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Forces of Secularity in the Modern World

Volume 1


Stephen Strehle

Stephen Strehle is a leading scholar of church/state issues. In this volume, he focuses his rigorous historical analysis and philosophical acumen upon a topic of great interest today and source of cultural wars around the globe—the process of secularization. The book starts with a discussion of early capitalism and how it saw the real world functioning well-enough on its own principles of individual struggle and self-interest, without needing religious or moral principles to meddle in its affairs and eventually dispelling the need for any intelligent design or providential orchestration of life through the work of Darwin. The book then discusses the growth of the secular point of view: how historians dismissed the impact of religion in developing modern culture, how scientists conceived of the universe running on self-sufficient or mechanistic principles, and how people no longer looked to the providential hand of God to explain their suffering. The book ends with a discussion of how the Deist concept of human autonomy became a political policy in America through Jefferson’s concept of a wall of separation between church and state and how the US Supreme Court proceeded to dismiss the importance of religion in shaping or justifying the values of the nation and its laws. The book is accessible to most upper-level and graduate students in a wide-variety of disciplines, keeping technical and foreign words to a minimum and leaving scholarly details or debates to its extensive notes.

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Chapter Four: The Mechanistic Universe

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The Mechanistic Universe


Modern science no longer looks out in nature to ask ultimate questions about the existence of God and the overall meaning of life. This modern view has a number of reasons, but some of its deepest historical roots developed within the early Puritans and their rejection of the scholastic attempt to probe the mysteries of God within nature outside the direct revelation of Scripture. The Puritans thought it was better to search for the meaning of life in Scripture and spurned the innate capacity of autonomous human beings to seek out the hidden things of God through their reason. The philosophy of nature should recognize its limits and “reflect upon the mundane questions of secondary causality or practical concern, which it could resolve with some certainty or at least make some progress through testing answers.”1 And so, the Puritans ended up advancing the new experimental method of the seventeenth century and encouraging a practical and utilitarian view of education, rather than waste time in idle metaphysical speculation about matters of empirical concern.2 This new approach was inspired by heartfelt religious convictions, but it also helped facilitate modern science and its move toward a more secular view of life. The modern scientific community simply followed the Puritans’ understanding of human limitations by ignoring any quest for higher or deeper significance within the object of its study and preferred to treat “Being” as an instrumental means for technological skills and utilitarian purposes.3 It was content to set the goals of life within the inward dispositions of the human subject ← 129 | 130 → and its desires, and let objective existence lose all meaning—at least for those who limited their understanding to the new approach and abandoned the “spectacles” of Scripture and its deeper commentary on life.4

The dichotomy between faith and reason soon gave way to complete unbelief in those individuals who wished to reduce all matters of life to materialistic concerns. Thomas Hobbes saw naturalism emerging in the future, where religious superstition would fade into the ignorance of past generations and implode before the power of palpable, materialistic explanations. He said the future would replace the miraculous hand of God with natural phenomena, the work of the Spirit with “affections of the mind or body,” angelic apparitions with dreams or visions, demonic possession with mental illness; and for the most part, he was right.5 The modern world tended to proceed in this direction. It tended to view nature as interdependent; natural explanations as good enough; and supernatural elements as incredulous, or at least an unnecessary divergence that defied Ockham’s Razor.6 In the nineteenth century, Auguste Comte led the charge toward extolling the omnicompetence of science in addressing all human problems and replacing the need for religion.7 Historians and biblical critics like David Strauss disparaged the miraculous accounts of the Gospels and led many in the church to abandon any literal interpretation of the faith and its sacred text.8 Even a twentieth-century theologian like Rudolf Bultmann disparaged the cosmology of the NT as mythological and spoke of God as unworldly or transcendent, leaving “the closed weft of history…undisturbed” by spiritual activity.9 Of course, many non-religious scholars went further than Bultmann’s program of demythologizing the Scripture and chose to dispense with God-talk altogether and reduce the sum and substance of life to physics or matter in motion, even including human beings within the reduction.10 They rejected any human outcry and particularly disparaged the attempt of people like René Descartes to preserve some aspect of human dignity in the midst of the cosmic machine, rejecting the concept of a soul or “Ghost in the machine,” discarding all “internal mysteries,” preferring functional descriptions, and reducing our thought to chemical or neurological interactions.11 They rejected any dichotomy in the cosmos, particularly the idea that human life consisted of a “double series of events taking place in two different kinds of stuff.”12

The materialistic view of life owed much of its early impetus to the growing mechanistic imagery of certain physicists and those scholars who wished to use it as a means of undermining the presence of God in the universe and turn life into a self-sufficient system.13 The theory is often associated with some of the great names in the western canon—Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, Gassendi, Descartes, and Boyle, although any account of its historical development depends upon the interpretation of complexities and inconsistencies in their works. These scientists ← 130 | 131 → might reduce life to matter in motion or some efficient causality in certain places and then turn around and make room for the existence and activity of spiritual entities in others, making it difficult to trace a simple lineage of the theory and their place in it.14

Above all its foundational figures, René Descartes stands out as the one person most identified with the early formulation and propagation of the theory. He provides a mature statement of it in his Principles of Philosophy (1644) and tries to maintain some consistency with it throughout the rest of his other works while struggling to preserve some semblance of human dignity and the religious beliefs of the day. In this and other works, he portrays space as a plenum or body-like extension of size, shape, and motion, and rejects those who conceive of objects as moving freely in the vacuum of space, attracting one another at a distance, or providing their own causal impulse as substantial forms.15 Whatever happens to corporeal entities is the result of impacts. A body only falls to earth as a result of the impact of other bodies.16 The world is a massive machine of integrated parts and mechanical laws and contains no space for divine intervention to perform its miracles—once the divine will decided to create the whole. The world is a closed-shell and separated from its Creator.17

To a large extent, the theory represents Descartes’ answer to a problem that plagued the physics of his day concerning planetary motion, ever since Kepler debunked the existence of crystalline spheres. How is it possible for planets to circumambulate the sun in a regular pattern through the immense reaches of space? In answering the question, Descartes found it necessary to turn the universe into an enormous interconnected machine of vortices. He posited the existence of a huge whirlpool or vortex in our immediate solar system that carried all material in its wake, including planets and comets.18 This plenum helped answer the problem of Kepler’s observation, but it also proceeded to cause difficulties in other areas that were near and dear to Descartes’ ideology—like the place of God and the freedom and influence of the human soul. Of course, these other areas eventually receded into the background as the image of a machine was applied consistently and permeated many levels of society with dogmatic force during the next few centuries.

