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Old 04-15-2017, 10:43 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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How could someone like Newton believe in irrational things

How could Isaac Newton believe in nonsense like alchemy, finding biblical codes in the bible, prophecies and all that nonsense, I mean that stuff is just silly

it makes me argue if he was even smart to begin with, I mean the average high school atheist today has more intellect than Newton when it comes to that stuff
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:51 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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How could Isaac Newton believe in nonsense like alchemy, finding biblical codes in the bible, prophecies and all that nonsense, I mean that stuff is just silly

it makes me argue if he was even smart to begin with, I mean the average high school atheist today has more intellect than Newton when it comes to that stuff
Riiiight. That's why the high school atheist has come up with scientific accomplishments that dwarf Newton's, right?

I keep telling people, you can't trust Christian scientists like Mendel and LeMaitre. Listen to atheists like Lysenko, because you KNOW they have no ulterior motives or hidden agenda.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:56 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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Riiiight. That's why the high school atheist has come up with scientific accomplishments that dwarf Newton's, right?

I keep telling people, you can't trust Christian scientists like Mendel and LeMaitre. Listen to atheists like Lysenko, because you KNOW they have no ulterior motives or hidden agenda.
but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:09 PM
SamuelA SamuelA is online now
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How could Isaac Newton believe in nonsense like alchemy, finding biblical codes in the bible, prophecies and all that nonsense, I mean that stuff is just silly

it makes me argue if he was even smart to begin with, I mean the average high school atheist today has more intellect than Newton when it comes to that stuff
He's a product of his time. At the time, the scientific method didn't exist. The scientific method is an idea that could be described as saying "look. if you can't verify it by experiment in the world today, and get credentialed peers to replicate your result, it's bullshit. Simpler ideas that full explain all observations are better than more complex ideas. If an idea doesn't explain all observations, it should be scrapped or reworked until it does or the outlier observations are explained."

Simple, but in Newton's time, religious scholars were considered credible. There was basically no knowledge they had at all that had been rigorously examined.

They also lived in a time when the scientific method had been yet to be proven to work. By the mid 19th century onwards, it would have been increasingly clear that the scientific method was the only game in town, as increasingly advanced technology became rapidly available, after thousands of years of relatively small advances. (I'm picking that point in time because electricity, steam ships, and other very obvious and effective bits of machinery were becoming available). Newton was 200 years earlier. The printing press, which is what allows the scientific method to even be conducted since it allows knowledge to be feasibly stored over long periods of time and distributed to collaborators, was just 200 years before Newton.

Even then, the religious nuts were still being heard and have yet to be shut up to this day.

Last edited by SamuelA; 04-15-2017 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:12 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
No. Newton's Principia was widely acknowledged as a hugely important work in his own time.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:13 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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First of all, being smart--even revolutionarly smart--does not make one immune from believing unproveable or irrational things. Human beings are rationalizing animals, not rational computers, and we tend to believe the ideas which best support how we would like the world to be whether it actually is that way or not. Some of the very smartest physicists have and continue to believe in concepts that are inarguably unprovable; Pauling and his Vitamin C obsession, Bohm and his beliefs in a universal order predicted by Buddhism, Hoyle and panspermia, and Penrose with his Orch-OR microtubules. There is an endless amount of nonsense in the world to believe in even if you are hard-headed about your partiucular field of study.

Second, bear in mind that Newton died in 1727, at the very beginning of the European Age of Enlightenment. Science as we know it today did not exist, and much of what was known about how the world worked was derived from religious doctrine from various scriptural and canonical sources. Newton predates Priestley and Dalton, and indeed nearly all of modern chemistry, he knew nothing of evolution, and lived at a time when it was still not widely believed that stars were other suns in a galactic structure that was one of uncountable billions in the observeable universe. The things we think are "silly" today seemed entirely plausible in a world where religious organizations held powerful sway over the inbred puppets ordained as the leaders of nations in a system organized by lineage rather than merit or competence.

