Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Medieval...

An excerpt from a book I'm reading, I'll probably archive a few more excerpts because progressives tend to believe in mythologies that they imagine about Progress more than historically based views on how progress as we know it has happened:
In many ways the term "Scientific Revolution" is as misleading as "Dark Ages." Both were coined to discredit the medieval Church. The notion of a "Scientific Revolution" has been used to claim that science suddenly burst forth when a weakened Christianity could no longer prevent it, and as the recovery of classical learning made it possible. Both claims are as false as those concerning Colombus and the flat earth.* First of all, classical learning did not provide an appropriate model for science. Second, the rise of science was already far along by the sixteenth century, having been nurtured by devout Scholastics in that most Christian invention, the university. As Alfred W. Crosby pointed out, "in our time the word medieval is often used as a synonym for muddle-headedness, but it can be more accurately used to indicate precise definition and meticulous reasoning, that is to say, clarity" (his emphasis). Granted that the era of scientific discovery that occurred in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries was indeed marvelous, the cultural equivalent of the blossoming of a rose. However, just as roses do not spring up overnight but must undergo a long period of normal growth before they even bud, so, too, the blossoming of science was the result of centuries of normal intellectual progress.... Copernicus provides an unsurpassed example of this point.
(For the Glory of God: How Monotheism Led to Reformations, Science, Witch Hunts and the End of Slavery by Rodney Stark :134-135)
*See also: (Inventing the Flat Earth: Colombus and Modern Historians by Jeffrey Russel

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