Did Christianity Birth Science?

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skeptoid's picture
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Ozmen's picture
Beta Tester

The only things in the bible that leads to scientific thought is the notion that a) God is all knowing and can create and destroy the world, b) we're like unto God, therefore c) we can understand and change the world. Nothing else in the bible even hints at scientific thought as being 'a thing' or if it is 'a thing' then as coming from something 'good'.

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skeptoid's picture

You've zoomed out to "the bible". That's not the argument being made here. It's more of a historical argument, and Pinker rightly points out how difficult it is to derive causality from history. That's why there's a mismatch between the study of "regular history" and the study of "Christian history" - politics has produced a different burden of proof in this matter.

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Ozmen's picture
Beta Tester

If christianity, a monotheistic religion, was responsible for scientific thought then so was Islam as well. For a while atleast. And because it too managed it only for a while we can look at the cultures that spawned the scientific progress and notice that those were times of relative cultural tolerance, economic growth and the rise of new cultures and/or powerstructures. When that growth stagnated the science or the progress atleast went away. This seems to hold true throughout history and pretty much regardless of the type of religion held by the culture trying to progress in their natural knowledge.

 

That's all of my point really. The holy texts of all monotheistic religions(and some polytheistic ones as well) state that intellectual thought rises from the devil or 'the adversary'.

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bannik's picture

Yes and no... Christianity created a a need for the search for answers like any faith does, but it was human curiosity that spawned any scientific revolution. 

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skeptoid's picture

Nietzche would argue that the curious drive to find out what's actually going on was highly developed by Christianity, forcing Christianity to either destroy the apparatus of its dogma or separate the study of what's actually going on from the boundaries of the "Christian brand" - ergo secularism. We chose option 2, not least because Christianity failed to stick with honesty in the face of evidence that contradicted the dogma grafted over the archetypes, thereby becoming hypocritical and negating itself (an aversion to hypocrisy lies at the very core of the Christian archetype). Those who rejected the irrationality of Christian dogma in the face of new evidence, who rejected a corrupted Christianity, were behaving as genuine Christians. This is part of the paradox. When science became ideologically-driven in the 18th century it began to develop its own active dogma. 

 

I believe the solution is to aggressively interrogate and dispense with the dogmas. 

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danmanjones's picture

Humanity overcame religion and developed science.

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skeptoid's picture

No, not "humanity". And not "overcome" unless you want to argue that the Islamic scientific advances of the middle ages were about "overcoming Islam" and Western cultures forging modern science was about "overcoming Christianity". There is no hard separation as you suggest, but there are paradoxes which is different.

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danmanjones's picture

Yeah I think there's a pretty hard separation. Religion is almost the antithesis of science. After the reformation, Europeans found a way to have religion & science co-exist. There was never "Islamic scientific advances" they were made in Islamic society but did not draw from religion. If religion played any part it might be that it was able to help people thrive in a cohesive society.

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skeptoid's picture

What's all this talk about how Islam was well ahead of the Byzantine in terms of math and many of the cornerstones of objective evaluation of the world? I always thought that wasn't bullshit. 

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danmanjones's picture

During the earlier centuries of Islam there were education centers like the famous House of Wisdom in Baghdad. Scholars would be sent there on kind of state-sponsored missions to just learn as much as they could in a kind of open-source learning format. It was similar to the Library of Alexandria where they would gather as much knowledge as they could into one place (library + university) - both are sort of early internets in a sense. They tapped into knowledge from everywhere - Persian, Hindi, Chinese, Greek, Roman etc. They even appointed super smart Christians & Jews at top ranking positions.

 

The scientific discovery in the Islamic world went downhill under more orthodox leadership who viewed Greek knowledge as heresy. It was ultimately ended by the Mongol invasion.

 

I don't know much about the Byzantines but from my 10 mins Googling, they didn't focus on pioneering science/engineering like the Arabs did. They studied classical literature, religious studies, philosophy & history with a focus on preservation of the Greco-Roman knowledge rather than expanding & developing science.

