Let's Stop Talking "Historical Bollocks"

You know the story:
1) how the rise of Christianity destroyed Greco-Roman science;
2) how it threw us into the "Dark Ages";
3) how the church carefully monitored every scientific idea, holding back science for centuries; and
4) it was only with the overthrow of Church authority that science began to advance again.

Unfortunately, every single point in the above narrative is false, has been known to be false for many decades, and is acknowledged to be false by essentially all professional historians of science. When I studied the history of science at King's College in London, right away the lecturer, who as far as I could tell is an atheist, began debuking the above story, since it is the main obstacle to learning the actual history of science for most students.

Here is another actual historian of science noting the same problems with the commonplace narrative, and also noting that the above story is "Far from reflecting the latest considerations of the historical experts on the subject..."

1) "This thesis, the rise of Christianity equals the collapse of western science, is unfortunately highly popular amongst those of the Gnu Model Army who prefer to follow their own prejudices rather than to study history. Science in Antiquity already began to collapse in the middle of the second century CE with a general decline in intellectual activity within an increasingly turbulent and unstable Roman Empire i.e. before Christianity as a religion even existed. Rome didn’t fall in a day, to coin a phrase, but declined over a period of a couple of hundred years and science declined with it. Science wasn’t dead but it was already smelling funny when Christianity first began to be a social and political force in the fourth century."

Whatever killed off classical science, it wasn't Christianity!

2) "For a start historians have long since dropped the term Dark Ages preferring to refer to the period between the collapse of the Roman Empire in the West and the rebirth of urban culture in Europe as the Early Middle Ages... Of course Jason use of the derogatory term Dark Ages is deliberate as he wishes to place the blame for their existence in Western history on the rise of Christianity."

I.e., the term "Dark Ages" is propaganda, not sound historical analysis.

3) "Jason’s next statement, 'It was the chilling effect of the Church’s constant policing of acceptable and unacceptable thought' is put quite simply historical bollocks and attributes to the Church far more control than they ever had. Removal of this non-existent control is certainly not the reason for the scientific revolution or even a condition for its taking place. The reasons for the acceleration in the acquisition of new scientific knowledge in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries are multitudinous and highly complex and any changes in the attitude of the Churches, don’t forget the Reformation, played at best a minimal role in the process."


4) "When did this decline in learning begin to be reversed and why? The reversal started in the eighth century as Karl der Große (that’s Charlemagne for the English) conquered and united a very large part of Europe and had himself crowed Emperor. Karl was an illiterate heathen barbarian but he introduced the first European Renaissance, the Carolingian Renaissance. Why? Because he was converted to Christianity and his Christian advisors, foremost Alcuin of York, taught him the importance of learning, education and what could best be described as proto-science. Christianity did not kill off science in the Early Middle Ages but it was responsible for reviving it."

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