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Science and Creation Paperback – September 28, 1990

ISBN-13: 978-0819178398 ISBN-10: 081917839X

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 386 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of America (September 28, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 081917839X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0819178398
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,611,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Jaki stakes out a clear position and argues it forcefully...recommended. (Bookreviews)

Jaki stakes out a clear position and argues it forcefully...recommended. (Bookreviews)

About the Author

Stanley L. Jaki a Hungarian-born Benedictine priest, is Distinguished University Professor at Seton Hall University, South Orange, N.J.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
The temporal nature of the universe of matter is one of the fundamental questions examined by all societies from antiquity. For those who who have taken this issue seriously, "fundamental philosophical considerations are at play in the acceptance of the idea of a universe that goes on forever through a supreme cycle." Jaki sifts through the details of those considerations with great skill and energy spanning the range from the ancient Hindu and Babylonian cultures to modern scientific thinkers of this century.
I had the great fortune to work through this volume with the author in a graduate course at Seton Hall University in the early eighties. Your understanding of the history and philosophy of science will be greatly enriched by investing your reading effort in this remarkable book.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Elliot B. Bougis on November 12, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a tour de force of historical narration.

Jaki devotes the first half-dozen or so chapters to explaining how the fixation upon the cosmos as a grand, endless cyclical flux (esp. as the "Great Year") in many cultures (viz., Hindu, Egyptian, Chinese, Greco-Roman, Mayan, Aztec, Incan, Babylonian, Persian) crippled the advance of science beyond more than an "astrological" or "practical" level.

People live and die by their values and societies live and die by their highest beliefs. As such, Jaki shows how the hypnosis of a perpetually recycling cosmos could either (smoetimes, both) weaken the will of researchers to look for anything "new under the sun" or (and) stupefy the mind under a welter of constantly shifting astrological phenomenalism and fatalism. The celestial wheels within wheels within the great wheel of time kept great civilizations spinning their wheels at best. Once, however, a civilization as a whole took a firm stand on the unmoving and absolute origin of all things by God, science found traction and moved ahead. Exact, experimental science got its start in the idea of "impetus," and the idea of impetus was rooted in the impetus of secondary causation imputed to nature by God ab origine (cf. Philoponus, Buridan, Oresme, et al.). Likewise was the contingency of the world as one of many possible creations, rather than as an eternal, necessary emenation of divinity, crucial to inspiring scientific exploration. Further, the goodness of matter inspired Christians to delve into it as stewards made in the image of God.

I found the most interesting chapter to be his discussion of the how the radically voluntaristic emphasis in medieval Muslim theology undermined what surely had the greatest potential for science in the Muslim world.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By ropata on September 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
"Science and Creation" is the first systematic probing into perhaps the most puzzling, but least discussed fact of cultural history: the birth of science. Cultural history abounds in parallel achievements, but it happened only once, between 1250 and 1650, that rudimentary science turned into a self-sustaining enterprise. Such a singular process can hardly be without a lesson, the grasp of which might be of crucial importance for the future of mankind.

To unfold this lesson the author, Stanley L. Jaki, Professor of the History of Physics and Astronomy, Seton Hall University, New Jersey, and an internationally known historian of science, first gives a detailed analysis of ancient Hindu, Chinese, Maya, Egyptian, Babylonian, and Greek cultures, all of which, especially the Greek, could boast a valuable start in science. Yet, in all of them science suffered a stillbirth. They all failed to muster in a sufficient measure faith in progress, confidence in the rationality of the universe, appreciation of the quantitative method, and a depersonalized view of the process of motion, all qualities which are the main features of the scientific quest.

Because the Koran overemphasized the will of the Creator, Muslim scholars fell pry to a mistrust in the validity of rational laws, and as a result science came to a standstill among the Arabs as well. Quite different was the case in the Christian, medieval West, where the biblical faith in the Creator permeated for the first time a whole culture and effectively produced the qualities described above. The ultimate results was the rise of classical physics. Today, in an age of space travel, atomic energy, and computerized production, science looms as a threatening factor.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeri Nevermind VINE VOICE on June 23, 2014
Format: Paperback
Across much of the ancient world, from India and China, to even ancient Greece and the Stoics of Rome, there was a belief in cycles. Golden ages were invariably followed by an age of decay and ruin. Fatalism was deeply embedded in many of the ancient philosophies and religions.

In the "'Hymn of the Rig-Veda'...the 'creation' of this world is described as a process subsequent to the rhythmic breathing of 'that one Thing' the undifferentiated, eternal all. It is the supreme, but also all-encompassing Being" (p 5). For Hindus, there is a cycle of existence (samsara) of unending birth and rebirth.

By being good, one can hope to earn a better life next time;. But what it mostly gave was a sense of exhaustion. Of being on a vicious treadmill. As for good and evil "Perishable as bubbles are the good and the evil of the being of the dream. In unending cycles the good and evil alternate. Hence, the wise are attached to neither, neither the evil nor the good. The wise are not attached to anything at all," (p 9) says the boy to Indra.

Eternal, unending cycles' "hold on the Hindu mind was strong enough to prevent the emergence of a basically positive and confident outlook on nature and on the value of man's activities concerning nature and society" (p 9).

Buddhism took from Hinduism in which it was born a general belief in reincarnation and also a belief in pantheism. Buddha saw the major question in life reduced to how to stop suffering. Buddhists believed suffering was an illusion; the entire world is an illusion. One could overcome the suffering of this world by realizing it was merely illusion and therefore not caring about it.

Thus, Buddhism insisted "that even the most elementary cultural endeavors, such as...
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