Faith was also the Byzantine culture’s chief limitation, choking originality in the sciences and the practical arts. But within this limitation it preserved the literature, science, and philosophy of Classical Greece in recopied texts, some of which escaped the plunders of the Crusaders and were carried to southern Italy, restoring Greek learning there. Combined with the treasures of Classical learning that reached Europe through the Muslims, this Byzantine heritage helped to initiate the beginnings of the European Renaissance.

https://www.britannica.com/topic/education/The-Byzantine-Empire

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skeptoid's picture

By some estimations the Greeks were a mere 100 years away from landing someone on the moon at one point if they had seen it. The Chinese could have produced the world's first flying machines centuries before anyone else if they had seen it. Why didn't they see it? What was it about the Christian naturalists that drove deeper and deeper investigations into "what's actually going on". Remember at its outset the percursor to modern Science, which employed the scientific method, was natural philosophy. The first modern universities were founded in England in what is erroneously referred to as "the dark ages". There was something about the ideas contained in Christianity perculating in the aftermath of the fall of Rome that helped spark the movement towards figuring out "what's actually going on". I believe Nietzche was bang on in his dissection of how the drive to figure out what's actually going on, pushed hard by the Chrisitian notion of truth (evolved from it's days with the Greeks), had the inevitable effect of destroying the dogmas and doctrines proven false by those investigations and rendering much of the dogma describing the physical world that was branded "Christian" clearly false. And suddenly there was a reversal - those who clinged to disproven dogmas as a matter of faith became, in my mind, people who were behaving in an un-Christian manner and those who rejected those dogmas in preference of what science was telling us about the physical world were behaving in a Christian manner when it comes the question of honesty, integrity, etc.

 

This is the unaddressed paradox characterized by the Nietzchean dilemma, and we've done a horrible job of sorting through it over the past 150 years for a variety of reasons. I'm pretty sure the problem, as defined by Nietzche, hasn't been fully appreciated by the majority of folks everywhere - in fact I think there has been an active force driven by the ideologically-possessed to prevent the nature of the dilemma from being understood. That's why I promote the idea through JBP with the hope that conversations will begin happening. Obviously others are of the same mind - ergo "Unbelievable?".

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danmanjones's picture

I think you should study history more. China has had many different dynasties - some more liberal than others & most hit the reset button on their knowledge unfortunately. The people who have been at the cutting edge of science have alwways been the ones who don't allow religion to get in the way & make efforts to gather knowledge from around the world.

 

You say "Chrisitian notion of truth (evolved from it's days with the Greeks)"... there's no crossover betweeen the Greeks and Christendom bro. Check the timeline. The Persians took over from the Greeks & the Macedonians from them & then the Romans which became the Christians. So the Romans inherited what was Macedonian > Persian > Greek knowledge,....It's not quite this linear because Persia also drew from other sources, Mesapotemia, & the East. After conauering Macedonia, Ceasar burnt the Library of Alexandria to the ground so he kind of hit the reset button, the fool. Since Rome, it wasn't until the 17th century (when we finally overcame the Roman Catholic Churche's oppression) that Western Europeans begun to think again. This notion that we're taught in the West that we inherit a lot from Greece is largely a myth. Sure they had Plato, Aristotle, Pythagorus & others but are you so sure they had more of an impact on our civilisation as Cyrus the Great? Why?

 

The way you talk kinda has a sense of superiority about it. You may have picked up on this from JP, I dunno. To say Christianity is superior to Chinese intellect is insane. For the past 2,000 years the Chinese been at or near the forefront of scientific thought for about 1,500 of them. They're now in the stage of recovering from the opium epidemic iniflicted on them by British Jews in the 1860s which led to a century of total weakness & right now they have 3 of the top 10 super computers in the world. In 20 years it'll be undeniable that they're frickin smart once again.

 

The search for truth is a human trait, surely.

 

If I understand this Nietzschean Dilemma that JP talks about, it says if we let go of God, we'll lose our moral compass. Is that right?