More important than the influence of Descartes was the popular association of the mechanistic universe with the physics of Isaac Newton, promulgated by Deists, philosophes, and secular-types, all in the name of their ideology.19 Newton’s physics would reign for the next few centuries as the supreme systematic statement of “objective” science, and its association with the clockwork universe was crucial in forwarding the secular view of life. But in this case, the move toward secularity had little pretext in any “objective” reading of science and more to do with a ← 131 | 132 → highly subjective interpretation creating its own illusions about it. In fact, recent scholarship has demonstrated the distorted and misleading nature of the interpretation by pointing to Newton’s unpublished manuscript, De gravitatione et aequipondio fluidorum, which served as the basis of his mature statement in Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica and directly repudiates the Cartesian system. The treatise analyzes Descartes’ Principles of Philosophy in some detail and refutes many of its central ideas point-by-point.20 Newton displays particular concern about its notion of God as a “retired engineer” and berates it as one step away from complete atheism.21 Descartes leaves no room for God to exercise dominion over the creation by making matter and extension indistinguishable, rejecting the existence of any void between material elements, and attributing motion to loops or direct material contact.22

Newton thinks of space as a meeting place between the material and immaterial world, without confusing the two together (Spinoza) or tearing them apart (Descartes and Leibniz).23 God is said to be present everywhere as the Lord of creation and ruling nature actively and directly, “creating, preserving, and governing according to his good will and pleasure.”24 The regular motion of bodies finds its fundamental explanation in positing the existence of an “intelligent agent” moving objects through the power of a rational and purposeful will.25 The divine omnipresence acts like an immaterial aether that moves bodies by its will without affecting the immutable nature of God or offering material resistance to the objects.26

Newton thinks of space and time as coming into existence from an eternal act of divine emanation.27 Space and time always exist because God always exists. They never exist as separate subsistences outside the Ground of Being and find an ultimate purpose in establishing divine ubiquity as an immediate and co-eternal affection of God.28 This line of thinking allows Newton to conceive of space and time as “absolute,” making them oblivious to what happens with material bodies and remaining constant throughout all eternity—independent of all objects, but radically dependent upon God.29 It causes Newton to think of matter as created ex nihilo and located or placed within an absolute framework, which is extra-mental and non-relative.30 It makes him think of motion as a change of place in absolute space, rather than a change in an object’s relation to surrounding bodies.31

Newton’s system of physics runs into difficulty when trying to explain the relationship between objects in material terms. It develops this difficulty because he rejects Descartes’ hypothesis of a vortex or the idea of a medium like aether filling the spatial void.32 Newton speaks of a force like gravity in relating bodies at a distance, but he insists that gravity is a non-mechanical cause. It relates bodies at a distance outside of impact. It does not act on the surface of an object like a ← 132 | 133 → mechanical cause in relating to the mass of an object and diminishes with distance, unlike other physical quantities.33 All Newton can do is speak of “attractive Powers,” “Virtues of Forces” between objects, without supplying a specific physical answer to “whatsoever be the Cause.”34 He admits his ignorance at this point in the discussion and concedes the absurdity of believing that objects attract one another at a distance without the existence of some medium conveying the action.35

It is inconceivable that inanimate brute matter should, without the mediation of something else which is not material, operate upon and affect other matter without mutual contact.… That gravity should be innate, inherent, and essential to matter, so that one body may act upon another at a distance through a vacuum, without the mediation of anything else, by and through which their action and force may be conveyed from one to another, is to me so great an absurdity that I believe no man who has in philosophical matters a competent faculty of thinking can ever fall into it.36

The use of the term gravitas only designates a mysterious force that has no material explanation.37

The problem only finds its resolution because Newton is not limited to material explanations in his attempt to explain phenomena. Modern physicists might prefer for Newton to leave well enough alone and speak of gravity within the limits of science as a mathematical postulate or simple regularity that is defined by the inverse square law,38 but Newton is much bolder in his approach and willing to engage in metaphysical speculation about the forces of life and its causal nature. He starts natural philosophy in the phenomenal world and conducts experiments in the typical scientific manner to derive his results, but he has no problem using physics to ascend into a more universal and metaphysical realm and speculate over the First Cause of all things.39 At these more speculative moments, Newton is willing to find a definitive explanation within the existence of God as the immaterial power behind action at a distance.40 Here he posits God as the omnipresent force that permeates space like a spiritual aether, moving objects in accordance with the divine intention and explaining the beauty, order, design, and symmetry that scientists observe in the material world, without a specific material cause.41

In fact, Newton views his work as promoting belief in the existence of God.42 He considers the “framework of nature,” especially the “contrivance of the bodies of living creatures,” providing the best evidence for the existence of God from the philosophy of nature.43 However, this view of God is clearly enhanced by a lifetime study of Scripture, above and beyond all his philosophical pursuits.44 His devotion leads him to produce a substantial body of theological material, which continually speaks of the “God of Israel” as the Lord of all creation. This God actively exercises dominion over the world in a free and voluntary manner, unconstrained by ← 133 | 134 →the eternal laws of a clockwork universe and more than capable of intervening and producing miraculous effects on extraordinary occasions, just as it is recorded in the Bible.45 Newton’s theological works include a detailed perusal of the prophecies in Daniel and Revelation, which are interpreted in a literal manner and stoked with the typical millenarian expectations of the Puritan community and its belief in an ultimate intervention of God in the near future.46

