Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Why Shouldn't He Still Matter?

Trevin Wax writes of "4 Ways G. K. Chesterton Engaged His Culture and Why He Still Matters Today." The pirce is mostly an excuse for making some pithy and pointed Chesterton quotes. His 4 ways are:
  1. Chesterton saw the big picture and would not compartmentalize the world.
  2. Chesterton unmasked false presuppositions as he promoted a Christian worldview.
  3. Chesterton was not swayed by arguments that appeal to progress.
  4. Chesterton exhibited a joyful exuberance at the wonder of existence.
Fair enough, but I am stunned at the hubris that just because his writing are a century old they might not matter today.

Most of this flows from the fact that in science when a new theory comes along, the old one is replaced. Therefore, we seem to have decided that all knowledge can be treated in the same way. But here is the thing, quantum mechanics did not replace Newtonian mechanics. It supplemented it. Sending the Apollo astronauts to the moon was a matter of Newtonian mechanics, almost purely. Quantum mechanics came into play only in the design of the "computers" that were on board.

New knowledge does not replace old knowledge, it builds upon it. That said, new knowledge is often misunderstood or meaningless without the base of old knowledge. Quantum mechanics is pretty doggone hard to understand, but it is senseless without an understanding of Newtonian mechanics.

Knowledge and wisdom is a ladder to be climbed, not a destination to reach by the seemingly shortest path.


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