Category Archives: Science

Respecting your peers

Respecting others is sometimes almost impossible. Right-wing extremism, left-wing extremism, religious or political fundamentalism, anti-science, flat-eathers, etc. But in my view, they should all be respected from the outset. Continue reading Respecting your peers

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Future Science Forecasting

by Simon Olling Rebsdorf*

Natural sciences, such as physics, astronomy and biology, have developed explosively in the 20th century. Naturally, we have no reliable knowledge of how they will develop in the future, and we can only guess about future discoveries. While there are extremely reliable predictions of nature based on scientific theories, there is no equivalent prediction of science itself. Nevertheless, we are not referring to pure guesswork, because the history of recent science at least gives us a clue to future developments—but, perhaps, no more than that. Continue reading Future Science Forecasting

The Delusion of Escaping Earth to Space

Don’t ever expect mass immigration from the Earth. Nowhere in our solar System  offers a climate just as gentle as in the Antarctic or the top of Mount Everest. I think it is a dangerous delusion to think that space offers an escape from Earth’s problems. Dealing with climate change on Earth is a doddle compared to terraforming Mars. There is no planet B. But we should cheer on these space adventures, anyway.

Continue reading The Delusion of Escaping Earth to Space

The Natural Philosophy of Nicole Oresme

By Simon Olling Rebsdorf (published in edited form in Telicom, January 2019 issue)

1. Introduction

The focal point of this essay is the later Middle Ages in France, in particular the philosophical undercurrents of late scholasticism at the Paris University in the mid-thirteenth Century. Today, we would probably prefer the term ‘science’ to cover the meaning of what was then known as ‘natural philosophy’. Preceding the Renaissance, this kind of natural philosophy was represented by numerous French scholars. I will focus more closely on one of these scholars, Nicole Oresme, whose name continually appears in the literature on the later Middle Ages “scientific life” taking place at the new educational institutions of that time: the universities. Parts of this article may be well-known to some readers, especially the introductory paragraphs about the medieval universities and Aristotelian cosmology. Continue reading The Natural Philosophy of Nicole Oresme