In certain ways, this appeal to special revelation is divided from his work in physics as he follows the basic tendency of Puritans in separating the two fields and their methods,47 but he is never faithful to a strict or absolute distinction between the two. In following the division, he speaks of the Bible as a non-scientific book, written to accommodate the experiences of common people and addressed to utilize what appears true to them in a “relative” way about space, time, and motion.48 His scientific works display the same division by defending the autonomous nature of experimental philosophy against metaphysical prejudices49 and mentioning God and Scripture only once in the first edition of Principia, thinking it “better to let his readers draw [religious consequences] for themselves.”50 But this division is violated on other occasions and hardly expresses his overall sentiment on the subject. He certainly avoids speaking about God in the first edition of Principia, but his General Scholium of the second and third editions adds explicit theological comments to make clear his overall understanding of the subject at hand.51 He goes on to speak of God as the basic presupposition of rational science in providing order and simplicity to the object of study 52 and rejects any strict division between religion and science. He rejects any notion of science that would exorcize the presence of God from the universe or justify a secular view of life as if consonant with scientific inquiry.

Newton’s view of science is never able to divorce its analysis from his religious concerns and so divide the results of dispassionate research methods from ideological commitments. The problem of mixing cultural commitments with scientific work ends up skewing his objectivity, but he is not alone in wrestling with the subjectivity of his results and represents to a large extent the problem of all scientists, who can never claim complete immunity from cultural and ideological commitments that surround them, as if living in an unbiased world of gathering facts from simple observations. Even using the experimental method makes Newton and the scientific community a part of a specific culture that tries to divide prejudice from objective fact; and after adopting the method, the bias only continues as the scientists choose objects of interest based upon social pressures that arise outside the research and focus on a specific cause as the center of attention, while ignoring the many other influences that life presents to every object or effect.53 Thomas Kuhn thinks that facts or objects of research can never exist outside a scientific theory that ← 134 | 135 → alters entities to fit its basic paradigm. A new theory “requires the reconstruction of prior theory and reevaluation of prior fact.” It requires the selection of facts that interest the researchers and secures an exalted status among the scientific community only by resolving a few problems that a group of researchers finds particularly acute.54 Karl Popper says that the universal laws of science cannot be forged through following its singular statements and empirical experiences inductively. No empirical statement exists apart from universal reference and metaphysical commitment; “no matter how many instances of white swans we may have observed, this does not justify the conclusion that all swans are white.”55 Albert Einstein certainly agrees with these sentiments in rejecting the approach of Bertrand Russell and other empirical atheists who dismiss conceptual or metaphysical thinking out of their fear for religious mysticism. Physics always arises above a simple inductive approach toward the experiences of the senses and finds stimulation within the free creations or intuitions of human imagination to make progress within the discipline.56

Most often these intuitions arise from a cultural climate that stimulates and correlates science with many different ideological factors outside the specific discipline. This process certainly develops when Darwin relates his observations in nature to the economic theories of the day; it also develops when Newton cross-pollinates physics with the Puritan ideology of his day; and it continues to develop with contemporary scientists who are no different than their predecessors, even if they try to feign objectivity and hide or discard “religious” baggage. Quantum physicists have a clear secular bias in their desire to eliminate the mystical language of the past. They want to eliminate all talk of forces or fields and replace it with more concrete material terms, which provide an all-sufficient explanation in reducing life to particles or quanta. They want to eliminate Newton’s mystical talk of “gravity” and explain attraction (or repulsion) in terms of particle exchange, even though no direct empirical evidence exists up to this point to suggest the presence of a “graviton.”57 Today’s scientists come from a more secular reconstruction of reality that develops after the time of Newton and causes them to look at the world differently through a new cultural perspective that is hardly neutral. No matter how much they protest by making a conscientious and concerted effort to remain neutral in their methods and research, none of them ever provides a dispassionate rendering of the facts that is free from the ideological frameworks of their inner and outer life.58 No physicist can graze upon the ultimate reality of life or the ultimate force of the universe directly and objectively. The modern proclivity to view the forces of life as a part of the material world only speaks from the modern secular tendency to ignore divine presence and interpret nature as a self-contained unit with its own appetency. It speaks more of a cultural bias than the results of empirical observations or a direct scientific vision into the world of cause and effect. ← 135 | 136 →

The forces of life remain as metaphysical and mysterious as ever. The popular culture denies this problem and imputes to matter its own efficacy, but much of academia has rebelled against scientism and recognizes the limitations of the scientific method in explaining metaphysical questions about causal mechanisms, or the why and wherefore of life. Modern philosophers take particular pleasure in pointing out this problem to their audience and debasing the exalted status of science in the modern world by showing certain limits within its methods of inquiry and ability to answer certain questions from a strict empirical analysis of nature. According to their analysis, science has particular difficulty when addressing teleological questions concerning the final cause or the why and wherefore of life that so preoccupied Aristotle and many others in the ancient world; even early modern questions concerning the causal mechanism of how things work in everyday life seem to escape its limited purview. In the eighteenth century, David Hume brought the most devastating analysis to the capacity of causal reasoning to develop definitive conclusions by demonstrating to the satisfaction of most philosophers the inability of pure reason to analyze an effect in mundane experience and derive its cause without resorting to the custom or habit of experience that associates the two events together. Hume demonstrated in this simple way that the nature of the causal mechanism escapes us in everyday experiences of life, let alone in regard to the final cause of the entire universe, where no one has experienced its origin or even comprehended its phenomena.59 Ludwig Wittgenstein followed Hume and represented the sentiment of the philosophical community in saying,

All definitions are made a priori.

One elementary proposition cannot be deducted from another.

There is no possible way of making an inference from the existence of one situation to the existence of another, entirely different situation.

There is no causal nexus to justify such an inference.