Third, Newton was kind of wack, anyway. He visited the wrath of his position and influence on Robert Hooke (who himself was kind of a legendary asshole); he never married or (as far as we are aware) had any romantic relationships; he had many contentious professional relationships which he damaged or destroyed through apparent (of sometimes justified) paranoia over not receiving primacy; and generally seems to have been a kind of unpleasant person who obsessively focused his energies in excess of science and natural philosophy on studies that were of little general interest.

If you want to question "if [Newton] was even smart to begin with," that is certainly your prerogative but given his manifest contributions to mathematics and physics that stand in practical application today--he's one of the very few people to have an entire field of mechanics and the set of governing laws named for him--you're going to have to make a more substantive argument than you've presented here if you want to get any serious traction.

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No. Newton's Principia was widely acknowledged as a hugely important work in his own time.
And is still in publication today. In fact, I think it may have been in constant publication since the first issuance. It is one of the few books you can mention--along with The Origin of Species, the Torah, the Christian Bible, the Koran, and the Kama Sutra--that are instantly recognizable to virtually any educated adult.

Stranger

Last edited by Stranger On A Train; 04-15-2017 at 11:17 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:27 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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First of all, being smart--even revolutionarly smart--does not make one immune from believing unproveable or irrational things. Human beings are rationalizing animals, not rational computers, and we tend to believe the ideas which best support how we would like the world to be whether it actually is that way or not. Some of the very smartest physicists have and continue to believe in concepts that are inarguably unprovable; Pauling and his Vitamin C obsession, Bohm and his beliefs in a universal order predicted by Buddhism, Hoyle and panspermia, and Penrose with his Orch-OR microtubules. There is an endless amount of nonsense in the world to believe in even if you are hard-headed about your partiucular field of study.

Second, bear in mind that Newton died in 1727, at the very beginning of the European Age of Enlightenment. Science as we know it today did not exist, and much of what was known about how the world worked was derived from religious doctrine from various scriptural and canonical sources. Newton predates Priestley and Dalton, and indeed nearly all of modern chemistry, he knew nothing of evolution, and lived at a time when it was still not widely believed that stars were other suns in a galactic structure that was one of uncountable billions in the observeable universe. The things we think are "silly" today seemed entirely plausible in a world where religious organizations held powerful sway over the inbred puppets ordained as the leaders of nations in a system organized by lineage rather than merit or competence.

Third, Newton was kind of wack, anyway. He visited the wrath of his position and influence on Robert Hooke (who himself was kind of a legendary asshole); he never married or (as far as we are aware) had any romantic relationships; he had many contentious professional relationships which he damaged or destroyed through apparent (of sometimes justified) paranoia over not receiving primacy; and generally seems to have been a kind of unpleasant person who obsessively focused his energies in excess of science and natural philosophy on studies that were of little general interest.

If you want to question "if [Newton] was even smart to begin with," that is certainly your prerogative but given his manifest contributions to mathematics and physics that stand in practical application today--he's one of the very few people to have an entire field of mechanics and the set of governing laws named for him--you're going to have to make a more substantive argument than you've presented here if you want to get any serious traction.

And is still in publication today. In fact, I think it may have been in constant publication since the first issuance. It is one of the few books you can mention--along with The Origin of Species, the Torah, the Christian Bible, the Koran, and the Kama Sutra--that are instantly recognizable to virtually any educated adult.

Stranger

ehhhh Hooke is kind of overrated, he might of had similar ideas to Newton, but he didn't have anywhere near the mathematical talent to make them a reality

as the french mathematician Claraut said

"One must not think that this idea ... of Hooke diminishes Newton's glory", Clairaut wrote; "The example of Hooke" serves "to show what a distance there is between a truth that is glimpsed and a truth that is demonstrated".

similar to how we remember Darwin more so than Wallace when it comes to natural selection/evolution

now on to the rest of your points, i see where your coming from, i guess im still viewing him through a 21st century mindset, and that's not really a good practice when evaluating past figures

Last edited by Complexintuition; 04-15-2017 at 11:28 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:27 PM
igor frankensteen igor frankensteen is offline
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How could Isaac Newton believe in nonsense like alchemy, finding biblical codes in the bible, prophecies and all that nonsense, I mean that stuff is just silly

it makes me argue if he was even smart to begin with, I mean the average high school atheist today has more intellect than Newton when it comes to that stuff
Classic backwards thinking on your part.

