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RESPONSE PAPER 7 - why all objects were held to it In the...

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RESPONSE PAPER 7 Adelard of Bath At a time when the west was far from a center of philosophy and science, this text demonstrates how western religious authority trumped science. Adelard is somewhat cautious throughout the text to be sure that he makes it clear that the stated ideas are not his own but those of the Arabs. He fears that the knowledge will cause quite a stir among his readers, whom he believes will not enjoy it, though it is beneficial for them to read. Interestingly, though, while he claims to ownership to the ideas so as to prevent any potential retaliation, he mentions that he has found even among his countrymen only drunks, sycophants, and liars. He pulls no punches in criticizing the elite of his home country, yet he dares not claim any association with the knowledge he is about to impart. This represents just how dangerous it was to challenge the church in the west. Not only did the church believe that the earth was flat, but it likely also had a godly explanation for
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Unformatted text preview: why all objects were held to it. In the text, Adelard explains this phenomenon scientifically as opposed to theologically, additionally positing that the earth is round in shape. To associate one’s self with this would be to incur the church’s wrath, and while criticizing the English upper class was one thing, criticizing the church was quite another. What’s interesting to examine here, however, is the difference in culture between east and west at this point. Religion was obviously just as key a player in the Arab world as it was in Europe, but it didn’t interfere with the pursuit and chronicling of knowledge. This basic concept of gravity, which must have been conceived by an Arab scholar at least in the 12 th century, was not first seriously studied by a European until Galileo centuries later. And even then, in the so-called “scientific revolution,” there was intense friction between religion and science....
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