The pursuit of knowledge has been the order of most working scientists as well as philosophers of science in the past years. This knowledge referred to is treated as synonymous with natural and physical science. However, there have been different schools of thought in the field of science and during the pursuit of the knowledge. These different schools have caused great difference between the philosophers of science and the working scientists.
The differences range from the position of realism, idealism, criticism, falsification, empiricism, rationalism and instrumentalism with relation to various philosophers as well as scientist who stand to defend their position. This paper therefore seeks to address the crisis of modern science, how and why the religion and metaphysics continue with their long and slow decline as well the role of Romanticism in the crisis of modern science in reference to Tarnas book the Passion of the Western Mind.
The crisis of the modern science: Science was the only solution to the differences and
problems created by philosophy and religion (Tarnas 355). He asserts that science
attained a golden age in the 19th and early 20th centuries due to researches from
institutional and academic organizations that linked science with technology (Tarnas
355). However, though science was viewed as a solution to problems, it had its own
drawbacks. The crisis of science started with the Einstein’s theories of relativity (Tarnas
355). The fundamental transformation in the scientific world was staggering and only
physicists understood what was happening (Tarnas 356). In addition, when Einstein’s
was” confronted with the Contradictions on his description of an atom”, he wrote, “all my attempts to adapt the theoretical foundation of physics knowledge failed completely” (Tarnas 356). These challenges made the people who had considered science as the solution to their problems loose hope of science as well being confused, as they had no ideas of what was happening (Tarnas 358). Moreover, this formed the foundation of scientists to challenge each other as well as proving the other scientists who had their effort in past discoveries, that their findings were naive.
Science a solution to the problems of reality failed when the physicists failed to come to a consensus on how to interpret the existing evidence with respect to defining the ultimate nature of reality (Tarnas 358). “The problems that were encountered in the human psyche now emerged in the structure of physical world that was not only difficult for the layperson to comprehend, but also to human intuition in general” (Tarnas 358).
The effort to search for a solution was affected by contradictions, disjunctions and paradoxes. Though man had a peculiar capacity of consciousness, these contradictions among the physicists led him to more disaster (Tarnas 358). The situation deteriorated further when the physicists failed to have a compelling answer to the question of “big bang” birth of the universe (Tarnas 358).
They only came with “scientific abstractions, mathematical symbols, “shadows,” that seemed not of the human cognition” (Tarnas 358). Karl Popper even further reinforced the contradictions through his remarks that “science can never produce knowledge that is certain, nor even probable” (Tarnas 360). Poper asserted, “Structure and workings of the universe are from observations and imaginations” (Tarnas 360).
The development of science to technology made the human life more dangerous. Technology was taking over and dehumanizing man and it turned man from a live nature to an artificial substances and gadgets (Tarnas 362). It created more problems to man through industrial labor requirements, and perception of solutions to problems must be solved through technical research rather than genuine existential responses (Tarnas 362).
The major drawback of science rose after the discovery of atomic bombs from development made from Einsteinian discovery of the equivalence of mass and energy (Tarnas 362). This came under great critics during the Second World War when atomic bombs were dropped in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Tarnas 262). All these brought contradiction of what man believed on the universe that brought crisis between science and religion/metaphysics.
How and why did religion and metaphysics continue their long and slow decline? The decline of religion and metaphysics started because of tremendous improvement in science (Tarnas 355). Science brought valid knowledge of the world, criticized the post philosophies and formed a great foundation that its knowledge seemed scarcely questionable (Tarnas 355).
Science compelled religion to define their position in relation to science but it presented the most reliable picture of the world (Tarnas 355). The development of science radically changed the cultural status, perceptions and the theories they had in the past (Tarnas 357). In addition, as science created intellectual contradictions and obscurities in the human mind, the modern man started questioning the faith he had inherited that the world was in a manner clearly accessible to human intelligence (Tarnas 358).
Human beings having seen that the world was beyond the compass of human cognition he could not further believe in this classical Greek faith (Tarnas 358). In addition, the belief that scientific mind had unique access to the truth of the world also added more threat to religion and metaphysics (Tarnas 362).
Man believed that scientific mind could register extra historical and universal objective reality (Tarnas 362). All these changed and there was the belief that man had no religion and metaphysics. As science develops, more discoveries relating to the universe are made that negate the beliefs of man in religion and metaphysics, which result to their long and slow decline.
Role of Romanticism in the crisis of modern science: The Romantic temperaments focused much on enlightening human beings on their perception of the universe (Tarnas 368). The temperaments found classical culture rich source of insight and values. The Romantic introspection used various methods with an aim of exploring uncertainties in the life of man as well as to bring unconsciousness to consciousness (Tarnas 368).
Unlike the scientists whose quest was for general laws defining a single objective reality, the Romantic focused on multiplicity of realities especially those that affect the inward man (Tarnas 368). The Romantic thus focused on the plurality of perspectives whether religious, scientific or philosophical that would mirror truth (Tarnas 370). The Romantic impulse was to bring human minds into overall movement towards realism (Tarnas 374). They also focus on solving the disparities of man in relation to the universe (Tarnas 375).
The Romantics focused on the realities between the religion and scientists as well as their view on the same (Tarnas 376). They were able to rediscover man from his increased sense of alienation from the nature’s womb, his unitary being and his confinement to an absurd universe of possibilities (Tarnas 376). Further, Goethe united poet and scientist in the analysis of the nature in reference to religion (Tarnas 378).
In addition, “Romantic sensibility had new standards and values for human knowledge” (Tarnas 371). It made modern man comprehend the unborn realities and invisible of human nature and universe as well as making him understanding the traditions of western culture, Greco-Roman classicism and the Judeo-Christian religion (Tarnas 371).
In nutshell, the Romanticism and revolution meant to enlighten the modern man on the uncertainties and contradictions created in the human life by religious, philosophical and scientific perspectives. Their role was to bring man from the dark back to light, from a state of unconsciousness to consciousness and make him view the world as a world of chance and necessity.
Tarnas, Richard. The Passion of the Western Mind. New York: Harmony Books, 1991.