Sunday, 3 July 2016

To (not) sail beyond the sunset



PS: A complementary chart


  • “WHILE THE WEST WAS  committing intellectual suicide, the Islamist world was just beginning to wake up.”
    The greatest story (hardly) ever told – NOT PC
  • “Western civilisation then is underpinned not by our so-called ‘Judeo-Christian heritage’ which is mostly only barbarous, but by our Greek – more especially our Aristotelian. The greatest story of history is the 2300-year death-struggle between religion and Aristotelian reason… ‘The death struggle of reason versus anti-reason continues.’”
    “So, How Come You Keep Bashing Religion?” – NOT PC

  • “In recent decades, medieval scholars have persistently advanced the thesis that the Dark and Middle Ages were not actually dark… That such a theory would be welcomed by the religious right is not surprising. However, what might surprise some—and what is certainly ominous—is that such major organs of the liberal press as The New York Times and The Chronicle of Higher Education (the leading publication for university professors and administrators) have treated [the thesis] with significant respect. This essay will demonstrate that such respect is entirely undeserved.”
    A Critique of Rodney Stark’s The Victory of Reason – Andrew Bernstein, OBJECTIVE STANDARD

  • “’Philosophy is the goal toward which religion was only a helplessly blind groping. The grandeur, the reverence, the exalted purity, the austere dedication to the pursuit of truth, which are commonly associated with religion, should properly belong to the field of philosophy. Aristotle lived up to it and, in part, so did Plato, Aquinas, Spinoza—but how many others? It is earlier than we think…’”
    Sunday Quote of the Day: Religion & philosophy – Ayn Rand, NOT PC

[Hat tip JMcA]



  1. A wander through Wikipedia tends to throw some doubt about the accuracy of the graph but I guess you have an opinion that is weighted by your beliefs. Its easy to cherry pick so long after the events but doesn't mean you get the best fruits because of the amount of interim handling of the fruits. At the end of the day it remains my view that some supposed branches of Christianity, like the RC's, became political and therein lies their excuse for bad behaviour. Christianity itself is not to blame.


  2. Wikipedia can be great ... about things that are non-contested. And it's only in recent years, and in places like Wikipedia, that Christian revisionists have attempted to fight back against what was previously unchallenged, i.e., the historical knowledge of the closing of the western mind for around about one-thousand years to any field outside knowledge of theology, which is to say the 'knowledge' of a fantasy, leading inexorably to that wasteland of crosses and graves historians called the Dark Ages.

    Christianity itself, forced upon the west by a succession of Caesars, and thereafter a panoply of Popes, was I'd say wholly to blame.

    1. I'm tending to a view that you don't know what Christianity actually is because forcing it upon anyone is, by default, not Christian. It follows its not Christianity that's the problem, its men.


    2. Wikipedia would still be a better source than that graph. 'Scientific advancement' on the Y axis with no units. That's a crock of shit.

      Ironically what the historians agree on, more than your Christianity angle, is that the deterioration of the dark ages was due to weakened governments across Europe. As a result of invading barbarians.

    3. @Max: Do you understand what a 'concept' is? The graph is illustrating a concept, not a mathematical relationship. I suspect you don't, because if you did you'd be able to see beyond concretes. If you could see beyond concretes you'd conclude (for instance) that the dominant religious philosophy of the times might have some connection to weak government and barbarian invaders.

    4. @3:16: The Dark Ages went for about 1000 years. 1000 years where Christianity was the dominant philosophy in Europe. Now you can argue that those in power were not 'true' Christians (just as some still argue that Communist atrocities of the past 100 years weren't by 'true' Marxists); but shouldn't you at least be asking what it was about Christianity that allowed this state of affairs to continue for so long?

      I'd also suggest you're viewing Christianity through the lense of what you want it to be, and/or what it has become, some 500 years after the Enlightenment - not what it actually was. Modern day Marxists evade the lessons of the past 100 years of history, but you're denying the lessons of 1000 years.

    5. Yes Mark I understand what a concept is. But if you're defending an abstract graph on historical scientific advancement (that historians don't agree with) then you don't understand irony.

