sexta-feira, 31 de março de 2023
...[E]very indication of contrivance, every manifestation of design, which existed in the watch, exists in the works of nature; with the difference, on the side of nature, of being greater and more, and that in a degree which exceeds all computation. I mean that the contrivances of nature surpass the contrivances of art, in the complexity, subtility, and curiosity of the mechanism; and still more, if possible, do they go beyond them in number and variety; yet, in a multitude of cases, are not less evidently mechanical, not less evidently contrivances, not less evidently accommodated to their end, or suited to their office, than are the most perfect productions of human ingenuity.
William Paley (Natural Theology. 12th edition. J. Faulder: London, 1809, pp. 17-18)
quinta-feira, 30 de março de 2023
Let a watch be contrived and constructed ever so ingeniously; be its parts ever so many, ever so complicated, ever so finely wrought or artificially put together, it cannot go without a weight or spring, i.e. without a force independent of, and ulterior to, its mechanism... By inspecting the watch, even when standing still, we get a proof of contrivance, and of a contriving mind, having been employed about it. In the form and obvious relation of its parts, we see enough to convince us of this... But, when we see the watch going, we see proof of another point, viz. that there is a power somewhere, and somehow or other, applied to it; a power in action;--that there is more in the subject than the mere wheels of the machine;--that there is a secret spring, or a gravitating plummet;--in a word, that there is force, and energy, as well as mechanism.
So then, the watch in motion establishes to the observer two conclusions: One; that thought, contrivance, and design, have been employed in the forming, proportioning, and arranging of its parts; and that whoever or wherever he be, or were, such a contriver there is, or was: The other; that force or power, distinct from mechanism, is, at this present time, acting upon it. If I saw a hand-mill even at rest, I should see contrivance: but if I saw it grinding, I should be assured that a hand was at the windlass, though in another room. It is the same in nature. In the works of nature we trace mechanism; and this alone proves contrivance: but living, active, moving, productive nature, proves also the exertion of a power at the centre: for, wherever the power resides, may be denominated the centre.
William Paley (Natural Theology. 12th edition. J. Faulder: London, 1809, Chapter XXIII, pages 416-418.)
quarta-feira, 29 de março de 2023
The notion of the clockwork universe is not of medieval origin; it actually goes back to antiquity. Its most famous exponent in ancient times was Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 B.C.), who carefully developed the analogy in Book II of his work, The Nature of the Gods:
How is it consistent with common-sense that when you view an image or a picture, you imagine it is wrought by art; when you behold afar off a ship under sail, you judge it is steered by reason and art; when you see a dial or water-clock, you believe the hours are shown by art, and not by chance; and yet that you should imagine that the universe, which contains all arts and the artificers, can be void of reason and understanding? (Book II, Section XXXIV)
Is he worthy to be called a man who attributes to chance, not to an intelligent cause, the constant motion of the heavens, the regular courses of the stars, the agreeable proportion and connection of all things, conducted with so much reason that our intellect itself is unable to estimate it rightly? When we see machines move artificially, as a sphere, a clock, or the like, do we doubt whether they are the productions of reason? And when we behold the heavens moving with a prodigious celerity, and causing an annual succession of the different seasons of the year, which vivify and preserve all things, can we doubt that this world is directed, I will not say only by reason, but by reason most excellent and divine? (Book II, Section XXXVIII)
Here, Cicero used the clock analogy, not in order to argue that the universe is a giant clock, but rather to argue that if we can be sure that a clock can only be produced by some intelligent being, then we can be even more certain that the universe, whose movements are much more precise and intricate than any clock's, is directed by a Higher Intelligence.
terça-feira, 28 de março de 2023
...[T]he order of the reason of the mover appears in all things which are moved by reason, granted the thing itself which is moved by reason may not have reason; for thus does the arrow tend directly to the target from the motion of the archer, as if it itself had the reason of the one directing it. And the same appears in the motion of clocks, and of all works of human ingenuity, which come to be by art. However, just as artifacts are compared to human art, so also all natural things are compared to divine art. São Tomás de Aquino (Summa Theologica, I-II, q.13, art.2, ad. 3.)
segunda-feira, 27 de março de 2023
The concept of the clockwork universe is invoked in John of Sacrobosco's early 13th-century introduction to astronomy, On the Sphere of the World (c. 1230), which was widely popular in the Middle Ages. Indeed, it was one of the most influential works of pre-Copernican astronomy in Europe, as it was required reading for students at all Western European universities for the next four centuries after it was published. St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) would certainly have read it, too.