We cannot infer the events of the future from those of the present.

Superstition is nothing but belief in the causal nexus.…

It is an hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow: and this means that we do not know whether it will rise.

There is no compulsion making one thing happen because another has happened. The only necessity that exists is logical necessity.

The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena.

Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages.60 ← 136 | 137 →

Many other disciplines joined the philosophical community in its polemic against scientism and its attempt to absorb all other aspects of life under the simple matrix of a mechanistic universe. After Newton, scientism reared its ugly head and created in many ways its own backlash by ascending to the top of Mount Olympus and deigning to replace all the other gods as the true and only discipline worthy of pious devotion. Newtonians like Pierre Laplace displayed the zenith of scientific arrogance by deprecating belief in the existence of God as an unnecessary postulate and declaring that the new science was able to comprehend all events—past, present, and future.61 Other reductionists appeared in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with the same hubris but soon ran into complications as the microscope and telescope revealed the rich diversity and complexity of life surpassing all previous expectations. Quantum physics finally imploded the myth of scientism altogether by discovering a strange world that lies beyond all calculation and determinacy.62 Werner Heisenberg disavowed the possibility of prying into this world through his famous Uncertainty Principle and abandoned all attempts to depict its atoms beyond mathematical matrices. He said, “Not only is the Universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think.”63 Niels Bohr agreed and added his skepticism by declaring that no clear boundary exists between the measuring apparatus and the system measured when examining this tiny world. Whether light is a particle or wave depends on what type of experiment a physicist wishes to conduct.64 Of course, other disciplines attacked the hubris and questioned whether science was ever capable of handling the total spectrum of human experience through its various images and symbols. William James thought that scientific materialism dealt with a very limited part of the spectrum and missed the deeper spiritual reality that resonates within the human soul. The totality of human consciousness finds it necessary to describe experience through many different images and disciplines. It might even let in messages that come from exceptional phenomena, coming outside the limited purview of the physical world and transcending the naked eye, much like ultra-red and ultra-violet rays. Certainly, something is missing when a scientist listens to a “Beethoven string-quartet” and describes the experience as a “scraping of horses’ tails on cats’ bowls.”65 Science might do a pretty good job in discussing certain local regularities, making empirical discoveries, and creating technological effects, but its wider-claims are far from compelling and require other disciplines or perspectives to fill out the entire human experience.66

Modern philosophy has come to question the objectivity of all human knowledge by emphasizing more and more the place of human subjectivity in appropriating the empirical world. Immanuel Kant helped inspire this new direction by announcing a “Copernican Revolution” in the study of epistemology; ← 137 | 138 → instead of assuming that “all our knowledge must conform to objects,” he thought it was more enlightening to assume the exact opposite and see the mind as imposing its nature or a priori categories on the objects of the world.67 This revolutionary turn was followed for the most part by the philosophical community and ended up destroying whatever remnant of belief remained in viewing the human mind as a simple arbiter of objective truth or tabula rasa. The next generation of Neo-Kantians saw George Hegel turn history and its philosophical inquests into a process of gaining knowledge of one’s inward subjectivity, or eliminating the alienation that exists between the subject and object.68 “What is rational is actual and what is actual is rational.”69 Arthur Schopenhauer reduced the phenomenal world to a mere representation of our conscious life, comparing it to the illusive images of a dream or the Hindu concept of maya. He thought of space, time, and causality as appearing with the opening of the eye and expressing nothing more than the functions of the brain.70

Today’s postmodernists take this process as far as it can go by eliminating all distinction between the subject and object and relegating belief in the dichotomy to a fundamental error of the past, committed by classical metaphysics.71 Postmodernists reject all traditional western attempts to develop a “mirror-image” of reality or find “objective cognition” from some ideal world of truth subsisting in the heavens above. Humans relate to each other through the art of conversation and possess no ground to justify their language-games as if pointing to something solid.72 Their ideas only exist within the “fantasy-frame” of a “virtual reality,” which no longer finds a substantial difference between fantasy and the outside world, between the erotic illusion about a “fantacy-object” and the experience of making love to a “real partner.”73 Their ideas arise in dialogue with culture and develop along with it in a non-rational way through the accidents of history—the arbitrary constraints of the past and the power-plays of political and social forces in the present.74 All human ideas develop from a certain cultural perspective, representing the “shared background information” of a community and making it impossible to “get away from force, from the pressure exerted by a partial, non-neutral, nonauthoritative, ungrounded point of view.” No one can eliminate bias and adjudicate differences between various people and their ideas.75

Scientists tend to resist this postmodern analysis as an extreme expression of philosophical disdain for their discipline. Almost all physicists believe in some external reality that answers to their methods and theories. Even in quantum theory, few physicists understand the presence of the observer as actually creating the initial reality or potentiality, even if the method and act of experimentation influences the results. In fact, the physical world often stands recalcitrant in thwarting their prior expectations and serves as an important empirical check to ← 138 | 139 → their work, allowing them to start anew and make genuine progress in developing a better or more satisfying explanation. In the seventeenth century, Cardinal Bellarmine tried to press Galileo into admitting the Copernican revolution was a simple mathematical convenience in calculating the relationship between the sun and the earth, but scientists will have none of this and take the language of mathematics much more seriously than a mere calculating device that is indifferent to the reality of the world.76 Even the early Wittgenstein saw language as touching reality in describing its logical relationship or states of affairs,77 and scientists have shown the power of mathematical language time and time again in describing and predicting these relationships in making certain aspects of life more intelligible.

