Thought of the day

If Christianity was such a valuable influence on science, why was science dead for a millennium and a half after Christianity took hold?

~Jerry Coyne

3 Responses

  1. I don’t think that had anything to do with the catholic church, in fact, who knows what would have happened after the collapse or the western empire if writing and written knowledge weren’t safe guarded in monasteries.

    The “church” part isn’t responsible for the rise or for the downfall of “science”, the aspect of the church as a continental pseudo-government is. I rather doubt Europe would have held together as well as it did with out it.

  2. The point here is simply that science owes nothing to the particulars of Christianity or any religion. The evidence shows that it takes something other than religions for science to flourish.

  3. That’s somewhat what I was trying to say. The only thing particular about Christianity here is the organizational structure, prior to that the roman empire itself served a similar purpose.

    It’s just contrary to what Dennet said, Christianity as a religion didn’t have much to do with the backpedling of scientific investigation, the tearing asunder of the glue (Rome) holding Europe together did. It takes a lot to bounce back from that. It’s also not like there weren’t significant strides made in the first 500 years after Rome’s fall. It was just that so happens many things needed to be re-discovered.

    I know how our water, sewer and electrical systems work, but that doesn’t mean that if society crumbled tomorrow I would be able to keep those things running or re-build them. Consider that if that crumbling took place, the majority of us would die off pretty fast because few could provide for their needs on their own. That crumbling would set us back further than the Fall of Rome did 1500 years ago.

    It’s a sexy bit of rhetoric on his part though.

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