Is the scientific revolution the result of Christianity’s influence in Europe? No/Yes!!

the issue/question of why europe became the origin for the scientific revolution has been said by many, now and in the past, to be the unique result of christian thought and could not of happened elsewhere in the world and thats why it didn’t.

I see many Christians, of all types, who care about science and who want to resist attacks about Christian beliefs being opposed to science MAKING these claims.

They say conclusions about God and order and laws is from Christian faith and led to seeing this in nature etc etc.

I say this is not true. Christian thought/beliefs had nothing to do with the science revolution and Europe’s superiority.

I say instead that it simply was Christian motivation that raise the common people’s intelligence and on this rising tide the upper classes, rising along, reached a higher status of intelligence and were the authors of all scientific accomplishment or attempts.

Further that this happened in the great protestant revolution and then was most emphasized in the most protestant peoples. Especially the peoples of the british isles. that was where the puritan/Evangelical denominations were most in numbers relative to the population. so a very early Congregationalist/prebsybeterrin southern and easstern england and  presbyterrian southern Scotland(ulster0 and Congrgationist New england are the influences that raised the Englishman to number one.

most inventions, discoveries, thought, philosophy of scvience between 1600 and1900AD was done by the British peoples wherever they were. lIkewise in all matters of man.

Therefore it was actually, simply, a rising curve of intelligence of the common, numerous, man of this group that raised the intellectual interest and accomplishment. This happening also in other Protestant nations but less so being less protestant in passion.

Now the french upper class was also powerfully into science but because the common people were less intelligent then France’s upper cl;asses suffered despite being more numerous in population then the British isles.

Science was a very upper class thing and all were exchanging ideas and patents however it really was the accomplishment of the common man that brought the greater results and the scientific revolution. This because of religious motivation.

So the european scientific revolution is just another example of rising curves on a graph based on small marginal differences.

Christianity can say it motivates men to do and be as God wants us to be. Then we get smarter as we do that.  Yet still science is just about human intelligence and that just from people trying hard and that is relative to motivation.

Science and the modern world(good stuff) is the result of the true faith now called evangelical christianity acting on populations of the common people in North West Europe.Not about the ideas of christianity nor from a trickle down intelligence from the upper classes due to the enlightenment.

Its about the true faith, human motivation, human intelligence and a rising curve that rises today and includes almost all of mankind. Yet started with Martin Luther.

 

 

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61 thoughts on “Is the scientific revolution the result of Christianity’s influence in Europe? No/Yes!!

  1. No/Yes!!

    I’ll go with “we just don’t know”.

    I don’t see Christianity as particularly inspiring an interest in science. And there were other parts of the world (Greece, China) which had shown some interest in science.

    But it might have been the educational institutions (such as universities) which helped provide support and a focus for science. And it might be that Christianity has something to do with forming those educational institutions.

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  2. Not because of Christianity, but because of pre-Christian philosophy that Christianity inherited and upheld, such as the principle of sufficient reason, ideas on causation, laws of nature(s) and of motion.

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  3. A better question would be, has Christianity supported science regardless of where the science has led? To which I would answer, sometimes.

    And add, it depends on which denomination.

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  4. To me, what is interesting is how the rationality and mathematics inherited from the Greeks and embodied in Christianity (as well as in Judaism and in Islam) began to be applied to empiricism. The renewed knowledge of, and emphasis on, Aristotle’s writings assisted in that to a degree, but moving beyond Aristotle soon became important, and many did so.

    Probably what was most important for Europe was that no overall ideological control was possible in an area as divided as it was. The Reformation aided in preventing successful theological/ideological constraint as well. The ancient (notably, Pythagorean) idea that rationality and mathematics were capable of explaining everything (indeed, may be everything) was certainly crucial to the development of science, but the realization that rationality and mathematics had to be applied to observations, and not so much to a priori beliefs about the world, was what changed an all-too-circular and self-referential system of philosophical thought into the dynamic rationalism of empirical science.

    Glen Davidson

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  5. Robert–for a good book (partly) on this, I recommend Everett Hall’s Modern Science and Human Values.

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  6. walto,

    And Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Physical Science by Edwin Arthur Burtt. And there are more of course.

    But overall, Robert would do well to get over English-centricity.

