How Scientific Advances Are Built on Western Culture
by Lewis Loflin
A Facebook friend Gavin Kanowitz compiled a list of "25 Greatest Ideas/Developments in the History of Civilization". Here I'm interested in the inter-relationship of the steps leading to our modern society. More important is what leads to success. Talent and innovation depends on a particular cultural and political climate.
For the past 300 years nearly every technological and scientific invention advancement was a product of Western culture. Even today non-western nations and cultures can't innovate on a large scale. They are dysfunctional and often impoverished.
Muslim nations create nothing technical or scientific. Muslim culture is riddled with tribalism, lack of freedom, and religious fundamentalism. Innovation and advancement are impossible. Most want technology in particular weapons and medical. They reject the culture that makes it possible to create their own.
Israel invents advanced technology-innovation in many fields. They are a free western nation with a culture that makes this possible.
Communist nations such as China resort to technology transfers and theft, while Japan a free western nation innovates. When people think of China they think its eastern coast, not the vast 3rd world interior. Compare China to Taiwan. Or North Korea to South Korea.
Latin America invents little to nothing. Their nations are poor and unstable. The problem is Latin American culture and socialism. Same problem with Africa be it Islam, violence, tribalism, and socialism.
Spare me any of this racial nonsense. Argentina is more "white" than the U.S. but suffers constant economic chaos and political instability. Like much of Latin America they have resources and talent, yet still dysfunctional.
This shows up in their low standards of living, oppressive governments, and wide-spread crime and violence.
There is no reason most of Latin American nations couldn't have a standard of living similar to Portugal or Spain.
The Left went bat crazy when President Trump allegedly referred to other nations as "####holes." He was exactly correct. That is why many of their citizens want to come here.
But back in the 19th Century and early 20th Century many areas of Europe and parts of the U.S. were also "####holes".
Also parts of communist Eastern Europe in the 1990s when the Soviet Union dissolved.
Here I will take Gavin's 25 Ideas and regroup them, add a few. The process leading to success hinges on a culmination of its cultural parts. If any are missing, the whole system can come crashing down.
1. The Development of Language.
2. The Agricultural Revolution
3. Development of Writing
4a. Birth of Mathematics
5. The Invention of the Wheel - Transportation Revolution
The first 5 are universal. Their origins are shrouded in the past. They laid the foundation for all further technical advancements.
The agricultural revolution led to cities, cities to more complex needs. Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Greece pioneered mathematics in the West. India and China did as well in the East.
6. Greek Logic Based Philosophy
7. Judeo-Christian Ethics Revolution
8. Human Rights
6-8 are closely interrelated. Greek Philosophy gave us the concepts of reason, etc. A fusion of Greek Philosophy and Judaism gave us Judeo-Christian Ethics. From there came the concepts of universal human rights.
Yet there were problems. Greece gave us the concept of democracy. But it was local and excluded non-citizens of the polis, women, and slaves. "Rights" were group rights within the group. The rights of Christians didn't extend to Jews or pagans. Muslim rights didn't extend to Christians or Jews. Certainly not to slaves or women with any of them.
This was identity politics based on religion. Religious violence against non-believers and heretics within their ranks was swift.
Human rights are group rights. They extend to humanity as a whole or to groups. This stands in opposition to individual rights, which are true rights.
9. Age of Reason
The Age of Reason (1600s), Renaissance, and the Protestant Reformation in the West broke the power of tyrannical religion. Learning and literacy spread as the Bible was translated into local languages. Greek and classical learning was revived, church power diminished. Calvinism in particular (Judaism already did) pushed universal education to educate the masses on Scripture.
Christianity and Judaism performed a great service in demystifying Nature. This set up the rise of reason over pantheistic superstition.
10. Development of the Printing Press
None of this could have happened without the printing press. Widespread printing of books broke the power of religious tyranny and kings as well. Knowledge is always the enemy of tyranny.
The next 7 evolved much together and/or in parallel. The next 11-14 were a revolution in political thought. None of these can stand alone. All 4 must work together.
Most Latin American, Muslim, African, and communist-socialist governments lack one or all of these.
Latin America fails because none of these 4 function or exists. Free enterprise is often crony capitalism or hobbled by government. Corruption undermines Rule of Law. Individual rights can't exist in chaos.
They say rich people can buy power. Others use power to get rich. There is a massive difference in outcome for society.
America, Britain, and Holland led the way on 11-14. All were predominately Protestant. The Protestant Ethic grew form the Judeo-Christian Ethic.
11. Representative Government
12. Rule of Law
13. Individual Rights, liberty
14. Free Enterprise
With a more rational government and the rise of liberty 15-17 blossomed. Judaism-Christianity demystified Nature. Greek philosophy in particular Aristotle laid the foundation of science. Nature was seen as a great machine that could be understood though observation and mathematics.
Empiricism is the basis of modern science. It separated science from philosophy and speculation. Claims must be testable in the real world. Computer models do not replace real world data.
This is under assault with the rise of Nature centered superstition.
15. Birth of Modern Applied Mathematics
15. The Discovery of the Scientific Method - Empiricism
17. Newtonian Mechanics
The rest are technology that would have been impossible without the above. Individual liberty, free exchange of ideas, and building on past achievements laid the foundation for discovery.
The 18th Century Enlightenment placed the highest priority on human reason.
Postmodernism is a direct attack on reason. The rise of Nature-centered spiritualism combined with socialism directly rejects reason, liberty, and free enterprise.
19. Harnessing of Electrical Energy
20. Atomic Theory
21. Science of Germ Theory/Modern Medicine
22. Evolutionary Theory
23. Heavier-than-air flight
24. Harnessing of Nuclear Energy
25. Development of the Transistor
26. Invention of Fiber Optics
Modern technological advances are held in fear and mistrust. Bioengineering, G.M.Os, nuclear power, vaccines etc. are seen by some as assaults on Nature or tools of greedy capitalists. Billions are squandered on organic food with no proven value over non-organic. Home remedies replace modern medicine.
Millions attack the very things they benefit from every day. They see it as somehow evil. They need to grow up.
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