Scientific Knowledge

For over a millennium Christianity arrested the development of science and scientific thinking. In Christendom, from the time of Augustine until the Renaissance, systematic investigation of the natural world was restricted to theological investigation—the interpretation of biblical passages, the gleaning of clues from the lives of the saints, etc.; there was no direct observation and interpretation of natural processes, because that was considered a useless pursuit, as all knowledge resided in scripture.

The results of this are well known: scientific knowledge advanced hardly an inch in the over 1000 years from the rise of orthodox Christianity in the fourth century to the 1500s, and the populace was mired in the deepest squalor and ignorance, living in dire fear of the supernatural—believing in paranormal explanations for the most ordinary natural events.

This ignorance had tragic results: it made the populace more than ready to accept witchcraft as an explanation for everything from illness to thunderstorms, and hundreds of thousands of women (and some men…and some say the number is up to 3 million) paid for that ignorance with their lives. One of the commonest charges against witches was that they had raised hailstorms or other weather disturbances to cause misfortune to their neighbors. In an era when supernatural explanations were readily accepted, such charges held weight—and countless innocent people died horrible deaths as a result.

(Now a sane and rational person would realize from the lack of  any real evidence that there were no witches and not buy into this crap, and the so called ‘men of God’ would know that a real God would not sanction what they were doing to thousands of innocent people.  Logic dictates that the leaders of the Catholic Church knew there was  no God so they weren’t bothered by how evil  the deed was they were doing. I don’t think there is any way that theistic apologia can rationalize  the things they did in ‘God’s’ name ).

Another result was that the fearful populace remained very dependent upon Christianity and its clerical wise men for protection against the supernatural evils which they believed surrounded and constantly menaced them. For men and women of the Middle Ages, the walls veritably crawled with demons and witches; and their only protection from those evils was the church.

When scientific investigation into the natural world resumed in the Renaissance—after a 1000-year-plus hiatus—organized Christianity did everything it could to stamp it out. The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was enough that it contradicted scripture.

Given that the Copernican theory directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned that it must be false. Protestants shared this view. John Calvin rhetorically asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

Who Indeed…

Words in parenthesis and italics are mine.

Adapted from Freethoughtpedia Here

“Saint Augustine… laid down an important principle … that if a scriptural text contradicts science, you must give it an allegorical interpretation.”

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Of course all of you out there in webland know that ALL of the fundagelical organizations lie lie lie in just about everything they do…and they somehow think this is OK.

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About the word of me
Interested in family and friends,grandchildren, photography, darkrooms, history, archaeology, scuba diving, computers, software, fast cars, journalism, writing, travel, ecology, news, science, and probably most other subjects you could think of. Did I mention family and friends?? I require iced tea or cold brewed coffee and a internet connection to be fully functional. Sometimes there are just so many words in my head they spill out.

5 Responses to Scientific Knowledge

  1. I think you should stop reading free thought. The price may be right but its utter BS.

    You don’t seriously think that science would even exist if the Christian faith had been established. And who do you think was the only institution that committed the time and the finances to preserve and investigate the pursuit of knowledge? We’d still be in the dark ages without the church.

    TWOM: The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was enough that it contradicted scripture.

    TWOM: Given that the Copernican theory directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned that it must be false.

    QB: NO. NO> and its still no. Your protest does nothing but demonstrate my point. 1) Copernican was a Catholic monk. Which means the church educated him and provided the means and the time to perform his work. 2) What the church objected to was that helio-centrism should not be taught as scientific fact (which it wasn’t) but only as a theory.

    Dido Galileo who observed the moon of Jupiter make a transit around the planet.

    Galileo then made a wild ass guess that therefore since a moon travels around a larger planet that the earth being smaller then the sun, the earth therefore orbits the sun(note that there was no proof of this theory) NOTHING for centuries but Galileo stepped on his own third leg and deemed himself a theologian as well and out of thin air claim the earth orbits the sun. The church said you can teach it as theory but not fact. But human ego’s being what they are he couldn’t stand for that.

    The descendants of the enlightenment have attempted to push that BS but it just doesn’t stick. Claim him as a martyr if you must, but your spouting off on a tangent that doesn’t support history, nor the scientific method which you claim you support your acting much like the fundies you loath so much.

    Hope that didn’t leave a tread mark;>)

  2. thewordofme says:

    Hi Qboa,

    I’m scarred for life…:-)

  3. I’m almost sorry;>)

    Rage if you must against the bishops in the Ireland cover-up of abuse, and I’ll join you in your discuss.

    However please recognize that the church laded the ground work for scientific though in western civilization and that Galileo was convicted for attempting to use science to develop theology and that had peer reviews been developed he would have been laughed at for making a claim that the earth revolved around the sun was a fact. Actually I should go further because Galileo’s ego was so great as to claim that the sun was the center of the universe. It’s not even the center of our galaxy!

  4. thewordofme says:

    Hi Qboa, sorry to take so long on reply.

    You write:
    “You don’t seriously think that science would even exist if the Christian faith had been established. And who do you think was the only institution that committed the time and the finances to preserve and investigate the pursuit of knowledge? We’d still be in the dark ages without the church.”