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  7. Hi everyone,

    A couple of articles of interest:

    Christianity: A Cause of Modern Science? by Eric Snow.
    In this article, Snow explains how Christianity, and in particular Puritanism, made Modern Science possible. When we think of Christianity’s role in the rise of science, we tend to think of the conflict between Galileo (1564-1642) and the Inquisition in the seventeenth century, or, perhaps, Thomas Huxley debating evolution with Bishop Wilberforce in the nineteenth century. However, the remarkable truth is that the world view of Christianity was absolutely necessary for the rise of modern science. While the Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Islam all had what can be fairly called “science,” their science lacked a systematized collection of knowledge about nature, obtained through the use of reason and sense experience alone, in order to discover the underlying laws of nature, which explain how nature is organized and which allow future accurate predictions about nature’s processes or objects to be made.

    Christianity and the Birth of Science by Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D.
    The author holds an M.S. degree in Zoology from Ohio State University and a Ph.D in Genetics from Case Western Reserve University. Here, he argues that the Judeo-Christian world view played a crucial role in this birth. Bumbulis cites four lines of evidence to support this hypothesis and responds to objections at the appropriate places. The four lines of evidence he adduces are as follows:

    a. Science was born in a Christian culture;

    b. Science was not born in any non-Christian culture;

    c. Biblical beliefs provided fertile ground for the birth of science; and

    d. Christian philosophers paved the way for science.

    This is an especially useful article, as it demonstrates convincingly that Chinese astronomy (which is sometimes held up as a counter-instance to the claim that science could only be born in a Christian culture) was not in any sense scientific. Science in ancient Greece is also discussed: unlike Chinese astronomy, it assumed that the cosmos was a manifestation of the Mind of God. This explains why the Greeks were able to find evidence of genuine lawfulness in nature. However, some of the built-in philosophical assumptions of ancient Greek science (e.g. that the world was eternal) proved to be fatally stultifying; only Christianity (in the 13th century) was able to break this gridlock by questioning these assumptions, while retaining the core insights of the Greeks.

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  8. vjtorley: This is an especially useful article, as it demonstrates convincingly that Chinese astronomy (which is sometimes held up as a counter-instance to the claim that science could only be born in a Christian culture) was not in any sense scientific.

    How about astronomy of Islamic golden era (medieval times, far surpassing European science of the time)? Is this not discussed because it would disprove the author’s thesis?

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  9. vjtorley,

    I have always wondered what took them so long – more than a thousand years after Jesus. You would almost think that there might have been something else that triggered the rise of science.

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  10. When i hear the word ‘christian’, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t ‘pro-science’. I know a few liberal christians who are scientists, but they’re not the norm.

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  11. AhmedKiaan: When i hear the word ‘christian’, the first thing that comes to mind isn’t ‘pro-science’. I know a few liberal christians who are scientists, but they’re not the norm.

    I often think the word science after the word christian.

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  12. From Munificentissimus Deus, issued by Pope Pius XII in 1950:

    …by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith…

    47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    It’s the polar opposite of a scientific attitude.

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  13. keiths: From Munificentissimus Deus, issued by Pope Pius XII in 1950:

    …by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.

    45. Hence if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith…

    47. It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.

    What an Assumption!

    Glen Davidson

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  14. Hi Erik,

    Re Islamic science in the Middle Ages, you may find the following article useful:

    http://strangenotions.com/the-stillbirth-of-science-in-arabia/

    Hi KeithS,

    I grant you that Pope Pius XII’s attitude is not a scientific one, but is the Assumption a scientific question? How would you test it?

    You might think that the Assumption would violate Conservation of Energy, but that’s by no means clear.

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  15. Vincent,

    I grant you that Pope Pius XII’s attitude is not a scientific one, but is the Assumption a scientific question?

    It’s a claim about reality, and it’s falsifiable in principle, so yes, it qualifies as a scientific question. If someone positively identified Mary’s bodily remains here on earth, for instance, then the Assumption would be falsified.

    In any case, Pius XII’s attitude is profoundly anti-scientific. It isn’t scientific to pronounce something as infallible dogma when there’s no evidence for it. It isn’t scientific to threaten people with the wrath of God (and Peter and Paul for good measure!) for daring to question it.

