Illustrated with a reconstruction of the Antikythera Mechanism, an ancient astronomical clock that is the subject of today's Google doodle.
Criticizing a common Xian apologetic that modern science owes its existence to Xianity.
He is writing The Scientist in the Early Roman Empire: Richard Carrier: 9781634311069: Amazon.com: Books (current due date: 2017 August 31). From that page:
RC has a chapter in the book The Christian Delusion criticizing that apologetic. He argues:In this extensive sequel to Science Education in the Early Roman Empire, Dr. Richard Carrier explores the social history of scientists in the Roman era. Was science in decline or experiencing a revival under the Romans? What was an ancient scientist thought to be and do? Who were they, and who funded their research? And how did pagans differ from their Christian peers in their views toward science and scientists? Some have claimed Christianity valued them more than their pagan forebears. In fact the reverse is the case. And this difference in values had a catastrophic effect on the future of humanity. The Romans may have been just a century or two away from experiencing a scientific revolution. But once in power, Christianity kept that progress on hold for a thousand yearswhile forgetting most of what the pagans had achieved and discovered, from an empirical anatomy, physiology, and brain science to an experimental physics of water, gravity, and air. Thoroughly referenced and painstakingly researched, this volume is a must for anyone who wants to learn how far we once got, and why we took so long to get to where we are today.
- "Correlation is not causation. That the Scientific Revolution was finally completed when Christians ruled the West, was as much an irrelevant happenstance as that it occurred in England." To which I add that the science of antiquity is the same kind of evidence of the deities of Mt. Olympus.
- "Pagan theology and even de facto atheism both inspired empirical-mathematical-mechanistic scientific thinking in antiquity. Christianity contributed nothing." The non-atheists were pretty much deists or pantheists.
- "No cyclical theory of time had any effect on scientific thought or progress in antiquity. Christian expectations of the imminent end of the universe were actually far more antithetical to investment in science."
- "Animism died out with Aristotle. It was never a significant component of any ancient science after him. And even he was not fond of it." RC has noted elsewhere that Aetna (Mt. Etna), a poem on volcanology, ridiculed animistic explanations.
- "There was no head-hand divide. Scientists were both highly educated intellectuals and talented hands-on craftsman, and were respected by their peers and superiors for mastering both."
- "Badly preserving a lost science treated as gospel and never improved on or even correctly understood (as defines the Medieval treatment of science) is not doing science. The Greeks and Romans were actually doing science."
- "Everything distinctive of the Scientific Revolution existed in antiquity: They had systematic controlled experiments, careful observation, mathematically predictive descriptions of nature, mechanical theories and models, and continual progress toward correct conclusions about the laws, contents, and operations of nature. (And as I also show in Science Education, they even had the equivalent of universities and scientific societies.)"
- "Science was only killed by the collapse of the civilization that supported it. Which was a political, not an intellectual failure. ..." It was the Crisis of the Third Century: economic slumping, galloping inflation, strife, civil wars, even some breakaway parts of the Empire -- the Empire of the Gauls and Zenobia's conquests.
- "The only intellectual zeitgeist that put an end to science was Christianity. It did not wage any war on science (contrary to exaggerated myths); but it did scorn and dissuade everyone from the values necessary to a successful scientific enterprise: embracing curiosity as a moral virtue, assigning evidence the highest authority in debate, and believing in the value and possibility of progress in scientific and technical knowledge. The pagan elite had all three of those things. Medieval Christians held all three in suspicion or contempt."