In his book, Sacrobosco spoke of the universe as the machina mundi, or machine of the world. Sacrobosco regarded the universe as having been made in the likeness of an Archetype, or Idea in the Mind of God, Who disposed it to behave in a regular fashion. At the end of his book, Sacrobosco also suggested that the reported eclipse of the Sun at the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was a disturbance in the order of the machine of the world. Hence it could only have been a miracle.
In the last few centuries, the notion of the clockwork universe has been used to minimize the role of God, but that was not how it was originally understood in the 13th century.
domingo, 26 de março de 2023
Newton ... once wrote: "[W]here natural causes are at hand God uses them as instruments in his works, but I do not think them sufficient alone for ye Creation."
For Newton, God maintained and interacted with everything in the physical universe, which he called the "divine sensorium."
Jay Richards, God and Evolution, Discovery Institute, Seattle, 2010
Where did the clockwork universe theory originate, then, if not with Newton? Readers might be surprised to learn that the notion of the clockwork universe is not a product of the mechanistic science of the 17th century, as is popularly assumed. In fact, it was commonly used in the Middle Ages, and certainly goes back at least as far as the 14th century.
Astrophysicist Adam Frank, who is the author of a recent best-seller entitled, About Time: From Sun Dials to Quantum Clocks, How the Cosmos Shapes Our Lives (Oneworld Publications, Oxford, 2012), contends that mechanical clocks, which became widespread in Europe in the 14th century, radically changed the way we view the cosmos itself, as the metaphor of the "clockwork universe" began to take hold. An excellent review of Frank's book, by science journalist Dan Falk, can be found here.
Frank quotes from the writings of the medieval philosopher, mathematician and scientist, Bishop Nicole d'Oresme (1330-1382), who described the world as "a regular clockwork that was neither fast nor slow, never stopped, and worked in summer and winter." As for the planets circling above, Oresme found them "similar to when a person has made a horologe [a clock] and sets it in motion, and then it moves by itself."
Oresme played a very important role in popularizing the clockwork universe metaphor. However, the roots of the metaphor can be traced back to the 13th century and beyond. As we shall see, the metaphor of the universe as a machine is a very ancient one.
sábado, 25 de março de 2023
...[T]he typical picture of Newton as a paragon of Enlightenment deism, endorsing the idea of a remote divine clockmaker and the separation of science from religion, is badly mistaken. In fact Newton rejected both the clockwork metaphor itself and the cold mechanical universe upon which it is based. His conception of the world reflects rather a deep commitment to the constant activity of the divine will, unencumbered by the "rational" restrictions that Descartes and Leibniz placed on God, the very sorts of restrictions that later appealed to the deists of the 18th century.
Newton's voluntarist conception of God had three major consequences for his natural philosophy. First, it led him to reject Descartes' version of the mechanical philosophy, in which matter was logically equated with extension, in favor of the belief that the properties of matter were freely determined by an omnipresent God, who remained free to move the particles of matter according to God's will. Second, Newton's voluntarism moved him to affirm an intimate relationship between the creator and the creation; his God was acted on the world at all times and in ways that Leibniz and other mechanical philosophers could not conceive of, such as causing parts of matter to attract one another at a distance. Finally, Newton held that, since the world is a product of divine freedom rather than necessity, the laws of nature must be inferred from the phenomena of nature, not deduced from metaphysical axioms -- as both Descartes and Leibniz were wont to do.
sexta-feira, 24 de março de 2023
The Notion of the World's being a great Machine, going on without the Interposition of God, as a Clock continues to go without the Assistance of a Clockmaker; is the Notion of Materialism and Fate, and tends, (under pretence of making God a Supra-mundane Intelligence,) to exclude Providence and God's Government in reality out of the World.
quinta-feira, 23 de março de 2023
Perdido entre a dança dos ponteiros
Na batalha contra os dias
É cedo para desistir do tempo
E é tarde, para o conquistar
Pena que só agora troquei
A ambição por ilusões
Vou vagueando pela imagem
No espelho pronto para a conhecer
Lamento ter dormido até tão tarde
Embalado pela rotina
Sorrio, com a lembrança que ainda hoje
Não perdi nenhum segundo
Pena que só agora troquei
A ambição por ilusões
Vou vagueando pela imagem
No espelho pronto para a conhecer