If that's the case it just seems regressive & unrrealistic. Christianity is far too gullable as a loong-term strategy. It's a trust-based system that only works if we suppress all the non-Christians - otherwise our society just gets corrupted. Look at the US Congress & media for example. They're morally bankrupt. It's over bro ya gotta know this.  Time to move onto something that can't bbecome infiltrated and a tool of our own enslavement.

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skeptoid's picture

"You say "Chrisitian notion of truth (evolved from it's days with the Greeks)"... there's no crossover betweeen the Greeks and Christendom bro. Check the timeline. The Persians took over from the Greeks & the Macedonians from them & then the Romans which became the Christians."

 

This is not correct in the context I'm using - you are referencing political nation states and movements and I'm talking about the evolution of the concept of truth as it was in Greece/Rome and how it changed with the advent of Christianity. Also, you may not be aware that even in Christ's communities Greek notions of truth were commonplace because there were many kinds of Jews, including Hellenistic Jews. As far as l can tell, the Western world did not have the concept of "hypocrisy" as we now have it prior to Christianity. There is record of one Greek politician lambasting a rival for having once been a hypocrite - as in a stage actor - and that having come from such a lowly "profession" he was unsuited for public office. Christ took that idea and used it to forge our modern understanding of hypocrisy, which is a person who presents a face on the outside that doesn't reflect who they are on the inside. It was how he characterized the Pharisees, and we just take the idea for granted today. It's more modern usage began in the 1800s as the scientific enlightenment gained steam, and Neitzche saw it as the core catalyst driving the dilemma he was describing. 

 

When Peterson talks about alignment and pokes at evangelical atheists about how they both simultaneously take for granted, use and then dismiss the very notions of truth that drive their arguments against religious fundamentalists, he's making a point about hypocrisy. Matt Dillahunty says he doesn't throw Sam Harris off the stage because he wouldn't want Harris to throw him off the stage, and that's it. That's the reason. Can you see the obvious problems with that - how that statement almost certainly does not reflect the genuine motivation Matt has for not throwing Sam off the stage? It's a lie - he's being hypocritical, or he's a reprehensible human being: there's very little leeway for a more nuanced interpretation, since if you were to ask Matt if this means that, were the power unequal between the two of them and they found themselves in a dark alley, if it served Matt's benefit why wouldn't he go as far as to even kill Sam? Matt would probably deny he would kill Sam even if it greatly served his benefit in such a situation - ergo the misalignment. 

 

No your understanding of the Nietzchean dilemma is way off - I already explained that it's a branding and identity paradox. What were formerly "Christians" became two poles of "Quasi-Un-Christians" when evaluated against the most up-to-date evolution of Christ's notion of truth. It destroyed the parasitic dogmas grafted onto the archetype he established, whether you believe it was historical or just a meta-narrative. This has created a schism of identity that is driving much confusion, misalignment, and strife. It became an ideological war driven by our need to separate the material and religious poles of thought. One side dropped religious thought entirely and the other side dropped materialist knowledge entirely, to simplify the extremes. That's just one pole though - once your belief system collapses and you admit that you are left with the issue of what to believe, and most people just can't genuinely believe in nothing, even themselves, and then act that out in their day-to-day. There has to be something, and a totalitarian belief system is very attractive. There are a dozen or more poles of extreme thought and accompanying emotion emenating out from the center of the Nietzchean dilemma. Here are some I've identified:

 

-Religious fundamentalist evangelists vs. materialist determinist evangelists

-Everything's a social construct vs. the science of biology determines a certain portion of our behavior

-No one has free will vs. the choices you make are yours and yours alone

-Everyone should be treated as a divine being with a soul vs. we're nothing but unconscious matter driven to dominate and reproduce

-The universe is here because it serves a function vs. the universe is here just cuz and there's no objective function

-The universe is here because God or god(s) created it, this dogma lays it all out, and if you don't believe it you're an evil person with no morals vs. there is no God because neither He nor any man has offered any material proof of His existence to me and subscribing to a religious dogma through blind faith is deluded, dangerous, and dishonest

 

And I could go on listing pole after pole - some of these interact - they aren't all pairs of binary opposites. I'm working on a diagram that uses the bike wheel with poles as spokes converging on a center axle. I will probably use that in part 2 of my series. Right now for Part 1 I'm going to focus on the hypocrisy of what today is most often branded Christianity and what that produces - you know, where the atheists are coming from for the most part, which is a desire for truth, to face reality even if it's unpleasant and be a person who carries the most credible knowledge of and orientation towards what's "actually going on". 

