The Authority of Science and the Postmodern Reformation

First published in Interdisciplinary Science Reviews June 2003, pp76-82

By the end of the 19th century the professional consolidation of science had brought prestige to the nascent scientific community, but also the exclusion of amateur activity from the scientific enterprise. In line with other developments in popular culture such as sport and entertainment, the role of the public was reduced to that of spectator. Science was best done by scientists; another commodity in a consumer revolution, to be received, not participated in. No longer citizens of the “Republic of Science”, the lay public were left to trust that scientists did indeed possess the heroic qualities they were portrayed as having – courage, patience, perseverance, selflessness, humility. One had only to put one’s faith in science and submit to the rise of the expert. Such submission to the authority of science demanded all the faith, trust and even fatalism that had been called upon by the traditional authority of religion – maybe it was science as religion that was the true opiate of the people.(1)

In many respects “science” is what it means to be “modern” and, in the 20th century, science would be inextricably entangled with all the hopes and fears of modernity, but how should we see science in our own “post-modern” world? We live in extraordinary times. The world around us seems chaotic and contradictory: secularisation and religious fundamentalism, technological fantasies and poverty-stricken realities, globalisation and fragmentation into conflicting tribal loyalties. As for science, its cultural status has never been more privileged or more open to challenge. What I want to do here is examine the nature of that challenge, and I want to do so by picking up on the themes of science-as-religion and lay exclusion. More particularly, I shall be drawing parallels with the challenge to the authority of the Catholic Church at a similar time of dissent and instability. If there is one lesson from History it is that History has no lessons, and what I have to say is certainly not intended to be either prescriptive or proscriptive. If the account that follows at times seems unsettling, then we must accept that radical change whether it be “old” or “new” is indeed an uncomfortable process to experience.

RENAISSANCE AND REFORMATION:
There is no period in history which is autonomous and self-contained. We will always be able to search for origins and assess outcomes, pick out precursors and trace influences. Nevertheless, it is part of the historian’s craft to arrange what might otherwise be an incomprehensible flow of complex interactions into suitably sized chunks. One such chunk which finds favour with most historians is “The Renaissance”, though that might well be the limit of historiographical consensus. The nature and timing of the Renaissance are much disputed, as indeed is its singularity, that is, whether we can talk of “the” Renaissance since there are other periods which witnessed a similar flourishing of ideas and activities. However, I believe the term as commonly understood does have some merit in helping to mark a major transformation in European (and ultimately world) history.

There are, as I said, no self-contained periods in history and so one should not expect clear cut start and finish points. However, there are two convenient moments which suggest themselves: the printing of the Gutenberg Bible in 1454 and the publication of Copernicus’s De Revolutionibus in 1543. This may be a little late for some tastes (missing out as it does the work of men such as Brunelleschi and Alberti) or a little too early for others (leaving out the most important work of the scientific revolution), but I believe that what it might lack in detail is made up for in convenience, and if we accept the permeability of historical periods we should feel no qualms about making reference to earlier or later events and people. Dates and periods should be our guides not our gaolers.

The importance of the period seems quite clear. The disintegration of mediaeval society brought a major dislocation and readjustment in the European worldview in social relations, international relations, politics, religion, economics, demography, intellectual life, the arts. According to T.K. Rabb “…the ubiquity and simultaneity of these radical departures stamp the decades around 1500 as a fundamental dividing point in European history.”(2). The sixteenth century, says Rabb, was a time of, anguish, disarray and bewilderment with a sense of disorder and incoherence, mixed with doubt, misgivings and insecurity such that “no succession of events so disruptive of safe and comfortable suppositions had occurred for hundreds of years.”(3) The effects of such radical change dominated Europe for the next century and a half, that is, until the crisis and resolution of the middle third of the seventeenth century.

