Religion affecting Technological Advancement

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by tomzyk, May 8, 2002.

  1. tomzyk Registered Member

    Throughout history, great advancements in science have been held back and even destroyed due to some civilizations' religious beliefs. Examples include "kings calling people blasphemers for saying the Earth was round" to "the destruction of the great library in Alexandria" (although this was most likely a political movement than a strictly religious one, religions had great influence over the rulers of empires over 2000 years ago.)

    From ancient documents that have been recovered from archeological finds (ie. Archimede's (IIRC) notes that were found to be wiped and over-written by monks for bibles) it has been determined that even thousands of years ago, people KNEW the Earth was round. (Archimede's actually even accurately calculated its circumference within 1% back in 200BC!) And yet it wasn't until around the 15th or 16th century that it was accepted that the Earth was NOT the center of the universe/galaxy/heavens.

    I'm curious as to how ... technologically advanced?... we (humans) would/could be at this point in time if it wasn't for the powerful people of history (kings as well as religious leaders) keeping knowledge from the masses and condeming the scientists of their times.

    Please take note: I am NOT saying that "religions are bad" or "religions are for stupid people". I am simply stating the fact that they have had a great negative influence on scientific advancements in the past.
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  3. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Tough question

    It's a tough question. To keep it short, though, there are a couple factors worth considering.

    • When or why would the work have otherwise been done? (e.g. astrology into astronomy & basic understanding of the Universe)
    • What religion, what technology? (e.g. Central American empires allegedly performed invasive surgeries, and there is evidence implying the storage and use of electricity at some sites.)

    I think the short answer would be that religion has held back a lot of scientific development that would not have taken place when it did were it not for religion.

    How's that for wishy-washy?


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  5. Cactus Jack Death Knight of Northrend Registered Senior Member

    Actualy what your talking about is the opression of Scientific ideas, not realy technology. It has a lot to do with:

    "The issue is: Why has christianity found it necassary and desirable to suppress free inquiry with the threat of force?........The answer is obvious - and revealing. Christianity is peddling an inferior product, one that cannot withstand critical investigation. Unable to compete favorably with other theories, it has sought to gain a monoply through a state franchise, which means: through use of force" - Atheism: The case Against God by G.H. Smith

    They opressed scientific ideas because the church had pwer and by going against things the church had said in a provable, logical manner, endangered this power.

    Religion has had a positive effect on technology actualy. "God fearing" Medieval peoples created many useful inventions that became the basis of others. Monks have learned much and help much in the development of technology throughout the ages.
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  7. Master of Illusion Registered Senior Member


    Good question. This is one of the main reasons I dislike religion, particularly christianity and islam so much.

    We may have been travelling to other solar systems in the galaxy by now if not for religious bastard leaders.

    The persecution of Gallileo and Bruno springs to mind, but for all that time lost in the dark ages, who knows what might have happened.

    At least now christianity can no longer hold back the development of the world.
  8. Adam §Þ@ç€ MØnk€¥ Registered Senior Member

    I was under the impression that in the late Middle Ages the RC church went about killing a lot of scientists or runing them out of town simply to eradicate ideas which did not come from the church, and to prevent them educating the otherwise easily-controlled masses. I wish I could point to some single source for this idea, but I can not.
  9. Tyler Registered Senior Member

    Religion has hindered scientific (including medical) advancement as well as social advancement. And I feel that the social hindering is worse than the scientific hinderance. Many, many Christians in America are against homosexuality for religious reasons. Islam doesn't exactly let it exist. The Catholics despise it, yet let their priests do it. The KKK were at one point a very religious based organization. Jews weren't accepted in America until the last 50 years.

    Religion has only ever served to destroy social causes, never helped. Did women get full rights because of religion? Blacks? Homosexuals? Nope.

    And Tiassa, what the hell......98 words???? That's nowhere near the usual 1000+!!!!! Haha.
  10. Godless Objectivist Mind Registered Senior Member

    Ah!! good question...

    If superstition would have not been in the heart of leaders, technological developments would have surppassed our imaginations, here is an atempt:

    By the time Jesus was born we would already be having space walks, Jesus would have been the best architect of his time, instead of an illiterate mystic.

    Biological immortality would have been developed, around 1000 ad, deseases would have been iradicated from human existence, wars would have been found to be ilogical, death would have been something children only see in history books.

    The church would be non-existent, who needs mystics?.

    Cormercial space travel would be as normal as flying to Chicago on any given day. Space stations would have been developed in several planets, and cormercial space exploration would have brought us near or at the speed of light.