    The Church’s position on the Assumption is:

    Shut up. Stop thinking about it. We’ll tell you what to believe. Or else.

    And by the way, we cannot possibly be wrong about this.

    It’s hard to imagine a more anti-scientific attitude.

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  16. Neil Rickert: I’ll go with “we just don’t know”.

    I don’t see Christianity as particularly inspiring an interest in science.And there were other parts of the world (Greece, China) which had shown some interest in science.

    But it might have been the educational institutions (such as universities) which helped provide support and a focus for science.And it might be that Christianity has something to do with forming those educational institutions.

    Right!! I agree! Christianity didn’t inspire any more interest. Protestant nor Catholic.
    I’m saying it just motivated the common people and rising curve of intelligence revealed itself in the upper classes.(The men). These were small circles who thought about things which we now call science. yet small circles of men in the upper classes of many civilizations did likewise. however they came up short because the common mean of intelligence was too low. yet they did do notable things.

    Aha. I’m saying it was not universities, small circles, but a rising curve. just like today. i’m saying its not trickle down smarts from elites.

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  17. Robert,

    I’m saying it just motivated the common people and rising curve of intelligence revealed itself in the upper classes.(The men).

    It’s very important to you that it was the men, not the women, isn’t it?

    And the British, not the French or anyone else.

    And the Gentiles, not the Jews.

    I think you’re better off writing poetry.

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  18. Erik:
    Not because of Christianity, but because of pre-Christian philosophy that Christianity inherited and upheld, such as the principle of sufficient reason, ideas on causation, laws of nature(s) and of motion.

    Well your saying its ideas inherited, which is not much different then those saying its christians ideas, yet i’m saying both are wrong.
    its not complicated. europe simply was smarter with the english being the smartest.
    Most accomplishment in human thought was done by the English or in the english language from 1700 until 1900AD. Then the rest joined in more so.
    if true then english-centric is accurate.

    Yes the islamic world did notable accomplishments in science. just my point. yet their upper class was not as great as european upper classes due to a lower common iQ mean of the common people. islam did not raise the common man like protestantism did. thats the equation.
    Yet the islamic upper classes, like in spain, were very sharp and were doing science no different then anyone else. just less and less successful.

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  19. petrushka:
    A better question would be, has Christianity supported science regardless of where the science has led? To which I would answer, sometimes.

    And add, it depends on which denomination.

    Yes. its about denomination. its about motivation and those most motivated prevail.
    As i said it was the puritan/evangelical folks who were the actual agents of change in the rising of the common man. not regular protestants.

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  20. GlenDavidson:
    To me, what is interesting is how the rationality and mathematics inherited from the Greeks and embodied in Christianity (as well as in Judaism and in Islam) began to be applied to empiricism.The renewed knowledge of, and emphasis on, Aristotle’s writings assisted in that to a degree, but moving beyond Aristotle soon became important, and many did so.

    Probably what was most important for Europe was that no overall ideological control was possible in an area as divided as it was.The Reformation aided in preventing successful theological/ideological constraint as well.The ancient (notably, Pythagorean) idea that rationality and mathematics were capable of explaining everything (indeed, may be everything) was certainly crucial to the development of science, but the realization that rationality and mathematics had to be applied to observations, and not so much to a priori beliefs about the world, was what changed an all-too-circular and self-referential system of philosophical thought into the dynamic rationalism of empirical science.

    Glen Davidson

    people say that. yet i’m correcting them.
    i’m saying its not ideas/philosophy’s/mumbo jumbo. its simply a rising IQ curve of the common people. the upper classes rise too and then , small numbers, do sciency things and get their names in wikipedia.
    its just about human intelligence. We did more science only because we were smarter. not because we were doing anything different.
    our being smarter was not from Christianity9protestant or otherwise) but just from a religious(fanatical) motivation to do the right thing. do gods will more and this made us think more.
    Its the common people that uniquely rose and not the elities philoosphy’s.
    thus it is from true faith christianity, Gods blessing a littler, but mostly just motivating people.

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  21. walto:
    You’d think taking credit for “Christian Rock” would be enough.