Printing
What distinguished this from earlier periods was the extent and rapidity of these radical changes. In large part this may be ascribed to the advent of printing. There were a number of obvious advantages with the new technology. It reduced the time and cost of reproduction, it increased the numbers of copies and removed the possibility of copying errors though, of course, reproducing any errors in the ‘original’ text. Indeed, it was often efforts to establish what was the “correct” text that gave rise to so many theological and political discussions, and because of the new technology such discussions could now take on more than mere local significance. For example, previous challenges to church authority such as those of John Wycliffe and Jan Hus had to rely on oral or handwritten dissemination and their influence was largely confined to their own regions. Luther, however, had the power of the printed word, and the impact of his challenge shook the whole continent. More of this later.

It is a much overused term, but it would not be too much say that the coming of print really did bring a cultural revolution. It could even be argued, says Peter Rietbergen, that “it was the beginning of the most important cultural revolution which western man had experienced in many thousands of years”(4). Religious publications dominated the new trade, but hardly any aspect of life was left untouched with manuals and guides being published covering almost everything from dress conventions and etiquette to architecture and horsemanship. The result was increasing uniformity in tastes if not in culture. Similarly, in the hands of the state, print was instrumental in bringing greater centralisation and standardisation. For example, helping to establish a single national language in France. In the hands of the Church, printing became an effective medium for spreading dogma and doctrine, though which doctrine would naturally depend on which church. The Catholic Church seized on the power of the press in its campaign against the spread of Turkish power into the Balkans, while on the other side of the confessional divide, Luther declared that “print is the best of God’s inventions”. Within three years of nailing his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg 300,000 copies of his works were on the market.

Like a genie from a bottle the power of print was not something that could be contained or controlled (at least not easily) and it showed no favouritism or loyalty in just who should wield that power. True, it gave more power to those who already had the power to control it – the Church and State – but it also gave voice to those who would otherwise be unheard. For all the attempts at censorship, and there were many, subversive and clandestine presses would still operate. For every broadsheet in support of the Pope there would be a scatalogical print attacking him. The new technology was more than a technology of information, communication and reproduction, it brought a new democratisation of word and image. Indeed, among some circles it generated a new fear, a new spectre – the educated commoner. Undermining the monopoly of knowledge by spawning its own new and diverse authority, might not the printed word undermine other bases for authority? Might not the common people, says Rietbergen voicing the concerns of contemporary intellectuals and politicians, “given the chance to acquire new ideas and test them against their own opinions of their present position, come to voice their criticism?”.(5)

Individualism
Such democracy was not a renaissance ideal. It was not until the nineteenth century that “democracy” would be seen as anything other than rule by the “mob”. Nevertheless, the cultivation of individuality was something that the educated elite did strive for. As Burckhardt pointed out long ago, to be a “singular man” or a “unique man” were both the highest levels of individual development and the highest levels of praise.(6) We see this humanist concern for the individual equally in the autobiographical efforts of Cellini as well as the naked self-interest in Machiavelli’s Prince. The ideal was “l’uomo universale”, what we nowadays would simply call a “renaissance man” and, more generally, the studium humanitatis generated a deepening interest in what it was that made man more civilised. Braudel has written:

“The intellectual ferment of the Renaissance, and that of the reformation in so far as it raised the principle of individual interpretation of revealed truth, laid the bases for freedom of conscience. Renaissance humanism preached respect for the greatness of the human being as an individual: it stressed personal intelligence and ability.”(7)

Indeed, our modern conception of what it means to be an individual can be seen as stemming from this period in the complex interrelationship of renaissance, reformation and the birth of capitalism. The mediaeval idea of individual was simply as a particular member of a group, a particular instance of a generality. The modern idea, as Raymond Williams has written, brought a change in emphasis which “enabled us to think of ‘the individual’ as a kind of absolute without immediate reference…..to the group of which he is a member.”(8)

