m_francis (m_francis) wrote,

On the Road


Spending the weekend at Capclave in Rockville MD, with is within three standard deviations of Washington.  There is a meeting the following week in DC regarding asteroid deflection, which readers of FIRESTAR will recall as an interest of mine.  But the first day is classified and Capclave is pushing my finances to the edge.  Still...  Sigh.  

Anyhow, Harry Turtledove is GoH at Capclave, so I could not stay away.  Yesterday I was on a panel with him regarding alternate history [gasps of surprise].  Today I did some book signings and a reading, plus a panel of how far we can push known science for the sake of the fiction.  Margie and I had dinner with Harry and Laura. 

Tomorrow, I'm on a panel concerning continuing characters in series, a panel on Darwin's bicentennial, and my presentation on "Those Terrible Middle Ages!" 

Along the latter lines, today's Quote of the Day:

Quote of the Day
‘What is more foolish than to assume that something exists simply because the creator can make it. Whoever says God makes anything contrary to nature should either see that it is so with his own eyes or show the reason for it being thus, or let him demonstrate the advantage of it being so’.
-- William of Conches, The Dragmaticon

Billy Conch and the Action of Heat on Mud
Billy Conch taught at the Cathedral school in Chartres back in 12 cent., just before the works of Aristotle were finally translated into Latin.  (The Romans had not bothered with it.  Only summaries in the works of the Encyclopediasts were available.)  A nice article here by Humphrey Clarke bedejournal.blogspot.com/2009/10/creationists.html

William now takes it even further. He claims that life itself arose from the natural action of heat on mud and even that man arose from the primordial mud (God does emerge at one point to give him a rational and immortal soul). In fact, William says that since man's body came about by the natural action of elements working on one another within the course of nature, several species of man could have developed and the natural actions are still at work today. A new species of man could arise by natural forces. But William says that though this seems possible we have never seen it happen, so perhaps God wills against this. .....

.....For Grosseteste, light is a vehicle of creation and knowledge. He favours an instant of creation and believed that the six days are metaphorical. The way God creates the world is this. He creates a dimensionless point of matter and a dimensionless point of light imposed upon it. These are dimensionless because Augustine had speculated that time was ‘created by God’ (so on Augustine’s reading, people who ask what God was doing before creation are being silly as there was no time). Grosseteste takes this further and says that the dimensions do not exist before God creates them. Essentially all God does is to create these points since light naturally radiates from it’s source in a spherical way carrying the matter with it. This happens until it becomes so diffused it stops radiating and the spherical cosmos is created.

Tags: evolution, medieval, quote of the day, skiffy

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