You missed several things. For one thing, you assume that if someone is really bright and insightful about one thing, that they will be the same way about everything. That's absurd on it's face. Next, you ignored the entire progress of human learning, and assumed that it all happens at once. Next, you failed to show that YOU have ever experienced a significant insight of any importance or uniqueness, because you would have learned from such an experience, that knowledge doesn't spring instantly into existence, it depends heavily on previous lessons and recognitions. You should have learned that from your own normal life, just realizing that you had to learn to stand up, before you could learn to walk,and so on.

In addition, you equate INTELLECT with KNOWLEDGE. They aren't the same thing. A person can be brilliant AND ignorant, in fact it's more common than not. You may be an example of it yourself.

In addition, you missed the most critical fact: that Newton DID so carefully and intensely explore all of those subjects, and tried to corral them into coherence, shows just how energetically brilliant he was. The reason why he accomplished what he did, was because he worked THAT hard on everything that crossed his path.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:31 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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It's just weird that when you get to Einstein he didn't believe any of that stuff
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:31 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is online now
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but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
Since I knew of Newton in high school, in the 1980s, before the rise of the internet, I can guarantee this is false.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:36 PM
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but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
No, Newton was widely known for centuries. When I was a kid, 50 years ago, every school child was familiar with the legend of Newton sitting under the apple tree and getting bonked on the head. And when I studied science in sixth grade, one of the very first things we were taught was Newton's three laws of motion.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:50 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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It's just weird that when you get to Einstein he didn't believe any of that stuff
What stuff? Newton's laws are still used almost everywhere even today (the International System of Units for force is even called a "Newton"). Einstein realized that they were incomplete under extreme conditions and created his theories of relativity to expand on them but relativity doesn't have much practical application unless you are designing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or very long space flights (Newton had no such need nor did anyone else when he was alive).

Now that you brought up Einstein, he didn't believe in quantum mechanics even though it is known to exist now even though there is absolutely no one in the world that fully understands it. Was he a fool too? Of course not and never will be viewed as such. Science is built in increments and fits and starts on the shoulders of giants. Both Newton and Einstein are among the most well known of those giants.

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Old 04-15-2017, 11:53 PM
Doug K. Doug K. is online now
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No, Newton was widely known for centuries. When I was a kid, 50 years ago, every school child was familiar with the legend of Newton sitting under the apple tree and getting bonked on the head. And when I studied science in sixth grade, one of the very first things we were taught was Newton's three laws of motion.
Not to mention that the Otter Pops characters, which were introduced in the 1970, included Sir Isaac Lime, indicating that he was well known enough to be parodied for children's treats.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:57 PM
Stranger On A Train Stranger On A Train is offline
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ehhhh Hooke is kind of overrated, he might of had similar ideas to Newton, but he didn't have anywhere near the mathematical talent to make them a reality
So who, in your self-esteemed position, is not overrated?

Stranger
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:57 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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it's just usually historical figures are not well known until later

i believe Shakespeare wasn't as being the "greatest english writer" until the Victorian era

but i guess Newton was known right away after Principia was released

Last edited by Complexintuition; 04-15-2017 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 04-15-2017, 11:58 PM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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So who, in your self-esteemed position, is not overrated?

Stranger
sorry I should of been much more specific, I meant the Hooke-Newton dispute is overrated,

I didn't mean to imply Hooke was overrated

Last edited by Complexintuition; 04-15-2017 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:02 AM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
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I have no idea where you got the idea that Newton was only made famous because of the internet. That is like saying that most people never heard of Benjamin Franklin until Google showed up. That is patently absurd. Newton was internationally famous even during his own life and it never stopped. He is one of the most famous scientists that ever lived and is instantly recognizable to almost anyone that attended school before 1800 or so.

