Philippe Sherrard – Sotiris Gounelas, Two texts on Science, Synaxi, Athens, 1986, pp. 106.
Any assessment of modern science (mostly of physics) in the established from it social reality is a continuous and repeating issue. If the world, our society, can be described as “scientific” – and to the degree that they can be characterized – it is necessary to follow the contribution of this science, positive or negative, in the formation and function of social characteristics. Sherrard and Gounelas make such an effort with the two small texts included in this book.
In the first one, according to the author, there is an effort to show the way, in which the “increasing influence of the modern scientific mentality and its translation in social forms, walked hand in hand with the dehumanization of man and, at the same time, of society”. While the second text subtly juxtaposes the theological gnosiology with the gnosiotheoretical demands of sciences in order to show the holistic process of knowledge in the Orthodox tradition and its therapeutic and transformational dimension.
The hard work of a philosophical-theological, but also social assessment of modern science does not intend to point out errors, one-sidedness and impasses, since science has never regarded itself infallible nor – much more – aims to the weakening, marginalization or damaging of its credibility. The latter does not constitute an assessment, but ideological and social totalitarianism, obscurantism and utopia of a mentality that means to return to the past.
Needless to say, something like that is far from the intentions of this small book. What it suggests and tries to achieve is the cultivation of a critical mood, even towards science. It tries to ward off the possible danger of a “scientific or fake scientific superstition” and prevent the partial formation of the scientific man, with limited sensitivities and social reflexes, who can sacrifice life and his fellow man on the altar of the verification of his scientific theories. Besides, the history of the twentieth century, with its two world wars and the nuclear threat, brings a rather ominous message.