    Actuially thats a good point.
    i say christian rock is a example of the original motivation that created the modern world. its uniquely evangelical protestant. its just a result of motivation. other cHristian groups don’t have cHristian rock.
    This minor margin of motivation in this area was what happened at the reformation and affecting the peasant in the fields. Not much of a improvement but indeed a rising curve of doing more and thinking more.
    Christian rock is a manifestation of the long ago original motivation in the protestant world.

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  22. keiths,
    Yes. it was from the most passinate protestant peoples that the modern world comes from. not the old catholic one.
    Also not from ideas etc but from intelligence and that from the common people.
    the mysterious power of margins.

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  23. Robert Byers: As i said it was the puritan/evangelical folks who were the actual agents of change in the rising of the common man. not regular protestants.

    Copernicus and Galileo were Catholic.

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  24. vjtorley:
    Hi everyone,

    A couple of articles of interest:

    Christianity: A Cause of Modern Science? by Eric Snow.
    In this article, Snow explains how Christianity, and in particular Puritanism, made Modern Science possible. When we think of Christianity’s role in the rise of science, we tend to think of the conflict between Galileo (1564-1642) and the Inquisition in the seventeenth century, or, perhaps, Thomas Huxley debating evolution with Bishop Wilberforce in the nineteenth century. However, the remarkable truth is that the world view of Christianity was absolutely necessary for the rise of modern science. While the Greeks, Chinese, Indians, and Islam all had what can be fairly called “science,” their science lacked a systematized collection of knowledge about nature, obtained through the use of reason and sense experience alone, in order to discover the underlying laws of nature, which explain how nature is organized and which allow future accurate predictions about nature’s processes or objects to be made.

    Christianity and the Birth of Science by Michael Bumbulis, Ph.D.
    The author holds an M.S. degree in Zoology from Ohio State University and a Ph.D in Genetics from Case Western Reserve University. Here, he argues that the Judeo-Christian world view played a crucial role in this birth. Bumbulis cites four lines of evidence to support this hypothesis and responds to objections at the appropriate places. The four lines of evidence he adduces are as follows:

    a. Science was born in a Christian culture;

    b. Science was not born in any non-Christian culture;

    c. Biblical beliefs provided fertile ground for the birth of science; and

    d. Christian philosophers paved the way for science.

    This is an especially useful article, as it demonstrates convincingly that Chinese astronomy (which is sometimes held up as a counter-instance to the claim that science could only be born in a Christian culture) was not in any sense scientific. Science in ancient Greece is also discussed: unlike Chinese astronomy, it assumed that the cosmos was a manifestation of the Mind of God. This explains why the Greeks were able to find evidence of genuine lawfulness in nature. However, some of the built-in philosophical assumptions of ancient Greek science (e.g. that the world was eternal) proved to be fatally stultifying; only Christianity (in the 13th century) was able to break this gridlock by questioning these assumptions, while retaining the core insights of the Greeks.

    well your making the point i’m opposing.
    i’m aware of these and others and many more claims that a christian world view was needed and this or that christian concept was needed.
    yet its completely wrong.
    all civilizations, almost, had men doing science. they simply accomplished only as much as relative to the intelligence of the civilization.
    It was not world views, etc , etc but simply a rise in the common intelligence of the common people due to extreme protestant beliefs of getting more involved in life.
    this rise also raising the upper classes, the men if i may say so, who did a marginally superior job in figuring things out.
    instead its really just intelligence that brought the scientific revolution, as opposed to a scientific entry level attempt by previous civilizations, and not actual cHristian doctrines.
    These writers simply are trying to explain results.
    Yet its more likely, even obvious, that everyone got smarter in north west europe.
    I say its simply from a common mean rise in smarts.
    This from motivation due to extreme protestant concepts to be more involved in life .The fRench also had a high upper class but actually it should of been so much more if it had been simply enlightenment ideals .
    the fRench came up short, despite hugh populations and concentration and money, in science and civilization generally.
    The french show the upper classes are the big point but they are the result of the common people.

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  25. Robert Byers: its not complicated. europe simply was smarter with the english being the smartest.

    Well, not complicated indeed: It’s simply false. In your own OP you name a bunch of British Protestant denominations, but not a single scientist or discovery. The only personal name you name is Martin Luther. You didn’t really think this through, did you?

