Newton remise:
There is a new book about Isaac Newton, Priest of Nature: The Religious Worlds of Isaac Newton, Rob Iliffe, Oxford University Press 2017, and it has been reviewed, Mathew Stanley, “The Enlightened Empiricist,” Science vol. 356 no. 6345 page 1341.  I am not sure I have the oomph to give the book a proper reading, but I’ll take occasion to recite some things I have thought before.  For one, all agree that Newton was quite pithy in his hard science writings, but wrote more on religion and, apparently, alchemy.  I think he considered alchemy hard science, and when he could not change lead to gold concluded that it was impossible.  When I am feeling less than serious I sometimes think that teleporting people is impossible because I haven’t the foggiest way to do it; this is in contrast with my conviction that there is no way to get a computer to do abstract reasoning because Alan Turing proved it impossible. 

I am sure Newton was a man of great spirituality, but the compilation of ancient history he made is quite cool and objective save at two points.  When he mentions a dynasty that breaks the 300 year brick wall, he seems to say this is against the laws of nature.  I agree, and have attempted to explain those laws in a way that accounts for observation.  Then Newton turns right around and “explains” the exception is a series of errors in history.  In other words, when he looks at the same data I look at, he comes to the same conclusion, says it, and then snatches it away as if to taunt … well to taunt me to be blunt.  So far as I know nobody else has ever followed the logic far enough to be taunted.  And when Newton describes the sacrifices at the temple of Jerusalem, he is downright cynical.  Really?  And we are to believe that he gives full literal credit of prophesies from the same culture?  I suspect that once again we are being taunted.

The review, to my delight, mentions the 2060 date for the end of the world, but says it is only approximate.  That is congruent with my own estimate, which is also approximate.  

I have heard that people frequently claim, “Newton thought what I think, so I must be right.”  I amend that slightly to, “Newton thought what I think so he must have been right.”  We look at the same numbers, he and I, and see much the same thing (although my mechanism is more developed.)  Alas he was at pains not to show his hand and was successful in that; you have to know what he is hiding in order to see it. I am at pains to show my hand to one and all and fail at that.  Go figure.

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