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How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation 
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Post How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
The standard line has been that the Church, read Christianity, has stifled scientific thought and progress almost from its beginning. This is promoted and accepted as truth by most of society today and is repeated ad nauseam by atheists and agnostics are reasons that the church should be silenced and Christianity ignored. The problem is those beliefs are as wrong as the belief, nearly universally held, that the Church taught that the earth was flat.

In fact, Christianity in the Middle Ages challenged the long held belief in the cyclical nature of the universe promoted by the teaching of the Great Year. It ultimately took steps to condemn that belief along with over 200 teachings held over from Aristotle which were sniffling scientific advancement. Stephen Hawking mocked those condemnations in an episode he did for the series Curiosity a few years ago.

I am preparing to publish the paperback edition of Science Was Born Of Christianity.

It will contain the foreword by Dr. Paul Haffner which is reproduced below in the quote box. The quote is fairly brief but it summarizes what I have maintained for many years - What atheists and agnostics are taught about the church and science in hisory is wrong. Dr. Haffner is an expert on the subject and the works of Dr. Stanley Jaki who built on the work of Dr. Pierre Duhem - a certifiable genius and historian of the highest order. I urge the members of BT to read this foreward. The kindle edition of the book is available now but the paperback edition is in final editing and should be published in the next month or so.

Quote:
FOREWORD

I warmly recommend this book written by Stacy Trasancos on the Christian basis and inspiration for the birth of modern science according to Fr. Stanley Jaki OSB, the great philosopher of science and theologian, member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Templeton prize-winner. The author has made a great effort and has succeeded in making Fr. Jaki’s ideas available to a larger public. Her goal is to inform more people about what Fr. Jaki actually meant by this claim that Christianity stimulated the birth of science because it is significant for people (young adults especially) to understand that faith and science are not opposed, and are indeed complementary. Also Stacy realizes that it is necessary to set the record straight, because so many people, even Catholics, misrepresent what Fr. Jaki actually concluded about the birth of science.

In a world swirling with relativist and materialist notions concerning the origins of the cosmos and of the human person, Stanley Jaki has offered scientists, philosophers and seekers alike a way out of this morass. He explains how the idea of the beginning of the cosmos, which is so much part of Christian tradition, stands in sharp contrast to the scene outside of Christianity where many world religions and world-pictures had great difficulty in maintaining that the world actually began. Even for many people today, the world is eternal in the sense that it simply is. The world was often regarded as eternal in seven principal ancient cultures: Chinese, Hindu, Meso-American, Egyptian, Babylonian, Greek and Arabic. From the cosmic imprisonment represented by all these world pictures, Christianity was to bring liberation. All ancient cultures held a cyclic view of the world, and this was one of the beliefs that hindered the development of science. This cyclic pessimism was decisively broken by the belief in the unique Incarnation of Christ; thereafter time and history were seen as linear, with a beginning and an end.

If science suffered only stillbirths in ancient cultures, this implies that it arrived more recently at its unique viable birth. The beginning of science as a fully-fledged enterprise can be said to have taken place in relation to two important definitions of the Magisterium of the Church. The first was the definition at the Fourth Lateran Council, in the year 1215, that the universe was created out of nothing at the beginning of time. The second magisterial statement was at local level, enunciated by Bishop Stephen Tempier of Paris who, on 7 March 1277 condemned 219 Aristotelian propositions, so outlawing the deterministic and necessitarian views of the creation. These statements of the teaching authority of the Church expressed an atmosphere in which faith in God the Creator had penetrated the medieval culture and given rise to philosophical consequences. The cosmos was seen as contingent in its existence and thus dependent on a divine choice which called it into being; the universe is also contingent in its nature and so God was free to create this particular form of world among an infinity of other possibilities. Thus the cosmos cannot be a necessary form of existence and so has to be approached by a posteriori investigation. The universe is also rational and so a coherent discourse can be made about it. Thus the contingency and rationality of the cosmos are like two pillars supporting the Christian vision of the cosmos.

In the Middle Ages, ideas about the created universe had developed which were greatly conducive to scientific enterprise. The philosophical vision of the Christian Middle Ages perceived the cosmos as demythologized, free from the capricious whims of pantheistic voluntarism deified in pagan deities. This world vision included the idea that the cosmos is good, and therefore attractive to study. Also the universe was considered to be single entity with inner coherence and order, and not a gigantic animal which would behave in an arbitrary fashion, as was often believed in antiquity. The unity of the universe offers a challenge to investigators to search for the connections in nature and make them explicit. Further, the cosmos was seen to be rational and consistent, so that what was investigated one day would also hold true the next. This encouraged repetition and verification of experiments. The world picture also involved the tenet that cosmic order is accessible to the human mind, and needs to be investigated experimentally, not just by pure thought. The world was considered to be endowed with its own laws which could be tested and verified; it was not magical or divine. In addition to these ideas, medieval Christendom also was imbued with the concept that it was worthwhile to share knowledge for the common good. Finally the cosmos was seen as beautiful, and therefore investigation of it gave a participation in such beauty which elevated the mind and heart of the believing scientist to the Creator.

