Lectures and Essays

Lectures and Essays

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Excerpt: ... is with Nature. It is important to note that the principle of the scientific Naturalism of the latter half of the nineteenth century, in which the intellectual movement of the Renascence has culminated, and which was first clearly formulated by Descartes, leads not to the denial of the existence of any Supernature; 14 but simply to the denial of the validity of the evidence adduced in favour of this, or of that, extant form of Supernaturalism. Looking at the matter from the most rigidly scientific point of view, the assumption that, amidst the myriads of worlds scattered through endless space, there can be no intelligence as much greater than man's as his is greater than a blackbeetle's; no being endowed with powers of influencing the course of Nature as much greater than his as his is greater than a snail's, seems to me not merely baseless, but impertinent. Without stepping beyond the analogy of that which is known, it is easy to people the cosmos with entities, in ascending scale, until we reach something practically indistinguishable from omnipotence, omnipresence and omniscience. If our intelligence can, in some matters, surely reproduce the past of thousands of years ago and anticipate the future thousands of years hence, it is clearly within the limits of possibility that some greater intellect, even of the same order, may be able to mirror the whole past and the whole future; if the universe is penetrated by a medium of such a nature that a magnetic needle on the earth answers to a commotion in the sun, an omnipresent agent is also conceivable; if our insignificant knowledge gives us some influence over events, practical omniscience may confer indefinably greater power. Finally, if evidence that a thing may be were equivalent to proof that it is, analogy might justify the construction of a naturalistic theology and demonology not less wonderful than Page 71 the current supernatural; just as it might justify the peopling of Mars, or of...
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Product details

  • Paperback | 80 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 4mm | 159g
  • English
  • Illustrations, black and white
  • 1236727576
  • 9781236727572