Pick of the Day: Philosophy Cafe

From my admittedly limited knowledge of religion, I believe that the first religions that arose millennia ago were polytheistic and tied closely to natural processes that we had limited understanding of, but which impacted significantly on our well-being as we struggled to survive in a harsh environment.

It's impossible to put ourselves in the position of our forebears 10,000 or more years ago. But if we had lived back then, what would we have made of phenomena like lightning, thunder, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, droughts, eclipses and the like? Not surprisingly, people concluded that they, and numerous other equally incomprehensible phenomena like the changing of the seasons and the migration of animals, were the work of supernatural beings -- some benevolent, most malevolent.

Eventually, some people living in the Middle East hit on the idea of consolidating all the gods into one uber-powerful God whom they credited with all facets of Creation. As to what prompted this shift to monotheism, I don't have a clue. But in his talk at Connaught Library tonight called From Gods to God to Euclid Campion College prof Dwayne Raymond is apparently going to argue that the intuition that supported this transition was integral to the work Euclid later did.

Euclid (artist's rendition above) was a Greek mathematician who resided in Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy I in third century B.C. Credited with being the Father of Geometry, he instituted a rigorous system of logical proofs to solve complex problems that remains the basis of mathematics to this day.

In an e-mail exchange, Raymond described his presentation as visual and accessible to a broad audience. To put you in the mood to attend and listen to his philosophical musings here's video of Supertramp's "The Logical Song" (YouTube)

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