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Reconstructing Wonder

Chemistry Informing a Natural Theology

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Timothy Weatherstone

The book uses scientific discipline of chemistry to inform a Natural Theology. While Natural Theology typically employs scientific analysis from Cosmology, Physics, Mathematics and at times Biology the author extends the subject. He refers to the perception of beauty to provide a conceptual framework linking aspects of Epistemology, Theology and Chemistry. The volume presents a working definition of Natural Theology and a new definition of Beauty that bridges the conceptual gaps between the humanities and the hard sciences.

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Chapter 4: A Selective Survey of Current Organic Chemistry Research

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Chapter 4:  A Selective Survey of Current Organic Chemistry Research

4.1  Purpose of the Survey

The role of the aesthetic in chemical research has been explored elsewhere in this thesis and as such there is no need to prove its influence. This book is seeking to explore the usefulness of chemistry in a natural theology and whilst it might arguably have been possible to outline such a contribution from published sources it is nonetheless of interest to explore how the current use of language in chemical research supports aesthetic considerations most notably estimations of beauty. Of course what is of particular interest is that whereas perceptions of beauty in for example the graphic arts, architecture or music are immediately available to the senses, those in chemistry are not. In the latter case the entity or the process which is being assessed is largely or often invisible, with perhaps colour or smell betraying something, but of course nothing (except perhaps hints) of structure. Other characteristics of chemical research have been described and it would also be useful as part of this present survey to illustrate these with examples from current research. Such characteristics include the use of many and varied sampling and analysis techniques to provide a full description of the chemical event or structure in contrast with other scientific disciplines notably mathematics or physics where the descriptions are more usually in terms of equations. The practise of chemical research has been shown...

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