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COSMOS AND TRANSCENDENCE Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief

Wolfgang Smith

COSMOS AND TRANSCENDENCE Breaking Through the Barrier of Scientistic Belief Wolfgang Smith There is a sharp yet often overlooked distinction between scientific knowledge and scientistic belief; the latter refers to entities that are not in truth observable, and affirms something that is in fact un-verifiable. Here one must look invariably to discover the hidden imprecisions that mitigate the formidable exactitudes of science, and the groundless fantasies that temper its austere sobriety. Here, most assuredly, are to be found those sweeping tenets that filter down into the non-scientific strata of the technological society to become its officially recognized worldview. Cosmos and Transcendence ferrets out and examines some of the major facets of current scientistic belief by focusing, firstly, upon the fundamental dogma of the physical sciences, following which it traces the development of this remarkable notion and considers its standing in contemporary philosophical literature, the results of this inquiry not being propitious to the scientistic Weltanschauung. Then it considers the question of organic evolution and the psychological theories of Freud and Jung, endeavoring in each case to discern the line of demarcation between science and scientistic fantasy. Finally it speaks of the concept of “transcendence” which is neither scientific nor scientistic, but strictly metaphysical, and helps us discover that the proliferation of scientistic beliefs has seriously obstructed our collective vision, that it has in fact estranged us from an immemorial wisdoni that has nurtured mankind throughout the ages


Wolfgang Smith

Wolfgang Smith (b. 1930) was born in Vienna. He graduated from Cornell University at age of eighteen with majors in physics, philosophy, and mathematics. After taking an M. S. in physics from Purdue University, he pursued research in aerodynamics, where his papers on diffusion fields have provided the theoretical key to the solution of the re-entry problem for space flight. After receiving a Ph. D. in mathematics from Columbia University, Dr. Smith held faculty positions at M.I.T, U.C.L.A., and Oregon State University, where he has served as Professor of Mathematics until his retirement.

From the start, Wolfgang Smith has been many-sided in his intellectual interests. He has pursued research and published extensively in the areas of partial differential equations, Lorentz geometry, relativistic cosmology, differential forms, foliations and other topics in algebraic and differential topology. Apart from his scientific pursuits, he started early to cultivate a special interest in Platonism and oriental metaphysics and later took up serious studies in the field of Christian theology. In recent years, he has published a number of articles dealing with various facets of scientific belief from a traditional metaphysical point of view in addition to his four books Cosmos and TranscendenceTeilhardism and the New ReligionThe Quantum Enigma and The Wisdom of Ancient Cosmology. He has been especially concerned to unmask conceptions of a scientistic kind widely accepted today as scientific truths.


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