Christianity as the birthplace of modern science?


#1

I’m in a discussion with someone about the influence of Christianity on the development of science. My position is that Christendom was the birthplace of modern science because Christianity was the only religion to teach that a rational god created a rational universe. He disagrees, claiming that Christianity has always opposed the development of modern science.

For example, he says that modern science was invented by Copernicus, Galileo or Newton. I’ve already pointed out that they all came out of Christendom, and they stood on the shoulders of others.

Can anyone point me to good essays or books about the early development of science in the middle ages? I’m hoping to get names, places, times, etc.

Thanks.


#2

The best one I’ve read is “How the Catholic Chuch Built Western Civilization” by Thomas E. Woods Jr. It builds a very good case for the idea that it was the Catholic Church that fostered the study of science and kept the world from plunging into utter chaos.


#3

Ditto! :thumbsup:

Here’s some articles to get you (and your friend) started:

catholiceducation.org/links/search.cgi?query=Thomas+E.+Woods%2C+Jr


#4

I think you might find this helpful:

columbia.edu/cu/augustine/a/science_origin.html


#5

Christian Europe, at the end of the Middle Ages, took the lead from Muslim Africa and from Asia, and made it into something unparalleled in history. This learning, especially in the early stages, was welcomed and nurtured by the Catholic Church.

However, the Christians who revived science in Europe were openly grateful to the Muslims and others who kept science alive and developed the method and numerical analysis that is at the base of modern science.

They were first, but one can point out that science has made more progress in the last two hundred years than in all previous history.

That is certainly something in which we can take some pride. But we should remember on whose shoulders we are standing.


#6

But…we would be nowhere but for those who went before. And in 1000, Western European technology & maths were pretty basic, to say the least. An intelligent monkey can use what others have provided it with, if its intelligent enough: that doesn’t reflect any credit on it.

The real credit (if we really have to think in these competitive terms) belongs IMHO to those who did the hard work of providing Western Europe with the wherewithal for the properly scientific study of phenomena: IOWs, to the pre-Greek peoples of Asia - such as the Egyptians & Sumerians. No borrowing by the Greeks = no “Greek miracle”.

That is certainly something in which we can take some pride. But we should remember on whose shoulders we are standing.

Those who think science is all down to Europe should read Joseph Needham’s (gigantic) history of Chinese science:

[LIST]
*]nri.org.uk/science.html[/LIST]Then they can relax with a volume of two of Pierre Duhem:
[LIST]
*]bookhead.co.uk/SearchResults.aspx?author=Pierre+Duhem&submit.x=17&submit.y=6[/LIST]The book
[LIST]
*]Mediaeval Cosmology: Theories of Infinity, Place, Time, Void and the Plurality of Worlds[/LIST]is devoted to selections of him, & the contents are as the title describes :slight_smile:

For something a little lighter, anything by Stanley Jaki O.S.B. is a good read (Dom Stanley has written a biography of Duhem) - especially:
[LIST]
*]The Road of Science and the Ways to God
*]The Saviour of Science[/LIST]He is described here:
[LIST]
*]Stanley Jaki has more qualifications to his name than any man should need. He has doctorates in theology and physics, is a Benedictine monk and recipient of the Templeton Prize. His interests are manifold but the thesis with which is name is most often associated is how scholasticism led to the rise of modern science…
*]bede.org.uk/books,history.htm#BM2[/LIST]& here:
[LIST]
*]**Rev. Professor Stanley L. Jaki (1987)
**Benedictine monk and professor of astrophysics at Seton Hall University in New Jersey, Rev. Professor Stanley L. Jaki is noted as a leading thinker in areas at the boundary of science and theology and issues where the two disciplines meet and diverge. His more than two dozen books carefully delineate the importance of differences as well as similarities between science and religion, adding significant, balanced enlightenment to the field.
*]templetonprize.org/bios_recent.html[/LIST]For books on the theology of nature:
[LIST]
*]www.canyoninstitute.org/resources/URBibliography/030_theology_nature_b.htm[/LIST]


#7

The Church and Science (MP3)

Chapter 5 audio of Thomas E. Woods, Jr. book. You are so welcome. :thumbsup:

Phil P


#8

Thanks, Phil. You rock!


#9

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