These scientists make a good point and do well in remaining within the mathematical limits of their discipline but tend to fall upon more questionable footing when overstepping the warning of the philosophical community and taking their metaphysical leaps into the world of causality all-too-seriously. How and why things work remains as much a mystery as ever in the fundamental sense of these questions—no matter how many technological marvels are produced and put forth by the apologists of science in claiming the omniscience of the scientific enterprise. Understanding the physical world remains a much more difficult task than simply using it through a process of trial and error or mathematical prediction in finding out what works. Understanding the electromagnetic force is a much more difficult problem for physics than building and using a generator. Those scientists who view life as a self-contained unit of mechanical forces often speak from the hubris of their discipline in trying to reduce all of life to physics and represent little more than the modern secular culture’s point of view, based upon many non-scientific factors. In all the bluster, physicists remain as blind as ever to the efficient and final cause(s) of the universe. Their metaphysical flights of fancy involve little more than a leap of faith into the realm of the unknown, and theistic or Newtonian alternatives remain as viable as ever.78 Any popular belief in a mechanistic universe is based on subjective criteria.


1. Stephen Strehle, The Egalitarian Spirit of Christianity: The Sacred Roots of American and British Government (New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers, 2009), 227.

2. Ibid., 224–28. Robert Merton, an American sociologist, first observed the dominance of Puritans in seventeenth-century science and then posited a connection between their religion and the birth of modern science. Science, Technology & Society in Seventeenth Century England (New York: Howard Fertig, 1970), xii, 112–14, 119, 122–23, 128, 134–35. He particularly looked at The Dictionary of National Biography (London: Smith, Elder and ← 139 | 140 → Co., 1885), which contains 29,120 biographical notes that provide some indication of the occupation, except in 120 cases.

3. Martin Heidegger, “Overcoming Metaphysics,” in The End of Philosophy, Joan Stambaugh (trans.) (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1973), 86, 93, 100, 104–6; Bernard Eugene Meland, The Secularization of Modern Culture (New York: Oxford University Press, 1966), 68–69; Charles Taylor, A Secular Age (Cambridge, MA and London: The Belknap Press of Harvard University, 2007), 97–99, 247, 353–54, 359, 761.

4. Calvin uses the metaphor of “spectacles” to describe how the Scripture clarifies our bleary-eyed understanding of God in nature. Inst., 1.6.1–4; 14.1. Both Calvin and Luther rejected the ability of philosophical prowess to find God apart from revelation. Their position contradicted the basic Thomistic/Aristotelian tradition of finding God through philosophical reasoning.

5. Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Nelle Fuller (ed.), in Great Books of the Western World, Robert Maynard Hutchins (ed.) (Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1978), 79, 174, 188, 259; Ronald Numbers, “That Creationism is a Uniquely American Phenomenon,” in Galileo Goes to Jail, and Other Myths About Science and Religion, Roland L. Numbers (ed.) (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 2009), 225.

6. Taylor, A Secular Age, 30, 539, 620, 633.

7. The Crisis of Industrial Civilization: The Early Essays of Auguste Comte, Ronald Fletcher (intro.) (London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1974), 89–90, 99; Philip S. Gorski, “Historicizing the Secular Debate,” in American Sociological Review 65/1 (2000): 140; Owen Chadwick, The Secularization of the European Mind in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1975), 233; Steve Bryce, Secularization: In Defence of an Unfashionable Theory (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 4.

8. E.g., David Strauss, The Life of Jesus Critically Examined, Peter Hodgson (ed.), George Eliot (trans.) (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress Press, 1972), 316, 442; The Life of Jesus for the People (London: Williams and Norgate, 1879), 1.201.

9. Rudolf Bultmann et al., Kerygma and Myth: A Theological Debate, Hans Werner Bartsch (ed.) (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1961), 1; Walters Schmithals, An Introduction to the Theology of Rudolf Bultmann, John Bowden (trans.) (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 1968), 169, 255.

10. Willard Van Orman Quine, Word and Object (Cambridge, MA: The M.I.T. Press, 1960), 4; Christopher Hookway, Quine (Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988), 3, 25, 65, 70–71, 75.

11. Gilbert Ryle, The Concept of the Mind (Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 1984), 11, 45–51, 159, 247–48, 254–55, 270, 318–20; John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 22; B. F. Skinner, Beyond Freedom and Dignity (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1971), 9, 188, 200, 205; Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects, Paul Edwards (ed.) (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1957), 50–51, 90.

12. Ibid., 167.

13. Taylor, A Secular Age, 329.

14. Margaret Osler, “That the Scientific Revolution Liberated Science from Religion,” in Galileo Goes to Jail, 94–95; Enrique Dussel, “From Secularization to Secularism: Science from ← 140 | 141 → the Renaissance to the Reformation,” in Sacralization and Secularization, Roger Aubert (ed.) (New York and Paramus, NJ: Paulist Press, 1969), 102.

15. René Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, in The Philosophical Writings of Descartes, John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 1.288 (203); Robert Rynasiewicz, “Newton’s Views on Space, Time, and Motion,” 6–7, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,; Edward Slowik,”Descartes’ Physics,” 3–4, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,

16. Andrew Janiak, Newton as Philosopher (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009) 102.

17. S. G. Hefelbower, “Deism Historically Defined,” The American Journal of Theology 24/2 (1920): 221; Osler, “That the Scientific Revolution Liberated Science from Religion,” 97; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 103, 155.

18. Cosmology: Historical, Literary, Philosophical, Religious, and Scientific Perspectives, Noriss S. Hetherington (ed.) (New York and London: Garland Publishing, 1993), 263–64; Slowik, “Descartes’ Physics,” 18, 21; Andrew Janiak, “Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy in Descartes and Newton,” Foundations of Science 18/3 (2013): 406. Unlike Galileo, Descartes maintained his orthodoxy by saying it is the surrounding vortex that moves, not the earth.

19. Edward Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology Eliminated the Need for God,” in Galileo Goes to Jail, 121; Stephen Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica: A Preliminary Survey,” Neue Zeitschrift für Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie 52/4 (2010): 377–78, 410; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 178.

20. Andrew Janiak, “Newton’s Philosophy,” 2, in Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy,; Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton,” 378; Rynasiewicz, “Newton’s View on Space, Time, and Motion,” 8; Janiak, “Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy in Descartes and Newton,” 8.