The priesthood of all believers
Renaissance humanism may have fostered individualism, but it also reconciled, or at least attempted to reconcile, this new individualism with an older, largely mediaeval, sense of order. Thus, the great challenge of the Reformation was not a secular individualism but rather the challenge of individual faith. Reviving the Pauline metaphor of the Christian soldier armed with Bible and prayer, it was the wish of Erasmus that “the humblest woman might read the Gospels and the Epistles of St Paul…that the countryman might sing some parts of them at the plough, the weaver chant them at his loom, the traveller lighten with them the weariness of his journey.”(9) For Erasmus (as in Thomas à Kempis’s “Imitation of Christ”) true veneration of saints was best achieved through imitation, through inner spiritual development not outward ritualistic show. This emphasis on the subjective religious experience was a common feature of the Devotio Moderna and highlights the personal quality of the new religious ideas. As Williams has pointed out: “A change in the conception of relationships – crudely from man-church-God to man-God – is recorded by the new sense of what it is to be ‘an individual’,”(10) Truth, and in particular spiritual truth, was to be found in one’s own reading of the Bible not in papal proclamations. Likewise, the priesthood of all believers meant that the individual now had direct access to God unmediated by pope or priest.

For Luther, who abhorred the economic individualism of the age, the “Church” should be recognised as consisting of Clergy and Laity. “It is pure invention”, Luther wrote, “that pope, bishop, priests and monks are called the spiritual estate while princes, lords, artisans and farmers are called the temporal estate…….all Christians are truly of the spiritual estate, and there is no difference among them except that of office.” In this “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German Nation” of 1520 he makes it quite clear that “baptism, gospel, and faith alone make us spiritual and a Christian people”. The pope or bishop may anoint, ordain, consecrate “but he can never make a man into a Christian or into a spiritual man by so doing”.(11). Luther’s justification by faith was more than an attack on the power of the Catholic Church, it was a rejection of its spiritual authority.

“I wish to be free. I do not wish to become the slave of any authority, whether that of a council or of any other power, or of the University or the Pope. For I shall proclaim with confidence what I believe to be true, whether it is advanced by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it is authorised or not by I care not what authority.”(12)

Luther’s early anarchic individualism, however, did not generate the freedom and tolerance that one might hope for and expect. “In breaking down papal authority,” says Chadwick, “the Reformation seemed to have left the authority of the Christian ministry vague and uncertain”(13). The answer for Luther (and more particularly for Calvin) was the organisation of a new and equally authoritarian church – or in Calvin’s case an organised church even stricter than the one it replaced(14).

The Copernican revolution
The burning of Michael Servetus in Geneva is a useful corrective to any simplistic elision of Protestantism with freedom, tolerance and progress – the “new” and therefore (to modern sensibilities) the “good”. The same can be said if we examine any supposed parallel between new ideas in religion and new ideas in science. The relationship between Protestantism and the rise of modern science has long been debated, but John Brooke rightly suggests caution in any attempt to link the two. In his insightful historical analysis of science and religion he draws out the complexities of the relationship and avoids neat conclusions. “It must not be supposed,” he writes, “that the desire of Protestants to dissociate themselves from Catholic Christianity automatically created a disposition in favour of free thought.”(15) The complexities are nowhere more evident than in the reception of the Copernican cosmology. Doctrinal differences did not readily translate into philosophical differences about whether or not to accept the new astronomy. Catholics like Diego de Zuniga readily adopted the Copernican system as did Protestants like Kepler. The Catholic Church may have decreed that the new system was “erroneous in faith”, but equally many Protestants objected that it was an absurd rejection of common sense.

However, even without the historical convenience of being able to set the new against the old for both science and religion, we can nevertheless see in the Copernican system such a fundamental revisioning of the world that it has understandably come to stand as the archetypal case of a revolution in thought. Not only was it a landmark in the bifurcation of science from common sense, but it also marked a major shift in our understanding of ourselves and our place in nature. In Margaret Wertheim’s opinion, it quite literally offered a new perspective on the world. The western mind, she says, had been trained by the development of perspective painting to think of space in Euclidean terms. The application of geometry had enabled artists to create the illusion of seeing in three dimensions, portraying characters in physical rather than metaphysical spaces. The task facing Copernicus, like that facing his artistic contemporaries, was to find the best place from which to view the harmony and symmetry of the cosmos. In viewing the cosmos from the sun we have, says Wertheim, “the ultimate perspective picture of the world.”(16)