    6. If you're citing historians, Max, by reference only to Wikipedia, then it might be more than just irony that's beyond you. ;^)

    7. 3:16, you say that forcing Christianity on people is unChristian. You say that, and it may be true today (unless of course your abortion is being banned or your gay marriage is being disallowed) but you really do need to read about the birth of your church under Roman rulers--and how the worship of all those competing gods was banned at the point of the Emperor's sword. (Charles Freeman's 'The Closing of the Western Mind' is a good account.)
      From gladiatorial victims, your early Christians very earnestly and very quickly became the enforcers instead of the enforced.

    8. @Max: With the exception of yourself, I don't think I've come across anyone, historian or otherwise who's suggested that the history of the Dark Ages has no connection to the dominant ideas of the time (being Christianity). If modern revisionists are now putting up articles on Wikipedia implying otherwise, I think they're most likely either Christian apologists trying to re-write their history - or they are concrete bound and looking at events so superficially, they fail to see the connection between the way people act and what they believe - essentially describing history as a series of mechanistic events that arise in a vacuum.

      When I last studied history, it was common for historians to adopt that approach when it came to describing the causes of WW2, etc - but the essential meaning of the Middle Ages was undisputed.

      The specifics of Middle Age history aside, are you really suggesting that events and human actions aren't influenced by what people believe?

      Even 3:16 is not suggesting that. He (or she) is effectively arguing that Christianity wasn't dominant, that those in power weren't real Christians, and Christianity had a beneficial effect in moderating their excesses. As improbable as that explanation is, it's at least acknowledges the power of ideas, and doesn't contend that human actions arise in a vacuum apart from their beliefs.

    9. All I said PC, is that 'even' Wikipedia is better than that graph that looks like it was made by a 14 year old. And I notice you couldn't find any reputable sources to back up what the graph implies.

      Mark: The reason you've never come across historians bringing up what I mentioned is because you read very narrowly. Five minutes on Google and you'll find plenty of sources on the 'Dark Ages'. Here is a clip from Prager U, PC has linked to in the past:

    10. That's very funny Max. You post a clip produced by a Roman Catholic University, that cheerleads the Dark Ages, and says they should instead be called 'The Brilliant Ages'. (No, I'm not making this up). You also suggest I'm not widely read because I've never encountered revisionist crap on this topic from the church before. What next - biologists must study creationism to be widely read on the origins of life?

      That aside, the propaganda you posted doesn't dispute my basic point anyway, which you continue to miss or evade. Ideas determine actions, and action determine history. You can look at history, just see the events and actions and go no further - or you can take that extra step and look at what was the deeper ideological cause. Attributing the Dark Ages to barbarian invasions and weak government is not incorrect in a limited sense, but it offers as much insight as attributing alcoholism to the existence of breweries.

    11. One more nail to the coffin of "the barbarians did it". Those barbarians were Christians, not pagans. Admittedly they were Arian Christians, and only converted to Nicene Chritainity a in the 6th century (100 years after they sacked rome), but the only real difference between Arian and Nicene Christianity is the godliness of Christ (ie was he the son of God, or God himself). So all the options leads to one outcome: A largely Christian ruling class replaced a largely secular ruling class.

      The policies and laws (the actions cited by Mark above) were driven by Christian beliefs and practices (the Ideas that Mark refer to), the outcome of which was the loss of vast parts of technological and philosophical progress.

      Now regarding the question of whether the technological progress was in fact lost/stalled: A very good marker for a societies' level of technological advancement is the size of the cities they can sustain. The larger the city, the larger the demands on food production, logistics, sanitation etc.

      Both Rome and Constantinople in 400AD (just before the "sack" maintained a population of 1mil. After 600AD the population of Rome declined to 400k. In fact it took until London in 1825 before we saw a european city in excess of 1mil again. (1875 Berlin for continental europe). Every time a population grew larger than about 400-500k the sanitation and food production systems failed leading to famine and plague.

      Now, this does not mean that Christians are bad people (although some are), nor does it say they are good people (although some are). It merely points to the conclusion that a system of government closely tied to Christian Doctrine reduces the amount of scientific discovery and application in a given population, the effect of which is roughly inversely proportional to the level of seperation between church and state. Most Christian I know actually agree with this, and I'd be interested to know why you don't.