21. Cf. E. J. Dijksterhuis, The Mechanization of the World Picture, C. Dikshoorn (trans.) (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1961), 491.

22. Isaac Newton, “De Gravitatione” (ca. 1685), in Philosophical Writings, Andrew Janiak (ed.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 30–32; Edward Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’: The Role of Divine Will in Newton’s Natural Philosophy,” Science and Christian Belief 3/2 (1991): 11–12, 17. Leibniz held to a similar whirlpool theory.

23. Alexandré Kayré, From the Closed Universe to the Infinite Universe (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1957), 242; Ernst Cassirer, The Platonic Renaissance in England, James Pettegrove (trans.) (Edinburgh: Nelson, 1953), 149ff.; Steffen Ducheyne, “Isaac Newton on Space and Time: Metaphysician or Not?,” Philosophica 67/1 (2001): 107–8.

24. Newton, “De Gravitatione,” 25–26; Yahuda MS. 21, fol. 1r [Quoted in Frank E. Manuel, The Religion of Isaac Newton: The Fremantle Lectures 1973 (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1974) 2]; Newton, The Principia: Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, I. Bernard Cohen and Anne Whitmann (trans.) (Berkeley, CA: University of California, 1999), 940–41; Andrew Janiak, “Space, Atoms and Mathematical Divisibility in Newton,” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 31/2 (2000): 221–22; Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View,’” 9. ← 141 | 142 →

25. Janiak, “Newton’s Philosophy,” 12; Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 404; Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’,” 11–12.

26. Cosmology, 272–73; Newton, Principia, 491–92.

27. Royal Society, Gregory MS. 245, fol. 1a [Trans. in J. E. McGuire, “Force, Active Principles, and Newton’s Invisible Realm,” Ambix 15 (1968): 190]; “Dr. Clarke’s Fourth Reply” (June 26, 1716) and “Dr. Clarke’s Fifth Reply” (Oct. 29, 1716), in The Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, H. G. Alexander (ed.) (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1970), 47, 104; Janiak, “Newton’s Philosophy,” 4−5.

28. Newton, Principia, 941; Ducheyne, “Isaac Newton on Space and Time,” 98–101; Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 401–2; Janiak, Newton as Philsopher, 143–54.

29. Ibid., 77, 87; Rynasiewicz, “Newton’s Views,” 1–2, 9–10, 20; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 152–53. Einstein’s theory relates space and time together, whereas Newton is unable to create a relationship. For Newton, motion can be accelerated or retarded, but not absolute time.

30. Newton, “De Gravitatione,” 35; Ducheyne, “Isaac Newton on Space and Time,” 83, 98–101; Cosmology, 273. Newton thought of the universe as infinite. William Charleton provided essentially the same concept of space and time in his Physiologia Epicuro-Gassendo-Charltoniana, with which Newton was familiar as an undergraduate student. Rynasiewicz, “Newton’s Views,” 6.

31. Janiak, Newton as Philosophers, 30, 137. While one cannot measure the true velocity of an object, its acceleration can be measured.

32. At several points, Newton postulated the existence of aether, but later abandoned it when experimenting with pendula, because its existence would end up hindering motion. Any aether in Newton would need to bear a non-negligible mass. (Otherwise, its mass would exert a gravitational pull.) It would need to be non-mechanical, or able to penetrate the surface of an object. Newton, “De Gravitatione,” 34; Ducheyne, “Isaac Newton on Space and Time,” 80, 97; Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology,” 120; Janiak, “Newton’s Philosophy,” 19; Newton as Philosopher, 18, 100–1. At times he speaks of objects “attracting” or “gravitating” toward each other.

33. Newton, Principia, 943; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 9–10, 27–28, 75, 78, 87–88, 120. For Descartes, each body of a given volume has the same extension and quantitas materiae. He thinks the quantity of matter cannot be calculated by simply weighing an object. Newton thinks of objects as possessing extension and density. “Quantity of matter is a measure of matter that arises from its density and volume jointly.” Mass can be measured by weighing it. The inertial mass involves its resistance to acceleration. Newton, Principia, 403; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 103–4.

34. E. W. Strong, “Newton and God,” Journal of the History of Ideas 13/2 (1952): 161; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 95.

35. Cosmology, 272; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 33–34.

36. Newton, “Correspondence with Bentley” (Feb. 25, 1692/3), in Philosophical Writings, 102–3.

37. Ibid. (Jan. 17 and Feb. 11, 1692/3), 100–1; Janiak, “Newton’s Philosophy,” 9, 15–16; Newton as Philosopher, 6–7; Strong, “Newton and God,” 152. Leibniz criticizes Newton for ← 142 | 143 → using this occult entity, without showing a material cause. “Newton to Leibniz” (Oct. 16, 1693), in Philosophical Writings, 112.

38. A. J. Ayer, Hume: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2000) 68ff., 85, 89–90; Anthony O’Hear, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990), 102–4. Berkeley speaks of gravity as a mathematical postulate, not a physical quantity. Newton also emphasizes mathematics in his description of nature, believing that geometry and matter belong together. This type of number mysticism goes back to the Pythagoreans and pre-Socratic philosophy. At times, Newton spurns any speculation over the “physical” cause and makes gravity “purely mathematical.” Here he is most consistent with his scientific method, where hypotheses non fingo (“I feign no hypotheses”), even if he insists that gravity “really exists.” Newton, Principia, 381, 407–8; The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, Andrew Motte (trans.) (London: Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1968), 2.392 [General Scholium]; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 15–16, 26, 55; Stephen D. Snobelen, “‘The True Frame of Nature’: Isaac Newton, Heresy, and the Reformation of Natural Philosophy,” in Heterodoxy in Early Modern Science and Religion, John Brooke and Ian Maclean (eds.) (Oxford: University Press, 2005), 236–39.

39. Newton, Principia, 943; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 4, 11–13, 113. For Descartes, metaphysics precedes physics.