The sense of intellectual vertigo experienced by many of those coming to terms with the Copernican system was not just a result of considering the Earth’s three-fold motion. I suspect it may have been more because of this displacement in point of view. It was in every respect a dislocation, a disturbing shift of locus. The pre-Copernican universe, says Koestler, was “reassuringly orderly”. It was contained and centralised with a natural ‘up’ and ‘down’. In contrast, the Copernican system opened up the possibility of infinite space and a plurality of worlds, “decentralised, perplexing, anarchic”. In the Copernican cosmos, “there are no longer any absolute directions in space. The universe has lost its core. It no longer has a heart, but a thousand hearts.”(17)

It was an unsettling new world that Copernicus had opened up. In mapping the heavens it gave us a new way of understanding ourselves. It demanded we reconsider, in a very literal sense, our place in the scheme of things. That place however, was in a world without absolutes, without fixed points of reference, forever in motion. It was, as we have seen, a world that his contemporaries would view with bewilderment. The pluralism and relativism invited by the Copernican system would have done little to have increased feelings of security amidst the widespread sense of disorder, incoherence and instability that was concomitant with the disintegration of a mediaeval social order and the emergence of a more ‘modern’ one. However, the experience of disruption and dislocation, the challenges to authority, the pluralism, relativism and the loss of absolutes, I would argue, are not unlike what we might find in our own ‘post-modern’ times.

THE NEW RENAISSANCE AND THE POSTMODERN REFORMATION
In turning to our own times what parallels can we find with the radical transformations of 1450-1550? Are we in the midst of similar transformations? What are the modern (or rather post-modern) counterparts to the development of print technology, the Copernican revolution, Renaissance individualism, and, perhaps most importantly, the Reformation? Indeed, what are our own times and when did they begin?

The nailing of a document to a Wittenberg church door provides us with a powerful, even poetic, historical punctum. The sound of hammer on nail marked a precise moment in time and space for the start of a new era – even if it may not have been recognised at the time, and even if, as many historians believe, the story is apocryphal. Our own times have no such convenient starting point, neither poetic nor prosaic, yet the final years of the last century do seem to constitute the start of a new period in history. In his history of the ‘short twentieth century’ Eric Hobsbawm says that the end of the century was qualitatively different to the start of the century in three respects. Firstly, it was no longer Eurocentric, although the rise of the USA would still mean the dominance of ‘western civilisation’. Secondly, globalisation had transformed economic and social life. Thirdly, traditional patterns of social relationships were disintegrating, principally through the pressures of a-social individualism. Hobsbawm divides the years since 1914 into three periods: an Age of Catastrophe from 1914 to the aftermath of the Second World War; a Golden Age of extraordinary economic growth through to the early 1970s; and finally “The Crisis Decades”. For Hobsbawm, then, it is the fin de siecle gloom of the 1980s and 1990s that is the mark of our own times.(18)

For many, including Hobsbawm, our current period of insecurity dates from the oil crisis that followed the Yom Kippur war of 1973. The world economy was already changing before that (as early as 1967 J.K. Galbraith was writing of The New Industrial State), but it does give us a convenient marker post. In the twenty years that followed, the world “lost its bearings and slid into instability and crisis”(19) It was not simply that much of the world’s economy was in recession (which was true), nor that the inequalities between rich and poor had grown (which was also true), but that the operations of the capitalist economy had become uncontrollable.(20) Traditional interventions into national economies seemed impotent when faced by the overwhelming power of a global market, and some ideological positions deemed that interference with market forces was in any case undesirable. Commentators began to talk of “post-industrial society”, of “post-Fordism”, and of “post-modernism”.

