The basis of science is the hypothetico-deductive method and the recording of experiments in sufficient detail to enable reproducibility. We report the development of Robot Scientist "Adam," which advances the automation of both. Adam has autonomously generated functional genomics hypotheses about the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and experimentally tested these hypotheses by using laboratory automation. We have confirmed Adam's conclusions through manual experiments. To describe Adam's research, we have developed an ontology and logical language. The resulting formalization involves over 10,000 different (...) research units in a nested treelike structure, 10 levels deep, that relates the 6.6 million biomass measurements to their logical description. This formalization describes how a machine contributed to scientific knowledge. (shrink)
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night…John 3: 1–2A lady asked the famous Lord Shaftesbury what religion he was of. He answered the religion of wise men. She asked, what was that? He answered, wise men never tell.Diary of Viscount Percival , i, 113NEWTON AS HERETICIsaac Newton was a heretic. But like Nicodemus, the secret disciple of Jesus, he never made a public declaration of his private (...) faith – which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. He hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs. His one-time follower William Whiston attributed his policy of silence to simple, human fear and there must be some truth in this. Every day as a public figure and as the figurehead of British natural philosophy, Newton must have felt the tension of outwardly conforming to the Anglican Church, while inwardly denying much of its faith and practice. He was restricted by heresy laws, religious tests and the formidable opposition of public opinion. Heretics were seen as religiously subversive, socially dangerous and even morally debased. Moreover, the positions he enjoyed were dependent on public manifestations of religious and social orderliness. Sir Isaac had a lot to lose. Yet he knew the scriptural injunctions against hiding one's light under a bushel. Newton the believer was thus faced with the need to develop a modus vivendi whereby he could work within legal and social structures, while fulfilling the command to shine in a dark world. This paper recovers and assesses his strategies for reconciling these conflicting dynamics and, in so doing, will shed light on both the nature of Newton's faith and his agenda for natural philosophy. (shrink)
The first edition of Isaac Newton's famous Principia mathematica (1687) contains only one reference to the Scriptures and one mention of God and natural theology. Thus, there is superficial evidence to suggest that this pivotal work of physics is a mostly secular book that is not fundamentally associated with theology and natural theology. The fact that the General Scholium – with its overt theological and natural theological themes – was only added to the Principia a quarter-century later with the second (...) edition of 1713 may also suggest that this theology came as an afterthought and is therefore not integral to the conceptual structure of the Principia . Moreover, the relative paucity of theology in the first edition, combined with the evidence of the appended General Scholium of 1713, could be used as evidence of a ‘theological turn’ in Newton's thought after 1687. This article uses evidence from Newton's private manuscripts to argue that there is more theology in all three editions of the Principia than a simple reading of the published text would imply. This article also demonstrates that the seeds of Newton's theological conception of Nature and the cosmos – conceptions that can be found in manuscripts beginning in the early 1690s, and that are acknowledged in the General Scholium of 1713 – are already present in Newton's private papers prior to 1687. Newton engaged in a great deal of theological writing after 1687, but the period of the composition of the Principia only marks the end of the first third of Newton's six-decade intellectual career and thus it should not be surprising to find more theology after the Principia than before. Nevertheless, there are important theological writings going back to the 1660s that show that Newton's strongly biblical and providentialist theology pre-dates the Principia and, crucially, that his theological conception of the cosmos does as well. The first edition of the Principia , therefore, was composed after Newton had begun to formulate his theology and theological understanding of the cosmos. (shrink)
Published within weeks of Charles Darwin's Origin of Species, Isabelle Duncan's Pre-Adamite Man is the first full-length treatment of preadamism by an evangelical. Intended as a reconciliation of Genesis and geology, Duncan's work gained immediacy when it was published shortly after the September 1859 revelations that men had walked among the mammoths. Written in the tradition of evangelical ‘Christian philosophy’, Pre-Adamite Man deploys innovative biblical hermeneutics and recent trends in geology to set out both a biblical preadamite theory, and an (...) unorthodox angelology. Duncan responded to contemporary secular interpretations of geology by pushing evangelical concordist strategies to new frontiers, filling out an acceptance of an ancient earth with new biblically informed catastrophist proposals and extensions of salvation history, while simultaneously retaining a firm commitment to plenary inspiration. The product is a highly readable book that operates both as an accessible treatment of geology and a theological discourse. Running through six printings between 1860 and 1866, the book was reviewed by many of the period's leading journals and created a minor controversy among evangelicals. This study both brings to life this previously neglected episode in scriptural geology, and adds to recent work on Victorian popular science writing. (shrink)
An examination of the contemporary Italian movement associated with M. P. Sciacca, and the serious application of dialectical and phenomenological methods to unveil the structure of "intentionality" or "spirit." An appraisal of Sciacca together with a sample critique of Dante follows a competent summary of the prevailing positions.--D. B. B.
William Whiston was one of the first British converts to Newtonian physics and his 1696 New theory of the earth is the first full-length popularization of the natural philosophy of the Principia. Impressed with his young protégé, Newton paved the way for Whiston to succeed him as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in 1702. Already a leading Newtonian natural philosopher, Whiston also came to espouse Newton’s heretical antitrinitarianism in the middle of the first decade of the eighteenth century. In all, Whiston (...) enjoyed twenty years of contact with Newton dating from 1694. Although they shared so much ideologically, the two men fell out when Whiston began to proclaim openly the heresy that Newton strove to conceal from the prying eyes of the public. This paper provides a full account of this crisis of publicity by outlining Whiston’s efforts to make both Newton’s natural philosophy and heterodox theology public through popular texts, broadsheets and coffee house lectures. Whiston’s attempts to draw Newton out through published hints and innuendos, combined with his very public religious crusade, rendered the erstwhile disciple a dangerous liability to the great man and helps explain Newton’s eventual break with him, along with his refusal to support Whiston’s nomination to the Royal Society. This study not only traces Whiston’s successes in preaching the gospel of Newton’s physics and theology, but demonstrates the ways in which Whiston, who resolutely refused to accept Newton’s epistemic distinction between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ forms of knowledge, transformed Newton’s grand programme into a singularly exoteric system and drove it into the public sphere.Author Keywords: Isaac Newton; William Whiston; Publicity; New theory; Principia; Royal Society. (shrink)