurred through the condemnations of 1276, that is undisputable fact.

      This has been blown up into a wholesale scrapping of 1276. Not so.

      There had been a rumour that St Thomas Aquinas was outside the limits of Bishop Tempier's Orthodoxy. Then comes this rehabilitation of St Thomas Aquinas. But apart from this, there is no scrapping of the condemnations as such.

      In other words, taking into account both acts of the Magisterium of Paris, Stephen II Tempier and Stephen III Bourret, a Catholic in Paris is on any point free to agree with either Tempier or Aquinas when they differ, if they do at any point, and not free to brave the condemnations on any point where Aquinas does not show the way very directly.

      En lengua romance en Antimodernism y de mis caminaciones : Index in stephani tempier condempnationes
      http://enfrancaissurantimodernism.blogspot.com/2012/01/index-in-stephani-tempier.html

      Delete
    35. Now, discussing a theoretical possibility was NEVER heretical. What could be heretical or orthodox or within orthodoxy but not guaranteed by it was affirming something as true, including about factual possibilities and impossibilities.

      This remains true to this day, unless Holy Church has subreptitiously changed its discipline on the matter.

      However, it has happened that the Church has forbidden discussion on certain topics, like at one time between Dominicans and Jesuits. However, this was not equivalent to either position being declared heretical.

      Such a ban on discussions, for the sake of peace, have an illboding start. Honorius forbade discussion about Monotheletism. When the next council condemned Monotheletism Honorius was reckoned culpable of impeding its refutation thus of favouring it by precisely the ban on polemics.

      Delete
    36. Hans-Georg Lundahl,

      Er, no.

      Philosophical systems are not comparable to grammars rather than to cognitive content.


      Of course not, nor was that a result of my statement. Philosophical systems are a wedding of grammar to initial statements of knowledge. Since we can never absolutely guarantee the truth of an axiom, nor the reliability of the grammar, we can never guarantee the truth of the system.

      I said that it could have no counterintuitive axioms.

      Again, I see no reason for this to be true.

      But apart from that, your general idea, of universe not being intuitive. That would explain why you assume all philosophies to be wrong.

      I don't know that it is unintuitive, only that it is far too complex for our models to simplify correctly.

      But perhaps not points that are erroneous as such, eh? Do you mean "any such points at all" or do you mean "all points it would itself consider as erroneous"?

      I mean that we can only trust the judgment of Thomism to the degree that Thomism itself is a good model of reality, and I find Thomism very wanting as a model of reality.

      Thank you for explaining your understanding of the history of the 1277 condemnations.

      Delete
    37. ego: I said that it could have no counterintuitive axioms.

      tu: Again, I see no reason for this to be true.

      rursus ego: Are you really and truly sure you are not confusing rational conclusion with axiom?

      I mean, I can see how non-flat earth can seem as counterintuitive to some who have not seen ships approach harbour or not made trips around the world (or part of trip with traditional knowledge of other part). I can see how Heliocentrism can seem as a correct conclusion, particularly to atheists.

      But I cannot see how either Heliocentrism (which I refuse) or Globe formed Earth (which I accept) could be any such thing as an axiom rather than a conclusion.

      Philosophical systems are a wedding of grammar to initial statements of knowledge. Since we can never absolutely guarantee the truth of an axiom, nor the reliability of the grammar, we can never guarantee the truth of the system.

      Are you glossing over the difference absolute guarantee and lack of any reasonable doubt?

      I think you are.

      I also think you are wrong about relation of cosmos to axioms.

      I don't know that it is unintuitive, only that it is far too complex for our models to simplify correctly.

      An axiom is NOT a simplification of the cosmos. It is one strand that is simple and which is being used as an ariadnes thread among other strands that together form a complexity.

      A philosophical system is also NOT a simplification of the cosmos, it is a collection of truths about it, except insofar as it is exclusive of truths outside (not contradicting, but simply outside) the system.

      You find Thomism a very wanting model of reality.

      I find Thomism a very good collection of truths about it.

      ego: Second it would - precisely as I am showing, if not to you at least hopefully to others that Thomism is - be able to understand the salient error of each erroneous philosophy.

      tu: I agree that Thomism can identify points with which Thomism disagrees.

      ego : But perhaps not points that are erroneous as such, eh? Do you mean "any such points at all" or do you mean "all points it would itself consider as erroneous"?

      The second would only amount to Thomism being erroneous. The first would amount to Thomism being miraculously the opposite of infallible, miraculously always wrong.

      tu: I mean that we can only trust the judgment of Thomism to the degree that Thomism itself is a good model of reality, and I find Thomism very wanting as a model of reality.

      rursus nunc ego: You avoided the question whether Thomism at least on the points where it is right can identify wrong philosophies as wrong and on what point of reasoning they went wrong?

      It is something which I can accord to partially erroneous philosophies (at least occasionally).

      However, I do not agree with your assessment of Thomistic statements of reality (or their status as constituting together a model of it).

      Delete
    38. Thank you for explaining your understanding of the history of the 1277 condemnations.

      You are welcome.

      Delete
  8. Hello TOF,

    I know this is off-topic, but I wanted to draw your attention to the following paper:

    http://arxiv.org/abs/1403.0769

    A professor in the Physics Department of Durham University and collaborators have reformulated Robert Grosseteste's cosmological model in modern mathematical terms. I believe you'll find this interesting. The paper has been accepted for publication in Proceedings of the Royal Society (A).

