Monday, August 27, 2007

The lunar eclipse got me thinking...

It seems to me, that the decline of the Jesuit order into its currently mushy state lies in the order's shift to which sciences to patronize. In the days when they were forerunners in hard sciences like physics and astronomy, they were known for their zealous orthodoxy.

When their focus shifted to social sciences, things went hazy. I think there's a correlation there. Natural sciences, which are mathematics-oriented, tend to emphasize absolutes, like the ones they ought to be teaching in theology. My impression of social sciences is that they tend to be ephemeral generally. Attempts to apply mathematics in such sciences are hardly convincing; their explanatory powers are quite weak to describe morals and psychology. A strain of relativism and indifferentism arise for the principles are the same here.

I know my theory needs some work, but that's how I see it at the moment:
natural science = absolutes = orthodoxy
social science = ephemeral = heresy

Other factors come into play too but I'll let them go unmentioned for the moment.

If perhaps the Jesuits would rehabilitate their interests in physics, math, astronomy and other natural sciences, instead of social sciences, then I would be confident of a saner revival in the order.

Update: Mark from Saint Louis has a relevant post.

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