Bertrand Russell

The men of science proved to intelligent layman that a certain kind of intellectual outlook ministers to military prowess and to wealth; these ends were so ardently desired that the new intellectual outlook overcame that of the Middle Ages, in spite of the force of tradition and the revenues of the Church and the sentiments associated with Catholic theology. The world ceased to believe that Joshua caused the sun to stand still, because Copernican astronomy was useful in navigation; it abandoned Aristotle’s physics, because Galileo’s theory of falling bodies made it possible to calculate the trajectory of a cannonball; it rejected the story of the flood because geology is useful in mining; and so on. It is now generally recognized that science is indispensable both in war and in peace time industry, and that, without science, a nation can be neither rich nor powerful.

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  1. The book was savaged by his colleagues – Norman Malcolm declared that “Anyone who feels grateful to Russell, as I do, for the splendid work he did in philosophy and logic during the first twenty years of this century, is likely to regard the present book with considerable regret” – and largely ignored by the general public. It’s a LIFE magazine profile of Bertrand Russell that was published in April 1940, right in the middle of the College of the City of New York scandal.

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