40. Ernan McMullan, Newton on Matter and Activity (Notre Dame, IN and London: University of Notre Dame Press, 1978), 101; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 39–44, 166; Cosmology, 272–73; Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology,” 120. His letters speak openly about the ground of universal gravitation within the divine presence. This relation is also found in the first draft of the Scholium (Proposition ix) and the later General Scholium of 1713.

41. Newton, Principia, 940; Janiak, Newton as Philosopher, 37. Of course, the modern world often scoffs at this type of argumentum ex ignorantia, which attributes to God unknown causes, or makes the existence of God depend upon gaps in our knowledge. Rev. G. L. Marriot, “Isaac Newton: Scientist and Theologian,” 216; Paul Tillich, Systematic Theology (Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press, 1975), 1.6.

42. Newton, “Correspondence with Berkeley” (Dec. 10, 1692), 94.

43. Newton, “Scholium Generale” (MS Add. 3965 fols. 361–62), in Unpublished Scientific Papers of Isaac Newton, A. Rupert Hall and Marie Boas Hall (eds. and trans.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962), 358 (363); Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 3987; Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’,” 10–11.

44. Marriot, “Isaac Newton,” 216; Frank E. Manuel, The Religion of Isaac Newton (Oxford: At the Clarendon Press, 1974), 14.

45. Newton, Principia, 940–41; “Mr. Leibnitz’s First Paper” (Nov. 1715) and “Dr. Clarke’s First Reply” (Nov. 26, 1715), in Leibniz-Clarke Correspondence, 11–14; Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology,” 116; “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’,” 17–19. Newton has a tendency toward the voluntarism of the Franciscan/Nominalist tradition of the late medieval period. God could make the world with different laws through a free and voluntary act. Stephen D. Snobelen, “‘God of Gods, and Lord of Lords’: The Theology of Isaac Newton’s General Scholium to the Principia,” Osiris 16 ← 143 | 144 → (2001): 176; “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 393; Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’,” 19. At one time he thought the cosmos was not self-regulating. God might be needed to correct irregularities in mutual attraction and maintain the system. Leibniz mocked Newton’s belief as requiring occasional miracles. Newton typically sees the world in terms of order and symmetry. The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, A. Rupert Hall and Laura Tilling (eds.) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), 6.261; Cosmology, 273–74; Davis, “Newton’s Rejection of the ‘Newtonian World View’,” 14–15.

46. Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology,” 118; Manuel, “The Religion of Isaac Newton,” 63, 97–99. Newton set a specific timetable for the coming early on, but later became more cautious—just like the Puritan community. Throughout his study of Scripture, he remained within the basic parameters of a general orthodoxy on most issues, but his biblical piety made him question the doctrine of the Trinity as an impious and irrational theological construct, based upon Platonic theories of divine emanations, rather than the simple reading of the biblical text. He ended up embracing the ancient heresy of Arius, but kept it quiet, probably to avoid controversy and maybe ostracism. Newton, Yahuda MS 15.5, fol. 154r [cited in Snobelen, “God of Gods,” 183]; Manuel, “The Religion of Isaac Newton,” 7, 12, 74; Snobelen, “The True Frame of the Universe,” 233; “God of Gods,” 171–72, 181–83, 187; Davis, “That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology,” 117. Clark, the main apologist of Newton, also followed him on this matter.

47. Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (Kila, MT: Kessinger Publishing, 1994), 14; Snobelen, “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 410; Manuel, “The Religion of Isaac Newton,” 30–32; Strehle, The Egalitarian Spirit of Christianity, 226–27.

48. “Newton to Burnet” (Jan. 1680/1), in The Correspondence of Isaac Newton, H. W. Turnbull (ed.) (Cambridge: At the University Press, 1960), 2.331; Janiak, “Metaphysics and Natural Philosophy in Descartes and Newton,” 413–14; Newton as Philosopher, 159–60. This relative perspective is found in Gen. 1 with its description of the two great lights, or in Josh. 10 with its depiction of the sun standing still in the heavens. Absolute space and time are not subject to sensory perception. Ducheyne, “Isaac Newton on Space and Time,” 92.

49. Strong, “Newton and God,” 157.

50. William Whiston, A Collection of the Authentick Records Belonging to the Old and New Testaments (London, 1728), 2.1073–74; Snobelen, “God of Gods,” 173.

51. Isaac Newton, The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, 2.388–93 [General Scholium]; Snobelen, “God of Gods,” 169; “The Theology of Isaac Newton’s Principia Mathematica,” 381; Strong, “Newton and God,” 149–50.

52. Yahuda MS 1.1, fol. 4r [cited in Manuel, The Religion of Isaac Newton, 48–49]; Manuel, “Religion and Isaac Newton,” 47–48; Strong, “Newton and God,” 159–60.

53. Hilary Putnam, The Many Faces of Realism (LaSalle, IL: 1995), 20, 37ff.; O’Hear, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 16ff., 55, 210–11.

54. Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of the Scientific Revolution (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1970), 7, 18, 23, 158; O’Hear, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 64–66.

55. Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery (London and New York: Routledge, 1995), 27, 35–36, 95. Popper thinks a good scientific theory can be refuted or falsified by experience, whereas Kuhn thinks all theories have problems or anomalies. Ibid., 40, 113, 124; ← 144 | 145 → Kuhn, The Structure of the Scientific Revolution, 146–47; O’Hear, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 83. Scientists held to Newton’s theory of gravity before Einstein, in spite of observing anomalies in Mercury’s orbit. Albert Einstein, Relativity: The Special and General Theory, Robert W. Lawson (trans.) (New York: Bonanza Books, 1961), 103, 123; Lincoln Barnett, The Universe and Dr. Einstein (New York: Bantam Books, 1974), 85–86; Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld, The Evolution of Physics (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1988), 238–39.

56. Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions (New York: The Modern Library, 1994), 24, 337, 355; Einstein and Infeld, Evolution of Physics, passim.

