Download A scientist's voice in American culture: Simon Newcomb and by Albert E. Moyer PDF

By Albert E. Moyer

In past due nineteenth-century the US, Simon Newcomb was once the nation's so much celebrated scientist and--irascibly, doggedly, tirelessly--he made the main of it. formally a mathematical astronomer heading a central authority company, Newcomb spent as a lot of his lifestyles out of the observatory as in it, performing as a spokesman for the nascent yet restive medical group of his time.Newcomb observed the "scientific strategy" as a possible advisor for all disciplines and a foundation for all useful motion, and argued passionately that it used to be of as a lot use within the halls of Congress as within the laboratory. In so doing, he not just sparked renowned help for American technological know-how but additionally faced a large spectrum of social, cultural, and highbrow concerns. this primary full-length examine of Newcomb lines the improvement of his religion in technology and levels over subject matters of significant public debate within the Gilded Age, from the reform of monetary conception to the recasting of the talk among technology and faith. Moyer's portrait of a stressed, keen brain additionally illuminates the bustle of past due nineteenth-century the United States.

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Taking these teachings literally, but yet profoundly aware that he had not personally experienced a "conversion" and been "born again," he developed deep anxieties about an imminent Judgment Day and his consignment to hell. He relates that, from about age ten through fourteen, "I suffered untold terrors before my prospective fate in the next world. " Try as he might, he remained unconverted. " 4 Around age fifteen, he began to distance himself from orthodox Christian doctrines and to lose his fear of divine judgment.

A particular image of science colored Newcomb's view on its relationship to other areas of life and inquiry. " That is, they succeeded because they governed their studies using a definite set of procedural rules, primary of which was the rule to employ only those concepts that can be defined in terms of concrete experiences. Moreover, comparable successes awaited others who chose to apply the same rules to investigations outside natural science. Scientific method, in other words, provided the key not only to scientific but to all intellectual progress.

8 Scientists' rhetorical structures and strategies have ranged from imagistic and metaphorical modes of expression to appeals, at least through earlier centuries, to seemingly irrefutable rules of logic such as in induction as well as to supposedly indisputable sages such as Francis Bacon, deferentially cited as Lord Bacon. To say that such forms of argumentation, expression, and appeal are rhetorical is neither to disparage them as superficial oratory nor to deny their value within the community of practicing scientists; it is merely to highlight the interpersonal, persuasive aspect of method-based scientific inquiry.

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