Dr. Francis Christian’s speech delivered at the “Free Speech in Medicine” Conference 2022, Baddeck, Nova Scotia
Julie and Chris Milburn, distinguished speakers, ladies and gentlemen, my dear friends –
When the poet John Keats wrote in his poem, “Endymion” that beauty was truth and truth, beauty, he was also pointing out to mankind the ability of beauty to be realized in the pursuit of truth.
Not for personal gain or profit have mathematicians from those of ancient India, ancient Greece or ancient Iraq described to us the ecstasies of the discovery of the secrets of the universe displayed at last to them in numbers.
Many of their solutions to the mysteries of the universe were presented to us in poetry or rhetorical drama and they must have believed then, that truth that defies time cannot be clothed in anything but the grandest, most sublime speech known to man.
Their uncovering of truth was to them a glimpse into the glory of God Himself and they realized as generations of poets and mathematicians have since discovered that the heights of scientific and mathematical discovery and the ecstasies of poetic consummation are both linked and locked together in embrace of the eternal quest for beauty and truth – truth and beauty.
Much later, that greatest of all scientists, Sir Isaac Newton dared to chart the passage of the planets and the stars, the forces that move both our earthly and our heavenly bodies and the great predictive power of the calculus. Scarcely can it still be believed that in the words of the Irish poet, Oliver Goldsmith, “one small head, could carry all he knew.”
Newton himself would have recoiled from being identified in succeeding decades and centuries as the originator, the driving force that inspired the soldiers of the period in mankind’s recent history known as the “Enlightenment.”
Newton’s ability to explain in rational terms the hitherto hidden mysteries of the universe may well have inspired Voltaire and Locke and David Hume – but Newton himself had realized that even his very advanced mathematics and physics could only be invested with meaning if it was yoked together with mankind’s restless search for truth.
This greatest of all scientists who also wrote extensive papers and books on the Bible and its prophecies would in fact devote an equal or greater part of his creative life to studying the greater mind, the God, the great Designer Who he acknowledged as the originator and sustainer of all life and physical phenomena. To him, God acts in “the creating, preserving, and governing of all things according to his good will and pleasure”
Our modern world does in fact owe much to those who came after Newton, the philosophers of the Enlightenment who falsely claim him as a sort of patron saint.
Their claim that everything in the universe can be rationally explained and that mankind had no need of a greater Power with which to contend led to the immediate unleashing of the reign of terror and the French Revolution and in more recent times, to the doctrines of communism and the horrors of the gulag…
– Dr. Francis Christian