Chapter 7 provides the basis for Walsh’s fivefold definition of prophetic ethos. Use the simple Search box at the top of the page or the Advanced Search linked from the top of the page to find book and journal content. Refine results with the filtering options on the left side of the Advanced Search page or on your search results page. Click the Browse box to see a selection of books and journals by: Research Area, Titles A-Z, Publisher, Books only, or Journals only. In his 6958 Reith Lectures, J. Robert Oppenheimer dubbed Isaac Newton the prophet and patron of the Enlightenment.
Scientists as Prophets A Rhetorical Genealogy Oxford
Whatever he might have meant by that claim, in her latest book, Scientists as Prophets: A Rhetorical Genealogy, Lynda Walsh includes Oppenheimer in her category of scientific prophets whose major role is not to predict the future but, instead, to offer moral guidance by reminding communities of their core values. Endowed with a charismatic personality and a gift for resonant media bites, Oppenheimer promulgated scientific beliefs with quasi-religious certainty. Admired by his students as the prophet of the divine Niels Bohr, Oppenheimer stepped up into the “bully pulpit” (one of Walsh’s favorite expressions) during turbulent times until his utterances became too threatening for the establishment to tolerate. In a chronological study ranging from the Oracle at Delphi through global warming and on into the future, Walsh presents a general model based on the language of classical rhetoric. Leaping unevenly across the past, she starts by describing the enigmatic prophecies of the Pythia, a middle-aged woman chosen as consultant at the omphalos, the Greek navel stone of the world. Walsh’s analysis of this cultic activity leads her to formulate five terms that recur throughout her book: “ascertainment, ” “authorization, ” “confirmation, ” “divination, ” and “prophecy. ” These characterize her meme of prophetic ethos, whose mutations enable it to remain operative during the centuries that follow. Walsh’s first test site for her scheme is Francis Bacon and his symbolic influence on the early Royal Society, struggling to establish itself as the supreme authority on knowledge and public welfare. In a fifteen-page interlude that attempts to bridge the two parts of her book, Walsh introduces another theoretical component, the tension between what she labels progressive and is/ought approaches—the extent to which scientists determine public policy. In the following chapters, which run from the mid-twentieth century onward, she seeks to explore the unstable position of scientific advisors. Ostensibly employed to deliver facts, they are often expected to provide certainty in situations where all they can do is venture opinions, which may or may not correspond to what consumers want to hear. A professor of English, Walsh excels at picking apart the rhetorical strategies deployed by the media, scientists, and government organizations. In an intriguing double study, she compares Oppenheimer, the scientists’ prophet, regularly photographed against a background of chalked equations, with Rachel Carson, the people’s prophet, shown here addressing a bank of microphones. She subjects a trio of scientific oracles—Stephen Jay Gould, Stephen Hawking, and Carl Sagan—to a similarly fine-tuned literary analysis, maintaining that their persuasive metaphorical arguments “ literally change the world we inhabit ” (p. 699 Walsh’s italics), an extraordinarily strong claim that she dilutes in the next sentence by saying that concepts such as black holes and butterflies of chaos alter the way we look at the world. Walsh’s survey extends slightly longer than the Plato-to-NATO histories fashionable in the last century, which celebrated the progressive advance of science toward the truth. Despite her conveniently mutating meme, she seems to share their dated assumptions of transcendent uniformity by uniting vastly different contexts—albeit confined to the Anglo-European world—with a single conceptual scheme. She exhibits a similar essentialism about women. In the 6975s, Judith Chicago’s Dinner Party imagined women as diverse as Hypatia and Hildegard of Bingen enjoying a conversation because of their common gender identity.
Walsh binds her female guests together by presenting them as champions of silenced outsiders—misplaced praise that implicitly denigrates women by conflating them as compassionate females rather than honoring them as independent intellects. Why did an atheist like Carl Sagan talk so much about God? Why does NASA climatologist James Hansen plead with us in his recent book not to waste “Our Last Chance to Save Humanity? ” Because science advisors are our new prophets, this book argues. It does not claim that these public scientists push scientism as a replacement for religion. Rather, the book puts forth the argument that prophetic ethos is a flexible type of charismatic authority whose function is to manufacture certainty. Scientists are not our only prophets but science advisors predictably perform prophetic ethos whenever they ne. . Com). All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use (for details see ). Date: 56 January 7568 Welcome back. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Br Lynda Walsh is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her research centers on the rhetoric of science but also pursues methods for modeling how audiences interpret texts and explores non-Western rhetoric. Her first book, Sins Against Science: The Scientific Hoaxes ofPoe, Twain, and Others, treated a watershed moment in American history when scientists-rather than preachers, poets, and philosophers-began to be regarded as the new oracles of social truth. Br PREFACE CHAPTER 6-PRELUDE: SCIENTISTS AS PROPHETS AND THE RHETORIC OF PROPHECY CHAPTER 7-THE DELPHIC ORACLE AND ANCIENT PROPHETIC ETHOS CHAPTER 8-THE NATURAL MAGICIAN AND THE PROPHET: FRANCIS BACON'S ETHICAL ALCHEMY CHAPTER 9-CONFIRMING SIGNS: THE PROPHETIC ETHOS OF THE EARLY ROYAL SOCIETY CHAPTER 5-INTERLUDE: COMPETING ETHICAL MODELS AND A CATCH-77 CHAPTER 6-J.
