Why are athiest versions of revisionist history so ridiculous?
Isn’t it possible to do a better job?
Patrick seems to be trying out his worst material on us, lately. Atheism, enforced by the state, brought us much worse.
Not for enforced atheism by the state. Enforced neutrality of the state (US, UK, Western Europe, Austrialia, NZ, Japan) is much different than enforced atheism (or atheism + 1 Orthodox Church as in Russia, China) by the state. I am for individual freedom of religion which includes individual freedom to have no religion.
My, that is a stupid article, not least for neglecting to mention that it was pagan Greece and Rome that described those strange creatures in foreign lands.
But for a more illuminating take on non-literal cartography (though I says it myself as shouldn’t), here’s an old piece I did on modern equivalents used in science education.
The history here is just awful. No well-respected historian believes in the dark ages or that science was in its infancy in the 1300s. There are so many unsubstantiated, incorrect points here that I don’t know where to begin.
For starters, the University and the Hospital are inventions of Christianity. The entire mindset of early Christianity is what allows for the rise of modernist science.
Historically, cartographers put whatever place is most important to their society at the center. Hence Islamic maps from the tiem would have Mecca at the center, Chinese maps China (which is even called the middle kingdom because they beleived they were the center of the Earth), and heck, colonial/imperial European maps (some of which are still in use) make Africa smaller and Europe larger.
Of course actual animals are misunderstood and mythical ones included. The mapmakers didn’t know which of these legends were true, and the point of these maps (as the author points out) was to be a map of knowledge as it were. “here’s everything we think we know”
Anyway, the medieval is much maligned and usually by those who don’t understand the period. I highly recommend Peter Brown’s The World of Late Antiquity and R.W. Southern’s The Making of the Middle Ages
Patrick, this is just not a high-quality article. So people in medieval times used to believe in mystical creatures. Isn’t that actually interesting? Why did these people depict their beliefs in such a way and not others? Can we trace the influence of these early mythical forms to modern fantasy? These are all fascinating questions studied professionally by scholars of folk literature, mythology and culture all around the world. Instead, this author chooses to reduce mythology to an example of stupidity. No curiosity or fascination about the human imagination, culture, or how we have viewed ourselves throughout the centuries. This is the atheist equivalent of a fundamentalist dismissing modern science as the work of the Devil. What is your purpose of sharing such an article?
I agree. It wasn’t very good of an article. Oh well, I will tighten my quality standards. If you don’t like the articles that I post, you can pray for me to stop.
I’m not sure why everyone is complaining. This gives us a great example of atheist pseudohistory, a very popular genre in @Patrick’s world. I think the post just needed more a sensible title, right?
In all fairness, it would not be hard for Patrick to find online articles written by Christians criticizing atheism that are just as inane. Remember, Christians were the ones once accused of being atheists, because they wouldn’t worship the Greek or Roman gods, but only YHWH Elohim. Thanks, however, for making a better effort at quality control, @Patrick , and we’ll try to do the same. Cheers!
Considering chemistry still followed the “4 Elements” school of metaphysics until AFTER the conclusion of the American Revolution… I’m not sure the view about the 1300s which you criticize is that far from the truth.
I’m reminded of a Welsh pastor who was robbed, and asked if he prayed they’s be caught. He replied “I pray they’ll repent!”
So a lot of this depends on how we define science. If you’re talking about modernist, empiricist science, then sure. It probably didn’t exist until 100-150 years ago. However, that doesn’t mean science (which I am here defining as “a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.”) didn’t occur, create advances, and discover knowledge.
Almost every generation of scholars in every field has looked back at those before them with horror and disgust at their methods and conclusions. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t helpful stuff to learn from it or that it was definitionally inferior (any more than we we will be inferior to our great-grandchildren).
I’m not saying everything they did made sense by our standards, but I think the people of the past are owed and should be afforded a degree of dignity that we generally refuse to grant them, sitting on our throne of scientistic, chronological snobbery.
Every generation has the right to look back at the beliefs and actions of the previous generation and call them stupid.
What a stupid old man thing to say! : )
Though the act does reveal arrogant stupidly and bigotry it most cases. Present company excluded I’m sure.
I wonder if we can negotiate a trade. Atheists help us deal with pseudoscience in out camp, we will help deal with the pseudohistory in yours.
To have the right to do a thing and be right in doing it are not at all the same. Also, I would argue that people of the past should be afforded the same dignity and charity we grant those alive.
Each generation looks at its parent’s generation and can’t understand what they were thinking when doing the things that they did. I grew up in the 1960’s. The generations after the 1960’s have trouble understanding the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, going to the moon, the Cold War, the Draft, Woman’s right, Hippies, Woodstock, Jimi Hendricks and Janice Joplin. A friend of my son once asked me if everyone was on LSD back then.
What a second. You have to be about 30 years younger than me (about 30 years old) to say that my generation screwed things up for the younger generation.