Location: Wisconsin, United States

I am a convert to the Catholic Church after serving in ordained ministry for more than nine years in another denomination. I hold a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in historical theology, and another in systematic theology, and am currently working (very slowly) on my doctorate. I work in Christian Education and Formation and teach at the University level. I am blessed with a wonderful wife and eight great kids! When I'm not studying, reading, or blogging, I enjoy eating and drinking! Like Bilbo Baggins, I have been specializing in food for many years, and my table has a high reputation!

Friday, June 04, 2010


I was perusing "First Thoughts" -- the blog of "First Things" magazine, and one of the recent posts drew my attention to an article by the Hugo Award-nominated Sci-Fi author Michael Flynn, writing for the Catholic journal "Dappled Things".

The article was fascinating. I quote from the opening paragraphs . . .

It is often said that until the Scientific Revolution Islam was far ahead of the Christian West in the natural sciences. This belief is a reaction to an earlier age of Western triumphalism that overlooked the genuine achievements of the Islamic philosopher (faylasuf); but like many reactionary movements, it overcompensates and praises a golden age that never quite was. Europe was never quite the dark age of ignorance that the “enlightened” philosophers pretended.

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, Islam was clearly the most scientifically advanced civilization on Earth, and China boasted a more advanced technology. Yet by the end of the Middle Ages the Latin West was clearly ahead of both Islam and China. How did this reversal of fortune take place? Joseph Needham called this ‘the Grand Question.’

There were two reasons: China never had an Aristotle; Islam never had an Aquinas. Consequently, logic, reason, and science in those cultures were like the seed that fell on barren ground, or among the weeds. In China, science withered; in Islam, it was choked out after a promising start.

Read the entire article here.

I'd love to see some discussion.


Papa Z.

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