[Tyndall Blogged] Suppressed Truth: What does opposition to truth look like?

From the blog Suppressed Truth:

What does opposition to truth look like?

Some will automatically think of the Medieval Church’s alleged opposition to science as among the best examples extant – in world history – of opposition to truth. It is worthwhile to acquaint oneself with the words of John Tyndale, the prominent 19th century Irish physicist, as regards his support for the germ theory of disease – then also being promoted by Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister – and the opposition he met with:

“My own interference with this great question, while sanctioned by many eminent names, has been also an object of varied and ingenious attack. On this point I will only say that when angry
feeling escapes from behind the intellect, where it may be useful as an urging force, and places itself athwart the intellect, it is liable to produce all manner of delusions.
Thus my censors, for the most part, have levelled their remarks against positions which were never assumed, and against claims which were never made.” *

From this one can see that one does not have to be promoting superstition and old wives’s tales to meet with adamant opposition. In Tyndale’s quote we read what it was like to put forward in the scientific community, sixteen years after the American Civil War and a full 158 years after the death of Antonie Philips van Leeuwenhoek – the Father of Microbiology -, the idea that microorganisms cause infection in wounds.

* Essays on the Floating-matter in the Air in Relation to Putrefaction and Infection, by John Tyndall, F.R.S. London, Longmans, Green & Co., 1881, p. 27.

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Published in: on August 31, 2008 at 10:19 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Missed your blog birthday, but found you on my Google Alert for Leeuwenhoek. Good luck in this new endeavour, I am sure it will be interesting.

  2. Hi Adrian – no worries about missing the birth of this blog – you were having your fun in Britain, right?

    Thanks for the good luck. For my first two weeks of the project, I will be reading up on Tyndall. And that starts tomorrow! Am I ready?!?! AH!

    Can you send me the links for the posts you have done about Tyndall on your blogs?


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