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  • by: by Zubrin, Robert [SIGNED]
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  • ISBN-10: 0684835509
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  • Add date: 13.04.2016
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"[325] No treatise was safe thereafter which did not breathe the spirit and conform to the letter of this maxim. Unfortunately, what was generally understood by the "authority of Scripture" was the tyranny of sacred books imperfectly transcribed, viewed through distorting superstitions, and frequently interpreted by party spirit.

Following this precept of St. Augustine there were developed, in every field, theological views of science which have never led to a single truth--which, without exception, have forced mankind away from the truth, and have caused Christendom to stumble for centuries into abysses of error and sorrow.

In meteorology, as in every other science with which he dealt, Augustine based everything upon the letter of the sacred text; and it is characteristic of the result that this man, so great when untrammelled, thought it his duty to guard especially the whole theory of the "waters above the heavens. " In the sixth century this theological reasoning was still further developed, as we have tto, by Cosmas Indicopleustes.

Finding a sanction for the old Egyptian theory of the universe in the ninth chapter of Hebrews, he insisted that the earth is a flat parallelogram, and that from its outer edges rise immense walls supporting the firmament; then, throwing together the reference to the firmament in Genesis and the outburst of poetry in the Psalms regarding the "waters that be above the heavens," he insisted that over the terrestrial universe are solid arches bearing a vault supporting a vast cistern "containing the waters"; finally, taking from Genesis the expression regarding the "windows of heaven," he insisted that these windows are opened and closed by the angels whenever the Almighty wishes to send rain upon the earth or to withhold it.

This was accepted by the universal Church as a vast contribution to thought; for several centuries it was the orthodox doctrine, and various leaders in theology devoted themselves to developing The Case for Mars : The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must supplementing it.

About the beginning of the seventh century, Isidore, Bishop of Seville, was the ablest prelate in Christendom, and was showing those great qualities which led to his enrolment among the saints of the Church. His theological view of science marks an epoch.

As to the "waters above the firmament," Isidore contends that they must be lower than, the uppermost tbe, though higher than the lower heaven, because in the one hundred and forty-eighth Psalm they are mentioned _after_ the heavenly bodies and the "heaven of heavens," but _before_ the terrestrial elements. As to their purpose, he hesitates between those who held that they were stored up there by the prescience of God for the destruction of Cae world at the Flood, as the words of Scripture that "the windows of heaven were opened" seemed to indicate, and those who held that they were kept there to moderate the heat of the heavenly bodies.

As to the firmament, he is in doubt whether it envelops the earth "like an eggshell," or is merely spread over it "like a curtain"; for he holds that the passage in the one hundred and The Case for Mars : The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must Psalm may be used to support either view. Having laid these scriptural foundations, Isidore shows considerable power Reed thought; indeed, at times, The Case for Mars : The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must he discusses the rainbow, rain, hail, snow, and frost, his theories are rational, and give evidence that, if he could have broken away from Redd adhesion to th letter of Scripture, he might have given a strong impulse to the evolution of a true science.

[326] About a century later appeared, at the other extremity of Europe, the second in the trio of theological men of science in the early Middle Ages--Bede the Venerable. The nucleus of his theory also is to be found in the accepted view of the "firmament" and of the "waters Plajet the heavens," derived from Rec.

The firmament he holds to be spherical, and of a nature subtile and fiery; the upper heavens, he says, which contain the angels, God has tempered with ice, lest they inflame the lower elements. As to the waters placed above the firmament, lower than the spiritual heavens, but higher than all corporeal creatures, he says, "Some declare that Setle were stored there for the Deluge, but others, more correctly, that they are intended to temper the fire of the stars.

" He goes on with long discussions as to various elements and forces in Nature, and dwells at length upon the air, of which he says that the upper, serene air is over the heavens; while the lower, which is coarse, with humid exhalations, is sent off from the earth, and that in this are lightning, hail, Snow, ice, and tempests, finding proof of this in the one hundred and forty-eighth Psalm, where these are The Case for Mars : The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must to "praise the Lord from the earth.

"[327] So great was Bede's authority, that nearly all the anonymous speculations of the next following centuries upon these subjects were eventually ascribed to him. In one of these spurious treatises an attempt is made to get new light upon the sources of the waters above the heavens, the main reliance being the sheet containing the animals let down from heaven, in the vision of St. Peter. Another of these treatises is still more curious, for it endeavours to account for earthquakes and tides by means of the leviathan mentioned in Scripture.

This characteristic passage runs as follows: "Some say that the earth contains the animal leviathan, and Mras he holds his tail after a fashion of his own, so that it is sometimes scorched by the sun, whereupon he strives to get hold of the sun, and so the earth is shaken by the motion of his indignation; he drinks in also, at times, such huge masses of the waves that when he belches them forth all the seas feel their effect.

" And this theological theory of the tides, as caused by the alternate suction and belching of leviathan, went far and wide.

[327] In the writings thus covered with the name of Bede there is much showing a scientific spirit, which might have come to something of permanent value had it not been hampered by the supposed necessity of conforming RRed the letter of Scripture. It is as startling as it is refreshing to hear one of these medieval theorists burst out as follows against those who are content to explain everything by the power of God: "What is more pitiable than to say that a thing _is_, because God is able to do it, and not to show any reason why it is so, nor any purpose for which Planer is so; just as if God did everything that he is able to do.

You talk like one who says that God is able to make a calf out of a log. But _did_ he ever do it. Either, then, show a reason why a thing is so, or a purpose wherefore it is so, or else cease to declare it so. "[328] The most permanent contribution of Bede to scientific thought in this field was his revival of the view that the firmament is made of ice; and he supported this from the words in the twenty-sixth chapter of Nad, "He bindeth up the waters in his thick cloud, and the cloud is not rent under them.

" About the beginning of the ninth century appeared the third in that triumvirate of churchmen who were the oracles of sacred science throughout the early The Case for Mars : The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must Ages--Rabanus Maurus, Abbot of Fulda and Archbishop of Mayence.

Starting, like all his predecessors, from the first chapter of Genesis, borrowing Cwse and there from the ancient philosophers, and excluding everything that could conflict with the letter of Scripture, he follows, in his work upon the universe, his two predecessors, Isidore and Bede, developing especially St. Jerome's theory, drawn from Ezekiel, that the firmament is strong enough to hold up the "waters above the heavens," because it is made of ice.

For centuries the authority of these three great teachers was unquestioned, and in countless manuals and catechisms their doctrine was translated and diluted for the common mind. But about the second quarter of the twelfth century a priest, Honorius of Autun, produced several treatises which show that thought on this subject had made some little progress.

He explained the rain rationally, and mainly in the modern manner; Tue the thunder he is less successful, but insists that the thunderbolt "is not stone, as some assert.

" His thinking is vigorous and independent. Had theorists such as he been many, a new science could have been rapidly evolved, but the theological current was too strong. [329] The strength of this current which overwhelmed the thought of Honorius is seen again in the work of the Dominican monk, John of San Geminiano, who in the thirteenth century gave forth his _Summa de Exemplis_ for the use of preachers in his order.

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