In short there is truly a mine of wisdom in these pages, and Stacy Trasancos has not only faithfully transmitted the teaching of Fr Stanley Jaki in a form which may be readily digested by today’s public, but she has also carried out a service to the intellectual peripheries of society, which are hungry for the truth of the Gospel, as Pope Francis would put it.

Rev. Dr. Paul Haffner,
President, Stanley Jaki Foundation
Invited Lecturer Pontifical Gregorian University
Associate Professor, Duquesne University Italian Campus
Rome, 19 March 2014
Solemnity of St. Joseph, Patron of the Universal Church



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
stahrwe wrote:
The standard line has been that the Church, read Christianity, has stifled scientific thought and progress almost from its beginning. This is promoted and accepted as truth by most of society today and is repeated ad nauseam by atheists and agnostics are reasons that the church should be silenced and Christianity ignored. The problem is those beliefs are as wrong as the belief, nearly universally held, that the Church taught that the earth was flat. . . .


I agree that this is an incorrect and one-sided view of the role of religion through history. Indeed, I've read that many classic Greek texts were actually rescued by the monks and thus saved for posterity. So I would disagree that this view is repeated ad nauseum and widely accepted as true by atheists and agnostics. Where do you get this idea?


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
From Stephen Hawking, NDT, Carl Sagan, Richard Dawkins, ....

I am not complaining about the recognition of the archiving and preservation of ancient texts, I am complaining about the misrepresentation of the teachings of the church.

Mozart Symphony 35 in D (Haffner)


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
Quote:
The standard line has been that the Church, read Christianity, has stifled scientific thought


Of course it does. Off the top of my head, how about a former president limiting funding for stem cell research? There are direct examples that I'm sure Dr. Jaki has ignored, since cherry picking is the modus operandi of theology. I'm sure there are many other direct examples when it comes to evolution. If you can't see this, you're deluding yourself Stahrwe.

There is also no quantifying how much further science would have progressed if not for the Christian worldview. I mean, if one book gives us all the answers, what motive is there to seek more answers? Although this is speculative, I believe I could make a case just as strong as Dr. Jaki's in the opposite direction.


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
geo wrote:
stahrwe wrote:
The standard line has been that the Church, read Christianity, has stifled scientific thought and progress almost from its beginning. This is promoted and accepted as truth by most of society today and is repeated ad nauseam by atheists and agnostics are reasons that the church should be silenced and Christianity ignored. The problem is those beliefs are as wrong as the belief, nearly universally held, that the Church taught that the earth was flat. . . .


I agree that this is an incorrect and one-sided view of the role of religion through history. Indeed, I've read that many classic Greek texts were actually rescued by the monks and thus saved for posterity. So I would disagree that this view is repeated ad nauseum and widely accepted as true by atheists and agnostics. Where do you get this idea?


Probably not by atheists that have more than one brain cell, such as you.
Trust me, it is something repeated ad nauseum.

Where do you live? Perhaps you've never placed yourself in a forum that's strictly composed of self proclaimed "critical thinkers" naturalist atheists.

I live in Los Angeles and have been to several forum discussions at Cal Tech in Pasadena hosted by Michael Shermer's Sleptic Society, including the debate "Has Science Refuted Religion"

I've immensely enjoyed all the Skeptic forums I've attended despite the hissing, sneering, ans scoffing that takes place whenever religion is mentioned. I've also been within earshot of many of the conversations people in attendance engage in.
It's unbelievable how idiotic some of these people are, with their cliches.

It's refreshing to see someone here introducing a historical record that demonstrates religion never was, nor is an enemy of science. The complex relationship the two have had throughout history in indicative of that.

I say again, it's shameful that the reboot of COSMOS portrayed religion as the mortal enemy of Science.
Perpetuating the myth of Science AS Religion was unnecessary. A razor sharp intellect like NDT knew exactly what was being done.



Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:13 am
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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
Interbane wrote:
Quote:
The standard line has been that the Church, read Christianity, has stifled scientific thought


Of course it does. Off the top of my head, how about a former president limiting funding for stem cell research? There are direct examples that I'm sure Dr. Jaki has ignored, since cherry picking is the modus operandi of theology. I'm sure there are many other direct examples when it comes to evolution. If you can't see this, you're deluding yourself Stahrwe.

There is also no quantifying how much further science would have progressed if not for the Christian worldview. I mean, if one book gives us all the answers, what motive is there to seek more answers? Although this is speculative, I believe I could make a case just as strong as Dr. Jaki's in the opposite direction.



