Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace on Intelligent Design
Type of Spiritual Experience
Pierre-Simon, marquis de Laplace ( 23 March 1749 – 5 March 1827) was a French scholar whose work was important to the development of engineering, mathematics, statistics, physics and astronomy. He summarized and extended the work of his predecessors in his five-volume Mécanique Céleste (Celestial Mechanics) (1799–1825). This work translated the geometric study of classical mechanics to one based on calculus, opening up a broader range of problems. In statistics, the Bayesian interpretation of probability was developed mainly by Laplace.
Laplace formulated Laplace's equation, and pioneered the Laplace transform which appears in many branches of mathematical physics, a field that he took a leading role in forming. The Laplacian differential operator, widely used in mathematics, is also named after him. He restated and developed the nebular hypothesis of the origin of the Solar System and was one of the first scientists to postulate the existence of black holes and the notion of gravitational collapse.
A description of the experience
PSYCHISM Analysis of Things Existing ESSAYS BY PAUL GIBIER, M. D. Director of the New York Pasteur Institute.
Laplace, an agnostic avant la lettre, who certainly was one of the most positive scientists of his time, seemed to have had an intimation of the possibility of the prevision of the future, as may be judged by the following remarks:
"An Intelligence, which for a given moment should know all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings which compose it, and which were vast enough to subject these data to analysis, would embrace in the same formula the movements of the greatest bodies in the Universe and those of the smallest atom; nothing would be uncertain for it, and the future as well as the past would be present before its eyes"
Let us analyze Laplace's thought. If we are able to thoroughly penetrate the meaning of what precedes we shall see that this great and profound astronomer and mathematician who repulsed the "Hypothesis" of a Personal God conceived the Universe exactly in the same manner as all the great Pantheists, and by no means disputed the idea of the presence of ineffable intelligence