Monday, July 03, 2006

The Apostles of Common Sense

As you may have heard, Father Stanley L. Jaki spoke at ChesterCon this year. An enthusiastic Chestertonian (see CW3:139 for why I point this out!) he is the author of the very important Chesterton a Seer of Science which considers GKC's work and its relevance to science. Speaking both as a scientist, and as one to struggles to live the Faith, I have found Fr. Jaki's books to be enlightening, thought-provoking, and deeply satisfying.

What I am starting to see, as I proceed deeper into them, is how they begin to "link up" with Chesterton, and with books by other Chestertonians - for, as GKC loved to point out, "I never can really feel that there is such a thing as a different subject. There is no such thing as an irrelevant thing in the universe; for all things in the universe are at least relevant to the universe." [GKC, ILN Feb 17, 1906 CW27:126] You see? This is the kind of profound thought one would expect from a physicist - and one finds it in the weekly column of a journalist.

What do we find in the writing of a physicist?
"I have held it my duty as a scientist as well as my duty as a Christian never to cease being the apostle of common sense, the sole foundation of all scientific, philosophical, and religious certainty", wrote Duhem in a letter to a friend whose identity was not revealed by Emile Picard, perpetual secretary of the Académie des Sciences, who first quoted it in his eulogy of Duhem.
[quoted by S. L. Jaki in The Physicist as Artist: the Landscapes of Pierre Duhem note 93 page 29 (emphasis added)]
In case you did not know: "The Apostle of Common Sense" is the title by which Dale Ahlquist, the President of the ACS, refers to GKC. It is also the title of the shows about Chesterton which are aired by EWTN. And there is also a book providing a kind of condensed script from those shows, available from the ACS.

Pierre Duhem (1861-1916) was a great French physicist and historian of science - but like GKC, he was much more as well. I will try to get a mini-bio together soon.


At 05 July, 2006 15:30, Blogger Brad Shorr said...

Thank you for the book recommendation. I checked Amazon, and they have three copies of "Chesterton Seer of Science", starting at $74. That's a commitment!

At 05 July, 2006 19:28, Blogger Dr. Thursday said...

Utter nonsense - that's insane and pointless. Someone is playing games - either that or the machinery is broken.

Call Real View Books (see link at side) - you can get it there.

At 07 July, 2006 09:05, Blogger rhapsody said...


Without looking it up from a year ago...


(hope the date's right:)


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