The Internet
Which brings us to the first of our contemporary counterparts to the Renaissance world – the internet. Now a key feature of both the global economy and of postmodernism, the internet began as a project funded by the U.S. Department of Defence. Faced with the problem of protecting communication structures in the event of nuclear war, planners at the Rand Corporation came up with the solution of a decentralised network. In the mid 1980s protocols were established that enabled communication between different networks (ie truly an inter-net) and different “domains” were created to help bring order into what was becoming a sprawling anarchic system. Non-military possibilities proliferated (“military” was only one of seven domains) and the net rapidly developed as an instrument of social communication and not just as a medium for research and business messages. The real explosion in growth, however, came with the widespread use of personal computers at the same time as the creation of the World Wide Web in 1990. What began as a military problem involving a handful of scientists had now become a brave new world of cyberspace open to anyone with a PC and a telephone link.(21)

Of course, not everyone has such access (probably less than 1% of the world’s population) but the new technology does herald a cultural revolution in much the same way as the advent of print technology did in the fifteenth century (which also had limited access). As with print, it has accelerated the pace of change. The interconnection of financial markets now means that vast sums of money (often more than the wealth of a small nation) can be shifted anywhere in the world instantaneously at the touch of a button. At the same time, disparate protest groups can organise and co-ordinate themselves with much greater ease and speed than before, and through e-mail what once might have been a single letter of complaint to a large corporation can now be copied and forwarded to millions of activists across the globe. The result is both greater empowerment and greater instability. From the start the internet had built within it the principle of decentralisation and power would now be devolved to anyone who possessed the technology. As with print, it helps democratise the production and reading of texts and the issue of control becomes paramount as do struggles to resist that control. For some, cyberspace might seem to be a wild, lawless world, a hotbed for anarchy and crime, for perversion and subversion, but this same quality of wildness can be embraced with a frontier spirit. In this way, the net can be seen as a liberatory technology, giving voice to those who would otherwise be silenced under oppressive regimes in a place that is untamed and free.(22)

The genetic revolution
One freedom that the net is said to give us is the freedom to be whoever we want to be. In cyberspace we can choose how the world sees us. We can cast aside our fleshly selves (“meat” to use the language of cyberpunk) to construct a virtual persona made entirely from the non-physical realm of information. In cyberspace our identities are determined by our desires not by our biology. However, the plasticity of identities was only one part of a more general assault on the “self” at the end of the twentieth century, the most fundamental attack coming from the development of genetics. There had long been a debate about the relative importance of nature versus nurture, but genetics seemed to open the prospect of finding the root cause of nature’s control over our lives. The rise of neo-Darwinism in the last quarter of the century ensured that genetic determinism would increasingly be the orthodox position (at least, in terms of the public face of biology). From the 1970s onwards with books such as E.O. Wilson’s Sociobiology (1975) and Richard Dawkins’s The Selfish Gene (1976), our bodies and behaviours were explained in terms of our genes. At first our understanding was assembled piece by piece with individual genes being identified as responsible for particular characteristics or conditions, but in June 2000 it was announced that scientists had produced the first draft of the entire human genetic code. This mapping of the human genome is the second of our Renaissance parallels. As Copernicus’s new map of the heavens reconfigured our place in the world, so too does the map of the human genome. In both cases our natural tendency to anthropocentrism is shaken to the core. The heliocentric dislocation of ourselves from the stable centre to one of many spinning orbits has its counterpart in the genocentric dislocation from coherent selves to multitudinous “selfish” genes. Each forces us to reconsider who (and consequently, what) we are. Looking outward to the heavens, Copernicus had rearranged our place in nature. Looking inward to our biology, the map of the human genome transforms our understanding not so much of our place in nature but of nature’s place in us.

The “me” generation
In some respects, however, the idea of self was very much still alive. The 1970s were, to use the title of Tom Wolfe’s book, The Me Decade. For Wolfe, the counter-culture concerns for individual personal and spiritual development had become an unwholesome obsession with self. Relationships with others were now simply opportunities for expressing one’s self. The appeal of fashionable therapies was simple says Wolfe, “It is summed up in the notion: ‘Let’s talk about Me ‘.” (23). The late-twentieth century counterpart to Renaissance individualism, therefore, was a new “culture of narcissism” which, according to Christopher Lasch, had come to dominate the whole development of American (and by implication, Western) society (24). In the free-market ideologies of Thatcherism and Reaganomics such rampant (and degenerate) individualism would also find expression in economic policies and attitudes. Cocooned in their own private spaces, self-interested and selfish, the “Me” generation lived in a world where, if we were to believe Margaret Thatcher, ‘there is no such thing as society’.

