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Science and the Creation of the Modern Mind

A Review of The Age of Genius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind by A.C.Grayling
Bloomsbury New York. 2016. 368 pp. $30.00 ISBN-13: 978-1620403440

WESTERN CIVILIZATION MAY BE DEFINED by the central place that the scientific method occupies in the intellectual fields, and by its democratic institutions. These features of the West may be traced back to England in 1687 when Isaac Newton published the Principia Mathematica, and 1688, when England’s parliament seized control of England’s government with a little help from the Dutch king and queen, William and Mary. These two events, one magnificent and the other glorious, redefined Western civilization. Newton gave the world physical laws and England’s parliament gave its citizens basic freedoms. A line can be drawn from our modern institutions to these two events and the fact that they both occurred in the same place at the same time has drawn the attention of many scholars including England’s eminent philosopher, A.C. Grayling. In his new book, The Age ofGenius: The Seventeenth Century and the Birth of the Modern Mind, Grayling argues that the earthquakes of destruction that occurred in the 17th century—the Thirty Years War, the ongoing Protestant Reformation, the English Civil War, and the Anglo-Dutch Wars—tilled the ground for the growth of new ideas. These included the concept of the individual, the spread of literacy and printing, and the notion of scientific evidence as the factor that decided truth.

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INTERNET PORNOGRAPHY SPECIAL SECTION: IS PORNOGRAPHY BAD FOR YOU?; How Porn Is Messing with Your Manhood; Skeptical of Porn Skeptics; Hazards of Herbal Medicine: Lessons from Aristolochia; What is Sexual Orientation?; Did a Teenager Discover an Ancient Mayan City on Google Earth?; Paleo Diets and Utopian Dreams; Does AA Work? Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step Programs, and What We Really Know About Substance Abuse Treatment; The Clash of Eschatologies: The Role of End-Times Thinking in World History; Nightmares from the Id: The Neurophysiology of Anomalous Psychological Experiences; Terror Attacks that Never Were; Electromagnetic Fields and Parental Panics: A Case Study in How Science Can Bring Comfort; REVIEWS: Who Invented Science?; Science and the Creation of the Modern Mind; Heaven Is Not For Real; When Scientific American Put Psychics to the Test; JUNIOR SKEPTIC: MammothMysteries! Part One. The Hidden History of Mammoths and Mastodons