Medieval versus Modern

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Medieval versus Modern
« on: May 06, 2006, 06:34:25 AM »
Medieval europe is more similar to the three major eastern civilizations than it is to the modern west.  

  (The three eastern civilizations are the islamic, hindu, and chinese:  near eastern, middle eastern, and far eastern - strictly speaking)

  That is how Sheik Abd 'Al Wahid described the abyss that separates medeival europe from modern civilization, and the world has not produced a more profound historian in at least the past two hundred years.

  The first of the following web links includes most of his works translated into english with detailed descriptions.  The second link is a brief biography with photos:

http://www.sophiaperennis.com/guenon.html

http://www.sophiajournal.com/Vol1Num1/Article02.html

    In an earlier post of my own advocating an intelligent return to widespread illiteracy as part of the solution to society's probems,  most discussion centered on the differences between medieval and modern society.

  In accordance with an idea expressed in several replies to the illiteracy post, I hereby open a discussion for anyone desiring to comment on the general subject of medieval society versus modern society (pro and con).

- Dionysios

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Cinlef

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Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2006, 01:03:51 PM »
You know besides the fact meidval society was on average far more pious and devout athan modern society I cannot think of a single pro it has over now/
I can think of several cons the most prominent being it's inferior medecin
Many of the worst things about medival society are still widespread in the modern world;plague inequal distribution of wealth racism, sexism, warfare, religious warfare,famine,opressive tolatarian governments etc.
What types of pros do you have in ind Dionysios ?
(Aside of course from the general public subscribing to the FE model)
Also for the sake of clarity what do you mean by Medival Period? (Fall of Roman Empire to Renaissance or some other distiction?
An enraged
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

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Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2006, 01:40:52 PM »
The middle ages start around the end of 300s, more officially with St. Augustine, considered the first medieval man. It ends with the Protestant Revolution and the following Renaissance. Hereditary Rule continued on until around WWI however.

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Erasmus

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« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2006, 02:07:23 PM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
You know besides the fact meidval society was on average far more pious and devout athan modern society I cannot think of a single pro it has over now


Some stuff that immediately comes to mind are:

- Chivalry
- Personal honour
- Personal responsibility over those weaker than yourself
- Central place in society for craft
- Clean environment
- Lots of room (in the countryside at least)
- Possibility of adventure and exploration
- Superior primary education
- Strong family unit

I could go on....

Of course I admit there are many cons as well.  Just wanted to point out that there's a lot to be said for medieval society.

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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Cinlef

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Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2006, 02:09:31 PM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
Quote from: "Cinlef"
You know besides the fact meidval society was on average far more pious and devout athan modern society I cannot think of a single pro it has over now


Some stuff that immediately comes to mind are:

- Chivalry
- Personal honour
- Personal responsibility over those weaker than yourself
- Central place in society for craft
- Clean environment
- Lots of room (in the countryside at least)
- Possibility of adventure and exploration
- Superior primary education
- Strong family unit

I could go on....

Of course I admit there are many cons as well.  Just wanted to point out that there's a lot to be said for medieval society.

-Erasmus

Okay most of those are valid, but whats this about personal responsability for those weaker than yourself? ANd Superior Primary Education? THat depends on where you live now do a large degree
An intrigued
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

?

Erasmus

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« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2006, 02:19:17 PM »
Quote from: "Cinlef"
whats this about personal responsability for those weaker than yourself?


I refer to the feudal notion that the strong and rich (equivalent positions) protect the weak in return for the work that the weak do for the strong.

Quote
ANd Superior Primary Education? THat depends on where you live now do a large degree


You're probably right about the dependency.  I'm referring to the apprenticeship system, which does, in my opinion, a far better job of teaching people to be blacksmiths (or whatever) than the modern public education system does of teaching anybody anything (for example, to sit still).  I have family who work in primary education in a very wealthy area of the U.S., and the situation there is basically deplorable.

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

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joffenz

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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2006, 10:21:11 AM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"
You're probably right about the dependency.  I'm referring to the apprenticeship system, which does, in my opinion, a far better job of teaching people to be blacksmiths (or whatever) than the modern public education system does of teaching anybody anything (for example, to sit still).  I have family who work in primary education in a very wealthy area of the U.S., and the situation there is basically deplorable.


Not sure about the US but in Britain we have apprenticeship schemes but you can't take one until you're 16.

I also have relatives who are teachers (in London) but they seem to think the situation there is actually very good at teaching kids things.

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Erasmus

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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2006, 06:00:06 PM »
Quote from: "cheesejoff"
Not sure about the US but in Britain we have apprenticeship schemes but you can't take one until you're 16.

I also have relatives who are teachers (in London) but they seem to think the situation there is actually very good at teaching kids things.


That's good to hear... though I think apprenticeships should start much younger than 16.  "He is too old.... yes!  too old - to begin the training."  - Yoda.