    12. Yes it is funny Mark - I linked to that because PC has linked to Prager U in the past. It's one of many sources that come up on the 'Dark Ages'; if you think it's revisionist crap there are plenty of other sources if you could be bothered to read them.

    13. Max - I have actually read a fair bit about the history, back in the day when reading consisted of going to the library and finding authoritive sources - as opposed to entering into Google and seeing what randomly pops up. Old school perhaps, but when the first link you provide is so clearly religious propaganda, motivated by the Roman Catholics trying to defend their atrocious legacy from that period - it does show there's a time and place for old school.

      If you had said anything that might make me re-examine my beliefs, I might be tempted to try your approach; or even if you'd put forward a coherent argument as to how events can happen independent of a religious philosophy that is dominant and has power for 1000 years - but you haven't, so I won't.

    14. @ Roedolf: Very well explained. Are you listening Max, and would you care to respond to the substance of the argument? Or do you think these facts are countered if somewhere on the internet there's a Youtube clip saying something different?

    15. See, the bloody RC's crop up again and tarnish everything. Notwithstanding there will be many reliable but ill advised Christians within the RC church the RC's are perceived as a cult by many orthodox Christians with protestants bickering among themselves as to how close they should be to Rome as an organisation.

      It seems to me that some people like to look at history with 21st century glasses on and tut tut things in the past we would be horrified at today while ignoring the development of civilisation to the point we enjoy (sometimes) today. They also propose that had someone not done something 500 years ago we would be far more developed now and be so much better off. That seems foolish and ignores the fact that civilsations of various sizes have come and gone for thousands of years with them being managed in ways believed by those in charge at the time to be appropriate. Pagans like the Egyptians, Assyrians, Mongols, Greeks and Romans probably thought their civilisations would last for ever just as some think the west will in its current supposedly enlightened form but they all decayed and largely disappeared although some legacies may remain. We look at the best of these legacies, like art and architecture, but are less bothered about the downsides. The dark ages is just another blip along the way where some men and cultures with power abused it. Like today, the ordinary people of those times had little influence but didn't pretend they did by being allowed to vote on which mongrel you would tolerate for the next three years. History is just a sine wave of good and bad or perhaps bad and less bad. Civilisation maybe miles wide but its only an inch thick and the simple Christian Gospel doctrine of adoption through propitiation is not to blame - men and women are.


    16. @Roedolf: Wrong; the barbarians were not Christian.

      "Most Christians I know agree with this" Christians are delusional. Forget about what your Christian friends say and read some history.

      @Mark: For the 4th time: go read history from a reputable source. Your current understanding is woeful.

    17. Hey Max...

      In that link and it's subsequent sublinks, there are exactly 3 reference to the religion of the Barbarians:

      "The Vandals were ardent Arian Christians... "

      Do you even proofread the stuff you post?

      (The others are below)

      Now the history is a bit more complex than the 2 paragraphs you linked. The main parties involved in the fall of Rome, and also the main parties that remained in Western Europe were the Goths (Visi- and ostrogoths), the Vandals and the Franks, who did not partake in attcking Rome, but rather settled in Gaul. Yes the Huns made an appearance, but together with the Bulgars they retreated to the Steppes in the 6th century. The Alani (a fairly small tribe) settled in what is today Tunisia.

      These tribes, being nomadic, never became part of the ruling class in western europe and did not contribute significantly to the culture.

      The Suebi, another small tribe, has this said about them in your link:
      "Although the Suebi entered Spain as pagans, their king Rechiar came to the throne as a Christian in 448." (the second reference to religion). They were conquered by the Visigoths, and dissapeared.

      Now about those 3 major players that stuck around in Western Europe:

      The Vandals are covered above.

      The Franks:
      "the Franks established the most powerful Christian kingdom of early medieval western Europe." (the 3rd reference in your link.)

      The Goths were Christians: "Being Arian Christians, the Visigoths respected Christian sites and treasures."

      (First link on a google search)

      Let me give you some advice: Find a source that proves your point, not mine. Then, once you have that (a little aditional context reading on your part won't hurt either) come back and we can have a nice grown up discussion about this, where you don't call people delusional, and where we actually consider the motivations of the relevant parties to act the way they did.

