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How Christianity aided modern science


With Mike Keas:

Are Christianity and science at war? Historian of science Michael Keas busts the stereotypes as he explores the historical relationship between Christianity and science, discussing three key ways Christian theology supported the development of modern science. Dr. Keas is author of the book Unbelievable: 7 Myths about the History and Future of Science and Religion, and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture.

Mike Keas is the author of Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion See also: AI as an emergent religion. Science philosopher Mike Keas’s new book discusses how AI and ET are merging, to create a religion of futurist magic.

The troubling part is that many sources won’t talk about this stuff because it is “religious” but they don’t mind parroting some flapdoodle from a village atheist, of whom it might be said that to call him merely ill-informed would be to shower him with unearned praise.

Also: Galileo’s contemporary science opponents made a lot of sense Christopher Graney: “… seen from Earth, stars appear as dots of certain sizes or magnitudes. The only way stars could be so incredibly distant and have such sizes was if they were all incredibly huge, every last one dwarfing the Sun. Tycho Brahe, the most prominent astronomer of the era and a favourite of the Establishment, thought this was absurd, … ” The true history is a warning to thoughtful people to avoid popular science written by the village atheist; he knows just enough to get it all wrong.

Hat tip: Philip Cunningham

"The Genesis of Science" - James Hannum, is a good book on the subject. willspeaks
PS: Dan Peterson in Am Spec:
The attempt to equate science with materialism is a quite recent development, coming chiefly to the fore in the 20th century. Contrary to widespread propaganda, science is not something that arose after the dark, obscurantist forces of religion were defeated by an "enlightened" nontheistic worldview. The facts of history show otherwise. IN HIS RECENT BOOK For the Glory of God, Rodney Stark argues "not only that there is no inherent conflict between religion and science, but that Christian theology was essential for the rise of science." (His italics.) While researching this thesis, Stark found to his surprise that "some of my central arguments have already become the conventional wisdom among historians of science." He is nevertheless "painfully aware" that most of the arguments about the close connection between Christian belief and the rise of science are "unknown outside narrow scholarly circles," and that many people believe that it could not possibly be true. Sometimes the most obvious facts are the easiest to overlook. Here is one that ought to be stunningly obvious: science as an organized, sustained enterprise arose only once in the history of Earth. Where was that? Although other civilizations have contributed technical achievements or isolated innovations, the invention of science as a cumulative, rigorous, systematic, and ongoing investigation into the laws of nature occurred only in Europe; that is, in the civilization then known as Christendom. Science arose and flourished in a civilization that, at the time, was profoundly and nearly exclusively Christian in its mental outlook. There are deep reasons for that, and they are inherent in the Judeo-Christian view of the world which, principally in its Christian manifestation, formed the European mind. As Stark observes, the Christian view depicted God as "a rational, responsive, dependable, and omnipotent being and the universe as his personal creation, thus having a rational, lawful, stable structure, awaiting human comprehension." That was not true of belief systems elsewhere. A view that the universe is uncreated, has been around forever, and is just "what happens to be" does not suggest that it has fundamental principles that are rational and discoverable. Other belief systems have considered the natural world to be an insoluble mystery, conceived of it as a realm in which multiple, arbitrary gods are at work, or thought of it in animistic terms. None of these views will, or did, give rise to a deep faith that there is a lawful order imparted by a divine creator that can and should be discovered. Recent scholarship in the history of science reveals that this commitment to rational, empirical investigation of God's creation is not simply a product of the "scientific revolution" of the 16th and 17th centuries, but has profound roots going back at least to the High Middle Ages. The development of the university system in medieval times was, of course, almost entirely a product of the Church. Serious students of the period know that this was neither a time of stagnation, nor of repression of inquiry in favor of dogma. Rather, it was a time of great intellectual ferment and discovery, and the universities fostered rational, empirical, systematic inquiry. A newly published work by Thomas Woods (How the Catholic Church Built Western Civilization) is replete with far more examples of the contributions of medieval scholars than can be mentioned here. But as Woods recounts, one need only look at some of the leading figures in the universities in the 1200s to see that they were already well along in the development of principles of empirical scientific inquiry. Roger Bacon, a Franciscan who taught at Oxford, wrote in Opus Maius: Without experiment, nothing can be adequately known. An argument proves theoretically, but does not give the certitude necessary to remove all doubt; nor will the mind repose in the clear view of truth, unless it finds it by way of experiment. Albertus Magnus -- prodigious scholar, naturalist, teacher of Thomas Aquinas, and member of the Dominican order -- affirmed in his De Mineralibus that the purpose of science is "not simply to accept the statements of others, that is, what is narrated by people, but to investigate the causes that are at work in nature for themselves." Another 13th-century figure, Robert Grosseteste, who was chancellor of Oxford and Bishop of Lincoln, has been