Here is a long list of places named after him and books published about him. They span centuries and I am sure there will be more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...r_Isaac_Newton
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:03 AM
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You guys realize that people of the future will say similar things regarding scientists today right?
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:08 AM
John Mace John Mace is online now
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You guys realize that people of the future will say similar things regarding scientists today right?
Only uneducated people will say those things.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:14 AM
Beren Erchamion Beren Erchamion is offline
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It's just weird that when you get to Einstein he didn't believe any of that stuff
Is, like, time not a thing in your worldview?
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:16 AM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
You must have been reading about Juice Newton. Sir Isaac Newton has been widely regarded as the greatest scientist who ever lived, since his own lifetime. I would be surprised if Einstein didn't agree. There is no chance that any 20th century physicist wasn't aware of him.

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Old 04-16-2017, 12:41 AM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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How could Isaac Newton believe in nonsense like alchemy, finding biblical codes in the bible, prophecies and all that nonsense, I mean that stuff is just silly

it makes me argue if he was even smart to begin with, I mean the average high school atheist today has more intellect than Newton when it comes to that stuff
"Genius" is a term that is very often used much too loosely. It has been watered down so that anyone who shows above-average proficiency in some area is in danger of being called one.

Newton was a genius in the true sense, and a genius of the highest rank. Any one of several contributions to several different scientific disciplines would entitle him to be called a genius. Thinking that he wasn't even smart betrays a complete ignorance of the history of science. Posting that thought, without even bothering to first read a brief biography of Newton, reveals something rather more serious.

That being said, I think your question is profound, because a similar question has consumed me for the last 50 years. You say you don't understand how a smart guy can believe in Biblical codes; I say I don't understand how a smart guy can believe in the Bible, period.
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Old 04-16-2017, 12:44 AM
Beren Erchamion Beren Erchamion is offline
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I say I don't understand how a smart guy can believe in the Bible, period.
Probably because you're making incorrect assumptions about the role of holy texts in religious traditions. If you take a religious studies class sometime, you'll be quickly disabused of those misconceptions.

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Old 04-16-2017, 12:50 AM
AK84 AK84 is offline
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Third, Newton was kind of wack, anyway. He visited the wrath of his position and influence on Robert Hooke (who himself was kind of a legendary asshole); he never married or (as far as we are aware) had any romantic relationships; he had many contentious professional relationships which he damaged or destroyed through apparent (of sometimes justified) paranoia over not receiving primacy; and generally seems to have been a kind of unpleasant person who obsessively focused his energies in excess of science and natural philosophy on studies that were of little general interest.

Stranger
I take it you are familiar with his later work as Master of the Royal Mint? Where he basically put an end to forgers and counterfeiters, and had scores hanged, drawn and quartered? Often doing the investigations and interrogations himself, in some cases having the wives and mistresses of the forgerers pressurized (read: threatened or administered a damn good thrashing) to get information. And often cross-examining accused himself.

He also undertook reforms to currency, which would have earned him a place in history regardless of his scientific work.

Man was a genius and a first rate nut.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:09 AM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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I have no idea where you got the idea that Newton was only made famous because of the internet. That is like saying that most people never heard of Benjamin Franklin until Google showed up. That is patently absurd. Newton was internationally famous even during his own life and it never stopped. He is one of the most famous scientists that ever lived and is instantly recognizable to almost anyone that attended school before 1800 or so.

Here is a long list of places named after him and books published about him. They span centuries and I am sure there will be more.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_o...r_Isaac_Newton

So would the Founding Fathers of known of Newton?