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  26. vjtorley: Re Islamic science in the Middle Ages, you may find the following article useful:

    http://strangenotions.com/the-stillbirth-of-science-in-arabia/

    You might find the same article useful. If Arabic science can be described as stillborn, then so can “Christian” science up to Reformation (and somewhat beyond, unless we count Gutenberg’s printing press a scientific discovery and proliferation of printed books as a sort of industrial revolution). And for the same reasons: Medieval Aristotelian so-called science was borrowed from pagan antiquity (re-introduced to Europe via contact with Islam), nothing Christian about it, so it was divorced from the nominal/scriptural religion the same way as in the Islamic world.

    Science in Europe took properly off possibly with Newton, Pascal, Leibniz and Descartes. Only Pascal was strict Catholic among them. The fact that science has run amok since industrialization, in parallel with general decline of religion in Europe, should tell you that science is not a Good-in-itself. To associate it with Christianity in particular is counterproductive.

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  27. Robert Byers: Well your saying its ideas inherited, which is not much different then those saying its christians ideas, yet i’m saying both are wrong.
    its not complicated. europe simply was smarter with the english being the smartest.
    Most accomplishment in human thought was done by the English or in the english language from 1700 until 1900AD. Then the rest joined in more so.
    if true then english-centric is accurate.

    Yes the islamic world did notable accomplishments in science. just my point. yet their upper class was not as great as european upper classes due to a lower common iQ mean of the common people. islam did not raise the common man like protestantism did. thats the equation.
    Yet the islamic upper classes, like in spain, were very sharp and were doing science no different then anyone else. just less and less successful.

    You really, really need to read Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond.

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  28. petrushka:
    A better question would be, has Christianity supported science regardless of where the science has led? To which I would answer, sometimes.

    And add, it depends on which denomination.

    Science seems to have arisen despite Christianity, not because of it. It only happened to the extent that people evolved away from strict practices.

    I hear the Christians here saying “Christianity was around while this stuff was happening, there were Christians on all sides of the issues, but we’ll take credit for the good things.”

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  29. There are lively debates about how “unique” modern science is to “the West,” to what extent Chinese, Muslim, or Greek science was similar to what we would call science, and so forth. Unfortunately I’m not as well-read in this subject as I would like to be.

    Two books that I’ve found very helpful are Theology and the Scientific Imagination by Amos Funkenstein and Passages to Modernity by Louis Dupre. Both of them stress that there was novel developments within 16th and 17th century theology that went together with the rise of modern science. Somewhat parallel arguments are made in The Domestication of Transcendence by Placher. I also learned a lot from Crosby’s The Measure of Reality.

    There’s an argument that John Dewey makes that the Greeks couldn’t develop science because of their class structure. Briefly, he thought that in ancient Greece, there was metaphysical speculation on the part of wealthy citizens who were intelligent and had nothing else better to do, and then there was the technical expertise of the artisans and slaves. But the class divide was such that no one could devise experiments that would test competing metaphysical claims by causally intervening into phenomena with equipment.

    I find this is a really peculiar argument and one of these days I want to find out if it coheres with what we know about ancient Greek society.

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  30. Patrick: I hear the Christians here saying “Christianity was around while this stuff was happening, there were Christians on all sides of the issues, but we’ll take credit for the good things.”

    I’m kind of a cynic about most things. One could argue that science also takes credit for the good things and forgets about the bad things.

    Not just bad things like weapons and forced sterilization of the unfit, but bad ideas.

    Science as an enterprise is simply outside the arena of morality. It ratchets along, changing over time. Aside from a few technologies, such as surgery, dentistry, and immunization, it doesn’t have a spotless reputation.

    Ancient ideas, like Aristotle’s abhorrence of a vacuum, keep coming back in new guises. And current consensus ideas remain messy and incomplete.

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  31. Kantian Naturalist: There’s an argument that John Dewey makes that the Greeks couldn’t develop science because of their class structure. Briefly, he thought that in ancient Greece, there was metaphysical speculation on the part of wealthy citizens who were intelligent and had nothing else better to do, and then there was the technical expertise of the artisans and slaves. But the class divide was such that no one could devise experiments that would test competing metaphysical claims by causally intervening into phenomena with equipment.

    I find this is a really peculiar argument and one of these days I want to find out if it coheres with what we know about ancient Greek society.