A disconnect with the reality of history and the present.

No one has stifled the practice of science.
There's also no quantifying how science might not have progressed to what it is today without the support religion gave to it.

This type of religious bigotry is worrisome for our future.
Luckily, there will be many people willing to oppose it.



Mon Mar 17, 2014 11:21 am
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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
Here are some interesting historical items about the Church's contribution to Science:


Quote:
Catholic scientists, both religious and lay, have led scientific discovery in many fields. From ancient times, Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals and the Church remains the single greatest private provider of medical care and research facilities in the world. Following the Fall of Rome, monasteries and convents remained bastions of scholarship in Western Europe and clergymen were the leading scholars of the age - studying nature, mathematics and the motion of the stars (largely for religious purposes). During the Middle Ages, the Church founded Europe's first universities, producing scholars like Robert Grosseteste, Albert the Great, Roger Bacon and Thomas Aquinas, who helped establish scientific method. During this period, the Church was also a great patron of engineering for the construction of elaborate cathedrals. Since the Renaissance, Catholic scientists have been credited as fathers of a diverse range of scientific fields: Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744–1829) prefigured the theory of evolution with Lamarckism; Friar Gregor Mendel (1822–84) pioneered genetics and Fr Georges Lemaitre (1894-1966) proposed the Big Bang cosmological model. The Jesuits have been particularly active, notably in astronomy. Church patronage of sciences continues through elite institutions like the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and Vatican Observatory.



And here regarding elite universities:

Quote:
In the early Middle Ages, Cathedral schools developed as centers of advanced education, often evolving into the medieval universities which were the springboard of many of Western Europe's later achievements.[13] During the High Middle Ages, Chartres Cathedral operated the famous and influential Chartres Cathedral School. Among the great early Catholic universities were Bologna University (1088); Paris University (c 1150); Oxford University (1167); Salerno University (1173); Vicenza University (1204); Cambridge University (1209); Salamanca University (1218-1219); Padua University (1222); Naples University (1224) and Vercelli University (1228).[14]
Using church Latin as a lingua franca, the medieval universities of Western Christendom were organised across Western Europe produced a great variety of scholars and natural philosophers, including Robert Grosseteste of the University of Oxford, an early expositor of a systematic method of scientific experimentation;[15] and Saint Albert the Great, a pioneer of biological field research[16] By the mid-15th century, prior to the Reformation, Catholic Europe had some 50 universities.



Anyone wishing to promote conspiracy theories that free thought was forbidden in these prestigious universities needs to provide evidence.

I was just listening to a podcast on Steno:

Quote:
Nicolas Steno (1638-1686) is a notable Catholic convert who served as a bishop after making a series of important anatomical and geological innovations. His studies of the formation of rock layers and fossils was of vital significance to the development of modern geology and continue to be used today.[21] He established the theoretical basis for stratigraphy. Originally a Lutheran, he did important anatomical work in the Netherlands but moved to Catholic Italy and, in 1667, converted. Denied office in the Protestant north, he continued his medical and geological studies, but in 1675 became a priest and soon after was appointed a bishop, writing 16 major theological works.[22]


All of the above is from Wiki.

The relationship between the church and science is complex. It's easy to see through the transparency of those who wish to vilify the Church by means of shallow soundbites. The Conflict Thesis was a promotion rooted in a couple of individuals who had nothing more than a personal agenda.


It's simple-minded to argue how much science would have advanced without religious influence.
The counterfactual "how science might NOT have progressed without religion" must also be a consideration.

Don't let religious bigots with their private agendas fool you when they claim outrageous nonsense like everyone practicing science during the medieval period did so behind closed doors in dark rooms because The Thought Police was making the rounds. :lol: :lol:



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
Quote:
No one has stifled the practice of science.


Except our last president, due to his Christian beliefs. Or how about the Butler Act of 1925? There is also a great deal of anti-science propaganda in the bible belt. It's far too complex to show causation within the correlation between poor science education and religious beliefs, but I have no doubt the influence is large. How can you say that science isn't stifled when religious teachers and lawmakers are convincing our youth that science is faulty and leads to false conclusions?

Quote:
A disconnect with the reality of history and the present.


Be more specific. Point out the disconnect within my post. Generalized one-liners are useless ant.


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
I enjoy history, but don't claim to be an expert, so perhaps you can help out with a few points. Here are some infamous past activities of Christian churches.
  • Banning books including those written by Copernicus, Kepler, Bacon, Galileo, Brahe, Hume, Darwin, and so on.
  • Confiscation of property, forced confessions, recantations, and imprisonment of heretics on threat or use of torture.
  • Denounced heliocentrism as "false and contrary to Scripture".
  • Burning heretics alive.
I could go on, but what is confusing is activities such as these are not denounced here, but are either ignored or proclaimed as fostering freedom of thought? I don't see how that's possible.

