If your brother wants some phlogiston
and your sister wants a jade necklace, only one of them must be disappointed.
Centered on the transition from the phlogiston
theory of combustion to the oxygen theory of chemistry, the Chemical Revolution involved a transformation in the ontology, epistemology, methodology, language, instruments, and institutions of chemistry.
It also is roughly the semantic equivalent of phlogiston
. Everybody has a general sense that readiness is somehow important because we have been so thoroughly indoctrinated not to question the sacredness of the precept.
Finally, the same synthesis of psychology and neuroscience falsifies the claim that, since science does not know about souls, which are the concern of religion, there is no basic conflict between the two "non-overlapping magisteria."  Indeed, science does know something about the soul, namely that It does not exist any more than the phlogiston
, the aether, life force, penis envy, collective memory, or the manifest destiny of a certain nation.
You felt something had descended upon him, tongues of fire maybe or his phlogiston
itself, burning its way into your own spirit" (36).
In 1964, he made the prediction 'Race is the phlogiston
of our time' (Montagu  p.
To see the Lysenko Controversy of the 1940s revived 50 years later is as delightfully astonishing as finding someone who believes in phlogiston
or thinks that the world is flat.
Though modifications and additional ad hoc principles were proposed to meet the explanatory demands imposed by new empirical evidence, Hull's system gradually collapsed beyond repair and was eventually discarded, much like the geocentric theory in astronomy and the phlogiston
theory in chemistry.
The subject was confused for many decades by the German 'Phlogiston
' theory of about 1700, which was a radical departure from Sendivogian views.
So, for example, no First Amendment issue would be raised if a graduate student who proposed to study the mythical combustive element phlogiston
were to be refused a research grant by the chemistry department of a public university, however much the student were to complain about discrimination against her view of the causes of chemical reactions.
For all I know some theory incorporating phlogiston
can be made compatible with current theories about oxidation.
I want to consider briefly some of the characteristics of the above folk explanations and predicates in virtue of which they are alleged to be peculiarly insulated from going the way of phlogiston
Costle, Brave New Chemical: The Future Regulatory History of Phlogiston
, 33 Admin.
Eighteenth-century scientists, for instance, believed "Phlogiston
" was the "matter of fire" which "fell up." They explained this behavior by postulating that Phlogiston
had "negative gravity." To us, that seems arbitrary--these men, we say, were simply generating ad hoc arguments to preserve a familiar theory.
They may by the later year be dead as doornails, phlogiston
, or the ether--mentioning no examples nearer home!