Improved – ‘notes-on-man-and-cosmology-for-students-of-astro-navigation’. https://skydrive.live.com/redir.aspx?cid=a18bf3fcc5e126a2&resid=A18BF3FCC5E126A2!5254
The period 600 BC to 200 BC was a major landmark in human history. During this relatively short period, mankind by sheer force of intellect and with no help from earlier civilizations, rose above superstition and achieved a rational approach to nature, and the Mysteries of The Universe. This advance took place in the Greek City-States, on the shores of the Aegean Sea. In all other civilizations and many later ones, natural forces and the movements of the celestial bodies, were thought to be controlled by vengeful gods, who required frequent propitiation by prayers and sacrifice, human and animal; a powerful priesthood made known the wishes of the gods, and sacred writings were the sole source of knowledge. In contrast, the Greek Gods were part human and often cheerful creatures, who were more concerned with this world, rather than the next. If the answers they gave were unsatisfactory they could be argued with, many did not take them too seriously, and some denied their existence. Moreover, the Greeks had no sacred book or organized priesthood. Consequently, the mind was liberated, and gifted men began to speculate freely about the nature of the universe. Cosmology, philosophy, and science, were born, and the foundations of modern mathematics laid. Medical Schools flourished, research and diagnosis were conducted in a rational manner. Disease was considered as a failure of some part of the body mechanism, rather than a seizure by evil spirits. Individuals, such as, Archimedes, Euclid, and Pythagoras; made astonishing advances in science and mathematics. Democracy was invented, and deductive reasoning from general premises, was entirely; a Greek innovation. Around 400 BC, the philosopher Democritus proposed that, “Matter is composed of atoms, which move, hit each other, and sometimes combine, and that: life developed out of the primeval slime”. The cosmologist Aristarchus, about 300 BC, reached the conclusion that, “All the Planets including the Earth, go round the Sun in circles”. The two latter views were rejected, as being heretical for the following two thousand years. However, this bold attempt to apprehend nature by human reason, was short-lived. The Roman soldier, who killed Archimedes in 212 BC, signalled the death of any significant advance in cosmology, science, and medicine, until the Renaissance, seventeen centuries later. To the end, Rome was parasitic on Greece. The Romans invented no art forms, constructed no original system of philosophy, and made no scientific discoveries. They made good roads, systematic legal codes, and efficient armies, for the rest they looked to Greece. Perhaps, if the Greeks had been of a more practical turn of mind, the world would not have had to wait so long for its Newton and Einstein. To the Greeks, knowledge was good; wisdom the highest good, but the aim was to know, not to do; to understand nature in a contemplative way, rather than to make use of its forces. With the Roman conquests, and the eclipse of the Greek city-states, came a fading of the spirit of bold speculation, and an upsurge in the mystery religions of the Oriental type. The tolerance and uncertainties inherent in Polytheism (of Greek culture), were replaced by the rigid dogma, and in the complete explanations of Monotheism (one god only that knows all, so there is no need to look further – this can, and was/is: punishable by death). For almost the next two thousand years, mankind turned to various religions for essential truths. These beliefs, encouraged the view that the Cosmos was specially created, in the not two distant past for the benefit of man, and consequently, the Earth must be at the centre of the universe. Ingenious geocentric systems were invented, in order to account for the movement of the Planets (called the wandering stars) and still retain the Earth in an immovable central position. The most important of these was the complicated Epicylic System of Ptolemy of Alexandria in the 2nd century AD. This explanation dominated cosmology, until the time of Copernicus, and Galileo. We come to the year 1500 AD, when the Italian Renaissance reached its peak. For the second time in history, the minds of some intelligent men turned to a rational study of this world, and away from contemplation of the next. Whereas in Greece, the gods lacked an organized priesthood, the Christian God was now served by an army of clergymen, monks, and nuns, of incredible wickedness. This troop was headed by a Pope, assisted by one of his sons, Caesar Borgia, both were experts in murder and extortion. The historian William Guicciardini writes in 1529,”No man is more disgusted with the ambition, the avarice, and the profligacy, of the priests. I should like to see this swarm of scoundrels, put back in their proper place, so that they may be forced to live either without vices, or without power. Again, in regard to monks, nuns, and friars; the best punishment for them would be for God to abolish Purgatory, they would then receive no more alms, and would be forced to go back to their spades”. A profitable sideline of the clergy was the sale of Indulgences. These were documents, which purported to relieve suffering souls from the torments of purgatory. Martin Luther’s exposure of this lucrative trade, did much to promote the Reformation in Northern Europe, and to destroy the monopoly of the Roman Catholic Church. The subversion of the authority of the Church, was helped by the attitude of the princes, and merchants, of the Italian city-states, who were more interested in trade and things human; than things divine. Concurrently, the great voyages of discovery by, Columbus (1592), Vasco de Gama (1498) and Magellan (1519-22), encouraged a practical study of the heavens for earthly guidance, rather than solely as an abode for those owning an Indulgence Document. Later the invention of the telescope (c.1602), the microscope (c.1590), the pendulum clock (c.1656), the thermometer (c.1654), and barometer (c.1643); provided a rich diet of interests for those who preferred such studies, to the controversies of Theologians. Hence, a view of the world, vastly more fascinating than that previously on offer became possible! As Francois Mauriac wrote, “What this professor says, is far more incredible than what we poor Christians believe”. Educated men of affairs, asked searching questions and the answers given by the clergy, were seen to be at variance to the observed facts and often patently ridiculous. It is clear that there were interesting causal and historical similarities, between the invention of science, and the rational cosmologies in Greece, and their revival about two thousand years later. The Reformation and the rise of Protestantism, produced a diversity of creeds, in effect: a Polytheism. Whilst the Protestant Clergy, were just as bigoted, as their Roman Catholic counterparts. Intellectual Pluralism, helped towards the eventual acceptance by Church, and State, of the right of freethinkers to express, and publish their views. This happy situation continued, until the new religions of Communism, and Fascism, enslaved men, and destroyed freedom of thought, for one-third of the people’s of the World. Improved notes https://charleslizzy.wordpress.com/2006/01/12/notes-on-man-and-cosmology-for-students-of-astro-navigation/ And, https://charleslizzy.wordpress.com/2008/11/18/notes-for-a-lecture-on-philosophy-trident-missiles-pornography-sex-shops-100-million-or-more-terrifying-deaths/
“We should not let fear paralyse our ability to think clearly and wisely,” wrote Harald Stanghelle, political editor of the daily Aftenbladet. “There is much that we should not allow to be sacrificed on the altar of fear.” Viewpoint: Attacks strike at Norway’s values: Lars Helle, editor of the daily Dagbladet, said “we must avoid being preoccupied by fear, like the US was after 11 September 2001. Rather, we must look to Spain and England and how the people of those nations recovered their freedom after the horrible terrorist acts of 2004 and 2005” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14260743 “Isn’t there something deeply absurd in the presumption that children ought to inherit beliefs from their parents. It can be deeply damaging, even lethally divisive. A, ‘them’, ‘against us’ – mentality” Richard Dawkins.
Nutters (ideological) – “Vince Cable has attacked leading US Republican politicians for holding up a deal to reduce US government debt” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-14267091
A huge cost to dignity and life – “The Vatican has recalled its special envoy in Ireland after a damning report on the Catholic Church’s handling of child abuse by priests” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14272988
Hints of the Higgs boson – “The Atlas and CMS teams reported finding what physicists call an “excess” of interesting particle events at a mass of between 140 and 145 gigaelectronvolts (GeV) – the US DZero and CDF experiments have also seen hints of something at about 140GeV” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14266358
“Could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act” – Time Magazine http://wikileaks.org/
Iraq and Afghanistan (no ‘marked’ progress for Human Rights, Global Security, Sexism’s or Political/Religious Freedom’s) $4 Trillion Cumulative Cost – your money! (my children, born 1999 – forgive politicians: you must be joking!) Ref, NewScientist Magazine 23 July 2011 – War on Science.
Politicians plan to spend $1 TRILLION in the next decade on nuclear weapons. How can they justify this, while at the same time slashing budgets for education, jobs, and health care? We need to cut nukes, not the things that matter most.
“One of astronomy’s longest-running “missing persons” investigations has concluded: astronomers have found molecular oxygen in space. While single atoms of oxygen have been found alone or incorporated into other molecules, the oxygen molecule – the one we breathe – had never been seen.The Herschel space telescope spotted the molecules in a star-forming region in the constellation of Orion” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14372708
“The idea that other universes – as well as our own – lie within “bubbles” of space and time has received a boost” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14372387 And, “Nasa’s $1.1bn (£0.7bn) Juno mission will venture where no solar-powered spacecraft has dared go before” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14299278 And, “Striking new images from the mountains of Mars may be the best evidence yet of flowing, liquid water, an essential ingredient for life” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14408928
As compensation for pothole accidents reaches a record high, the BBC’s Keith Doyle looks at the pitfalls.The armed border policeman said, “You go in there”. This was a very rusty Portacabin, or an old Lorry Container; I certainly felt very hesitant, but with their ‘inherent’ Swiss Guard bad temper and the gun around ample waists – no choice was given! Inside, an ATM, or an automatic payment system machine, where they give you a green sticker to put on your windscreen for £45.00. Of course, it would be impossible to have this in the UK, for our foreign visiting cars and lorries: it would be far too easy to collect and administer! Wake up GB, and just do it! http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/ HM Government’s e-petitions site has just been launched.
“The Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he’s not the sort of man to sugar the pill” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-14417362 “Alain de Botton takes a witty look at modern parenting. He explains why today’s parent simply can’t avoid baking biscuits and helping to paint Tyrannosaurus Rex’s scales!” Producer: Adele Armstrong – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b012x138