identified as "the first man ever to write down a complete set of steps for performing a scientific experiment," according to Woods. WHEN THE DISCOVERIES of science exploded in number and importance in the 1500s and 1600s, the connection with Christian belief was again profound. Many of the trailblazing scientists of that period when science came into full bloom were devout Christian believers, and declared that their work was inspired by a desire to explore God's creation and discover its glories. Perhaps the greatest scientist in history, Sir Isaac Newton, was a fervent Christian who wrote over a million words on theological subjects. Other giants of science and mathematics were similarly devout: Boyle, Descartes, Kepler, Leibniz, Pascal. To avoid relying on what might be isolated examples, Stark analyzed the religious views of the 52 leading scientists from the time of Copernicus until the end of the 17th century. Using a methodology that probably downplayed religious belief, he found that 32 were "devout"; 18 were at least "conventional" in their religious belief; and only two were "skeptics." More than a quarter were themselves ecclesiastics: "priests, ministers, monks, canons, and the like." Down through the 19th century, many of the leading figures in science were thoroughgoing Christians. A partial list includes Babbage, Dalton, Faraday, Herschel, Joule, Lyell, Maxwell, Mendel, and Thompson (Lord Kelvin). A survey of the most eminent British scientists near the end of the 19th century found that nearly all were members of the established church or affiliated with some other church. In short, scientists who were committed Christians include men often considered to be fathers of the fields of astronomy, atomic theory, calculus, chemistry, computers, electricity, genetics, geology, mathematics, and physics. In the late 1990s, a survey found that about 40 percent of American scientists believe in a personal God and an afterlife -- a percentage that is basically unchanged since the early 20th century. A listing of eminent 20th-century scientists who were religious believers would be far too voluminous to include here -- so let's not bring coals to Newcastle, but simply note that the list would be large indeed, including Nobel Prize winners. Far from being inimical to science, then, the Judeo-Christian worldview is the only belief system that actually produced it. Scientists who (in Boyle's words) viewed nature as "the immutable workmanship of the omniscient Architect" were the pathfinders who originated the scientific enterprise. The assertion that intelligent design is automatically "not science" because it may support the concept of a creator is a statement of materialist philosophy, not of any intrinsic requirement of science itself.
Sev: Strawman alert: "for the faith to claim sole authorship" Who has said this? Europeans of the mid 1500's - 1700 would have studied Math from Euclid, Philosophy from Plato and Aristotle, Logic from Aristotle, used Latin language, calculated Astronomy using the Chaldean sexagesimal system, and more. Those from Charlemagne's era on would have been similar, save that until Aristotle was translated they would not have known his corpus. Our civilisation grows out of the Christian synthesis of Jerusalem, Athens and Rome, with the river valley civilisations of the fertile crescent behind them. The key contribution (apart from sponsorship of scholarship and foundation of universities) was that there was a worldview and linked cultural context that gave high confidence in the intelligible rationality of a world created by One who is communicative reason himself. It is in this specific, unique context that Science as a major, cumulative cultural enterprise had its roots and began to bear transformative fruit. KF kairosfocus
Here is the second video in the series from Mike Keas:
Three Big Myths about the History of Christianity and Science Exposed by Historian Michael Keas https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJw1irjZzeY
Geez Louise the DJIA is down 12% more right now. Jim Thibodeau
Seversky: There is plenty of evidence for the antecedents of modern science to be found in other cultures that either preceded the onset of Christianity Really. Then why is it that the forking of science from philosophy (of course with philosophical setting of rules) can be said to have begun with Franci Bacon? You don't even have to read the Wiki article, but trust me, he laid out the foundations of empiricism guided by inductive reasoning. And, too bad for Seversky but Bacon was a devout Anglican. One example, discussed in another thread is the claim that quantum phenomena can be interpreted to support religious claims, such as the existence of the Christian God or souls. Oh yeah? excuse me but many physicists believe their work has implications for the truth of a mystical world view, and I'll just name one: Werner Heisenberg. A materialist view of human existence is pretty much obliterated by this experiential realm and which is supported by the currently unfolding revolution in psychedelic clinical research. Read Michael Pollan: How To Change Your Mind (400 pp) for a taste of this fascinating field. Also Fred Hoyle who could not eschew materialism (while living) got this insight when probing into the physics of elemental creation in stars, as if a superintellect had "monkeyed with" the processes revealed by the physics: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/5332/1/3alphaphil.pdf groovamos
If Anton Zeilinger is not a sufficiently high enough authority for Seversky, perhaps the founders of Quantum Mechanics itself may be sufficiently high enough to convince him that his materialistic worldview cannot possibly be true?
