Is Christianity At War With Science? (7/20
The following is a continuing list of Christians down through the centuries who, far from being constantly at war with science (commonly called ‘natural philosophy’ in previous times), took an active interest in seeking to understand how the universe worked. The first page in this list is here.
1193-1280: Albertus Magnus: Recognized as one of very few genuine polymaths in recorded human history. He applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world, and taught that
science is a useful tool of the Christian. He made contributions to chemistry, and encouraged the study of science and the natural world.
1219-1294: Roger Bacon: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world, and encouraged Christians to study science. He made important discoveries in optics, mathematics and
physics, as well as contributions to astronomy and chemistry.
1265-1308: John Duns Scotus: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world, and believed that God can be known through observation of the universe. He wrote extensively on
metaphysics, ethics, theology, and moral psychology.
1250-1310: Dietrich von Frieberg (also known as Theodoric of Freiberg): His study of light led him to a theory which explained accurately the colours in the rainbow, a theory which was not proven until centuries later by Newton’s experiments with the prism.
1280-1347: William of Ockham: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. Occham contributed to the relationship of mathematics to science, and established a principle (now called ‘Ockham’s Razor’), which is considered fundamental to the scientific method of investigation.
1300s: John Dumbleton: He made important contributions to physics and mathematics, and helped discover ‘The Law Of Falling Bodies’ 200 years before Galileo.
1300s: Richard Swyneshead: Nicknamed ‘The Calculator’ for his great skill in mathematics (which was called ‘almost superhuman’ 400 years later by Leibnitz, himself one of the greatest mathematicians who ever lived), he made important contributions to physics and mathematics, especially in the field of motion.
1290-1349: Thomas Bradwardine: Made important contributions to mathematics, physics, and the movement of the planets. He was a member of the group called the ‘Oxford Calculators’, famous for their outstanding work on mathematics and physics. Other important members were John Dumbleton, Richard Wyneshead, William Heytesbury, all mentioned in this article.
1300-1358: Jean Buridan: A French priest who was extremely influential in assisting the advancement of scientific thought. He is most famous for his great work on logic (‘Summulae de dialectica’), which became internationally renowned, and used a standard textbook.
However, his most significant contribution was undoubtedly his theory of inertia (which he called ‘impetus’), a fundamental law of physics unknown even to the greatest of Greek scientists, whose scientific advancement had been crippled by Aristotle’s inaccurate teaching on physics (Aristotle actually taught the opposite of inertia). Inspired by the excellent work on inertia which had been achieved earlier by the brilliant Christian investigator John Philoponus (mentioned previously in this article), Buridan proposed a model of inertia which corrected Aristotle’s flawed ideas, and laid the foundation for later work by Galileo Galilei and Isaac Newton.
1313-1373: William Heytesbury: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. His contributions to physics and mathematics included the ‘Mean Speed Theorem’.
1323-1382: Nicholas Oresme: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. A highly intelligent man who made contributions to economics, physics, music, psychology, optics and mathematics.