    Well I doubt it. There’s often been speculation that Romans didn’t need power (as in heat engines), or printing, because they had slaves, while this seems to be some kind of notion that class division and slavery somehow prevents experimentation. But why anyone thinks slaves are necessarily cheaper than power or printing is certainly difficult to understand, and I can’t see why metaphysics is all that important to the development of science nor why class divisions would prevent experiments that would tell with respect to metaphysics (could any anyway?).

    Experimentation of a sort certainly occurred under the Romans, as well as with the Greeks. Romans came up with architectural innovations, and concrete. Alchemy existed in Roman-controlled Egypt (to what extent that was experimental is not known to me). Romans used (undershot, I believe) waterwheels on a fairly large scale in some instances. Both Archimedes and Heron (or Hero) of Alexandria bridged both mathematics and practical innovation, with Heron actually coming up with a conceptually solid heat engine (that wasn’t much good in practice).

    If one reads the Epicurean writings it’s just plain difficult to see what sorts of experiments one could come up with to test their ideas. One problem for ancient thinkers seems to go back to Pythagorean/Platonic notions of starting with a sort of Truth and letting everything move from there, and there doesn’t seem to be much of an idea of doing observations to find out important matters (astronomy being something of an exception). Archimedes may have invented his screw and military machines, but seems to have thought that mathematics was what was really important, by contrast. Hero was inventive, but didn’t seem to want to do much but make impressive displays.

    The West did have good respect for mathematics, especially due to Pythagorean influence, but was too enamored of “deep explanations” using numbers for far too long. To be fair, though, one reason for lack of much experimentation may have been cost, with Archimedes and Heron inventing in areas where expense was not much of an object. I’ve read that iron and copper cost 100 times as much as now in Roman times, as judged by the time required for a laborer to make the money for those metals. Even if metals weren’t that much more costly, they were expensive, both for experiments and for any sort of product that might come out of those experiments. Could anyone afford a steam engine at that time, even if cast iron for the boiler existed in the West then? Even if they could, security would be an issue.

    In any case, though, interest in the natural world seemed to decline from, say, the second century prior to Christ and into the Pax Romana. Competing religions, mystery religions, etc., could have played a role in that, and while Christianity seems not to have been much of a cause there, it likely did benefit from declining interest in our world and increasing interest in the “hereafter.” Christian Europe’s move toward science may have been facilitated by a lack of competing religions (Protestant vs. Catholic mattered, but didn’t really call into question the overall view of the world, and that split did mean that asylum existed for various dissidents), as well as by inheriting the rational/mathematical bias in explanation.

    Of course there is a number of practical issues other than costly metal that probably impeded science in Hellenic and Hellenistic periods. Roman numerals, no zero or negative numbers, no algebra, and no calculus until Newton and Leibniz. Glass was also expensive and not very transparent, the latter of which can be important for chemistry and, say, pressure and vacuum experiments. No printing or paper. Romans probably didn’t print because papyrus doesn’t work, and although vellum and parchment do (Gutenberg printed some of his Bibles on vellum), they’re very costly materials either way and simply printing on vellum wouldn’t make books very affordable. Anyway, it’s not easy to have robust science without printing aiding the spread of knowledge.

    I do think that gunpowder’s spread from China had a healthy effect on science, especially physics, as ballistics became more important (Galileo and Newton deal a lot in physics related to ballistics), possibilities seemed rather expanded (a little chemistry beats muscles and bows by far), as well as by changing out power structures. To be sure, though, a lot of mathematic and metallurgic possibilities (metals both improved and less expensive) had already been laid out before gunpowder blew everyone away.

    Glen Davidson

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  32. Erik: You might find the same article useful. If Arabic science can be described as stillborn, then so can “Christian” science up to Reformation (and somewhat beyond, unless we count Gutenberg’s printing press a scientific discovery and proliferation of printed books as a sort of industrial revolution). And for the same reasons: Medieval Aristotelian so-called science was borrowed from pagan antiquity (re-introduced to Europe via contact with Islam), nothing Christian about it, so it was divorced from the nominal/scriptural religion the same way as in the Islamic world.