57. Jim Baggott, Higgs: The Invention and Discovery of the ‘God Particle’, Steven Weinberg (forward) (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012), xi–xii, 38, 143, 220–21.

58. Taylor, A Secular Age, 565, 569–74. Wittgenstein thinks that our initial picture of the world comes from our inherited background. Our language-game has nothing to say about other hypotheses or worldviews. On Certainty, G. E. M. Ansombe and G. H. von Wright (eds.), Denis Paul and G. E. M. Anscombe (trans.) (New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1969), 15 (94), 28 (203).

59. David Hume, Dialogues and the Natural History (Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 36–37, 46, 50, 53, 78–79, 84; An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding (Chicago, IL: Henry Regnery Co., 1965), 24ff., 64, 147ff.

60. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness (trans.) (London and Healey: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1977), 39 (5.135–5.1361), 70 (6.36311–6372). Those scientists who engage in metaphysical analysis about causality have no justification to complain about proponents of Intelligent Design for engaging in the same philosophical leap. Cf. Michael Ruse, “That ‘Intellectual Design’ represents a Scientific Challenge to Evolution,” in Galileo Goes to Jail, 206–14.

61. W. W. Rouse Ball, A Short Account of the History of Mathematics (New York: Dover Publications, 1960), 414–15, 417–18; John Polkinghorne, Quantum Theory: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002), 1.

62. A good example is Russell’s attempt to reduce logic to mathematics, until Kurt Gödel published his revolutionary paper in 1931, showing that no arithmetic system is complete and internal contradiction is an indelible aspect of mathematics. Gödel constructed a true but indemonstrable formula, showing that arithmetic axioms are necessarily incomplete. Ernest Nagel and James R. Newman, Gödel’s Proof (New York and London: New York University Press, 1986), 3, 6, 58–59, 86–92, 94, 100. One application of his proof might say that human brains can do more than machines, since a machine can only work within a fixed direction or manipulate formal, meaningless symbols. John Searle, Minds, Brains, and Science (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 31, 44; Hilary Putnam, Words and Life, James Conant (ed.) (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1995), 392, 441ff., 444–45, 448.

63. J. P. McEvoy and Oscar Zarate, Introducing Quantum Theory, Richard Appignanesi (ed.) (Cambridge: Icon Books, 1996), 127ff.

64. Andrew Whitaker, Einstein, Bohr and the Quantum Dilemma (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 171–73; McEvoy and Zarate, Introducing Quantum Theory, 160; Polkinghorne, Quantum Theory, 36. ← 145 | 146 →

65. William James, The Will to Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy (New York: Barnes and Noble Books, 2005), 48, 63, 68, 104–5, 248–51, 272–73.

66. O’Hear, Introduction to the Philosophy of Science, 203–4.

67. Immanuel Kant, The Critique of Pure Reason, in Robert Maynard Hutchins (ed.), Great Books of the Western World (Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1978) 7; Frederick Copleston, Kant, in A History of Philosophy (Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1964), 6/2.20, 59.

68. Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, A. V. Miller (trans.), J. N. Findlay (forward and analysis) (Oxford University Press, 1977), 477, 491 (803).

69. George Hegel, The Philosophy of Right, in Great Books of the Western World, T. M. Knox (trans.) (Chicago, IL: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1977), 6.

70. Arthur Schopenhauer, The World as Will and Representation, E. J. Payne (trans.) (New York: Dover Publications, 1969), 1.3, 31, 171ff., 352, 419; 2.7, 8.

71. Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology, Gayatri Chakraorty Spivak (trans.) (Baltimore, MD and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1976), lix, 14, 71–73, 315. This paragraph glosses over some significant differences between the postmodernists. Many of the postmodernists point back to John Dewey and American pragmatism as an early inspiration for eliminating the distinction between fact and value. The pragmatists considered theories to have validity only as tools or instruments, not dogmas, emphasizing their capacity to work or shape the world into whatever purpose humans have in mind (since the world has no fixed purpose). John Dewey, Reconstruction in Philosophy (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 1962), 70; Putnam, Word and Life, 152.

72. Richard Rorty, Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1980), 12–13, 126, 299, 371–72; Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis, MN: The University of Minnesota Press, 1994), xvii, xliii. Harry Frankfurt finds an epidemic of “bullshit” these days in our culture and blames postmodernism to some extent. On Bullshit (Princeton, NJ and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2005), 64–67.

73. Slavj Žižek, Tarrying with the Negative: Kant, Hegel, and the Critique of Ideology (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1993), 43–44.

74. Rudi Visker, Michel Foucault: Genealogy as Critique, Chris Turner (trans.) (London and New York: Verso, 1995), 57–59, 66–67, 104; Gary Gutting, Foucault: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 50; Lydia Alix Fillingham, Foucault: For Beginners (London: Writers and Readers Publishing, 1993), 102–3. His numerous books all illustrate this general point.

75. Stanley Fish, Doing What Comes Naturally (Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press, 1989), 13, 20, 291, 353–54, 432–33, 487–88, 519; Is There a Text in This Class?: The Authority of Interpretive Communities (Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard University Press, 1980), 14–16, 285, 292. A good illustration of this point is the type of mass commentary that develops after presidential debates. No one sitting in an isolated room knows exactly what to think, but in the public a consensus is usually reached sometime after the debate and everybody seems to repeat it. The first Nixon/Kennedy debate is interpreted through the consensus. Nixon’s eyes are shifting around, his face is sweaty, he needs makeup, he won the debate if you were listening on the radio focusing on the specific substantive ← 146 | 147 → points, et al. Kennedy looked confident or “presidential,” he stared into the camera, he won on style with the viewing audience, et al.

76. Polkinghorne, Quantum Theory, 83–85, 91–92.

77. Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 8 (2.0271), 9 (2.15–2.17), 10 (2.19–2.2).

78. Einstein’s image of warped space is just a metaphysical image of free creation, helping him understand its geometry. ← 147 | 148 →