Friday, 25 March 2011

Three broad historical stages in explanation of the world and the universe


August Comte was a French philosopher, a founder of discipline of sociology, has divided the explanation of phenomena of the world and the universe into three phases as follows.

(1) Theological (or fictitious) Stage. The theological stage is an initial stage of explanation on human origin and the world phenomena. It refers to religious explanation to the account of gods or the power of supernatural beings. That is of the theological teaching emphasizing on god created the world. Religious teaching has much influence in this period such as Brahmanism in Buddha’s time taught that Brahmin is the creator of the universe and mankind. The oldest sacred scripture in the world, the Rig Veda, is the evidence to insist this account.

(2) Metaphysical (or abstract) Stage. The metaphysical stage refers to philosophical explanation to the reality of human and the world phenomena in terms of abstractions or unseen forces. It explains that all things are result from natural law. Natural law can be discovered by reason alone or perceived through the assumption of logical principle. In this age, philosophical thought had been profoundly influenced human’ beliefs, even religions attempted to bind with philosophy. For example, Christianity had brought the Plato’s philosophy to the interpretation of the Bible, Indian Buddhism had developed to become the schools of Buddhist philosophy, Theravada and Mahayana.

(3) Scientific (or positive) Stage. The positive stage refers to scientific explanation on human and world phenomena through reify information which based on observation, verification and experimentation. This stage has begun since 400 years earlier and has continued till the present. Actually science has grown under the umbrella of philosophy more than thousand years.  Some philosophers such as Aristotle, Democritus, talked about natural philosophy which what we now called science. Though philosophers evolved with the discipline of science in systematic manner, their natural philosophy yet was not science because it just be the expression or theory lacking of the supportive of observation, verification, and experimentation.

Today we are in the era of globalization. For common people, the sayings of scientists gain more weight and are believable. Supposing, there were two men came to you and told the story that they saw a man flying from the Golden Mountain to the ground of Sanam Luang.

When you asked why that man could fly, the first man, identifying himself as the scientist from NASA, explained that the man could fly because he tied some innovators at his back. So his body could drift up from the Golden Mountain to the ground of Sanam Luang.

The second man identified himself as religious person with the different explanation from the first one. He told that such a man could fly because he practiced meditation and his body came up from the Golden Mountain to the ground of Sanam Luang by the power of the strong mode of zest. 

Whom would you believe when these two men proposed the different explanations?
The present day, most people believe in scientists.

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