by Gregory L. Baker
Much of the complexity and strength of science, especially physical science, is due to the pervasive use of mathematics, a tool for modeling phenomena and then projecting future developments and behavior. This kind of picture of nature, originating about the time Newton, was a departure from the philosophical or rationalist approach of a Descartes or indeed, Swedenborg, and had, I believe, two consequences. First, the mathematization of science eventually gave man a capability of predicting and controlling physical events which seems almost magical to the uninitiated. Second, the emphasis on quantification seemed to have caused a localization of viewpoint, an emphasis on specific problems which are sufficiently confined in scope that there is a reasonable expectation of solution. The idea is that if enough small, local problems are solved the global solution or 'grand theory' will evolve. An example of this is the many pieces of physics and chemistry which would be necessary for a complete and satisfactory theory of pre-biotic evolution. In Swedenborgian terms this amounts to the use of what are primarily effects being collected to determine causes, an approach which must be used with caution. Yet having said this, the impression is not to be given that science is somehow invalid or corrupt because it is focused. On the contrary; the models which the human mind lays upon nature are reflections of both nature and the mind itself. These reflections have value and may complement and infill the general structure of a religious and philosophic view of reality.