    Science in Europe took properly off possibly with Newton, Pascal, Leibniz and Descartes. Only Pascal was strict Catholic among them. The fact that science has run amok since industrialization, in parallel with general decline of religion in Europe, should tell you that science is not a Good-in-itself. To associate it with Christianity in particular is counterproductive.

    I don’t agree Islamic/Christian civilizations were still born etc in science. i don’t agree science came with a few guys. Its just people thinking about things that are not obvious.
    islamic nations did fine. its just we did better. How do you score it?
    We simply did better science because we were more intelligent.
    this from more people involved and all based on a rising intelligence of the common people.
    Just like hockey in my country. everybody plays, raises the ability, and then a tiny number become superstars. yet the superstars only became that because of a common rise in the mean of ability. its not all their credit or very much.
    this can be seen in everything about human accomplishment.
    For example it was just a tiny number of Brits who made the songs in the ’60’s called the bRitisj invasion. yet they were just the top of a curve of a northern, labour voting,non showbiz/music demographics.
    why not just see a class curve?

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  33. faded_Glory,

    i would never read it but heard about it because the establishment liked it. it was just another attempt to deny the superiority of the west over the rest and instead said it was just guns, germs, a bot of tech done by a few people.
    its absurd and not even a part of historic arguments on these matters.
    Its silly.

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  34. Patrick: Science seems to have arisen despite Christianity, not because of it.It only happened to the extent that people evolved away from strict practices.

    I hear the Christians here saying “Christianity was around while this stuff was happening, there were Christians on all sides of the issues, but we’ll take credit for the good things.”

    No. Its greater then that. it was always said Christian europe prevailed over all others because of gods favour. even with differing catholic/Protestant ideas.
    however later they invoked the renaissance, enlightenment, capitalism etc etc to explain it.
    Christian foundations started to come back, and protestant(especially in capitalism) are now again a explanation.
    I add a more simple answer. its all just human intelligence.
    Simply the common people got smarter under religious motivations. Not very much but everybody. this raised all and so oUR upper classes did better then theirs.
    A class curve. not a class average but a curve.
    so christianty, after some gods favour, gets a motivation credit. not a philosophy credit for creating the modern better world.

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  35. Robert Byers:
    faded_Glory,

    i would never read it but heard about it because the establishment liked it. it was just another attempt to deny the superiority of the west over the rest and instead said it was just guns, germs, a bot of tech done by a few people.
    its absurd and not even a part of historic arguments on these matters.
    Its silly.

    You have no idea what this book is about.

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  36. Kantian Naturalist:
    There are lively debates about how “unique” modern science is to “the West,” to what extent Chinese, Muslim, or Greek science was similar to what we would call science, and so forth. Unfortunately I’m not as well-read in this subject as I would like to be.

    Two books that I’ve found very helpful are Theology and the Scientific Imagination by Amos Funkenstein and Passages to Modernity by Louis Dupre. Both of them stress that there was novel developments within 16th and 17th century theology that went together with the rise of modern science. Somewhat parallel arguments are made in The Domestication of Transcendence by Placher. I also learned a lot from Crosby’s The Measure of Reality.

    There’s an argument that John Dewey makes that the Greeks couldn’t develop science because of their class structure. Briefly, he thought that in ancient Greece, there was metaphysical speculation on the part of wealthy citizens who were intelligent and had nothing else better to do, and then there was the technical expertise of the artisans and slaves. But the class divide was such that no one could devise experiments that would test competing metaphysical claims by causally intervening into phenomena with equipment.

    I find this is a really peculiar argument and one of these days I want to find out if it coheres with what we know about ancient Greek society.

    I’m reading right now the famous DA Architecture (sp) by . Vitruvius (50BC or so)
    in it he insists on thinkers and artisans combining to accomplishment great things. there is no difference between Greek/Roman science and ours. Just a curve of accomplishment and accuracy(Creationists have issues with accuracy) .
    I see no intellectual difference in methodology at all. the greeks and loads of civilizations did science.
    solomon said people should study witty inventions and he was a tree scxientists according to the bible.

