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Western Civilisation

Until the advent of materialism and 19th c. dogma, Western Civilisation was  superior to anything Islam had developed.  Islam has not aided in the development of the modern world; in fact civilisation has only been created in spite of Islam.  Proof of this resides in the 'modern' world and the unending political-economic and spiritual poverty of Muslim states and regions.  Squatting on richer civilisations is not 'progress'.  Islam is pagan, totalitarian, and irrational.   

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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John Freely: 'Before Galileo', Diophantus to Bradwardine, review 2

Genius of the Middle Ages: Islam has nothing comparable to offer us.

by Ferdinand III

[review one here]

This is a book full of rich detail relating the enormous contribution to science and the modern world made by medieval Catholics. This deeply offends the secularist-'humanist' aka cult of Marxist revisionism. There is no conflict between church and science. Freely's book is a compendium of why this is a fact. The slander of 'church vs science' is a myth invented by secular-materialists and Protestant 'thinkers', who believed and still maintain inter-alia; that fish became philosophers, that Co2 causes weather; that the earth is a 'greenhouse' [it is a convection system]; and the chaos of the big bang brought order, planets, life, morality, compassion, charity, and 48 feet of book-shelf DNA software code in each human. These people call themselves 'rationalists'. This is why much of the modern world – its intellectual preoccupations anyway – can be rightly termed a dark age of superstition and irrationality [see cult of warming, evolution, new-age cults etc.].

One could rightly argue that the medieval world is but a tithe as superstitious as our own, suffused as it is with cults and non-science.


...[the] impressive succession of European scholars opened the way for the Scientific Revolution, laying the foundations for the breakthrough theories and discoveries later made some of which they anticipated.

No debate on that point. Without the Middle Ages, there is no modern world. Freely goes through a long list of Catholic Christian innovators in all matters of science, physics, mechanics, math, philosophy, and naturalism. Nothing comparable from any culture at any time in history exists.

The endless parade of Moslem propaganda for example, focused on a paltry few 'thinkers' pales in comparison. Freely who teaches at a Moslem university in Turkey falls into this trap from time to time. Independent analysis of Moslem contributions confirms that they were in the main, simply apologists for Aristotle or Plato. If one is generous, and as related by Freely, there might have been some Moslem contributions in astronomy that showed a variety of innovation and unique application of higher math or scientific ideas. This allegation is very much open to debate, but if one is generous we can say that the Moslem influence on astronomy [and the related non-science of astrology]; is about the extent of the Moslem contribution to 'science', beyond being a conduit for ancient knowledge from East to West. Examples of this include Aristotle's naturalist philosophy [much of it wrong]; and the transference of Hindu numerals, which were vital to the development of higher mathematical theorems, the basis of advanced science.

Here is a very partial list of what Freely describes.

-Diophantus of Alexandria (fl. c. AD 250), who did for algebra and number theory what Euclid had done for geometry. His most important treatise is the Arithmetica, of which six of the original thirteen books have survived. The six books of the Arithmetica that survived in Greek were translated into Latin in 1621, and six years later this work inspired the French mathematician Pierre Fermat to create the modern theory of numbers.

-Philoponus (c. 490-570) of Alexandria, who criticized many of Aristotle’s theories. He refuted Aristotle’s theory that the velocities of falling bodies in a given medium are proportional to their weight, making the observation that “if one lets fall simultaneously from the same height two bodies differing greatly in weight, one will find that the ratio of the times of their motion does not correspond to the ratios of their weights, but that the difference in time is a very small one.” Galileo drew the same conclusion more than a thousand years later in his famous demonstration at the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

-...monastic movement not only increased literacy, but it produced the first European scientists, who would lay the foundations for the emergence of modern science, a process that would begin far from the former centers of ancient Graeco-Roman culture.

-Boethius [5th c.] was to transmit, in Latin, the intellectual achievements of the ancient Greeks. As he wrote in one of his commentaries: “I shall transmit and comment upon as many works by Aristotle and Plato as I can get hold of, and I will try to show that their philosophies agree.” He also noted, in the introduction to his Arithmetic, a handbook for each of the disciplines of the quadrivium: arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and musical theory.

-Cassiodorus (c. 490–580) was another Roman who held high office under the Ostrogoths. In his Introduction to Divine and Human Readings he urges the monks of the monastery at Monte Cassino to copy faithfully the classics of ancient scholarship preserved in their libraries as a cultural heritage. He listed some of the important works of science that he thought should be preserved...

