Friday, November 21, 2014

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From Epicurus to Galileo, atomism and materialism.

Materialism is a theology which directly attacks religious faith.

by Ferdinand III

Wiker is his book on Science and the Church [The Catholic Church and Science], makes the important point that Aristotle's observations were in the main defended by the Church, because they were opposed to the atomism and materialism of the Greek secularists, those who saw in nature, and 'reason' [whatever reason may mean, there are many variations of 'reason']; all the answers to existence.

...Epicurus [4th century BC].....materialism eliminated both religion and fear of the god's punishment, for at death...our atoms disassociate and we exist no longer...Epicurus identified the good with the physically pleasurable...and evil with what is physically painful...”

Epicurus was a formative influence in the poorly named 'Enlightenment'.

Lucretius his intellectual slave was little better. Wiker:

Lucretius furthered the development of Epicurean materialism.....and adds a theory of generation of all living things by the random association of material atomic particles – a Darwinian-type evolutionary theory about 2000 years before Darwin. As with Epicurus, the goal was to remove the need for God the creator.”

Wiker makes the important point that Galileo who ran afoul of the Church supposedly for teaching helio-centricity [a myth] was an atomist-materialist, in direct contradiction to Church belief. If Galileo had only proposed Copernican ideas as worthy of study, he would have had no trouble. Copernicus' system was of course as cumbersome as that of the Ptolemaic. It was Kepler, not Copernicus who discovered the mathematics to the support elliptical orbits of the planets. Until Kepler it was an open debate which system made more sense – the Ptolemaic embedded in the University and academic system – or the newer proposition by Copernicus which still did not account for the actual movements of the planets.