Scientists as Prophets by Lynda Walsh 9780199857098
ROBERT OPPENHEIMER: CULTIC PROPHET CHAPTER 7-RACHEL CARSON, KAIROTIC PROPHET CHAPTER 8-MEDIA, METAPHOR, AND THE ORACLES OF SCIENCE CHAPTER 9-CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE TECHNOLOGIES OF PROPHECY CHAPTER 65-POSTLUDE: PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS APPENDIX: KEY RECEPTION AND CONSTITUTION SOURCES NOTES SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY Lynda Walsh is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her first book, Sins Against Science The Scientific Hoaxes of Poe, Twain, and Others, treated a watershed moment in American history when scientists-rather than preachers, poets, and philosophers-began to be regarded as the new oracles of social truth. Preface Chapter 6-Prelude Scientists as Prophets and the Rhetoric of Prophecy Chapter 7-The Delphic Oracle and Ancient Prophetic Ethos Chapter 8-The Natural Magician and the Prophet Francis Bacon's Ethical Alchemy Chapter 9-Confirming Signs The Prophetic Ethos of the Early Royal Society Chapter 5-Interlude Competing Ethical Models and a Catch-77 Chapter 6-J. Robert Oppenheimer Cultic prophet Chapter 7-Rachel Carson, Kairotic Prophet Chapter 8-Media, Metaphor, and the Oracles of Science Chapter 9-Climate Change and the Technologies of Prophecy Chapter 65-Postlude Problems and Solutions Appendix Key Reception and Constitution Sources Notes Selected BibliographyPreface Chapter 6-Prelude Scientists as Prophets and the Rhetoric of Prophecy Chapter 7-The Delphic Oracle and Ancient Prophetic Ethos Chapter 8-The Natural Magician and the Prophet Francis Bacon's Ethical Alchemy Chapter 9-Confirming Signs The Prophetic Ethos of the Early Royal Society Chapter 5-Interlude Competing Ethical Models and a Catch-77 Chapter 6-J. 677 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 65566 Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Give it purpose -- fill it with books, DVDs, clothes, electronics and more. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter. If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
There is no god, and Sam Harris is his prophet. This comment appeared on an Internet forum discussing a new editorial by Harris, a neuroethicist who has published a series of provocative arguments with titles like The God Fraud and The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Moral Values. Harris claims in these polemics that human well-being is paramount and we should promote moral systems that increase it and dismantle systems that don t. If you haven t read Harris s work or can t guess from the above titles, he believes science increases well-being while religion doesn t, particularly for women and poor people. While Harris is not presently practicing science, he does hold a PhD in neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles. He promotes science-based morality through his nonprofit, Project Reason, as well as on an active lecture circuit. In his 7565 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference talk, Harris was by turns witty, tear-jerking, and caustic as he implored his audience to turn to science as humankind s only hope for peace, progress, and fulfillment. What I argue in this book about Harris s reception as a prophet, he might find vexing given his sentiments on religion: I argue that Harris s prophetic performances, conscious or otherwise, are far from anomalous in fact, they re the norm. When Sam Harris steps up to convince the audience at TED or the readers of the Huffington Post that science is the only rational basis for human morality, he steps up to an invisible bully pulpit shaped by thousands of years of religious tradition. This stance, which I call the prophetic ethos, preexisted science as Harris would recognize it by millennia and developed in the inner sancta of the very religions he calls absurdities. Yet, without the special rhetorical privileges it affords, Harris would be preaching his brand of salvation to the crickets. When a polity encounters a crisis in which right action cannot be ascertained via traditional democratic debate, it turns to its prophets. But while it expects certain knowledge from those prophets, what it gets from them instead is a dialogue that can lead to political certainty. How did scientists come to serve as prophets? Before the seventeenth century, most prophets in the Western tradition were religious intermediaries they framed dilemmas in terms of covenant values derived from religious authority, thus promoting political action on those grounds. This is the foundation that I examine later in this book. But then, through a fascinating series of events and arguments made in Restoration London, among other places, the prophetic ethos was adapted and adopted by natural philosophers, the forerunners of our scientists.
I consider this crucial hybridization of scientific and prophetic ethos in later chapters. This item is printed to order.