I forgot that Ada Lovelace Day
was yesterday, and failed to make this post I've been saving up. But I'll make it today, on the Day After Ada Lovelace Day. Admittedly a less-recognized global holiday, but still totally worthwhile.
What's Ada Lovelace Day
, you ask? Well, since your clicky finger is broken, I'll tell you: Ada Lovelace (née
Augusta Ada Byron. Yes. That Byron) wrote the first computer program(me), for the Analytical Engine
. Ada Lovelace Day started last year as a blogging-based recognition of women's accomplishments in science and technology.
So. You may argue that my subject doesn't represent much of a science & technology accomplishment. Hey, good thing it's not actually Ada Lovelace Day, eh? Because I? Want to talk about Mary Baker Eddy
.* Who was, possibly, as founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, a cult leader. Her tract on science & health
is certainly a little weird by contemporary standards. Christian Scientists are probably best known for their controversial ideas about spiritual healing, which comes from their fairly extreme belief that the only reality is spiritual. Trying to treat the material body with material medicine is, by extension, foolish. Mortality rates among Christian Scientists are apparently higher than among people who follow more traditional approaches to medicine. I'm just saying.
But. Baker-Eddy's beliefs spring from an interesting life, including successful recovery from illness while rejecting the common medicinal practices of her time (keeping in mind that she was a contemporary of Ada Lovelace, and that one's chances of getting better without
leeches are almost better than with
). And her seemingly wacky religion demands a higher standard of proof than other faith-based religions of its time, while mostly leaving room for scientific and technological inquiry.
She also founded the Christian Science Monitor
, in response to "yellow journalism"
. Again, proof, facts and curiosity: things the world could use a bit more of. Also, Christian Scientists designed this totally awesome giant globe
, one of my favorite things, and I love far-reaching minds that decide things like "I think I will build a giant globe in my church library".
I find her an interesting example of the complexity of humans and our beliefs. On one hand: revolutionary beliefs about Truth from a daring woman. On the other: kindof a cult. All told, I suppose, rather a weirdo. And I like weirdos.
I'll leave you with this quote, on a photo I took outsider her library in Boston. It makes me happy.
To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.
* I rarely advocate reading talk pages on Wikipedia, since they're often a bit ridiculous, but this one I think shows well how polarized opinions can get around Christian Scientists.