Isaac Newton, God and the eternal war between faith and science: Killing the Buddha/Newton and the Counterfeiter edition
Just a quick heads’ up:
The piece, adapted that opus readers of this blog may have heard of — Newton and the Counterfeiter (Amazon, Powells,Barnes and Noble, Indiebound) — argues that the proper way to understand the full (and astonishing) range of Newton’s interests and creative output is to recognize that all of it was directed to the same end: to know (in Hawking’s anachronistic phrase) the mind of God.
It was a grand ambition, a passion, really, in all the resonance of that term. It was also, I argue, one that was bound to end in tears. Newton told the clergyman Richard Bentley in anticipation of the first Boyle Lectures that “When I wrote my treatise upon our System, I had an eye on such Principles as might work with considering men fore the beleife of a Deity”
But, of course, it was easily grasped at that time and ever after, that the principles of natural philosophy do not, in themselves require the active presence of a god concerned with space and time….and from thence all our quarrels flow.
Go check it out. Let me know what you think.
Image: Michaelangelo, Sistine Ceiling “The First Day of Creation,” 1509