Thus we can draw parallels between the radical transformation of the decades around 1500 and a similar transformation in our own times. We can see how print, heliocentricism, and individualism have their latterday counterparts in the internet, genocentricism and a narcissistic culture. Such comparisons may be of interest, and could possibly even be significant, but there is one final parallel that I believe truly is important – the challenges posed by the Reformation and those posed by postmodernity. It has become a commonplace to see science as a new form of religion with its own rites and rituals, its own initiation practices, its own esoteric language, its own priesthood and martyrs. However, its authority now faces the same challenges as those faced by the Catholic church at the time of the Reformation. The fragmentation of belief in the sixteenth century is now being replayed as a fragmentation of knowledge in the twenty-first.

The priesthood of all knowers
Postmodernity is as unsettling as the struggle for reform must have been 450 years ago. Both undermine the certainties which people rely on. Both dissolve boundaries which had hitherto seemed natural. Both seek solutions that are local not universal. If there is one major difference it is that postmodernity is intentionally unsettling. It actively searches for and celebrates that which is ambivalent and unstable. Indeed, the very definition of postmodernity is undecided and contested, an example of the very fluidity which it is trying to describe. Like a mythical beast it may not be easy to depict, but we will recognise it when we see it. For Lyotard, its defining feature is an “incredulity towards metanarratives”.(25) The postmodern condition means it is no longer possible to legitimate knowledge through an appeal to a grand narrative or metadiscourse such as the dialectics of spirit, the emancipation of the working class, or the Enlightenment belief in Progress. Its anti-universalism is a war on all totalising discourses (eg. Marxism or Imperialism) and its anti-foundationalism a constant challenge to institutional authority. Indeed, there are no authorities. There is no final court of appeal to which we can refer (or defer). Instead, according to Lyotard, we are to play “games” of move and counter move trying to increase the space for our own “little narratives”. The sense of semantic weightlessness is even more evident in the work of Derrida. All words, says Derrida, should be placed sous erature, “under erasure”, as inadequate but necessary. Signs have different meanings in different contexts and no text or sign is deemed to be final, each and all only ever refer to others. There is no privileged sign, no transcendent signifier, no ultimate logos from which we can take our bearings. No truth is unmediated. Nothing is stable, everything is dispersed and broken up. Even Derrida’s writing style seems to demonstrate that there are no fixed positions, no ground beneath our feet.(26)

Popular reaction against science predates Lyotard’s “Report on Knowledge”. Hiroshima and Nagasaki had already marked a loss of innocence. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring had already stirred environmental consciences, and attacks on the one-dimensional thinking of reductionist science were already part of a youth counter-culture. The challenge from postmodernism, however, is more fundamental because it challenges not only what science does, but what science is. The cultural position of science is undermined not just because of any abuse of science, but because it can no longer claim to have privileged access to nature. What it tells us is no longer a single, unmediated, transcendental truth, but a historically contingent collection of stories in an anthology of little narratives. Its epistemological authority is shattered into a thousand pieces, a thousand local knowledges. As the Reformation dissolved boundaries between sacred and secular sites, between clergy and laity, so too the “Postmodern Reformation” dissolves the boundaries between lay and expert thinking. Luther’s priesthood of all believers has become a priesthood of all knowers. We are all experts now, all experts in our own experiences of the world.

Not surprisingly, the reaction from some scientists has been fierce (one might even say Jesuitical). In the 1990s the genteel border clashes of Snow’s Two Cultures exploded into the science wars which saw the demonisation of anything that was not science as “anti-science”. The rise in popular science pushed the stakes higher. Now science programmes proliferate on TV, book shops have whole sections devoted to popular science, science centres have been built and redesigned, and the growing concern over the Public Understanding of Science (PUS) has led to a wide range of initiatives. Yet after fifteen years of feverish PUS activity it is not at all clear what the public should understand science to be. A collection of facts? An access point to the `truth’? Most importantly, is it a human construction or not? In its rejection of grand narratives and ultimate authorities, postmodernity reaffirms that science, capitalism and culture are all things that we do and not things that should be appealed to.

