Saturday, 31 December 2016

Centuries Dominated By Monotheism

On the Poul Anderson blog, we have discussed the connection between monotheism and science. See:

The Birth Of Science
Religion And Science
Different Histories

Here is an alternative perspective:

"...centuries dominated by monotheism have not permitted the survival of Democritus' naturalism. The closure of the ancient schools such as those of Athens and Alexandria and the destruction of all the texts not in accordance with Christian ideas were vast and systematic, at the time of the brutal anti-pagan repression following from the edicts of Emperor Theodosius, which, in 390-1 declared that Christianity was to be the only and obligatory religion of the empire. Plato and Aristotle, pagans who believed in the immortality of the soul or in the existence of a Prime Mover, could be tolerated by a triumphant Christianity. Not Democritus."
-Carlo Rovelli, Reality Is Not What It Seems (Allen Lane, 2016), p. 20.

Plato: immortality of the soul;
Aristotle: a Prime Mover but the soul as the form of the body;
both: teleological, not causal, explanations of natural phenomena.

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