    18. @Roedolf: Nice work in showing that Max is just a troll and full of crap, but I don't think the barbarians, or the religion of the barbarians has any real historic significance. As Isabel Patterson remarked: “The barbarians were not a rising force; they drifted in on the ebb… they came in as wild animals will graze on once-cultivated fields when the cultivator cannot muster sufficient strength to keep his fences in repair.”

    19. @Roedolf: Those tribes did not invade as part of a crusade, and only the Franks were Christian in the traditional sense during the relevant time period.

      But even if they were all Catholic: that graph is dead wrong. Where is a reputable source that backs it up? Where are the contemporary historians who agree with you that omnipotent Christianity banned science for hundreds of years? If you think those links prove the myth of the dark ages you're very confused.

      @Mark: You're right about one thing; the religion of the barbarians has no real significance. So you've basically acknowledged the point I've been making regarding the real history of the middle ages.

    20. Mark: Fair point, and it drifted quite far from where we started.

      The response was in regard to the argument that gets trotted out so frequently: "The barbarians being pagans, brought chaos. But for the semblance of Rome retained in the church, the dark ages would be darker still"

      The counter argument I'm making, is that even though economics caused Rome to fall, the chaos was excacerbated by Christian sectarian violence, (ie. the Arian north vs the Nicean south)

      As this violence settled with the Nicean sect (ie the Catholic Church) the victors, the church ingrained itself in the day to day politics. And that brings us full circle to my original argument: That it was this blending of church and government that stalled technological advance.

      As you can see, I am quite fascinated by this part of history, and can ramble on for days.

      But the point is made, so let's leave it there.

  3. While it is ok to do some christians-bashing every now and then I believe it would be fair to do some Muslim-bashing as well every now and then - they also have their dark ages and they haven't come out of it yet. People that prefer bashing Christians because they don't bomb you or try to slice your throat are a bit hypocritical.

    1. C'mon mate, seriously? You haven't been around for long, have you? PC treats all religion* with even handed disdain.

      *Not the individuals adhering to that religion peacefully, as is their right, but rather the creed itself. I think that's been causing quite some confusion as of late.

  4. What is more important, perhaps, is that Christianity was able to adapt to the rise of reason by looking inwardly to its own ideas, while Islam was not. It is a good thing that Christianity isn't what it used to be, and a terrible thing that Islam still is.

    1. Which was part of the point of posting those links to give the greater story.

    2. But it's still no defence nonetheless, to say "yes, we're bad, but those other bastards are worse."

      Bad is bad. Best to acknowledge that.

    3. I wasn't offering a defence of Christianity. It is what it is. I'm tired though of the Christianity bashing that is done with gloves off, and often not really objectively criticising it at all, but attributing things to it that cannot and should not be attributed to it, while the real threat in the world (and you know what I'm referring to) is treated with kid gloves. When someone is doing that, I can't help but think it is more about enjoyment of the bashing rather than any genuine concern for the defence of liberty. Christianity is no serious threat to liberty.

  5. ahh yeah, welcome back to the dark ages. Here we are with the Social Conservatives.
    Pauline Hanson. Nick Xenophon. Bob Katter. Christian Democrats. Bob Day [Family First]. Jackie Lambie
    Goodbye to the liberals who wreak cultural western suicide.

  6. That doesn't look like a very scientific graph, ironically. In any event, the problem was not Christianity, but culture. The Goths, and later the Franks, were mostly illiterate, and had a very unhealthy disdain for anything intellectual. If the Church hadn't existed in the West to even preserve some of these things, there not only would have been a stall in scientific progress, but a complete regression to primitivity.

  7. I think the religiously minded and the non-religious alike were pretty brutal in the day. Zero respect for individual rights was the order of the day.

    1. So the question is: what changed, and why. I give my answer in that post linked above on the greatest story hardly ever told.

    2. If you'd like to read it, and/or have the time.

  8. Why is it that the only topics on PC's blog that seem to excite people enough to comment in any numbers are either immigration (anti) or Christianity (pro)?

  9. Yes, they are ultimately impotent. So let's please take the gloves off on Islam. There are new barbarians at the gate, and we are just welcoming them in. Madness.

    "As Isabel Patterson remarked: “The barbarians were not a rising force; they drifted in on the ebb… they came in as wild animals will graze on once-cultivated fields when the cultivator cannot muster sufficient strength to keep his fences in repair.”


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