    ReplyDelete
  9. I tried reading the link ... the Ash Wednesday Supper is indeed as unreadable as ashes are inedible.

    Take the start for starters. Mr A asks Mr B about the qualifications of Mr C and D to participate in a conversation and they go ON and ON and ON and ON about it, as if they were organising some kind of Masonic lodge!

    Whatever one may pity about his lost opportunities for betterment, one cannot pity general culture for having lost him. Speak of Entartete Kunst, in literature he is it.

    As we speak of dialogues, hope you do not find this link unreadable, since at least one of the participants agrees with your views:

    http://ppt.li/k8

    A short link, and I leave as a surprise for you where it leads to, but it is one blogger who habtually links to TOF Spot in the margin.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The Renaissance Mathematicus weighs in:
    https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/cartoons-and-fables-how-cosmos-got-the-story-of-bruno-wrong/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. From the title of the blog post, wouldn't it have been better for the author to point out an actual error?

      Delete
    2. What, you mean apart from (i) Lucretius wasn't "banned by the Church", (ii) Bruno wasn't kicked out of his friary for reading "banned books", he ran away, (iii) he didn't come up with his centreless cosmos of many worlds on his own, he got that from Cusanus and (iv) neither heliocentrism nor multiple worlds were heretical in the 1590s? So apart from pointing out all those errors, yes I should have pointed out some errors. Or something.

      Delete
    3. i) The uninformed viewer might have inferred this, but it was not stated.
      ii) Same.
      iii) It was certainly claimed that the idea of a certerless cosmos was among the books he had read
      iv) That multiple worlds made the list of eight charges against Bruno undercuts your position significantly. If not formally heretical, the view seems to have been treated as such.

      So yes, you should have pointed out some actual errors. Or something.

      Delete
    4. i) "The first problem here is that Lucretius’ work was not 'banned by the Church' at all and no-one needed to hide it under their floor."

      That looks like a statement to me.

      ii) "This, of course, makes for a much better parable than the truth – Lucretius’ work wasn’t 'banned by the Church' and Bruno actually ran away from his religious house and wasn’t thrown out for reading naughty books."

      That also looks like a statement, and it also re-states (i).

      Tell me, did you even read the Renaissance Mathematicus post? I'm guessing not. (If you're going to argue about what is or isn't said by a piece of text on the Internet, you probably want to learn to use your browser's "find" function, to make sure you don't say things whose falsehood is demonstrable in 4 seconds flat.)

      Delete
    5. Sophia's Favorite,

      i) Again, Cosmos did not claim Lucretius' work was banned. They said Bruno read banned books (he did) and the he read Lucretius (he did). I agree the obvious inference is incorrect, but the statements are not.

      ii) Again, it's a statement not reflected in the Cosmos broadcast.

      Yes, I read the post, and commented there, as well.

      However, I do look forward to you actually demonstrating the falsehood of something I said. Perhaps you can find the Cosmos clip that says Lucretius was banned? I'll wait more than 4 seconds.

      Delete
    6. Well, now you're moving the goalposts, since before you said that the Renaissance Mathematicus didn't list any errors, and now you're saying that the errors it listed didn't actually occur in the Cosmos episode. If you meant the second thing, you should probably say the second thing—rather than something else. Are you deliberately disingenuous, or just incompetent at communicating?

      And for my part, I look forward to you actually grasping that deliberate implications, inferred by essentially all recipients of a message—as for instance that Bruno's reading of banned books included Lucretius, which every single person watching the episode is supposed to take as the meaning of the passage—is the same as explicit statement. Quite honestly, you've crossed the line between "give them the benefit of the doubt" and "Hey Brutus, funny thing, just before I turned around, somebody stabbed me, did you see where he went?" They piss on your leg and you insist to all onlookers that it's actually raining.

      You are either in some kind of weird reverse-paranoid delusional denial, or suffer from one of those mental disorders where only explicit, literal statements are understood. Either way, arguing with you is fruitless, since you deny the known rules of normal human communication (entirely to suit one side of this debate, and not the other, so there is another possible explanation—can you grasp that deliberate implication?).

      Delete
    7. It's only that he does not consider that the intended communication was a combination of narration and visuals. Certainly, defensive reactions by the show-runners to the criticisms of historians have made it clear. In the post-Modern age, visual imagery will become more and more important and verbal less-and-less so.

      Delete
    8. Sophia's Favorite/TheOFloinn,

      When I said, "I agree the obvious inference is incorrect, but the statements are not" did that come across as garbled on your screens in some fashion? At any point in this thread, have I ever denied that this inference was to be had, and the inference was incorrect? Really, the two of you posting as if I had not said this, and trying to correct me to a position I had acknowledged days ago, would be amusing if it did not signal such a high degree of arrogance and a low degree of interest in the exchange of ideas.


      Sophia's Favorite

      For my part, I look forward to you responding to the entire content of posts, in context, rather than just skim a sentence or two and ignore the parts you find inconvenient.


      TheOFloinn,

      Deriving ill intent from inference can be a tricky business, and one I'd wager you engage more cautiously when the inference comes from a source you support.

      Delete