 

Kind of related to our chat, Peterson dropped this video today. It's an excerpt from his book Maps of Meaning, may be a response to Sam Harris' recent comments on the Rubin Report, is definitley a plug for the release of the audiobook version, and appears to be a modern counter-argument against the ancient and modern arguments of luciferianism.

 

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danmanjones's picture

Everyone should be treated as a divine being with a soul vs. we're nothing but unconscious matter driven to dominate and reproduce

I think this is flawed. In fact you can argue that religion encourages the motivation to dominate. By discouraging earthly pleasures, people will seek out other forms of pleasure, one of which is to raise their own power (at the expense of others). You only need to look at the Roman Catholic Church to see this in action, historically.
 
I agree that there is a vacuum in the West that Christianity used to fill. This is just a necessary step. Religion is not something we need, it just gets in the way. The trouble is that the majority of people are unwilling to put a lot of thought into their ideology & so are vulnerable to whatever messaging they're exposed to.

 

I think the "why" question (why do we exist, why was the universe created etc) is a philosophical one. Most people aren't too concerned with it. People find duty in either their own life goals or their obligations to their famies etc.

 

Through countless movies & articles we've been taught that the ultimate evil is the Jewish Holocaust & the Nazis. This is a very bad thing because it's not only historically inaccurate, it's used to justify all sorts of atrocities that continue to take place (in the name of fighting evil, like Hitler). It's possibly the most dangerous ideology we've come up with yet. It was originally war propaganda, born out of a need to justify our actions in WWII but these days it's the most dogmatic untruth there is going. Even in NZ our kids are learning about WWII from a Jewish perspective. My 12 yo neice is watching The Boy In The Striped Pajamas this Friday for school. What the hell does that have to do with a New Zealand kid?

 

Maybe one day humans will work out what sparked life into existence on Earth or even the universe & determine whether it was a conscious being or whatever but right now we've only just got our hands on computers. It's millenia awway IMO. And that's fine.

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Fullauto223cal's picture

Perfect answer there danmanjones!!!

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skeptoid's picture

I prefer better than perfect - perfect plus:

 

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Lambus's picture

Q: Did Christianity Birth Science?

No, science evolved from the culmination of ancient Chinese and Greek philisophies.

 

It is no coincidence that most scientific papers that are heavy on math utilize the Greek alphabet in formulating mathematical expressions.

 

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WarlockGnome's picture

I believe that science is a lightly veiled search for god,  nope hes not under this rock, nope, hes not on top of that mountain, is he responsible for the tides coming in and out? - nope.  Maybe hes in some extra dimentional space beond space and time???  The god of the gaps is the driving vacuume that inspired the search for answers that were not ' god did it ',  thats how we got science.

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daftcunt's picture

It is a well known fact that all (traditional) religions are an obstacle to scientific progress.

Any initiation or development of science under a religious umbrella of religion is accidental because it is of course agenda driven.

 

There appears to be some sort of "christian" movement that appears to embrace science and now are trying to promote their superiority over other religions. 

 

yawn, next.

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skeptoid's picture

"There appears to be some sort of "christian" movement that appears to embrace science and now are trying to promote their superiority over other religions." 

 

LOL Oh yeah that's a brand new thing. Just started up - never been done before. Holy fuck you're ignorant.

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daftcunt's picture

As always you deliberately missed my point completely.

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skeptoid's picture

..."and now are..."

 

There's nothing new about this at all. About any of it, including the "Christianity is superior" notion. I don't think it should be characterized that way though, especially in the midst of all of this branding confusion.

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hellyeah's picture

christianity..........

Gerelateerde afbeelding
Afbeeldingsresultaat voor crusades

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor earth center of universe

Afbeeldingsresultaat voor jesus walking on water

YAY science

 

 

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