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The Science of Liberty

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Timothy Ferris, called "the best popular science writer in the English language today" by the Christian Science Monitor, makes a case for science as the inspiration behind the rise of democracy. In The Science of Liberty: Democracy, Reason, and the Law of Nature, he argues that the Enlightenment values inspired by the scientific revolution have led to the growth of free and democratic societies around the world.

Guests:

Timothy Ferris

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Comments [13]

PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

And of course Omar Khayyam http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omar_Khayy%C3%A1m was a Persian. Islam seems to have been a very different kettle of fish in those days.

Feb. 23 2010 02:03 PM
Paul Christensen from Manhattan

I generally like Ferris a lot but his historical research here is problematic. English Newtonianism was closely tied to the Church of England and conservative politics. The sources of progressive politics came via the Epicurean tradition (which goes back to Democritus) and in England, via Hartley's psychology, the mildly radical politics of Priestley and Bentham, Erasmus Darwin's biology, and the early 19th C whigs. Jefferson was not only a Deist, he was a Mason and wanted to move the country to Masonry. All this, of course, was shaped by the European and Scotch enlightenment.

Feb. 23 2010 02:00 PM
Kazuo from Fairfield

How do you evaluate our current American democracy overly controlled by business lobbiests?

Feb. 23 2010 01:57 PM
PL Hayes from Aberystwyth

I doubt Jim Al-Khalili (who did a BBC documentary series recently) would be very happy with Ferris's take on certain aspects of the history of science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Al-Khalili

“Due to his formulation of a modern quantitative and empirical approach to physics and science, he is considered the pioneer of the modern scientific method”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alhazen

Feb. 23 2010 01:50 PM
annie from Bronx

Why is this guy so sure that no one in the U.S. is starving to death?

Feb. 23 2010 01:49 PM
Yourgo from Astoria

Interesting fella.. Hes right, Communism sucks and for republicans to compare liberal americans to communists is very offensive.

Feb. 23 2010 01:48 PM
mike from Brooklyn

what about the "iron law of wages" which seems to be happening now, where "workers" (a category which is encompassing more of us everyday)wages are perpetually falling to a subsistence levels.

Feb. 23 2010 01:46 PM
Philipp Rothmaler from Bronx

Your author seems to be excluding mathematics from his discussion, which explains both his belittling of Ancient Greek and Soviet scientists. Greek mathematics has served for millenia as a model of science, the Soviet Union could call some of the greatest and most influential mathematicians of the 20th century their own.

Feb. 23 2010 01:43 PM
sp from CNJ

has US elected non Christian President ?

is it even possible, McCain in last election said "We are christian nation and President must be Christian"

US is secular nation, may be on paper !!

Feb. 23 2010 01:42 PM
mk

Mr. Ferris just sounds like an apologist for the status quo, a la Voltaire's Dr. Pangloss: "all is for the best in the best of all possible worlds".

It's bland, self-congratulatory rhetoric.

Feb. 23 2010 01:40 PM
hjs from 11211

this guy doesn't sound very open minded!

Feb. 23 2010 01:36 PM
Mrbad from NYC

Really, this man is a fraud. "Rockets" have been around for hundreds of years but "Rocket Science" has not. Werner Von Braun (Chief Nazi Rocket Science) FOUNDED the science of rocketry and was also the father of the US ICBM and Space program.

Why doesn't this "Dr." of Propaganda go back to the RAND corp and ask for a hand out?

Feb. 23 2010 01:34 PM
Mike from Tribeca

Thanks for having Professor Ferris on your show again.

Feb. 23 2010 01:31 PM

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