Reprinted fir the Science March, earth day, 2017 (0riginally published in 2011)
Adapted from The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis, p. 57
Did you know that “Orpheus [of Thrace] is said by both Plato and Plutarch to have had access to ancient knowledge lost in Hellenic times”? He knew, for example, that the sun and not the earth was the center of our universe, that other universes with other suns existed in the vastness of space, and that other worlds besides our own revolved around our sun.
Things we knew before the Christians brought you the Dark Ages:
All these things were known to the sages of the pre-Aristotelian world of the 7th and 6th centuries B.C.E.
Pythagoras (582-496 BCE):
The plurality of worlds
The sun-centered universe
The theory of cataclysmic evolution
Periodic shifting of the poles
Spherical shape of the earth
Epicurus (341-270 BCE) : Atomic theory
Philostratus (170-245 CE):
The circulation of the blood (discovered by Sir William Harvey in 1628)
The theory of evolution (2400 years before Darwin)
“Both Pythagoras and Epicurus were among the ancient philosophers whose works were deliberately destroyed during the Dark Ages of Europe when, as Gibbon charges, “the light of learning was deliberately quenched by the Christian Church. 26” Thus over two millennia were to pass before Kepler, Galileo and Copernicus rediscovered that which Orpheus, Aristarchus, and Pythagoras had proclaimed to the ancients and before Albert Einstein stumbled upon the ancient atomic theory of Epicurus.
The theory of evolution too, twenty-four hundred years before Darwin, had been known to Anaximander but was later discredited by Aristotle.28 Aristotle, “the wisest of the pagans,” [sic] was revered by the early Christians, who therefore preserved his works while criminally destroying the works of his betters. He was a herald of medieval ignorance, an unwitting ally of the church fathers. It was because of Aristotle’s denial of the ancient truth, known to the Sumerians, the Chaldeans, and the early Greeks, that the earth was a sphere revolving around the sun, that the Christian Church was able for so long to defend its dogma that the earth was a platform supported by the columns of hell and roofed by the vault of heaven, over which the sun obligingly rose and set.”
Where would we be if we hadn’t been set back a couple of thousand years by Christian zealots? How far back might the modern Christian zealots put us if they destroy our education system as they are attempting to do in Texas and Kansas? If they get rid of our right to privacy? If they gain the power to burn books again?
— Morgaine Swann