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Thread: Would enlightenment have happened in Europe without Islam?

  1. Top | #41
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post
    Maybe they kept their faith separate from their work in science?
    Not by their own accounts.
    How does theology help when it comes to doing science? It appears difficult to argue that it was Newtons religious beliefs that enabled his discoveries in Science.
    It doesn't. But neither of the men in question saw their faith as being at odds with their scientific careers.

  2. Top | #42
    Sapere aude Politesse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bilby View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    The RCC had a stranglehold on education. If you had nothing you could become a cleric and get an education. The RCC was an odd mix of religion and pragmatic science as long as it conformed to theology. IMO the reformation ended the RCC monopoly on what got taught.

    Descartes was educated by Jesuits.

    As to kooks I read a short set of bios in Sci American of the more well known physicists. They all had idiosyncrasies including AE.
    By the time of Newton's birth, The RCC had been out of power in England for almost a century, most of which time they had spent as a severely persecuted minority. The Civil War that broke out in the year Newton was born was in part precipitated by the King taking a Catholic wife, Henrietta Maria; This led to (untrue) rumours that the King himself was considering convertion to Catholicism, which would have had the potential to destroy the Church of England of which he was the head.

    Nobody in Newton's England was educated by Roman Catholics - except in secret, and under serious threat of torture and death if discovered. And by the time of his birth, that had been the case in England for the whole of anyone's living memory.

    Doesn't anyone care about history anymore? It's not kept secret; These things are easy to find out. And not everything that happened in the past happened at the same time or place.
    And Faraday was raised as a Glassite more than a century after that; he also received very little in the way of a formal education whether secular or religious, one of the reasons his career is considered remarkable. He possessed only honorary degrees, and refused on religious grounds any title other than "plain Mister Faraday".

  3. Top | #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trausti View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by ronburgundy View Post

    These are good points. Luther's Reformation and the resulting Protestantism was largely anti-science and anti-intellectual
    Oh, I don't know. Newton and Faraday were quite religious.
    Irrelevant. Just b/c a few members of Nazi party might have helped out some Jews, would that mean the that Nazi ideology was not anti-Semitic?

    One can be religious and practicing science to some extent, even if one's religious views are antithetical to science. Just like one can be a racist and yet have a black friend. Newton confined his scientific thinking to domains where he was uncovering mathematical regularities and "laws". Those were things that didn't pose a direct threat to a creator God, and in fact imply a "law giver", especially if one simply unscientifically assumes, as Newton did, that the observed order is constant and unchanging with all objects set in their current positions and motions by God. Newton also refused to apply any sincere intellect to the question of God or to the veracity of the Bible, and merely took these on faith without regard to evidence and reason, which is the definition of anti-intellectual and anti-science.

    IOW, Newton like all theistic scientists were anti-intellectual and anti-science whenever applying their faith or considering ideas with direct relevance to theism, but they find bounded spheres of inquiry where they can apply science without contradicting their faith based beliefs, even though they don't have the honesty to consider how unprincipled and self contradictory they are in where and when they choose to apply science versus defer to faith based assumptions.

    It is also worth noting that Newton accomplishments would have been far less had he not benefited from the Copernican revolution, started by a man who didn't publish his ideas until just before death b/c he feared the wrath of religion and an editor who inserted a disclaimer out of the same fear, and who was attacked primarily by Protestants including by Luther himself for contradicting the geocentrism of the Bible. And Galileo, raised in a Catholic environment, and soundly rejected the Protestant notion that faith was a virtue or that the Bible itself should be deferred to on matters of truth.

    Had braver and less religiously devoted men not already revolutionized and secularized the understanding of the solar system and put forth undeniable evidence that the geocentrism implied by the Bible was wrong, it is likely that Newton would have never questioned the geocentric model.

  4. Top | #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Politesse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by DBT View Post

    How does theology help when it comes to doing science? It appears difficult to argue that it was Newtons religious beliefs that enabled his discoveries in Science.
    It doesn't. But neither of the men in question saw their faith as being at odds with their scientific careers.
    No one who maintains internal contradictions ever acknowledges them, because doing so would inherently undermine one's confidence in one or both of the conflicting ideas, which means you are no longer maintaining the contradiction. Internal contradictions are dealt with in the following ways: 1) Reject one of the conflicting ideas, 2) Alter one or both of the ideas so they are not in conflict, 3) Blindly ignoring the conflict, 4) Keep the ideas separated in "spheres" where they are not both applied at the same time and ignore the unreasonable arbitrariness of doing so.

    Non-theistic scientists engage in #1, rejecting theism. Strongly religious non-scientists tend to engage in #1, but by rejecting science.
    Pseudeoscientists like Behe and Intelligent Design theorists, along with many lay-person theists engage in #2 (pun intended), by distorting the scientific ideas enough so they can fit with their faith. "Moderate" theists typically engage in #2 by distorting both the science and their religious beliefs to some degree to make them compatible. For example, they will accept evolution but not for the human mind, pretending it (in the form of a soul) just magically came along at some point, or allow that God used evolution to create us by make the anti-scientific assumption that all the variations were planned rather than the product of random recombination, copying errors, and environmentally triggered mutations.

