This is getting circular/petty, so I'm going to narrow it down to the key parts. Because this is about the quality of the discussion, not who is right and who isn't. At least I hope it is.
Excuse my euro-centricism, but I'm interested in praxis and not winning.
Colonel Panic wrote:
big_dave wrote:Dude, the Islamic Golden Age
The Islamic Golden Age was not "European Christianity." It was Northern African/Middle Eastern/Indian Islam.
I was talking about monotheism in general, you were trying to narrow me down with examples. Besides, as you mention several times the interaction between Persian Islam and European Christianity was vital in the rediscovery and reappraisal of Aristotle over Platonisms.
In fact, on the first page I was also talking about agnostic theism and other things that we being dismissed off-hand by comments in this thread.
In these posts it is hard to be specific because more and more different ideas, locations, ideas, historic periods keep getting thrown and we are both making a lot of boring generalities, and accusing each other of making generalities that we didn't make.
Language translation is not science, it's a Humanity. Anyway, that was merely a modest recovery of some of the educational material of the Greeks and Romans that was lost. By the late Middle Ages (a.k.a. "The Dark Ages"), most people were completely illiterate except for the monks and nobility. Very few people in Europe could read Greek anymore because the dumbfucks had rejected the Greek language and all its writings as "heathen paganism," and the monks had already destroyed most of the educational texts by scraping the writing off the valuable animal hide vellums and writing illuminated Bibles over the top of them to sell to kings and noblemen.
big_dave wrote:Crop rotation. The mechanical clock. The fucking printing press and paper mill. The compass.
Crop rotation: used by the Romans and probably other classical civilizations as well.
Compass: Chinese, introduced to Christian Western Europe by way of the Muslims.
Mechanical clock: Chinese, introduced to Christian Western Europe by way of the Muslims.
Printing press and paper mill: Chinese, introduced to Christian Western Europe by way of the Muslims.
Compass: Chinese, introduced to Christian Western Europe by way of the Muslims.
What else you got?
It doesn't matter who was first. I am talking about who did these things in the forms that are still used today.
The answer is: Christianity/Roman networks popularized ideas that were imported by, and refined by, Muslims. Having a compass as a novelty or curiosity is one thing, but it was Europe and the Middle East that had the framework to impliment and popularize the technology as it was used today.
There is very little in history where who discovered what first is importance, as the basic techniques and such can be discovered simultaneously anywhere - but you need an infrastructure or community to impliment them.
Come on, Dave. I'm dying to hear about all the ingenious scientific discoveries of the intrepid medieval scientists that came out of the highly progressive and fruitful Middle Ages when Christian religion dominated all aspects of European culture.
"Popularizing things" is not science. If popularizing things were science, them Disney would be the greatest scientific institution in the history of the world. Merely "using things" is not science.
It might as well be. Popularizing and educating people is the way that the scientific method is refined and improved.
You talk about the scientific method as if it is one specific process that either one does or does not. That isn't true, it is a series of models and practices that are being refined over time. It happens that, in the periods that we're discussing, the greatest periods of refinement and improvement happened in the Middle East and Europe.
It cannot be overstated how much antiquarian teaching and literature was lost between generations, and the during Roman empire. Just because a few pieces were preserved doesn't mean all was lost, the same as saying that Monks occasionally destroyed books doesn't mean that they destroyed them all.
Yeah, they did this a lot. But it doesn't mean they did it to every book.
I know Objectivists and the like parade this around with the "angels on a head of a pin" argument to illustrate how dumbfuck scholasticism is, but the destructive nature of one practice doesn't win the whole argument.
Quit blaming it on the Greeks. The highly bureaucratic Romans had already done much of the work of copying ancient documents long before the Roman adoption of Christianity within the last hundred years of the empire.
Exactly! Which is why I'm talking about the importance of the combination of Roman infrastructure and Christian evangelism.
That's simply not true.
Not all modern educational institutions that teach science were "historically Christian."
During the years of empiricism they were, and a great percentage of modern institutions still are.
Part of the reason that we have critiques of Christianity at is that men were educated in Christian establishments, got pissed off at it and decided to take it to pieces.
We wouldn't have anything like secularism as a mindset if it didn't grow up in response to the threat of Christian incursion to scientific and academic practices.
I never said that it was.
In the same way that I didn't say half the crap that you are implying that I did?
You're not remotely as bad as Gramsci, but you're still implying generalities that I'm trying to avoid. This is pretty much a symptom of arguing in a point-counterpoint post when discussing 2000 years of history. You claim I said translation was a science, when I didn't, I was talking about the translation of Aristotlean texts by Muslims - for example.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! How can you say this? You seem to be arguing without any idea what the hell you're talking about?
How the fuck is that wrong? The Greeks and Romans only implimented certain technologies when they certainly could have implimented mechanical clocks, steam power, modern alloys, formal learning, logics, etc.
It is not as you say. Just a dozen or less people cannot perform real scientific progress alone, you need an elaborate social and philosophical structure. Certain individual Greeks and Romans had the ability to produce the effects that would have lead to both thermometers and steam power - BUT THEY FUCKING DIDN'T DID THEY?
