There’s this narrative out there that says that science arose in Christian Europe in spite of the antagonism of the religious authorities against reason. It portrays the scientific revolution as the inevitable triumph of reason over superstition.
So that sounds nice enough, but how true is it? Well, one of the first things that stands out for me in considering that is that the rigors of the scientific method did not appear anywhere else in history. No other culture or civilization was able to provide for and encourage the scholarly disciplines enthusiastically enough to produce something as rich as the scientific method.
Really think about that. We’re told that human beings have been employing cognitive thinking for about 50,000 years and it wasn’t until about 500 years ago that we make the last major strides towards something like the scientific method.
And don’t misunderstand that. There had been scientific like inquiry from long before that, but it isn’t the same as a systematic approach to gathering observations and then interpreting that data in a consistently logical way. Other civilizations had mathematics, natural philosophy, and technology, but none of those things amount to anything as complete or rigorous as the scientific method, which only appeared in Christian Europe during the renaissance aided significantly by the Catholic scholastic forerunners.
Based on that knowledge, it should be easy to see that science has not always been some inevitable outcome but, rather, a very elusive step in intellectual inquiry. If Christianity is so incompatible with scientific reason, then how can something that has managed to elude humanity for so long, eventually explode out of backwards, dark age promoting, Christian Europe?
Not only is that a really glaring and uncomfortable refutation of the faith vs science narrative, but it is further frustrated by the fact that the list of people that were essential to the advent of the scientific method, in Europe, were pretty much all Christians working under the patronage of… Church institutions.