Last edited by Complexintuition; 04-16-2017 at 01:09 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:13 AM
Some Call Me... Tim Some Call Me... Tim is offline
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...
Man was a genius and a first rate nut.
Yeah, toward the end of his life he was mad as a hatter, literally. (He suffered from mercury poisoning, which would later become the reason hatters were known to go insane.)
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:14 AM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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Probably because you're making incorrect assumptions about the role of holy texts in religious traditions. If you take a religious studies class sometime, you'll be quickly disabused of those misconceptions.
I'm painfully aware that most Christians (to pick the low-hanging fruit) don't know or care much about the Bible, but that's not what I mean. I mean I don't understand how an intelligent, educated adult can believe even the most basic tenets derived from the Bible, e.g. (being Easter and all) that Jesus rose from the dead and saved humanity.

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Old 04-16-2017, 01:20 AM
Some Call Me... Tim Some Call Me... Tim is offline
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So would the Founding Fathers of known of Newton?
Everyone with a college education at that time would have, and many without.

I mean, here's a painting of Benjamin Franklin with a bust of Isaac Newton on his desk.

It's possible he even met him, Franklin visited London in 1724.

Last edited by Some Call Me... Tim; 04-16-2017 at 01:22 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:25 AM
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So would the Founding Fathers of known of Newton?
Is this a serious question? How old are you?
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Old 04-16-2017, 01:36 AM
davidm davidm is offline
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but is Newton that big a scientific giant

someone made the claim before that Newton wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet

not even Einstein was aware of him, is this true?
Seriously? Where did you get this?

I learned about Newton in grade school in the 60s.

People talked about Newton's theories on TV news programs during the space race.

Einstein was very much aware of Newton and showed where his theories were incomplete.

Go to Google books and search on Newton and look at the dates on the returned references.

The idea that Newton was practically unknown before the internet is ludicrous.
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:08 AM
davidm davidm is offline
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So would the Founding Fathers of known of Newton?
Please stop using "of" in place of "have".
"...would the founding fathers have known..."
"Should have" or "should've", not "should of".
"Would have" or "would've", not "would of".
It makes you sound illiterate, which you're clearly not.

Sorry. It's a pet peeve that drives me nuts.

Last edited by davidm; 04-16-2017 at 02:11 AM.
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:23 AM
Complexintuition Complexintuition is offline
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Everyone with a college education at that time would have, and many without.

I mean, here's a painting of Benjamin Franklin with a bust of Isaac Newton on his desk.

It's possible he even met him, Franklin visited London in 1724.
to be fair that bust in the painting could be a famous greek or roman person that Franklin admired

Newton had long hair, i mean unless their is some context clues, it doesn't explicitly show that the bust is that of Newton
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:31 AM
Beren Erchamion Beren Erchamion is offline
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I'm painfully aware that most Christians (to pick the low-hanging fruit) don't know or care much about the Bible, but that's not what I mean.
That's not what I mean, either.

Seriously, take a class sometime. Religion is a complicated sociocultural phenomenon that requires nuance to understand how people interact with their religious traditions.

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I mean I don't understand how an intelligent, educated adult can believe even the most basic tenets derived from the Bible, e.g. (being Easter and all) that Jesus rose from the dead and saved humanity.
Aside from the fact that there are some Christians who don't (seriously, this is why you need to understand how holy texts function--it's a lot more complicated than "everyone assumes everything should be taken at face value"), why can't an intelligent person believe it? What, exactly, about that belief is incompatible with intelligence?
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Old 04-16-2017, 02:40 AM
Beren Erchamion Beren Erchamion is offline
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So would the Founding Fathers of known of Newton?
...are you kidding?

Thomas Jefferson explicitly cited him as an intellectual influence.

And John Locke--who the American founders knew forwards and backwards--was profoundly influenced by Newton.
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:12 AM
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Jefferson called Bacon, Locke and Newton 'the three greatest men that have ever lived, without any exception'. So, yes, he had heard of him.

https://www.loc.gov/exhibits/treasures/trm033.html

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Originally Posted by Complexintuition View Post
someone made the claim before that Newton
wasn't known in the scientific world until the 1980s with the rise of the internet
One further example to underline what others have said - in the 1970s Newton was so famous that he appeared on the most widely circulated UK banknote. That's real fame for you.
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:28 AM
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to be fair that bust in the painting could be a famous greek or roman person that Franklin admired

Newton had long hair, i mean unless their is some context clues, it doesn't explicitly show that the bust is that of Newton
The bust is Newton. It is still in the Royal Society archives to this day.

