Essay on Light
Biblical Authority, Creation, Light, Hypothesis, Ether, Controversy, Chemistry, Electricity, Physiology
Pierre Bouguer , Francis Hauksbee , Daniel Bernoulli , Leonhard Euler
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society Franklin 1806 , Taylor 1762 , Pluche1732–51 , Young 1807
The extract discusses the Biblical statement: 'Let there be light: and there was light' (Gen. 1: 3) in the light of 'modern philosophy'. The writer notes that a 'difficulty has arisen [...] in the minds of some persons, to account for the production of light before the creation of the sun', observing, however, that it has only arisen 'from adopting, with implicit confidence, a mere hypothesis of modern philosophy, an hypothesis which the recent improvements of science seems to render every day more questionable', namely the corpuscular theory (360–61). The ether theory is introduced in relation to 'late experiments in chemistry and galvanism', which have 'served to render such a fluid or elementary principle more familiar to us', and recent researches on phosphorescence. The writer quotes from several authors in support of the ether, and argues its consistency with the Mosaic account of the creation.
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