They produced items, like the Chinese, that were curios and gimmicks used to demonstrate their learning. It was only with the framework of post-Augustan Roman logistics and the Christian system of evangelism that the spreading and preservation of ideas become so important.
What technological progress antiquity made seems almost arbitrary now - so huge leaps in building and drainage, but extremly primitive and brutal medicine, very refined mathematics but not so much logic before Aristotle.
It was simply because they didn't have enough people, in enough different situations, with enough different necessities to innovative and drive scientific inquiry and technological adaption forward.
So I guess the idea of the "invention" is stupid. Inventing something and patenting it seems important to a capitalist society, but if we're talking about the past then it isn't who invented what first, but if something was adopted, and why? and how? and by whom?
I'm talking about what Christians and Muslims did
do, not what Greeks and Romans might
Do you really believe that the great civilizations of antiquity were primitive brutes with no education, learning or development, and then suddenly the Catholic Church came on the scene and human potential suddenly skyrocketed?
Yeah, that's exactly what I think. What the hell.
First of all, there were very few discoveries even made in the Middle Ages. I challenged you to think of some, and all you presented were things that were adopted from elsewhere or rediscovered from antiquity. What makes you think the ancient Greeks, with all their great institutions of learning, were unable to utilize and popularize discoveries? What makes you think that the industrious Romans, with their incredible engineering capabilities and aggressive economic domination, were unable to implement and popularize discoveries?
Because they didn't? We know that the Romans had awareness, or at least curiosity toward, many seperate branches of science that were never implimented or developed.
Some Romans were certainly aware of crop rotation and steam power, but it wasn't implimented. They might have been capable of creating printing presses, but they did not.
You should stop talking as if a whole civilization has knowledge of something just because we have records that suggest a certain thinker and his apprentices did. No one would say that 20th Century Americans had knowledge of how to make atomic bombs and refridgerators.
Who has the means and how widespread the practices are is all
of the question, as far as I'm concerned.
So? I didn't mention cannons. If there's one area where the Medieval science did flourish, it was in warfare. They were really good at coming up with ingenious ways to break shit and kill people. They devised the most lethal ways to charge one another on the battlefield, to forge better weapons, to make giant siege machines to tear down city and castle walls. In fact, during that period most of the resources in Europe were motivated towards war or the aggrandizement of religion.
Actually it was agriculture, not warfare. And the printing press.
You're getting ridiculous.
Most people couldn't even read.
But reading the Bible is not science.
Did I claim this? Do you have any idea at all how important popular access to the Bible was for the emergence of liberalism, democracy and public education?
A few lines down you talk about how important the reformation was for the Enlightenment.
The real advances in science didn't start until after the plague wiped out over a third of the population, and the Church's authority began to wane during the Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation, which paved the way for the Enlightenment.
Do you have any idea how many people were killed during the Reformation, and the size of the role Church funding played in the enlightenment?
This is an insanely black/white way of viewing history.
You stated that science was a direct result of Christianity. I think I've done a pretty good job of pointing out that science has existed in other cultures at other times even before the existence of Christianity.
Except that I didn't claim that. I said that the modern science practiced today, and many of the institutions that originated it, has a tradition firmly based on the development of Abrahamic monotheism. And that Abrahamic monotheist cultures are the only cultures which lead to such things. I'm not suggesting a causation at all, I'm just saying that you position - that you see the development of science and reason as seperate from monotheism, is misguided.
The main factors that allowed science to flourish in the 19th and 20th Centuries were the wholesale rejection of religion from governmental influence, and the industrial revolution, both of which were secular movements.
The Industrial Revolution can hardly be called a secular movement. The idea that it had a secular consensus is pretty ridiculous. Maybe in the colonies, maybe, but industrialist literature is often as full of religious language and rhetoric as any piece of scholasticism.
Did you, by any chance, get your education from Catholic or christian private schools?
Because a lot of what you're saying sounds suspiciously similar to the crap they used to teach us in Catholic High school, before I went to college and started learning on my own how much of it was total and complete bullshit.
I went to a free school. I studied both history and theology, and I still have to read a lot of material from the periods that we are discussing.
If you're under the impression that everyone was ignorant and religious until the amazing Enlightenment, where everyone starting doing a single, correct form of secular science and rejected religious ideas - you are pretty far away from the reality. Smells like popular internet "skepticism" to me.
You rightly argue that a lot of the materials used in the pre-Scholastic and Scholastic periods were actually Antiquarian or Middle-Eastern in origin, but the same is true for the enlightenment - it depended on pre-established discourses, structures, and shared understandings.
Trying to take absolute positions on this just leads to putting more and more absurdly general things in the mouth of the person you're arguing with, and I'm not going to do Quote-counter-Quote on this any more because it is driving itself into absurdity.
Seeing as you won't admit to making ridiculous generalities on the previous pages, I will. And if this goes on I'll try to type intelligiable posts and not just quote-unquote ad nauseum.