[ExI] For the sake of argument

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Sun Sep 20 21:28:33 UTC 2009

Well, in order to keep discussion on the list moving, I may as well reply to one of Stathis' posts

Post Futurist <p0stfuturist at yahoo.com> Wrote:
 Mr. Clark wrote of how Borlaug wasn't a mystic, etc; he was a scientist.
 Albeit, over thousands of years, religious orgs have done as much as scientists in relieving hunger.

Stathis wrote:
No they haven't. They retarded science, keeping people ignorant and
hungry. Giving scraps of food to the poor won't compensate for the
Dark Ages.

I have to argue with Stathis here. Religious organisations were not responsible for the Dark Ages. The Western European dark age following the fall of Rome was cause by invading nomadic cultures, removing centralised governments and upsetting the civilisations that previously could afford to support large cities and educated institutions. Monasteries did a fine job of keeping literacy and written culture alive during these times. The Arabic medieval civilisation was badly damaged by Helugu Khan's sacking of Baghdad and destruction of the library there, as another nomadic culture destroyed the social structures keeping a large, well-educated society together.

Science and technology can be retarded by many causes - the polytheist Roman culture could have utilised many inventions we have uncovered evidence of, but didn't. The Chinese invented many things, but gunpowder and the printing press did not achieve the same revolutions there that they did in Europe. Many modern engineering ideas have suceeded or failed based on market forces or political patronage rather than any objective assessment of their worth. People can screw up science all by themselves without any religious interference.

Yes, the catholic church was brutal in its treatment of Galileo and Bruno, and retarded the study of cosmology. However, lack of knowledge of cosmology doesn't keep people hungry. Protestantism of the last two centuries has promoted the silliness of Young Earth Creationism, but this hasn't caused people to starve. Ironically, it has taken until my lifetime for the spread of HIV (and Catholic teachings on condom use) and modern medical technology (I was born in 1977, like the first test tube baby) and genetic engineering for religion to REALLY have a go at suppressing science to such an extent it makes people suffer.



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