    Theists that are also legit good scientists, like Newton, use a combination of all techniques, but especially #3 and #4. They apply their scientific thinking to questions that would challenge their religious assumptions (#4), and they blindly ignore (#3) the direct logical contradiction between the epistemology of faith and the application of scientific methods and how arbitrarily that apply one or the other.
    As long as they confine their "science" to questions that don't directly contradict the implications of their faith, they can conduct sound science. But they all contradict principles of scientific reasoning simply by accepting the existence of a God, an afterlife, an immaterial "soul", and every other religious assumption they accept about a matter of fact outside of merely what is ethical (which is the only thing outside the sphere of scientific thinking).

    But beyond what individuals do, the thread is about societal level, cultural forces. Even if some individuals carve out a narrow scientific space safe from their faith, the general cultural idea that faith is a virtue which should take precedence and, as Luther said, "reason is the greatest enemy" would have to have a general net effect of stifling scientific progress because it is the definitional opposite of scientific epistemology which presumes that faith (belief without evidence) is useless and likely wrong and that maintaining a belief despite new evidence is (e.g., "keeping the faith") is the epitome of irrationality.

  5. Top | #45
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    Newton was a theist. If he could not explain it god did it. I checked to make sure. Newton held some unorthodox religious views that could have gotten him into serious trouble. Itb mat bot have been the RCC but the Church Of Enfland was just as onerous. Newton was neck deep in religious views.

    The enlightenment thinks adapted his way of looking at the natural world and adapted it.

    You cannot separate the enlightenment from religion. Humanism came out of Christianity. It is not like enlightenment thinking popped up out of nowhere.

    Interesting to note from the link that academic appointment could require ordination. Both RCC and Church Of England were and are power structures.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_...igious_thought
    Although born into an Anglican family, by his thirties Newton held a Christian faith that, had it been made public, would not have been considered orthodox by mainstream Christianity;[114] in recent times he has been described as a heretic.[69]

    By 1672 he had started to record his theological researches in notebooks which he showed to no one and which have only recently been examined. They demonstrate an extensive knowledge of early church writings and show that in the conflict between Athanasius and Arius which defined the Creed, he took the side of Arius, the loser, who rejected the conventional view of the Trinity. Newton "recognized Christ as a divine mediator between God and man, who was subordinate to the Father who created him."[115] He was especially interested in prophecy, but for him, "the great apostasy was trinitarianism."[116]

    Newton tried unsuccessfully to obtain one of the two fellowships that exempted the holder from the ordination requirement. At the last moment in 1675 he received a dispensation from the government that excused him and all future holders of the Lucasian chair.[117]

    In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, to him the fundamental sin. [118] Historian Stephen D. Snobelen says, "Isaac Newton was a heretic. But ... he never made a public declaration of his private faith—which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. He hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs."[69] Snobelen concludes that Newton was at least a Socinian sympathiser (he owned and had thoroughly read at least eight Socinian books), possibly an Arian and almost certainly an anti-trinitarian.[69]

  6. Top | #46
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    Newton was a theist. If he could not explain it god did it. I checked to make sure. Newton held some unorthodox religious views that could have gotten him into serious trouble. Itb mat bot have been the RCC but the Church Of Enfland was just as onerous. Newton was neck deep in religious views.

    The enlightenment thinks adapted his way of looking at the natural world and adapted it.

    You cannot separate the enlightenment from religion. Humanism came out of Christianity. It is not like enlightenment thinking popped up out of nowhere.

    Interesting to note from the link that academic appointment could require ordination. Both RCC and Church Of England were and are power structures.


    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isaac_...igious_thought
    Although born into an Anglican family, by his thirties Newton held a Christian faith that, had it been made public, would not have been considered orthodox by mainstream Christianity;[114] in recent times he has been described as a heretic.[69]

    By 1672 he had started to record his theological researches in notebooks which he showed to no one and which have only recently been examined. They demonstrate an extensive knowledge of early church writings and show that in the conflict between Athanasius and Arius which defined the Creed, he took the side of Arius, the loser, who rejected the conventional view of the Trinity. Newton "recognized Christ as a divine mediator between God and man, who was subordinate to the Father who created him."[115] He was especially interested in prophecy, but for him, "the great apostasy was trinitarianism."[116]

    Newton tried unsuccessfully to obtain one of the two fellowships that exempted the holder from the ordination requirement. At the last moment in 1675 he received a dispensation from the government that excused him and all future holders of the Lucasian chair.[117]

    In Newton's eyes, worshipping Christ as God was idolatry, to him the fundamental sin. [118] Historian Stephen D. Snobelen says, "Isaac Newton was a heretic. But ... he never made a public declaration of his private faith—which the orthodox would have deemed extremely radical. He hid his faith so well that scholars are still unravelling his personal beliefs."[69] Snobelen concludes that Newton was at least a Socinian sympathiser (he owned and had thoroughly read at least eight Socinian books), possibly an Arian and almost certainly an anti-trinitarian.[69]
    I would have happily accepted your apology for your errors of fact without the pointless cut and paste from wikipedia.