-Isidore of Seville (c. 560–636), a Visigothic bishop, wrote the first European encyclopedia, the Etymologies, which incorporated compilations of all the Roman authors to whom he had access. The sections on science deal with mathematics, astronomy, human anatomy, zoology, geography, meteorology.

-Bede’s [8th c.] computus texts included a theoretical section, with explanations of rules and formulas; a practical section that contained a chronicle of world history listing eclipses, earthquakes, and other natural disasters as well as human catastrophes; and appendices including various calendars, chronological tables, and formularies involving the reckoning of time. Bede’s scientific works include a text entitled De temporibus (On Time), published in 703, which gives an introduction to the principles of the Easter computus as well as a chronology of world history. His De temporum ratione (On the Reckoning of Time), published in 725, is a rewriting of De temporibus, which he lengthened tenfold.

-Bede gave instructions for determining the date of Easter and its related full moon, for computing the progress of the sun and moon through the constellations of the zodiac, and for other calculations related to the calendar. He also made a new calculation of the age of the world since the Creation, which he dated to 3,952 years before the beginning of the Christian era.

-Charlemagne’s educational reforms gave rise to a cultural and intellectual revival known as the Carolingian Renaissance, whose effects can be seen in art, architecture, music, literature, and scholarship, both religious and secular, setting the stage for the beginning of European science.

-Carolingian educational reforms produced the first major figure in what would become the new European science: Gerbert d’Aurillac (c. 945–1003), who became Pope Sylvester II (r. 999–1003).

-Dominican monk William of Moerbeke (b. c. 1220–1235, d. before 1286), in Belgium, was the most prolific of all medieval translators from Greek into Latin. Moerbeke is known to have visited Nicaea in the spring of 1260, when the Byzantines had their capital there until they recaptured Constantinople from the Latins the following year, and he may very well have acquired Greek manuscripts at that time. He took part in the Second Council of Lyons (May–June 1274), whose goal was to bring about a reunion between the Greek and Latin churches, and at a pontifical mass he sang the Credo in Greek together with Byzantine clerics.

-Moerbeke’s Greek translations included the writings of Aristotle, commentaries on Aristotle, and works of Archimedes, Proclus, Hero of Alexandria, Ptolemy, and Galen. The popularity of Moerbeke’s work is evidenced by the number of extant copies of his translations, including manuscripts from the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries; printed editions from the fifteenth century onward; and versions in English, French, Spanish, and even modern Greek.

-...acquisition of the Hindu-Arabic numerals by Leonardo Fibonacci [12c] and his researches in number theory; and the critical attitude toward Aristotle shown by Frederick II in his treatise on falconry.

-Renaissance of the twelfth century, like its Italian successor three hundred years later, drew its life from two principal sources. Each was based in part upon the knowledge and ideas already present in the Latin West, in part upon an influx of new learning from the East. But whereas the Renaissance of the fifteenth century was concerned primarily with literature, that of the twelfth century was concerned even more with philosophy and science.

-Thierry [late 11c] “is considered to have introduced the concept of rota or zero into European mathematics.” 

-Several of Thierry’s colleagues at Chartres were deeply influenced by his Platonism, most notably William of Conches (c. 1090–after 1154) and Bernard Silvestre (c. 1085–1178), both of whom contributed interesting ideas to the development of medieval European science.

-Albertus Magnus and Thomas Aquinas [13c] had in effect converted Aristotle to Christianity, so that Aristotelianism, with its static and earth-centered cosmology, represented the worldview of western Europe up until the seventeenth century, by which time the works of Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, and Newton brought about its downfall.

-Grosseteste (c. 1175–1253). His biographer, A. C. Crombie, calls him “the real founder of the tradition of scientific thought in medieval Oxford, and in some ways, of the modern English intellectual tradition.”

-...commentaries that Grosseteste wrote on Aristotle’s Posterior Analytics and Physics were among the first and most influential interpretations of those works. These two commentaries also presented his theory of science and scientific method, which he put into practice in his own writings, including six works on astronomy and one on calendar reform, as well as treatises entitled The Generation of the Stars, Sound, The Impressions of the Elements, Comets, The Heat of the Sun, Color, The Rainbow, and The Tides, in which he attributed tidal action to the moon. Grosseteste was the first medieval European scholar to use Aristotle’s methodology of science.

