• Chris Hanna

Dark Ages to Come

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

The attention span of the current citizen is one of immediate and short term future, a conscientious stare into the past or a longing gaze into the future are things seemingly lost in the chaos of current time…  I wish to draw some parallels but without the back story there would be little justification to my conclusions, or even my examples, so once again I implore thee, come, take a short journey with me into the past that will end with a very probable future.

Beginning in the times of ancient Greece and its nearest neighbors, a timeline began that carries with it some interesting cyclic phenomena that will be explored soon.  In the early centuries of the Greek and Roman golden ages there was a series of scientific hypotheses and philosophical dialogues that were the first “modern” intellectual attempts to understand the mind and the cosmos.  The earlier tendencies of humanity to extend supernatural deism to all aspects of the heavens was still evident but there was something new happening, scientific query was beginning to search for physical evidence and proof of the powers of the gods.  The results were the first western theories of life and everything.  While simple and archaic were the scientific theories the philosophical findings are still to this day useful and debated.

This golden age of Greco-Roman superiority was succeeded to the east by the Byzantines and to the west by the Catholic Church and the various state monarchies.  After the fall of the Greek and Roman philosophers the Kings, Queens, and Popes used religion to drive the entirety of Europe into an intellectual wasteland that failed even to record the events of the times in many cases, leading to the tentative title of the “Dark Ages”.  This is the first major example I wish to give of the retroactive effects of a theocratic and unquestioned social structure…  Of course there were major events like the plagues that further ravished the populace of Europe engendering the desperation to which the people turned to monotheism paired with “god kings/divine descendants” and away from science.

In the meantime a society that had been flourishing in the Arabian peninsula and by the year 1000 had translated, into Arabic,  almost all the Greco-Roman body of knowledge in medicine, mathematics, and natural philosophy climaxing in the exotic locale that was Baghdad. This central nexus for knowledge, like Cairo at the same time, was the worlds most advanced intellectual centre leading to revolutionary advancements in medical science such as the identification of smallpox and measles as well as drug testing and encyclopediae of human physiology that would be used for generations in the west as well.  There was also the magnificent creations of the order of Algebra and magnetic compass navigation, tools that single handedly changed the world.  But what happened to that culture?

Around the 13th century advances in Europe, building upon the discoveries of the east, began to overtake the Islamic intellectual golden age.  During the heights of the times the unified Abbasid Empire began to fracture as one of the leaders took the scientific torch too literal and using Greek rationalism, particularly Aristotelianism, he began a scientific inquisition flogging, terrorizing, and even killing people who would not profess allegiance.  The resulting backlash was one of divine religious fanaticism against any and all rationalism of the west and began the scientific illiteracy that now pervades the middle east as during this time it was first declared that science and rationalism was evil.

Now why have I given this cliffs notes history lessen when I am usually a man of science and logical reasoning? To employ the following proposition: Would you honestly support a theology based education system that teaches distrust of the foundational scientific principles in favor of a biblical young earth pseudo scientific curriculum? When I see society intentionally lead its children away from the self critiquing scientific method to a world view that supposes that everything they would ever need to know is in an ancient and contradictory book I see the beginning of a dark age for the United States.  While I will concede that the level of intellectual antiquity that could possibly happen in this day and age is significantly minimal when compared to medieval Europe but it would definitely be a death knoll for the age of US technological superiority.

These things and historically provable time and time again, let theology run your society and you will be left behind.  I just hope that with the increasingly vocal non religious communities there will be enough opposition to prevent such a theocracy from being enacted by the already extreme and non representational political and religious figures that pervert our once democratic nation.

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