"As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter." - Max Planck “No, I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulates consciousness.” Max Planck (1858–1947), the main founder of quantum theory, The Observer, London, January 25, 1931 “Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else.” Schroedinger, Erwin. 1984. “General Scientific and Popular Papers,” in Collected Papers, Vol. 4. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences. Friedr. Vieweg & Sohn, Braunschweig/Wiesbaden. p. 334. “I think that modern physics has definitely decided in favor of Plato. In fact the smallest units of matter are not physical objects in the ordinary sense; they are forms, ideas which can be expressed unambiguously only in mathematical language.” Werner Heisenberg - As quoted in The New York Times Book Review (March 8, 1992). - "Uncertainty," David C. Cassidy's biography of my father, Werner Heisenberg “The principal argument against materialism is not that illustrated in the last two sections: that it is incompatible with quantum theory. The principal argument is that thought processes and consciousness are the primary concepts, that our knowledge of the external world is the content of our consciousness and that the consciousness, therefore, cannot be denied. On the contrary, logically, the external world could be denied—though it is not very practical to do so. In the words of Niels Bohr, “The word consciousness, applied to ourselves as well as to others, is indispensable when dealing with the human situation.” In view of all this, one may well wonder how materialism, the doctrine that “life could be explained by sophisticated combinations of physical and chemical laws,” could so long be accepted by the majority of scientists." – Eugene Wigner, Remarks on the Mind-Body Question, pp 167-177. The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences - Eugene Wigner - 1960 Excerpt: ,,certainly it is hard to believe that our reasoning power was brought, by Darwin's process of natural selection, to the perfection which it seems to possess.,,, It is difficult to avoid the impression that a miracle confronts us here, quite comparable in its striking nature to the miracle that the human mind can string a thousand arguments together without getting itself into contradictions, or to the two miracles of the existence of laws of nature and of the human mind's capacity to divine them.,,, The miracle of the appropriateness of the language of mathematics for the formulation of the laws of physics is a wonderful gift which we neither understand nor deserve. We should be grateful for it and hope that it will remain valid in future research and that it will extend, for better or for worse, to our pleasure, even though perhaps also to our bafflement, to wide branches of learning. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~matc/MathDrama/reading/Wigner.html
Bonus quote from Planck:
That God existed before there were human beings on Earth, that He holds the entire world, believers and non-believers, in His omnipotent hand for eternity, and that He will remain enthroned on a level inaccessible to human comprehension long after the Earth and everything that is on it has gone to ruins; those who profess this faith and who, inspired by it, in veneration and complete confidence, feel secure from the dangers of life under protection of the Almighty, only those may number themselves among the truly religious. Max Planck - As quoted in God’s Laughter (1992) by Gerhard Staguhn, p. 152
further note on Zeilinger:
Quantum Physicist: The Particle Itself Does Not Know Where It Is - December 1, 2018 In this 2018 video, quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger explains the essence of quantum physics for a general audience: 40 sec: Every object has to be in a definite place is not true anymore… The thought that a particle can be at two places at the same time is (also) not good language. The good language it that there are situations where it is completely undefined where the particle is. (and it is not just us (we ourselves) that don’t know where the particle is, the particle itself does not know where it is). This “nonexistence” is an objective feature of reality… 5:10 min:… superposition is not limited to small systems… 7:35 min:… I have given lectures on quantum physics to children, 6 and 7 years old, and they understand the basic concepts of quantum physics if you tell them the right way… 9:00 min:… the main issue (with quantum mechanics) is interpretation. What does it mean for our view of the world… “emotional” fights happen over what it means… 15:45 min:… the fact that some of the brightest minds in physics have been working on this issue, (i.e. The unification of General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics), for 80 years now at least, and have not found a solution means that the solution will be extremely deep. It will be extremely significant if somebody found it, and it will probably be in a direction where nobody expected it… 16:55:… Dark matter and Dark energy smell a little bit like the (fictitious) ether in the old electrodynamic theory… 17:30:… In quantum mechanics we have the measurement paradox (i.e. measurement problem)… I think it (the measurement paradox) tells us something about the role of observation in the world. And the role of information.,, Maybe there are situations where we have to reconsider the “Cartesian cut”* https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/quantum-physicist-the-particle-itself-does-not-know-where-it-is/
I wonder if Seversky considers Zeilinger, who is one of the top experimentalists in Quantum Mechanics in the world, with many breakthroughs under his belt, to be a sufficient enough 'authority' in quantum mechanics'?
Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe? Excerpt: “In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: "In the beginning was the Word." Anton Zeilinger - a leading expert in quantum mechanics http://www.metanexus.net/archive/ultimate_reality/zeilinger.pdf 48:24 mark: “It is operationally impossible to separate Reality and Information” 49:45 mark: “In the Beginning was the Word” John 1:1 Prof Anton Zeilinger speaks on quantum physics. at UCT - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3ZPWW5NOrw