-According to Grosseteste, it was impossible to understand the physical world without mathematics, which, in my opinion, sets him apart as the first modern physicist.

-Crombie wrote of [Roger] Bacon’s [13c] work in this field: “His account of vision was one of the most important written during the Middle Ages and it became a point of departure for seventeenth-century work.” Crombie goes on the quote Bacon in what he calls “a worthy expression of the ideals of the experimental method by one of its founders.” Bacon followed Grosseteste in suggesting the use of lenses as an aid to vision, which would soon lead to the invention of spectacles.

-...according to Bacon, is that experiment adds new knowledge to existing sciences, and the third is that it creates entirely new areas of science. The new areas included, for example, those in astronomy that would be opened up by the telescope, and in medicine and biology by the microscope, two instruments whose discovery he predicted, along with applications of science in technology that he would write about in his Epistola de secretis operibus artis et naturae et de nullitate magiae. This describes marvelous machines such as self-powered ships, automobiles, airplanes, and submarines...

-Peter [Peregrinus 13c] also invented what he hoped would be a perpetual motion machine, which, he said, “will move continually and perpetually” by the action of a fixed loadstone upon small iron magnets attached to the periphery of a wheel. When the machine did not move perpetually, he blamed the failure on his lack of skill rather than the impossibility of creating an eternal source of energy. This was the first of many attempts to create a perpetual motion machine and would eventually lead to the law of conservation of energy, one of the most basic principles of physics. The law shows that perpetual motion machines are impossible because of the inevitable loss of energy through friction, air resistance, and other factors.

-Jordanus [13c], following Archimedes, solved problems involving the determination of the center of gravity of triangles and other plane figures. He took his solutions from Latin translations of Graeco-Islamic works, including one proposition from Alhazen’s Optics.

-John Duns Scotus (c. 1260–1308) and William of Ockham (c. 1285–1349). Both of them were Franciscans who followed Grosseteste’s lead in their methodology, studying phenomena by collecting similar examples and using the principle of uniformity and economy in order to achieve certitude in knowledge of the things of experience.

-....medievalist Ernest A. Moody noted, “Ockham holds that our knowledge of things is based on a direct and immediate awareness of what is present to our senses and intellect, which he calls intuitive cognition.” He believed that only intuitive knowledge obtained through experience of individual things could give certain knowledge of the real. His second principle, which came to be known as “Ockham’s razor,” was that of economy in explanation, usually expressed in the statement “What can be accounted for by fewer assumptions is explained in vain by more.”

-Crombie wrote of how Ockham’s razor allowed later philosophers of nature to “save the appearances” in the Greek sense, that is, to account for physical phenomena, such as action at a distance, without superfluous hypotheses. He could see no reason to object to action at a distance, and he cut out from his explanation the intermediate “species” which were postulated simply to avoid such action at a distance and were not necessary to “save the phenomena.” … Ockham’s arguments prepared the way for Newton to “save the appearances” by his theory of universal gravitation..

-1328, Bradwardine gives a clear mathematical account of the laws of motion so as to give the relationship among force, resistance, and velocity, expressing his formulas verbally in what has been called “word algebra” since he had no mathematical notation at his disposal.

-Bradwardine was influenced by the scholar Gerard of Brussels, who appears to have been associated with Jordanus. Gerard seems to have been the first European to deal with kinematics, a purely mathematical description of motion. His treatise on kinematics De motu, written at some time between 1187 and 1260, was strongly influenced by Euclid and Archimedes...

-Historian Richard C. Dales wrote of the significance of Bradwardine’s concept of instantaneous velocity: This use of infinitesimals to express an instantaneous velocity considered as a quantity of motion, and the unanswered questions thus raised concerning the relationship between this quality of motion and the quantity of motion possessing this quality, were enormously fruitful in subsequent studies of motion from the fourteenth through seventeenth century.

This is quite a list. Nothing like it exists within the Moslem world. Not even a tithe of the above can be attributed to the Meccan cult, which squatted, ate, tasted and benefited from much more advance civilizations, as the primitive and simplistic Koranic-Moslem Jihad erased superior societies and like a jackal on decaying meat; set itself to feast on their flesh. More from Freely later. 

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