Just as the spiritual authority of the Catholic Church was challenged by the Reformation, so too the epistemological authority of Science is now challenged by postmodernity. In the fragmentation and uncertainties of the Postmodern Reformation, truth is now to be found in subjective lived experience and one’s own readings of the sacred texts not in expert proclamations. Moreover, the undermining of authority exposes the dilemma for the conscientious scientist: how to release science into the public arena and at the same time control what the public do with it. The more science is made public, the less control scientists have over what it means. Recent calls for a “dialogue” between science and the public would have to acknowledge the plurality of meanings in popular science.(27) The challenge for scientists is not just whether they are able to do this but whether they are willing, because the more the “church scientific” is opened to the new priesthood of all knowers, the more protest-ant we are likely to find the congregation.

ENDNOTES
for
“The authority of science and the Postmodern Reformation”

1. See PETER BROKS: ‘Media Science Before the Great War’; 1996, London, Macmillan.
2. THEODORE K. RABB: ‘The Struggle for Mastery in Early Modern Europe’, 36; 1975, New York, Oxford University Press.
3. ibid. 37.
4. PETER RIETBERGEN: ‘Europe: a cultural history’ 200; 1998, London, Routledge.
5. ibid. p.224.
6. see JACOB BURCKHARDT: ‘The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy’; (originally published 1860).
7. FERNAND BRAUDEL: ‘A History of Civilisations’, 325; 1993, London, Penguin.
8. RAYMOND WILLIAMS: ‘The Long Revolution’, 90-1; 1961, London, Pelican.
9. Erasmus quoted in ROBERT MANDROU: ‘From Humanism to Science’, 76; 1978, London, Pelican.
10. WILLIAMS, op. cit. pp.91-2. For a good overview of recent scholarship on the Reformation see Andrew Pettegree (ed.), The Reformation World (Routledge, London and New York, 2000).
11. Luther “Address to the Christian Nobility of the German nation”, reproduced as document 11 in ANDREW JOHNSTON: ‘The Protestant Reformation in Europe’; 1991, Harlow: Longman.
12. Luther quoted in JACOB BRONOWSKI and BRUCE MAZLISH: ‘The Western Intellectual Tradition’, 110; 1960, London, Pelican..
13. OWEN CHADWICK: ‘The Reformation’, 83; 1972, London: Pelican.
14. see BRONOWSKI and MAZLISH, op. cit. pp.114-5.
15. JOHN HEDLEY BROOKE: ‘Science and Religion: some historical perspectives’, 97; 1991, Cambridge, Cambridge Univesity Press.
16. MARGARET WERTHEIM: ‘Pythagoras’ Trousers: God, physics and the gender wars’, 61; 1997, London, Fourth Estate.
17. ARTHUR KOESTLER: ‘The Sleepwalkers: a history of man’s changing vision of the universe’, 221; 1968, London, Pelican.
18. see ERIC HOBSBAWM: ‘Age of Extremes: the short twentieth century’; 1994, London, Penguin.
19. ibid. p.403.
20. ibid. pp.404-8.
21. see PETER WATSON: ‘A Terrible Beauty; a history of the people and ideas that shaped the modern mind’; 2000, London, Weidenfeld and Nicholson.
22. For the religious imagery associated with cyberspace see MARGARET WERTHEIM “The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace: a history of space from Dante to the internet”; 1997, London:Virago.
23. see WATSON op. cit. p.599.
24. see WATSON op. cit. p.598.
25. JEAN-FRANCOIS LYOTARD: ‘The Postmodern Condition: a report on knowledge’, xxiv; 1984, Manchester: Manchester University Press.
26. see for example JACQUES DERRIDA: ‘Of Grammatology’; 1974, London, Johns Hopkins Press.
27. see for example, the House of Lords’ Select Committee on Science and Technology: ‘Science and Society’; 2000, London, HMSO.

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