Periodicals; Mormons; Religious thought; Philosophy and religion
Independent national quarterly established to express Mormon culture and examine the relevance of religion to secular life. It is edited by Mormons who wish to bring their faith into dialogue with human experience as a whole and to foster artistic and scholarly achievement based on their cultural heritage. The journal encourages a variety of viewpoints; although every effort is made to insure accurate scholarship and responsible judgment, the views expressed are those of the individual authors and are not necessarily those of the Mormon Church or of the editors.
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Rees, Robert A.
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Religion and Science: A Symbiosis I 31 ena.44 And while sophisticated theoretical thought is quite possible in such a frame of mind (as in ancient science), its subjects—that is, the phenomena—are necessarily different because of the change in figuration. A participating consciousness did not see the same thing we see when looking, say, at a tree or at the moon. To such a mind, "the world was much more like a garment which men wore about them than a stage on which they moved."45 And thus, for the scientists of antiquity, the only model of the universe which made any real sense was organismic, not mechanical. Man the microcosm was constantly aware of being nurtured in and by a macrocosmic Nature conceived, as in Plato's Timaeus, as "the nurse of all becoming."46 The origins of modern science may be traced to the gradual disappearance of these extra-sensory links to the world of nature. In the organismic model, for example, thought and space were connected, because every motion in the mind of man was the product of motion in the receptacle of his Becoming, which in turn reflected movements of the Forms of the ideal world.47 However, Aristotle's speculations on the nature of thought led him to the conclusion that thought could be divorced entirely from external movement. Thus, in our world space is an object of perception, rather than its cause; the "receptacle of becoming" is no longer an active organism which brings about life and natural processes, but simply a neutral medium "out there" in which the phenomena are displayed.48 In addition, it was necessary to break the cycle of time, Plato's "moving image of eternity," and change the eternal round of history into a real succession of events ordered by time, viewed now as a dimension or as one of the coordinate axes of reality. This concept of linear time, for which we are primarily indebted to the Israelites,49 made possible the evolutionary orientation of modern science, and the notion of cause and effect on a cosmic scale. Galileo is one of the first modern scientific minds, and it is important to understand that he occupies his pivotal position in the history of science because, for him, participation in the phenomena has effectively ceased. This assertion can be verified in two different ways. One piece of evidence is his ability to conduct thought-experiments, in which he considers "not real bodies as we actually observe them in the real world, but geometrical bodies moving in a world without resistance and without gravity— moving in that boundless emptiness of Euclidean space which Aristotle had regarded as unthinkable."50 Galileo was not by any means the first man to construct a mechanomorphic model of the universe.51 However, the abstract character of his models and the idealized space in which he imagines observing their evolution in time stamps his model-building as original and thoroughly modern. An even more significant token of Galileo's rejection of the participating consciousness is his treatment of hypotheses. Hypotheses—including the heliocentric hypothesis—had been made long before his time. But for ancient and medieval thinkers, the primary concern in constructing an hypothesis was not to establish some particular one as an accurate picture of the universe, but to comprehend the Forms of an idealized nature by an act of indwelling, or participation.52 Hence, it was of little consequence that several different hypotheses might save the same physical appearances;53 there was simply no pressing need to choose among them. The astounding notion which occurred to Galileo54 was that, if the heliocentric theory could save all the astronomical appearances, it was