Harmony, Reason, and the Natural Sciences

Since reason seeks harmony (unification of diverse elements) and delights in it, we will continue to think until all things are brought into this harmony. Just in case anybody fears that thought is thus made finite, I wouldn’t worry about that too much. If you achieve this perfect harmony, you’ll just have to open your eyes and ears to the world around you. New things will happen and you won’t know how they fit in with everything else.

So it’s not just a theoretical harmony our minds seek, but a practical one.

This is one of the reasons the sciences are both so glorious and so frustrating. Their explanatory power is awesome, giving that word its truest meaning. But they don’t explain everything, and can’t. That drives some people to distraction.

Science and religion

I hold to the humble view that the natural sciences are in trouble and that they will build a very high tower over the next 100 or so years before they discover that it has no foundation. The following quotations offer clues as to why I believe this.

A.N. Whitehead, co-author with Bertrand Russell of Principia Mathematica says:

There is but one source for science: It must come from the Medieval insistence on the rationality of God.

St Augustine:

Heaven forbid that God should hate in us that by which he made us superior to the animals! Heaven forbid that we should believe in such a way as not to accept or seek reasons, since we could not even believe if we did not possess rational souls

I pulled these quotations out of a sermon by a British preacher (a priest, I believe), in which he discusses the relationship of religion and science and the lies some PR men for the sciences (Voltaire, Dawkins, etc.) tell about that relationship. Read it here