Newton had short hair, as did most Englishmen at the time. He did wear long wigs on formal occasions, because that was what people did back then.
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Old 04-16-2017, 03:43 AM
Shalmanese Shalmanese is offline
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You're making the common mistake of equating rationalism with intelligence. This is an extremely common misconception helped in no small part by the rationalist community who like to conflate the two to boost their own status. In reality, the two are quite orthogonal and there's ample evidence to demonstrate that more intelligent people are more apt to cling to their irrational beliefs because they have better cognitive tools to intellectually justify their beliefs.

It's also been my experience that people who are at the groundbreaking genius level are also way, way more likely to have completely nutso, out their beliefs. In a way, this makes a lot of sense. Only people willing to break from the status quo and have independent thought are going to be capable of making genuine breakthroughs. If you're the first person to discover a conceptualization of a problem, by definition, you are in disagreement with every single other person in the world. That kind of thinking has a high tendency to bleed into other areas of their life as well.

During my time working at a research lab, you could go out for beers with some of the top minds in the field and they would happily prattle on about all of the strange and crazy beliefs, chiefly on topics outside their primary area of expertise. The difference is, most of these people had enough social intelligence to also understand there would be little gain and an extreme amount of cost to them trying to spread these beliefs in public so they were completely buttoned up and only let loose in private conversations. To the outside world, they seemed like they had completely conventional beliefs but that was just because they hid it really well. You'd probably be surprised at the number of famous scientists who believe completely crazy things but the few examples that are part of the public consciousness (Newton, Pauling, Hoyle) are only because they chose to actually talk about it.
  #38  
Old 04-16-2017, 03:46 AM
Fuzzy_wuzzy Fuzzy_wuzzy is offline
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it's just usually historical figures are not well known until later

i believe Shakespeare wasn't as being the "greatest english writer" until the Victorian era

but i guess Newton was known right away after Principia was released
Partially true. Shakespeare was generally considered in the top rung of English writers until around the time of the American War of Independence. Only from around the 1770's onwards was he elevated to supreme status in both England and Germany.
  #39  
Old 04-16-2017, 05:23 AM
TonySinclair TonySinclair is offline
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Seriously, take a class sometime.
Interesting how you're so much more condescending to me than to the OP, whose post makes me look like Aquinas. Not hard to guess whose ox is being gored.

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Religion is a complicated sociocultural phenomenon that requires nuance to understand how people interact with their religious traditions.
Fuck, you sound like tomndebb arguing about how hardly anybody took the Bible literally before the 19th century, and that Dark Age peasants knew all along that Genesis was allegorical.

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Aside from the fact that there are some Christians who don't [believe in the resurrection of Jesus, and its necessity for salvation]
Even making allowances for the thousands of denominations which derive from the unambiguous truths laid out by the Bible's perfect Author, and in full awareness of the No True Scotsman fallacy, anyone who doesn't believe Jesus died for our sins and rose from the dead is not a Christian in any normal context. He can call himself one, and he can believe with all his heart that the philosophy espoused by Jesus is the best ever, but very few people, other than internet pedants trying to win some point, would call him a Christian.

I'd be willing to call him a Jesusite if he agreed with Jesus about not accumulating wealth, and not retaliating against enemies, but those beliefs alone would get him thrown out of a lot of churches.

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(seriously, this is why you need to understand how holy texts function--it's a lot more complicated than "everyone assumes everything should be taken at face value"),
Nice straw man, but I have never said that. In fact, I have written approximately 10000 posts on this and other boards about how Christians pick and choose which verses they take seriously.