    The books you mention are again trying to say religious ideas were behind the rise in knowledge/science. I say they just say this because they do see a connection. yet its completly wrong. It is just a rise in intelligence but some religions motivated people to be more on the make. nOt to get smarter but simply do what God wants. do better and have better and you can have better.
    thats why the most intelligent people in human history, the english, were the most religiously divided. america being a good experiment to test protestant denominations.
    Yet its still just a rise in intelligence and so anybody can rise if they move to these nations.
    its not religion that made the west better but intelligence. the smarts simply came from motivations and those, quite humble, were a minority extreme protestant ones.

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  37. GlenDavidson,

    I read the greek/Roman writers and they tried their hardest. why not just say they were not smart enough/ not enoiugh of them and intelligence isn’t from indivuduals but they all inherit a common mean of intelligence upon birth. As in the modern world.
    Those saying romans etc didn’t need this or that is getting around the fact they couldn’t figure things out. Its hard anyways.
    The modern world is based on a modern higher IQ.
    It would be that lower IQ civilizations would achieve lower
    So accomplishment is not from a few eggheads but is a reflection on the common people.
    The upper class are not special but just better then the common mean but are a product of that mean. Its not their personal credit.
    Thats why it was protestant nations and not Catholic ones.
    not Christianity ideas but motivations to do better before God.
    This margin created the modern world although its no longer an influence.

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  38. Robert Byers: No. Its greater then that. it was always said Christian europe prevailed over all others because of gods favour. even with differing catholic/Protestant ideas.
    however later they invoked the renaissance, enlightenment, capitalism etc etc to explain it.
    Christian foundations started to come back, and protestant(especially in capitalism) are now again a explanation.
    I add a more simple answer. its all just human intelligence.
    Simply the common people got smarter under religious motivations. Not very much but everybody. this raised all and so oUR upper classes did better then theirs.
    A class curve. not a class average but a curve.
    so christianty, after some gods favour, gets a motivation credit. not a philosophy credit for creating the modern better world.

    Do you have any evidence that people were less intelligent before the Enlightenment?

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  39. Patrick: Do you have any evidence that people were less intelligent before the Enlightenment?

    Robert Byers:

    Robert Byers:

    Robert Byers:

    Patrick: RECENT POSTS

    It is a presumtion that intelligence is not fixed but on a curve in humanity. Amingst people and ages.
    If headhunters in Africa for centuries just maintained themselves, and the heads collected, and one looks at a civilization of welath, stuff, thought, etc then on can say the latter is more intelligent. Just like adults are more intelligent then children.
    Its a great human judgement that by precedence has made sccoring a real thing in human affairs.

    So in looking at the dark/middle ages we can aggresively insisr folks in europe were not just much dumber but dumber then other civilizations in history or then.
    Its probably true, man for man, Catholic europeans were less smart, on a curve, then the Islamic nations of some substance. or of even china or india.
    the IQ would of been less probably. Not sure.
    After the protestant reformation the European left those civilizations way behind to such an extent that ideas of racial superiority became very accepted especially after a mechanism provided by evolutionism.

    YES the peasant society and population of europe were very inferior in intelligence to the 1500’/1600 farmers society of Britain and other protestant nations.
    Then it went from there.

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  40. Robert Byers:

    Do you have any evidence that people were less intelligent before the Enlightenment?

    It is a presumtion that intelligence is not fixed but on a curve in humanity.

    So that’s a “No”, then.

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  41. Patrick: It is a presumtion that intelligence is not fixed but on a curve in humanity.

    So that’s a “No”, then.

    The evidence is apparent. One does not need to prove a obvious thing.
    A self evident truth.
    Thats why they struggle to explain the rise in science etc
    its a rise in intelligence but why they ask.
    In reality its easy but not welcome.

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  42. Robert Byers:

    It is a presumtion that intelligence is not fixed but on a curve in humanity.

    The evidence is apparent. One does not need to prove a obvious thing.
    A self evident truth.

    So, still no evidence for your claim. You’re nicer than FFM, but no better at skepticism.

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  43. Patrick: The evidence is apparent. One does not need to prove a obvious thing.
    A self evident truth.

    So, still no evidence for your claim.You’re nicer than FFM, but no better at skepticism.

    I see the evidence as apparent to all understanding of comparing mankind.
    A self evident truth. Really!!

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  44. Robert Byers:
    I see the evidence as apparentto all understanding of comparing mankind.
    A self evident truth. Really!!

    Your belief, however sincere, is no substitute for actual evidence.

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