Another question relates to the dates of certain statements in the first post in the years 1215 and 1277. Also Jean Buridan, championed by Duhem and Jaki, who refined the concept of impetus and lived in the early 1300s. If Christianity was such a great promoter of science, why did it take well over a thousand years to reach these conclusions?

And finally, it seems some folks wouldn't mind returning to those good old days? How does the following dogma and "veto" support the scientific method?
Quote:
To do science well, a working knowledge of Catholic dogma is necessary.
...the Catholic Church has a legitimate right and authority to veto scientific conclusions that directly contradict her dogma.

Stacey Trasancos
http://stacytrasancos.com/without-dogma ... e-is-lost/
(Emphasis in original.)



Last edited by LanDroid on Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
@Interbane
I think there were ethical considerations that ultimately swayed Mr Bush's decision regarding stem cell research.
Without getting into a debate about ethics and science, decisions like these do not take place in a vacuum.

I am not a republican nor did I vote for Bush.

The contribution to science by religion is enormous.
Feel free to complain about Bush's legacy and the Butler Act.

As to the Bible belt, I'd say most who live there are exercising religious freedom and their right to participate in a democratic society. I'm sorry this troubles you.

Thanks



Last edited by ant on Mon Mar 17, 2014 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
Quote:
To do science well, a working knowledge of Catholic dogma is necessary.
...the Catholic Church has a legitimate right and authority to veto scientific conclusions that directly contradict her dogma.

Stacey Trasancos
http://stacytrasancos.com/without-dogma ... e-is-lost/
(Emphasis in original.)


YOU MEAN STACEY IS AT IT AGAIN???!!!!
Oh the humanity!!

Golly-Gee. That Stacey.., she sure does stultify scientific progress!!
We'd have a colony on Mars if she'd just shut up and stop blogging


Question:
Who in the hell is Stacey Trasancos?
I'll tell you who she is: she lives in a remote mountain lodge somewhere near TimBUCKtoo and spends a lot of time on the internet.

:P :-D



Last edited by ant on Mon Mar 17, 2014 2:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
I will address the specific cases of actual people like Galileo, Copernicus, etc. at a future time. At present, some commenters are confused about the subject of this post. It is that scientific progress was inhibited by an orthodoxy from ancient times most notably the idea of THE GREAT YEAR. That premise, and others, prevented science was progressing beyond a certain point. But when the Church intervened and divested inquiry from those inhibitions science was born. If there were new problems, including opposition to individuals and their teachings, those problems did not derail the broader progress which was underway. In that regard let me make two points. First, it is questionable if there was any impediment to progress by the Copernicus/Galileo affair (but once again that must wait for another time). Second, the modern scientific community is still beset with theoretical rankings by the establishment against upstarts.


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
There were mostly philosophical considerations permeating the Galileo affair.

Perhaps the key issue was the split between realist and instrumentalist views of science:

Realism in the position that scientific theories are true depictions of the world.

Instrumentalism holds to the idea that scientific theories are simply tools for providing plausible explanations and for
“saving the phenomena.”

Grafted onto the Galileo affair was a shift in astronomy from instrumentalism to realism.

Most professional astronomers of that time were instrumentalists. It's wasn't just the Church's view.
Ironically, the less common Realism view was considered a view based entirely on Faith.

There were many political and social elements to the Galileo affair that makes it a complex historical case.
Also, Galileo, who was a personal friend to Pope Urban BEFORE he became the Pope, didn't help himself much b referring to him as "Simplicio" in his Dialogue of Two Worlds, particularly when the Urban was dealing with extensive political turmoil, unrelated to science at the time. It was kind of like kicking your friend when he's already down.

However, most atheists who rant on about science and religion are satisfied with superficial soundbites that characterize the Church as complete enemies to science and progress.



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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
ant wrote:
I think there were ethical considerations that ultimately swayed Mr Bush's decision regarding stem cell research.


His ethics directly follow from his Christianity, they are the source of his ethics as he had often pointed out.

Quote:
But when the Church intervened and divested inquiry from those inhibitions science was born.


To accurately assess the Church's impact on science, you'd have to have a comprehensive model of what science would have looked like without the Church. This debate has cherry picking from both sides. One side points out the way the Church inhibited science, and the other side points out how it promoted science. The ratio between the two is what matters. However, even if the ratio was in the positive(that the Church had a net promotion of science), you can't determine if the net promotion wouldn't be larger without the Church. We could each give our predictable opinions, but that's all they'd be.


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Post Re: How Christianity Ended the Tyranny of the Great Year and Freed Intellectual Investigation
We have that model. Science atrophied in its incarnations prior to Christianity. That IS what Science Was Born of Christianity is about. You should read the book.


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