    How is that for imagination?.
  11. Asguard Kiss my dark side Valued Senior Member

    and the earth would ALREADY be destroyed

    Not just getting there
  12. tomzyk Registered Member

    I agree with this (beer and torture devices. yes yes yes!) jk.

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    Some people were allowed to persue scientific knowledge, but only people that were already dedicated to the church.
    I definitely agree. These prejudices not only kept the world from getting along with one-another, but kept even MORE contributors from the scientific community. (Many women and blacks' scientific studies/dicoveries/inventions were not even encouraged/accepted until, what, this past century?) Religions have also been the cause of many conflicts in the past (Can we say "Crusades"?) and even recently (many terrorist attacks are based primarily on the fact that people have different religious beliefs). But...

    This is also a valid point. Without religions, we might not have the morals that we do now and might have destroyed ourselves a LONG time ago. But with morals like our current religious extremists have, who needs amoral enemies?
  13. Cactus Jack Death Knight of Northrend Registered Senior Member

    No, I wasn't talking about scientists. I was talking about technology specifically those developed by monks during the Middle Ages - the water wheel to make grain for one.
  14. Reid Registered Senior Member

    Just imagine all time taken by prayers, I bet it's more then what have gone to research
  15. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    You have to admit that even if some people were killed or hindered in their experiments that others got through this-dare I say it cactus?-filter of religious ideology. You can't forget that Da Vinci was I believe the first pioneer of flight (it's a rumor-albiet an unsubstantiated one-that he actually flew one of his planes). Colombus said the world was round. Galileo saw the rings of saturn. There's really nothing we can do about persecution against early science, it's impossible to tell if life would be any different now if the church had never existed. We could've been wiped out in a nuclear holocaust hundreds of years ago, or we could be vacationing on the beaches of Europa (terraforming). The kicker here is the could . We can aspire to these things but the product of a lack of something to hold back such fast advancement may have inherently saved the human race.

    Which brings me to the present day, where more and more science is advancing through incredible leaps and bounds. I don't doubt that more new technology has been developed in the last hundred years than any other century of our existence. This is partly due to the USA and our separation of church and state, as well as the industrial revolution. Without anything to slow us down we may very well wind up with the technology of dreams-warp drives, free energy, nanotechs, colonies on planets circling around other stars.

    My point is that generally people could predict how technology would advance a century ahead of their time until now . If you took a man from 1900 and lead him through a tour of Times Square he would faint at a first glance. Technology is accelerating and we have no idea what is to become of it, what is to become of our species . I'd like to think that we're almost like little kids playing with real cars-not guns-because the cars have the potential to either kill us or take us somewhere.
  16. dan1123 Registered Senior Member

    Scientific foundations

    There are a couple instances in the Bible where it tells about Jesus reading and writing. (Luke 4:16 & John 8:7)

    One thing that people here miss is the fact that certain things need to be discovered/invented before another step can be taken. We had to invent the Bessemer process to have steel become a reality, which solves a whole host of problems. Storing electricity is not nearly as useful as discovering Faraday's Law to put it to some work. And a lot of learning requires books to be mass produced and without the Gutenberg press, we'd be out of luck. But more than books, we would need some places of higher learning to do research, and if it is medical research, hospitals.

    The impetus to make common people literate in the first place was religious. The clergy at the time wanted the common people to be able to read the Bible. The desire for a place of higher learning was originally religious. The church wanted a place so that people could study theology, which is how many of the oldest universities began, including Harvard. The idea of public education was first religious in motivation, so that people would understand more about God. The hospital movement began as well because of religion. But when I say "religious" here, I mean Christian, because these things didn't start because of Islam or any other religion.

    I think the real reason why we have such an increase in our technology and understanding of the world is because we as a society endeavor to teach everyone as much as possible, rather than have them be peasants or slaves in a society of a wide gap between noble born and the common people.
  17. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    An excellent thesis-but is it just a coincidence that religion is in a decline, that it is not as popular as it was half a millenia ago as it is today (maybe not numbers-wise, there are a lot more people around to go to church, but the way that the church is being sued for molestations and regularly made fun of not only on the street but in the media. None of this would have been done even one hundred years ago, not without fear of persecution by non-government peoples anyway)
  18. dan1123 Registered Senior Member

    The religion - technology interaction

    when you say "religion" you must mean "Christianity", because Islam, and eastern religions are on the increase. It is really only Christianity that is on the decline.