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why can't an intelligent person believe [in the resurrection of Jesus, and its necessity for salvation]? What, exactly, about that belief is incompatible with intelligence?
Obviously, nothing. Why would I say I don't why X happens, if X didn't happen? It is, however, incompatible with rationality. It defies science, logic, and common sense, and there is not a shred of verifiable evidence for it. While I will cheerfully admit that much smarter people than I believe in it, IMO they are not rational in their belief.

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Seriously, take a class sometime.
Happy Easter to you, too. I think this is too far off topic to continue here, but if you would like to start a thread in GD about how belief in Jesus' resurrection is rational, PM me with the title and I will happily participate.
  #40  
Old 04-16-2017, 09:11 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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Unitarians have rejected the concept of Jesus as divine for nearly 200 years (hence the name), and have generally been considered Christians by most people for most of that.

Back to Newton, a large part of the reason he was so famous is that he was seen, even in his own day, as a sign of the rising power and might of England. English promotion of Newton was promotion of England herself, as a new superpower, as the new center of learning and invention. He was put in charge of the mint because he was a known figure, and people trusted him. The founding fathers considered themselves English and would have not only admired Newton, but taken a great deal of pride in him.

Finally, I don't think some people realize how unknown the world was in the 17th and 18th C and how little data anyone had to work from. Everything was jumbled anecdote--and half of those anecdotes were true! We mock people for believing in the unicorn in the same breath where we mock them for not believing in the platypus. The miracles in the bible were not nearly so incredible in a world where so much that happened had no clear cause or explanation. Alchemy seems much more plausible when there are unexplained transformations happening all over the place--water to ice, corpses to dirt (or flies). How weird is fire?
  #41  
Old 04-16-2017, 09:17 AM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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What stuff? Newton's laws are still used almost everywhere even today (the International System of Units for force is even called a "Newton"). Einstein realized that they were incomplete under extreme conditions and created his theories of relativity to expand on them but relativity doesn't have much practical application unless you are designing Global Positioning Systems (GPS) or very long space flights (Newton had no such need nor did anyone else when he was alive).

Now that you brought up Einstein, he didn't believe in quantum mechanics even though it is known to exist now even though there is absolutely no one in the world that fully understands it. Was he a fool too? Of course not and never will be viewed as such. Science is built in increments and fits and starts on the shoulders of giants. Both Newton and Einstein are among the most well known of those giants.
I think you are confusing special (in the absence of gravity) and general relativity. Special relativity is implicit, for example, in accelerators (check out synchnotrons) but GPS systems would drift by several miles every day without corrections for general relativity. Basically, the extremely accurate clocks run faster in the lesser gravitational field of the satellites because they are further from the earth.

There is a big difference between alchemy and astrology. The latter made no contribution to the development of astronomy. But alchemists did collect much data and it didn't so much disappear (as astrology unfortunately hasn't) as gradually evolve into the chemistry that we know today. I don't criticize Newton for alchemy as much is I do for his religiosity, but nobody's perfect.

In physics and mathematics he was a giant and I cannot recall a time that I hadn't heard of him, usually in awe. One of his very minor accomplishments, as master of the mint, was to come up with the idea of milling the coins to prevent the practice of scraping metal off the edges of coins.
  #42  
Old 04-16-2017, 09:29 AM
Alessan Alessan is online now
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Besides, chemistry grew out of alchemy, just like astronomy grew out of astrology.
  #43  
Old 04-16-2017, 09:39 AM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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Originally Posted by Complexintuition View Post
It's just weird that when you get to Einstein he didn't believe any of that stuff
Of course he did. Einstein built on Newton's work and was able to show that Newton was correct, just that it broke down as you approached the speed of light. But it was perfectly fine in other contexts.
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  #44  
Old 04-16-2017, 09:54 AM
Yllaria Yllaria is offline
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Originally Posted by Complexintuition View Post
It's just weird that when you get to Einstein he didn't believe any of that stuff
Einstein "believed in" Newton for most things. It's just that he also wanted to know what was going on with light, and at the speed of light, Newton's equations are insufficient.

