It would have been a proper gesture as well as belated recognition of the role of Aristotle by awarding him the Nobel Prize for Science.
Charles Darwin had this to say of Aristotle:“Linnaeus and Cuvier have been my two gods, though in very different ways, but they were mere school-boys to old Aristotle.”
Like Herodotus who was acknowledged as the Father of History without much of controversy Aristotle ought to have been given long ago the mantle as the Father of Science.
Herodotus lived at a time much of history of nations that loomed large for scholars was accepted as myths where gods played a crucial role. Hellenic thought accepted them as necessary. In China Will of heaven was held up by the emperor whose right to rule was a mandate from above. If a dynasty came unravelled the significance was clear: it had forfeited the right by the Will of the Heavenly Emperor. In Greek ethos no less similar conclusion was accepted as correct.
How is it then that Aristotle the tutor of Alexander the Great failed to gain due recognition from scholars who had received so much from his inquisitive mind?
One may cite so many areas where Aristotle got it wrong. Think of the following ideas proposed by him.
* too much sex causes sunken eyes because semen drains matter from the human brain.
*the right-hand side of the body is more honorable and therefore hotter than the left. (In India this idea has its variant. It is the left hand one uses to wipe the butt after going to the toilet.)
*He also believed that the human heart processes and integrates sensations from the external world.
*The brain, beyond storing the matter that becomes semen, was just a cooling device for when the heart’s fires blazed too hot.
Mingled with all the bizarre zoology, however, are many impressively accurate and detailed descriptions. His accounts of the hyena’s genitals, the parental behavior of male catfish, and the limited sensory capacities of sea sponges are just a few of the many things about which he was essentially correct.
A fascinating new book by the evolutionary biologist and science writer Armand Marie Leroi claims that Aristotle fully deserves Darwin’s high praise. In The Lagoon: How Aristotle Invented Science, Leroi argues that Aristotle developed many of the empirical and analytical methods that still define scientific inquiry.
He was more than an encyclopedist. He collected such comprehensive data in order to analyze and interpret it. His theories and interpretations are often astonishingly insightful. One 20th-century Nobel laureate suggested that Aristotle deserved to receive the prize posthumously for his realization that the information that dictates and replicates an organism’s structure is stored in its semen. In some sense he was anticipating the discovery of DNA. His theory of inheritance can also account for recessive traits that skip generations, the contributions of both parents to the features of a child, and unexpected variations in traits that do not derive from either
Many of his observations are readily recognizable to a reader of Darwin. He notes that an elephant’s size confers protection from predators and that fish with high rates of infant mortality produce a larger number of offspring to compensate for the likelihood that most of the progeny will perish. He showed a nuanced understanding of how the forms and features of animals are adapted to their environments. Darwin even mentions Aristotle as a forerunner who anticipates the theory of natural selection in the preface to the third edition of On the Origin of Species.
Aristotle perceived some of the universal associations between longevity, period of gestation, adult body size, and degree of embryonic development that biologists still study today. He noticed the correlations among these features, but he was sensitive to the distinction between correlation and causation and sought to eliminate confounding variables. Then he integrated his findings into broader theories with deep explanatory power.
(ack: the Daily Beast)