Brainy Quote of the Day

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Deus ex machina

I follow a blog called Physics and Physicist by ZapperZ (catchy!). He references an article in the Guardian (UK) titled: "God in the classroom" by Mr. Alom Shaha. Both are, in my opinion, reasoned treatments of what in modern times has become a touchy topic. Two topics are supposedly NOT good subjects for mixed company: religion and politics. Science has been added to that because of a lack of understanding of analytical reasoning, its place in society and its only agenda to increase knowledge and not belief structures based on culture and experience.

The phrase in the title is "the Latin phrase "deus ex machina" [and] comes to English usage from Horace's Ars Poetica, where he instructs poets that they must never resort to a god from the machine to solve their plots. He refers to the conventions of Greek tragedy, where a crane (mekhane) was used to lower actors playing gods onto the stage. The machine referred to in the phrase could be either the crane employed in the task, a calque from the Greek "god from the machine" ("ἀπὸ μηχανῆς θεός," apò mēkhanḗs theós), or the riser that brought a god up from a trap door." See: Deus ex machina.

I've often viewed the struggle between science and faith as a conflict between two different political parties that have different aims. This struggle has gone on since Rene Descartes and is likely to continue as long as agendas are set by a feeling one's "turf" is being violated by the introduction of new information that should enhance, not debase one's belief system by challenge of the intellect.

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