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June 20, 2010

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Robert A. Metcalf

As far as I know Newton did not publish his work on alchemy or religion. Any good scientist investigates a few ideas that do not work out. Good scientists realize when a line of inquiry is not or at least has not produced a useful or defensible result. No one should be judged negatively upon the intellectual paths they followed that did not lead anywhere productive and where thus not published.
Nor should Newton's anticatholicism be seen with modern eye's. In the 1500's the Roman Catholic powers Germany, Spain,France, and the Papacy made serious attempts at restoring Catholicism to areas of the reformed church with the sword. The memory of this colored British attitudes towards Catholicism long after the military threat had dissipated. Today it may seem silly but it was very real at one time.

Romeo  Vitelli

His religious works weren't published during his lifetime but that seemed more to do with his reluctance to antagonize the Church of England rather than lacking confidence in the validity of his ideas. The manuscripts were certainly published after his death.

As for his anti-Catholic feelings, the vehemence of his anti-Papist writing suggested that he actually believed that the Catholic church was a force for evil in the world. Not what would be expected of an arch-empiricist.

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