Yes, you can make a good case that contemporary science was fostered in Christian Europe but for the faith to claim sole authorship is blatant hubris. There is plenty of evidence for the antecedents of modern science to be found in other cultures that either preceded the onset of Christianity or, although contemporary, were denied its evident benefits through geographical separation. Conflicts between science and religion can arise where both make claims about some aspect of the natural world which are either divergent or contradictory. One example, discussed in another thread is the claim that quantum phenomena can be interpreted to support religious claims, such as the existence of the Christian God or souls. In most if not all cases, this is neither the intention of the researchers quoted nor is such an interpretation necessarily the only possible and authoritative one as is sometimes implied. Moreover, these positions are being advanced either by lay-persons or by scholars who have no expertise and hence no authority in that particular field. Seversky
Not only was science born out of Christian presuppositions,
The Threat to the Scientific Method that Explains the Spate of Fraudulent Science Publications - Calvin Beisner | Jul 23, 2014 Excerpt: It is precisely because modern science has abandoned its foundations in the Biblical worldview (which holds, among other things, that a personal, rational God designed a rational universe to be understood and controlled by rational persons made in His image) and the Biblical ethic (which holds, among other things, that we are obligated to tell the truth even when it inconveniences us) that science is collapsing. As such diverse historians and philosophers of science as Alfred North Whitehead, Pierre Duhem, Loren Eiseley, Rodney Stark, and many others have observed,, science—not an occasional flash of insight here and there, but a systematic, programmatic, ongoing way of studying and controlling the world—arose only once in history, and only in one place: medieval Europe, once known as “Christendom,” where that Biblical worldview reigned supreme. That is no accident. Science could not have arisen without that worldview. http://townhall.com/columnists/calvinbeisner/2014/07/23/the-threat-to-the-scientific-method-that-explains-the-spate-of-fraudulent-science-publications-n1865201/page/full Several other resources backing up this claim are available, such as Thomas Woods, Stanley Jaki, David Linberg, Edward Grant, J.L. Heilbron, and Christopher Dawson. The truth about science and religion By Terry Scambray - August 14, 2014 Excerpt: In 1925 the renowned philosopher and mathematician, Alfred North Whitehead speaking to scholars at Harvard said that science originated in Christian Europe in the 13th century. Whitehead pointed out that science arose from “the medieval insistence on the rationality of God, conceived as with the personal energy of Jehovah and with the rationality of a Greek philosopher”, from which it follows that human minds created in that image are capable of understanding nature. The audience, assuming that science and Christianity are enemies, was astonished. http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2014/08/the_truth_about_science_and_religion.html
Not only was science born out of Christian presuppositions, but science also finds its ultimate resolution for the quote unquote 'theory of everything' in Christ's Resurrection from the dead. Namely, allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics, as the Christian founders of modern science originally envisioned,,,, (Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Clerk Maxwell, and Max Planck, to name a few of the Christian founders),,, and as quantum mechanics itself now empirically demands (with the closing of the free will loophole by Anton Zeilinger and company), rightly allowing the Agent causality of God ‘back’ into physics provides us with a very plausible resolution for the much sought after ‘theory of everything’ in that Christ’s resurrection from the dead provides an empirically backed reconciliation, via the Shroud of Turin, between quantum mechanics and general relativity into the much sought after ‘Theory of Everything”. Here are a few posts where I lay out and defend some of the evidence for that claim:
November 2019 - despite the fact that virtually everyone, including the vast majority of Christians, hold that the Copernican Principle is unquestionably true, the fact of the matter is that the Copernican Principle is now empirically shown, via quantum mechanics and general relativity, (our most rigorously and precisely tested theories ever in the history of science), to be a false assumption. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/so-then-maybe-we-are-privileged-observers/#comment-688855 (February 19, 2019) To support Isabel Piczek’s claim that the Shroud of Turin does indeed reveal a true ‘event horizon’, the following study states that ‘The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image.’,,, Moreover, besides gravity being dealt with, the shroud also gives us evidence that Quantum Mechanics was dealt with. In the following paper, it was found that it was not possible to describe the image formation on the Shroud in classical terms but they found it necessary to describe the formation of the image on the Shroud in discrete quantum terms. https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/experiment-quantum-particles-can-violate-the-mathematical-pigeonhole-principle/#comment-673178 The evidence for the Shroud's authenticity keeps growing. (Timeline of facts) - November 08, 2019 What Is the Shroud of Turin? Facts & History Everyone Should Know - Myra Adams and Russ Breault https://www.christianity.com/wiki/jesus-christ/what-is-the-shroud-of-turin.html
To give us a small glimpse of the power that was involved in Christ's resurrection from the dead, the following recent article found that, ”it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.”
Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016 Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”. ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”. Comment The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology. http://westvirginianews.blogspot.com/2011/12/new-study-claims-shroud-of-turin-is.html
Colossians 1:15-20 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

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