    Starting from the bottom here… “We’d still be in the dark ages without the church.” Gee, here I thought all along that the church was responsible for the “Dark Ages” 🙂

    Yes, I do think that science would exist without the church. Although I do accept that church organization and methods of operating in the early days helped to keep a small class of people that could afford to do something other than worry about starvation, but then so did the Roman and Greek and even the Arabs, before they adopted their false god. Other than fortuitous accidents occasionally, most early achievements in the sciences came from people who had to at least profess that they were religious or be killed by the “Mother Church”

    The Catholic Church was no friend of anybody outside of what they considered faithful adherents of Christianity. They allowed no backtalk or dissension, and they killed those so bold as to disagree with their worldview.

    You write:
    “NO. NO> and its still no. Your protest does nothing but demonstrate my point. 1) Copernican was a Catholic monk. Which means the church educated him and provided the means and the time to perform his work. 2) What the church objected to was that helio-centrism should not be taught as scientific fact (which it wasn’t) but only as a theory.”

    OK fine Copernicus was a Catholic and was educated by them…so what…he was still contradicting Catholic/Biblical Dogma by using his intelligence to work out a solution, and the Church was forbidding him to teach or even to tell anyone about this. Again, in my opinion this is relevant as to whether there is really a God.

    The Church obviously does not have any pipeline to God or heaven, for in their pondering and praying for guidance on this matter no one “spoke “ to them and let them know that Galileo and Copernicus knew what they were talking about.

    The Catholic Church (and others of course) keep making mistakes that any real god driven organization would not make. In the case of the Catholics the mistakes come in really BIG versions and early on. They are mistakes that would never have happened if a real god were in charge. Stop and think about religion down through the ages…the church improves as the people get smarter…not the other way round; the church is always the slowest one to adapt, the ones who drag their feet about social change, the ones who think that that 1300 year old book really is the word of some vaporous sky god who has nothing better to do than kibitz about humans.

    You write:
    “…NOTHING for centuries but Galileo stepped on his own third leg and deemed himself a theologian as well and out of thin air claim the earth orbits the sun…”

    I really doubt that Galileo thought of himself as a theologian and his claim did not come out of thin air…he just pissed off the wrong people, he contradicted what the Church believed and since “The Church” knew it all, and had a pipeline to god who told them that we lived in a geocentric universe they had to quash this heresy fast, so with threats of death they silenced (for a short time) the voices of truth and reason. Again, this is what the church is good at.

    The churches today ARE good for some things. The charities and community services they provide are a wonderful thing and I truly commend them. However the churches of today need to keep their noses out of science and government and social commenting because they more often than not are dead wrong in their assessments of the problems and what is needed to solve them.

    Society with all its present faults is actually getting better and its being lead by secularism not the churches. If we were governed by religion again we would quickly sink into a new “Dark Ages,” Please realize I am speaking of Western civilization here…Muslims in other parts of the world because they allow, or demand, that religion run their government have already thrust their civilization to the brink (or more) of a Dark Age.

    It truly concerns (scares) me that the whole world will be immersed in darkness again because of religion.

    You write:
    “The descendants of the enlightenment have attempted to push that BS but it just doesn’t stick. Claim him as a martyr if you must, but your spouting off on a tangent that doesn’t support history, nor the scientific method which you claim you support your acting much like the fundies you loath so much.

    I suppose I am a fundamentalist atheist. Or more closely perhaps the mirror of a fundie. They believe the Bible is the actual word of God…infallible and true in every word. I know its not.

    Peace

    twom

  5. TWOM: Gee, here I thought all along that the church was responsible for the “Dark Ages

    QB: LOL, well Actually it was the barbarian hordes who were drunken atheist and animists.

    TWOM: but then so did the Roman and Greek and even the Arabs, before they adopted their false god.

    QB: Agreed. However the method is very different. The other cultures did so by slavery, the church did so through charity.

    TWOM: The Catholic Church was no friend of anybody outside of what they considered faithful adherents of Christianity. They allowed no backtalk or dissension, and they killed those so bold as to disagree with their worldview.

    QB: Another secular humanist that apparently you taken as a given rather then investigated it. The political culture didn’t have anything to hold the culture together. Hence its desire to control religion over the centuries to further its own political ends. It was the state who established the penalties for heretics not the church. It was the state that killed rationalizing that it was in defense of itself.

    TWOM: OK fine Copernicus was a Catholic and was educated by them…so what…he was still contradicting Catholic/Biblical Dogma by using his intelligence to work out a solution, and the Church was forbidding him to teach or even to tell anyone about this. Again, in my opinion this is relevant as to whether there is really a God.

    QB: Well that’s progress, but its still incorrect. The church not only permitted the teaching of it, but did so in all its universities. What it didn’t permit was teaching it as a FACT. As long as you taught it as THEORY you were in the clear.

    Add to your book list.

    http://www.amazon.com/Sun-Church-Cathedrals-Solar-Observatories/dp/0674005368

    TWOM: Muslims in other parts of the world because they allow, or demand, that religion run their government have already thrust their civilization to the brink (or more) of a Dark Age.

    It truly concerns (scares) me that the whole world will be immersed in darkness again because of religion.

    QB: Well sorry to support your fears but that’s very likely to happen. Secular humanism doesn’t have a response to Islam. It has taken over Europe within the next 25 years and has started in the USA now. Whether you think my church killed atheists in the past, Islam will kill you as soon as they gain control in the future. The choice is yours.

    In any case the best to you & yours this year. I’ll be out of touch for the next month. School & work are draining to much time.

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