Testing Book-smarts with Observation: John Ray (1735) on the Value of Knowledge Creation

DuffPlantBooks-office

Should professors at Universities be active participants in generating and testing ideas or should they be content to be teachers of what is already known? Most higher educational institutions, such as the one that employs me, continually grapple with how to strike a balance between encouraging knowledge creation and dissemination past knowledge. Put another way, […]

John Ray on Flood Geology in 1695: Words that Still Apply Today

Snail shell, San Diego CA. Photo: Joel Duff 2014

Modern young-earth creationism has deep roots.  The essential elements of flood geology were established in the 1600s though much of what passed as flood geology at that time might be difficult to recognize today.  One thing that hasn’t changed is the style of rhetoric frequently used to promote flood geology to the general public. To […]

NH Notes: John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

Sunflower struck by the suns rays at sunrise. Late summer in northeast Ohio.  Photo by Joel Duff

The Englishman and natural historian John Ray is best known for his book, The Wisdom of God.  Like many other books of the 18th century, he continually revised and reissued his book until the time of his death.  Even after his death notes that he had made on manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of […]

John Ray on the Purpose of Creation in “The Wisdom of God”

Hubble telescope image of the Sombrero Galaxy

The Englishman natural historian John Ray is best known for his book The Wisdom of God.  Like many books at the time, he continually revised and reissued until the time of his death and then even after his death edits he had made to manuscripts were incorporated into later editions.   As a result of these many […]

Ray to Llwyd: On Formed Stones and Mammalian Fossils

ammonitefossils

This is part of a continuing a series of posts on John Ray’s correspondences.  Quotes are from the publication of Ray’s letters  (Further Correspondence of John Ray)  edited by Robert W. T. Gunther and printed for the Ray Society in 1928.    The first is from a letter to Mr. Edward Llwyd at the Museum of […]

Ray to Lhwyd in 1695 continued: Fossils and the Flood

Nodule containing fern fossil (click for larger image)

The same letter of Ray’s to Lhwyd in 1695 that I posted recently goes on to explain Ray’s feelings about the new flood theories that were being promoted in the late 1600s and some observations on fossils.    The letter reveals Ray’s reading of the prevailing interpretation of the flood narratives of Genesis in his day.  […]

John Ray on Woodward in 1695: Words that still apply today

Illustration of the building of Noah's Ark from The Nuremberg Chronicle by Hartmann Schedel (1440-1514)

The following quote is by John Ray from a correspondence with Mr. Edward Lhwyd on April 8 1695.   The quote is from a publication of Ray’s letters called the Further Correspondence of John Ray Edited by Robert W. T. Gunther and printed for the Ray Society in 1928. I need to set the scene for […]

John Ray: Testing Knowledge with Observation

commentaries

The following quote is from page 152 of the 1735 edition of Wisdom of God, Ray’s best known book.   He is bemoaning the fact that so few professors have any experience from observation but appear to be content with the knowledge of the past which they have gained from books. Let us not suffice us […]

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