Metsfanmax wrote: thegreekdog wrote: Metsfanmax wrote:
thegreekdog wrote:Which did what exactly? How was scientific progress held back? Are we talking computers in 1935 instead of 1940? Are we talking manned space exploration in 1850? Are we talking "everyone gets their free telescopes from the King of Spain?"
It's hard to quantify the impact of this action on one (great) man. But that's not the point. The church systematically
repressed attempts to further science that conflicted with their doctrines. Galileo is just the best-known example, but not the only one. It's also hard to quantify what that did, which is why the chart is absurd. But I do not doubt that it was responsible for setting scientific progress back.
You do not doubt?
It's just a lazy argument that atheists make. It has no bearing or grounding in history, it's just assumed that since Christian religions are against teaching certain things now, then the Catholic Church must have been responsible for setting scientific progress back.
No, that's assumed because of concrete historical evidence (e.g. what happened to Galileo and many others). The lazy argument is denying it because there's no easy way to quantify it.
Okay, first of all, what happened to Galileo? Was he burned at the stake? Was he hanged? Was he cast into a deep, dark dungeon? None of the above. He was put under house arrest in his very comfortable middle class home. After the initial publicity died down, he was even allowed to entertain guests. The stricter conservatives in the church had wanted him hanged, but the liberals wanted him left alone, so the house arrest was worked out as a reasonable compromise.
If you look at it honestly, you can see that the compromise wasn't 50/50; the terms of his arrest were closer to being free than to being dead, so the liberals were winning. Galileo even published a new book while under house arrest and it wasn't banned. Furthermore, there was no persecution of Tycho Brahe or Johannes Kepler or numerous other heliocentric astronomers working at approximately the same time. Far from being a "typical" case of religious persecution, the trial of Galileo can be seen as an anomaly. Galileo had the misfortune of working in Italy during the reign of a conservative Pope and he threw fuel on the fire by personally insulting the Pope. People have been killed for lesser insults to less important power figures, and yet even after all that Galileo got a moderate punishment. Hardly proof of a draconian persecution of science.
You say "Galileo and many others" but in fact there were no "many others" -- Galileo was an anomalous case. Science was flourishing at the time, much of the work being done at Church-run universities and Academies. Johannes Kepler was working out the planetary orbits at the court of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph, defender of the faith.
The burning of Giordano Bruno is sometimes cited as an additional example, but if you look closely you find that Bruno was martyred for simple old-fashioned theocratic heresies. His scientific work was barely mentioned at his trial. (I'm not saying the martyrdom of Bruno was a good thing, but it's certainly not an example of the persecution of scientists.)
After that the trail for the "many others" grows cold, because in fact the Church for the most part was an active patron of the arts and sciences. The father of engineering, Agricola, was a faithful Catholic; what persecutions he suffered were under Protestant princes. The father of genetics, Gregor Mendel, was an Augustinian monk. Roger Bacon, generally called the father of the scientific method, was a Franciscan monk, and so was Occam (of Occam's Razor fame.) The list goes on and on.
I leave you with the following quote from David Lindberg
White and other writers on science and religion have suggested that science would have progressed more rapidly in the early centuries of the Christian era if Christianity had not inhibited its growth. Counterfactual speculations about what might have occurred had circumstances been otherwise are of questionable value. But it is worth pointing out that the study of nature held a very precarious position in ancient society; with the exception of medicine and a little astronomy, it served no practical function and generally failed to win recognition as a socially useful activity. As a result, it received little patronage from either pagan's or Christians, but depended for its existence on independent means and individual initiative. When the economic and political fortunes of the Roman Empire declined in late antiquity, people of wealth decreased in number, and the elites directed their initiative elsewhere. Moreover, changing educational and philosophical values were diverting attention from the world of nature. Inevitably the pursuit of science suffered.
Christianity (..) contained more or less the same spectrum of attitudes toward natural science as did paganism. If there were differences, Christianity was perhaps a little less other- worldly than the major competing ideologies (Gnosticism, Neoplatonism, and the mystery religions) and afforded slightly greater incentive for the study of nature. The church fathers used Greek scientific knowledge in their defense of the faith against heresy and in the elucidation of scripture, thereby preserving and transmitting it during the social and political turmoil of the first millennium of the Christian era. Science was thus the handmaiden of theology-a far cry from its modern status, characterized by autonomy and intellectual hegemony, but also far from the victim of Christian intolerance that White portrayed. Science was not the enemy, but a valued (if not entirely reliable) servant.12
In addition to serving theology, Greek scientific knowledge occupied a prominent place in Christian world views, from the time of Basil of Caesarea and Augustine through the end of the Middle Ages and beyond. The notion that any serious Christian thinker would even have attempted to formulate a world view from the Bible alone is ludicrous. For example, contrary to popular belief (which White's Warfare has helped to shape), the church did not insist on a flat earth; there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge its sphericity and even know its approximate circumference. By the beginning of the thirteenth century, virtually all of the works of Aristotle had become available in Europe, and from this point onward we see a persistent effort to integrate Aristotelian natural philosophy, or science, with Christian theology. In the end, Christianity took its basic categories of thought, its physical principles, and much of its metaphysics and cosmology from Aristotle. By means of its power to organize and interpret human experience, Aristotelianism conquered Christendom.