    Perhaps you should start doing the wikipedia fact-check before weighing in on a subject you know nothing about? It would make you appear less ignorant.

  7. Top | #47
    Contributor DBT's Avatar
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    Here's another perspective;


    Islam Facilitated the Golden Age of Scientific Discovery

    The Myth:

    Muslims often claim that Islam fostered a rich heritage of scientific discovery, “paving the way” for modern advances in technology and medicine.

    On this subject, they usually cite the period between the 7th and 13th centuries, when Europe was experiencing its “Dark Ages” and the Muslim world was acquiring new populations and culture through violent conquest.

    The Truth:

    Although there is no arguing that the Muslim world was relatively more advanced during this Middle Age period than the Christian world, the reasons for this have absolutely nothing to do with the Islamic religion - other than its mandate for military expansion. In fact, the religion tends to discourage knowledge outside of itself (Quran 5:101-102), which is why the most prolific Muslim scholars are mostly students of religion rather than science.

    [Note that the country of Spain alone translates more learning material and literature into Spanish each year than the entire Arab world has translated into Arabic since the 9th century. As the Saudi Grand Mufti bluntly put it in 2010, "The Quran with its stories and knowledge are sufficient for us... we don't need the Torah, or Gospels, or any other book"].

    The many fundamentalists and other devotees who dress as Muhammad did and adopt 7th century lifestyles to some degree underscore the importance of tradition in Islam. The religion is highly conservative and resistant to change, which is viewed with suspicion. As scholar Bernard Lewis points out: in Islam, an innovation is presumed to be bad unless it can be proven to be good.

    Beyond this, there are four basic reasons why Islam has little true claim to scientific achievement:

    First, the Muslim world benefited greatly from the Greek sciences, which were translated for them by dhimmi Christians and Jews. To their credit, Muslims did a better job of preserving Greek text than did the Europeans of the time, and this became the foundation for their own knowledge. (Although one large reason is that access by Christians to this part of their world was cut off by Muslim slave ships and coastal raids that dominated the Mediterranean during this period).

    Second, many of the scientific advances credited to Islam were actually “borrowed” from other cultures conquered by the Muslims. The algebraic concept of “zero”, for example, is erroneously attributed to Islam when it was, in fact, a Hindu discovery that was merely introduced to the West by Muslims.

    In truth, conquered populations contributed greatly to the history of “Muslim" science until gradually being decimated by conversion to Islam (under the pressures of dhimmitude). As Mark Steyn puts it, "When admirers talk up Islam and the great innovations and rich culture of its heyday, they forget that even at its height Muslims were never more than a minority in the Muslim world, and they were in large part living off the energy of others."

    The Muslim concentration within a population is proportional to the decline of scientific achievement. It is no accident that the Muslim world has had little to show for itself in the last 800 years or so, since running out of new civilizations to cannibalize.

    Third, the accomplished scientists and cultural icons who were Muslim were often considered heretics in their day, sometimes with good reason. One of the greatest achievers to come out of the Muslim world was the Persian scientist and philosopher, al-Razi. His impressive works are often held up as 'proof' of Muslim accomplishment. But what apologists often leave out is that al-Razi was denounced as a blasphemer for following his own religious beliefs – which were in obvious contradiction to traditional Islam.

    Fourth, even the contributions that are attributed to Islam (often inaccurately) are not terribly dramatic. There is the 'invention' of certain words, such as alchemy and elixir (and assassin, by the way) but not much else that survives in modern technology which is of practical significance. It is also highly improbable that such discoveries would not have been made by the West following the cultural awakening triggered by the Reformation.''

  8. Top | #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by DBT
    Some claim that the Renaissance would not have happened without the Golden Age of Islam as a beacon of science and learning.

    Thoughts?

    Actually there are good reasons to think that the Renaissance would have happened without Islam, not to mention the Enlightenment. The claims you mention are largely unsubstantiated being essentially political in nature, a by product of the current climate of cultural relativism taken to the extreme (by the way Toby E. Huff does a great job in debunking Saliba at altri, see especially his books on Amazon). Some Greek texts were transmitted to the West indeed (we must never forget the huge contrubution of the dhimmis here) and the Islamic world had also some other contributions but without the developements in the West itself (including in theology, also via giving Reason more importance) there would have been, very likely, no Renaissanc or Enlightenment. There is no surprise that the Islamic world never had a Renaissance, Scientific Revolution, or an Enlighenment coming entirely from inside (even now the penetration of Modernity is rather shallow).
    Last edited by metacristi; 10-11-2019 at 11:13 PM.

  9. Top | #49
    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    It was the Europeans who adapted optics to making reading glasses in the 13th century. Optics lead to invention of telescopes and microscopes. This revealed entire worlds unknown the Greek, Moslems or Bible. At the same time, Europenas were inventing clocks, thermometers and more. The age of scientific instruments.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxford_Calculators

    The Oxford calculators were thinkers who combined mathematics with natural philosophy that preceded Newton in these sorts of efforts by many years. And for that matter, Galileo.

    The European religious wars and controversies helped undermine religious dogma's grasp on Europe's intellects.
    The Enlightenment would have happened without Islam.
    Cheerful Charlie

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