    It has been on the decline only recently though, in less than a century, whereas the technical innovations have been in play for several centuries now. Of course, there could be some lag time in the whole thing, and religion and technology probably affect each other in varying ways. It would be interesting to see a more fine-grained analysis of recent history, in the increase of different technological advancements, and the increase/decrease of different religions.

    However, in the recent increases in Islam, eastern religions, and paranormal beliefs, schools and education have taken a dive in the U.S. at least, as evidenced by world test scores. The last fifty years make for interesting study for changes in culture as well. Not only has technology not increased at this pace before, but cultures have never shifted as fast as the U.S.'s in the last fifty years.
  19. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    Like I said-we're little kids driving a car, not using a gun. We have both the potential to do what we intend to (advance, or get to a location or goal), or die trying because of our inexperience with the technology. Islam may be on the rise in other countries but I don't think it is noticeably in the US or in most of Europe, this is where most of the scientific advancement seems to take place. We can discern one link that causes culture and technological shifts:

    The Media. News around the world, 24/7. The television screen is our watchful eye on the world, we see through it, but more often than not we do not see clearly (this is beside the point so I will get back to it). Information is what drives culture shift and technological advancement, information is given to a very, very good deal of people through television screens and newspapers. This is why things are moving so quickly, maybe [christian] religion has a role in their somewhere, but even now we have more dedicated scientists than ever before because there is an interest in science, thanks to our television screens showing us pictures of exploding a-bombs or the cracks on Europa. Religion has no form of media-no closed-circuit television hooked up to heaven. Maybe this is what is leading to it's decline.
  20. dan1123 Registered Senior Member

    from CNN:
    It doesn't of course, mean that Islam isn't growing faster somewhere else, but you might want to rethink what you said.

    As to your thinking that the media has to do with scientific advancement, remember that the media usually misreports scientific studies and data. The barest things actually make it through media circles. Information is not necessarily good either, you need to have good information to make a good decision. The media has been known to deceive before, (like Hearst's inciting the Spanish American War). If anything, the media promoting short attention spans and quick fixes makes for a society unmotivated to work hard for scientific or technological advancement.
  21. ismu ::phenomenon::. Registered Senior Member

    Original Jewish Scripture, Bible, and Qur'an contain lots of facts about science wich have not yet discovered by mankind at the time of it's revelations. This fact are prooves of it's truth, and also inspiring people to dig more facts about universe by science.

    Unfortanately Bible (and perhaps also Scripture) no longer original, because of previous priest messing up it's contents by their own messy thought. They meant to fix it to properly fit to their era, but because of limitation human's thought and their lack of understanding, some important facts wich will discovered in the future (now and then) are missing, or defect.
    That's why lot's of people (who realy think and learn open minded) turns into Islam.
  22. Pollux V Ra Bless America Registered Senior Member

    I understand what you're saying Dan and it makes sense. I think now I meant to refer to the Internet as a very, very powerful learning tool. Right now I can head on over to google and find a beginners guide to the Russian language, I can get a more solidified grasp of the theory of relativity, or I can cook a tasty dinner. The point is that these options were not availible several hundred years ago, and that the precursors to the internet (like the tv and the telephone) which pump out information in their own right were built in only the last century (the telephone was a bit earlier I think), which lead to the acceleration of ideas that we have today.

    Islam may be on the rise but what percentage of americans are actually muslim? The numbers may be increasing but I think that they are increasing from a small number in the first place. I could be wrong here.

    Ismu what type of information do you mean? Did they have hidden pictures of Saturn's rings or something?
  23. ismu ::phenomenon::. Registered Senior Member

    Many things. These some stuffs I remember:

    Qur'am tells that earth is a "ship", moving in its own path, and Sun and also Moon moving in it's own path, while human believe that earth is flat, and sun circling the eart. But now we find out that moon circling earth, and togheter circling the sun, the sun circling center of galaxy and so on. Previously, human believe the sun stand still (and that being used to judge that Qur'an was wrong), but then we're find out that the sun circling the galaxy.

    It also tells about structure of atmosphere (sky).

    And Speed of light. Isra' & Mi'radz (revelation on rule of salat) can be used as reference how fast speed can be.

    It tells in detail the process of birth. Since fertilitation, turns into small meat, time when the bones formed, skin, starts of heart beat, and so on long time ago. Medical science just found it in recent century.

    It rules how to trade which gives win-win solution. How to make loan, about interest which can be a bad thing. Suggest to make deals written blackon white with witness if necessary.

    Philosophy, lifestyle, law and justice, etc.
    Bunch of wise suggestion guide our life. Lot's of thing, but I don;t want to spam this thread

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    . There are lots info about it in other websites.

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