Of all the departments of science no one seems to have been less advanced for the last hundred years than that of meteorology. The new chemistry, indeed, has given us a new principle of the generation of rain, by proving water to be a composition of different gases, and has aided our theory of meteoric lights. Electricity stands where Dr. Franklin’s early discoveries placed it, except with its new modification of galvanism. But the phenomena of snow, hail, halo, aurora borealis, haze, looming, &c., are as yet very imperfectly understood. I am myself an empiric [“one who relies on practical experience,” Webster’s Seventh Collegiate] in natural philosophy [science], suffering my faith to go no further than my facts. I am pleased, however, to see the efforts of hypothetical speculation, because by the collisions of different hypotheses, truth may be elicited and science advanced in the end …
To George F. Hopkins, 1822, 5175
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Jefferson noted advances in all departments of science except meteorology over the previous century. Weather was still “imperfectly understood.” Some things don’t change, do they?
In the next to the last sentence, he pronounced himself “empiric” when it came to science. His belief in most, if not all things had to be evidence based. “My faith could go no further than my facts.”
In the last sentence he expressed his appreciation for various speculations, because in time, the clash of ideas could result in the truth.
For Jefferson, seeing was believing, not the other way around.
Mr. Jefferson has more seeing AND believing for your audience.
Call Patrick Lee, 573-657-2739, to schedule him.