A Collection of Strange Beliefs, Amusing Deceptions, and Dangerous Delusions

From Abracadabra to Zombies

reader comments: alchemy

4 Feb 2000 
You make the ridiculous assertion that science as we know it has advanced only after the search for the essence of life has been abandoned (your supposed "definition" of alchemy);
just a cursory examination of the lives of Newton, Einstein, Abel , Bohr, Fludd, Descartes, Pascal, etc. would show you what a fool you really are.
Scott Damon

reply: I apologize for not being clearer so a serious scholar such as yourself would not misunderstand.  I have added a link to the term 'essence' to make it clear that I am referring to the fact that as long as inquirers searched for the formal essence of things, believed to be real and distinct from physical entities as well as knowable by rational intuition, scientific progress was not possible. For example, until heat was understood as an effect of matter in motion rather than as a real quality belonging to bodies, a scientific understanding of heat was not possible.

Descartes retained this scholastic way of looking at things, for instance, and he made no significant contribution to physics. Newton did not seek essences and we all know what he accomplished.

Robert Fludd belongs in a different list, I think, from Niels Bohr and Einstein.



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