If Einstein had been asked to design a bridge, he'd have used Newtonian physics. When the bridge approaches the speed of light, Newtonian physics requires corrections (relativity). When the bridge is as small as an atom, other corrections are needed (quantum mechanics). You can design a bridge with Einsteinian physics, but the math is more complicated and the relativistic portions collapse to zero. So why bother?

[preview is my friend - - hi RealityChuck.]

Last edited by Yllaria; 04-16-2017 at 09:55 AM.
  #45  
Old 04-16-2017, 10:06 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is online now
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned that Newton was the President of the Royal Society from 1703 to 1727 ... perhaps the single most prestigious position in the sciences for the English-speaking world ...

As far as Newton's dabbling in alchemy, it should be noted that this was before the advent of chemistry ... it makes sense for someone to explore alchemy in those days and it should also be noted that Newton wound up dismissing the endeavor and moved on ...
  #46  
Old 04-16-2017, 10:10 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is online now
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Of course he did. Einstein built on Newton's work and was able to show that Newton was correct, just that it broke down as you approached the speed of light. But it was perfectly fine in other contexts.
Strictly speaking, Einstein built on James Maxwell's work ... Newton defined force as "action from a distance" ... it was Maxwell who showed that force is in fact a "field of force lines" ... who in turn built his ideas on Michael Faraday's demonstrations of electromagnetism ... who in turn built off of Alessandro Volta's work creating current electricity from his voltaic pile (aka battery) ...

There is something of a disconnect from Newton as Newton's Law weren't exactly very good describing the effects of electricity ...

Last edited by watchwolf49; 04-16-2017 at 10:14 AM.
  #47  
Old 04-16-2017, 10:21 AM
Flyer Flyer is offline
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I'm painfully aware that most Christians (to pick the low-hanging fruit) don't know or care much about the Bible, but that's not what I mean. I mean I don't understand how an intelligent, educated adult can believe even the most basic tenets derived from the Bible, e.g. (being Easter and all) that Jesus rose from the dead and saved humanity.
William Blackstone had one of the most brilliant legal minds in history. His work greatly influenced the Founding Fathers. Some of his concepts still influence modern British and American law.

He called Jesus' resurrection the best-proved fact in history. (There were something like 500 witnesses to it.)
  #48  
Old 04-16-2017, 10:32 AM
Manda JO Manda JO is online now
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I'm surprised no one has mentioned that Newton was the President of the Royal Society from 1703 to 1727 ... perhaps the single most prestigious position in the sciences for the English-speaking world ...
Well, yes, but lots of other people were president of the Royal Society at some point. Many were important scientists. But there's only one Newton.


Anyone else in this thread mostly because you've read the Baroque Cycle by Stephenson three times, so you feel like you're an expert on Newton but you know you're not, really?
  #49  
Old 04-16-2017, 10:41 AM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is online now
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Well, yes, but lots of other people were president of the Royal Society at some point. Many were important scientists. But there's only one Newton.
I was addressing the notion that Newton wasn't well known in England during his lifetime ...

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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Anyone else in this thread mostly because you've read the Baroque Cycle by Stephenson three times, so you feel like you're an expert on Newton but you know you're not, really?
I've sailed cat-boats and sloops ... but never a Baroque ... just a few too many masts and sails for a rank amateur ...
  #50  
Old 04-16-2017, 11:16 AM
Springtime for Spacers Springtime for Spacers is offline
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Originally Posted by Manda JO View Post
Well, yes, but lots of other people were president of the Royal Society at some point. Many were important scientists. But there's only one Newton.


Anyone else in this thread mostly because you've read the Baroque Cycle by Stephenson three times, so you feel like you're an expert on Newton but you know you're not, really?
Absolutely. Marvellous books. I learned calculus at school - and passed my pure maths exam with the highest grade - but only by reading Stephenson's account did I finally understand it, what it is for and why.
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