The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.
--Blaise Pascal (1623 – 1662)
(1:2.7) The existence of God can never be proved by scientific experiment or by the pure reason of logical deduction. God can be realized only in the realms of human experience; nevertheless, the true concept of the reality of God is reasonable to logic, plausible to philosophy, essential to religion, and indispensable to any hope of personality survival.
(101:1.1) Religion is not the product of reason, but viewed from within, it is altogether reasonable.
(103:7.1) Science is sustained by reason, religion by faith. Faith, though not predicated on reason, is reasonable; though independent of logic, it is nonetheless encouraged by sound logic.
Blaise Pascal 19 June was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father, a tax collector in Rouen. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalising the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defence of the scientific method.
In 1642, while still a teenager, he started some pioneering work on calculating machines. After three years of effort and 50 prototypes, he built 20 finished machines (called Pascal's calculators and later Pascalines) over the following 10 years, establishing him as one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator.
Pascal was an important mathematician, helping create two major new areas of research: he wrote a significant treatise on the subject of projective geometry at the age of 16, and later corresponded with Pierre de Fermat on probability theory, strongly influencing the development of modern economics and social science. Following Galileo Galilei and Torricelli, in 1647, he rebutted Aristotle's followers who insisted that nature abhors a vacuum. Pascal's results caused many disputes before being accepted.
In 1646, he and his sister Jacqueline identified with the religious movement within Catholicism known by its detractors as Jansenism. His father died in 1651. Following a religious experience in late 1654, he began writing influential works on philosophy and theology. His two most famous works date from this period: the Lettres provinciales and the Pensées, the former set in the conflict between Jansenists and Jesuits. In that year, he also wrote an important treatise on the arithmetical triangle. Between 1658 and 1659 he wrote on the cycloid and its use in calculating the volume of solids.
Pascal had poor health, especially after the age of 18, and he died just two months after his 39th birthday.
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