Tuesday, March 9, 2021

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‘Reformation Myths’, #3 by Rodney Stark. More science in Medieval Universities than in the modern.

Ignoring the contributions of the past and denigrating real history is anti-science.

by Ferdinand III



#1 here and #2 here.

The claims that the ‘Protestant Reformation’ created the ‘modern world’, is as obtuse and incoherent as the fantasy that Muhammadanism fabricated ‘capitalism’, or modern banking, or that the backward bronze-age cult of Mecca, fashioned ‘golden ages’ or apogees of civilisational creation.  Modern civilisation, specifically Western Civilisation, is simply an outgrowth of Christianity and in particular the culture, ethos, mores, and technological developments of Christian Europe over a 1400-year era.  This is an indisputable claim founded on facts, reality, and historical veracity.  One can no more ‘segregate’ Catholic Europe and its civilisational mission and historical immensity from our own modern era, than one would separate the forearm from the hand.  The whole is continuous and greater than the parts.


Among the many myths and propaganda issued now in ‘modern’ ‘education’ and ‘learning’, is the idea that ‘Protestantism’ (16th to 19th centuries), created ‘science’ and levered the world out of the depths of Catholic ‘superstition’ and ‘darkness’ into the light of reason and invention.  The theme of this lie is that no science worthy of the name in any discipline existed, until the fetters of absolutist Catholicism and ‘extremist’ if not fanatical and inquisitorial Christianity were cut down.  This is about as truthful or intelligent as Orwell’s O’Brien torturing Smith until Smith confirmed that two plus two was indeed five.  Modern day axe-grinders torturing history, maiming it, disfiguring facts and reality, until the body of reality is so injured and sliced, that its wounds must be covered by the rags of lies and mendacity, offered as the clothing of truth and reasonableness.  Lies are still lies. 


Stark, ‘Science did not suddenly erupt in a great intellectual revolution during Newton’s time; this era of superb achievements was the culmination of centuries of sustained, normal scientific progress that began as early as the thirteenth century in Europe’s newly invented universities.  After all, Newton’s First Law of Motion was anticipated by Oxford’s William of Ockham (1285-1349) with his insight that once a body is in motion, it will remain so unless some force, such as friction, acts upon it.  This was further refined by the University of Paris professor Jean Buridan (1300-58) who developed the principle of inertia – that unless acted upon by an external force, bodies at rest will stay at rest and bodies in motion will stay in motion.’


Science, mathematics, modern medicine, technological developments (blast furnace, eyeglasses, the printing press and thousands of other inventions, both incremental and unique); developed in Christian Europe and nowhere else, due to the ethos of Christianity which as a culture, had dominated Europe since the 9th century.  There is no other valid explanation.  Christian Europeans knew that Science (including logic, reason, structure), was both necessary and desirable, in order to understand the perfect design of God and his created universe.  It was not a fatalistic (Buddhist), anti-rational (Islam), circular (Greek, Roman), nor ancestor-bound (Confucianism) view of life.  It was linear, dynamic, inventive.


Stark, ‘Whitehead (co-author with Bertrand Russell of the Principia Mathematica (1913), and like Russell an Atheist), had recognised that Christian theology was essential for the rise of science, just as non-Christian theologies had stifled the scientific enterprise everywhere else.  He explained that: ‘the greatest contribution of medievalism to the formation of the scientific movement [was] the inexpungable belief…..that there was a secret, a secret which can be unveiled…..It must come from the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher.’


Rene Descartes the creator of ‘rationalism’, argued that the laws of nature were perfect and such laws can only exist if God is the perfect creator, acting in a ‘manner as constant and immutable as possible.’ (p. 100).  Most religions or belief systems including Atheism and Darwinism (these are cults, not scientific concerns if anyone bothers to study the bio-chemical, biological reality of the created world); do not have a creation story.  The Universe is simply ‘eternal’, created ex nihilo, no beginning, no purpose, no Creator.  Even post the 16th century as Stark summarises over many pages the majority of scientists were still Catholic, again putting a lie to the theory that only the ‘Reformation’ produced scientific advance. 


Indeed, Stark states and quotes from other scientists that the medieval university contained more science, than modern versions, an absolute truism for any who have witnessed the philosophical and metaphysical emphasis of much of current ‘science’, better renamed as ‘scientism’ or the cult of science as metaphysics.  The modern hubris and manifold ignorance of the medieval era, its creativity, impulse to inquiry and science, its devotion to naturalism in the curiosity to understand and experiment, the dedication to innovation and improvements, does not speak well of the modern era, mired in various cults, purportedly ‘rational’ and ‘scientific’ but of course, having little to do with either.