Also good to hear that public education is still working in some part of the world.  I have heard that it's good in England, and I'm aware that it's quite advanced in Russia as well (or was twenty years ago).  In the U.S. and Canada, no degree of incompetence in children is considered too great; children who totally fail to learn any material are still given passing marks because it is considered more important not to damage a child's fledgling, fragile ego than to objectively evaluate a child's progress.  Every year more and more children are classified as autistic; many schools are little more than day-care centres for children with "ADD", teachers can no longer handle class sized that were traditionally considered typical.  It's a horrendous situation.

Anyway, back on topic, I approve of the Socratic method and of evaluating students according to the correctness/value of the work... I don't feel this is done nowadays in N. America, though I expect it was the norm in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (of course, I disagree with Dionysios' assessment of the Renaissance's worth).

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2006, 04:47:53 AM »
I agree with Erasmus's remarks on the US education system.  I fear that the tend to corporate takeover of education from government will make it something that is perhaps better in the short run and far worse in the long run, and that it will spread to other places after it is perfected, even if that is somewhat in the future.  My concern is that there is less control of what is taught by corporations than there is even in government education.  It is another step in the genereal downward direction.  

  cheesejof has certainly served to confirm my conviction that socialists are more intelligent and closer to the truth than capitalists apologists  and this includes their attitude towards the middle ages as well.

cheesejof,

  Do you see a difference between the early middle ages before the crusades and the latter middle ages?

  It is my conviction that the modern west has its roots with developments in western europe in the late middle ages which eventually spread to (poisoned) the world.

- Dionysios

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Erasmus

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« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2006, 11:34:14 AM »
Quote from: "Dionysios"
I agree with Erasmus's remarks on the US education system.  I fear that the tend to corporate takeover of education from government will make it something that is perhaps better in the short run and far worse in the long run,


Interesting... my complaints are solely concerned with the deplorable nature of the public system.  I have heard claims of this corporate takeover of which you speak but know nothing about its nature.  Could you elaborate?
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2006, 11:20:55 AM »
I am not well read on it either.  I am referring to private / corproate vouchers.  I do not like the public education system, and the books I bought on the subject were in favor of home schooling which I believe is an excellent thing as well as critical histories of public education.  One of the long established author's in this field in Sam Blumenfeld, whom I found out about from the Birch Society, but retained his books as they are worthy (it was not necessary to throw the baby out with the bath water, if you know what I mean).  I also looked into other hone schooling material becaause I thought basic education stuff was good to have, and I found the traditional catholic sources tended to be better quality on average than the protestant  and the rest, but I took the best of all.  Around the time I was a right wing Bircher, I moved to the country and lived next door to an old socialist who had converted to islam and we disagreed on everything, but we had many a conversation as we were both interested in politics.  This is where I was introduced to Chomsky by the by.  I remember him saying that he admitted public education was bad, but he opposed corporate vouchers.  I was not going to fall for leftist prejudice of his for no reason as I had the cream of the crop of the arguments of the anti-public education books in my library.  Yet I perceived that perhaps there was some peice of wisdom I might be missing if I ignored his arguments completely.  I decided that it is better to investigate both sides and take the best of both (although the better part of valour has been on the anti-public education side).  I have not investigated this more deeply since except to say that as there tend to be two major sides to the issue, I also thopught if I wanted the truth I would have to look to the past, and my default was towards tradition - hence my fascination when I came across "Bugbear of Literacy" by Coomaraswamy.

  When in the navy at sea on a submarine, we would get bored on watch and engage in conversation often.  One time on the midwatch, we got into a conversation about public versus private schools.  Demetrius (a young black guy who was at the helm) was in favor of public schools.  The 3MC was the Diving Officer (a white guy) who had a right wing pro-Bush outlook.  He was against public education and in favor of vouchers.  They were discussing the subject and I said I thought the public schools should be abolished.  Demetrius thought this was outrageous and unthinkable.  The Dive apparently had not thought of it before and said it was a bit radical but I may have a good point there, but them I told him that I did not want to replace the majority of the vacuum with anything and let the masses go illiterate.  When I took this position, these two guys who had been at each others throats over this issue were suddenly united against me.  I think they are afraid of the unknown.

- Dionysios

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2006, 09:38:22 AM »
Quote from: "Erasmus"


Some stuff that immediately comes to mind are:

- Chivalry

not until the later middle ages. was more about fighting then courting women in actuality
Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Personal honour

I don't see how it's any different then it is today. It's pretty much a person by person basis. If anything it was definately a stronger value before the middle ages during the Roman Empire and Republic.
Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Personal responsibility over those weaker than yourself



It's a common misconception that rulers gave a rats ass about their subjects during the middle ages. Rulers that truely did are few and far between.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Central place in society for craft


Centrally controlled and monopolized is closer to the truth.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Clean environment


Medieval cities were notorious for being close to foot-deep in feces, garbage, and other unmentionables.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Lots of room (in the countryside at least)


Lots of room that was ruled by a few lords who were sworn to even fewer kings. Tresspassing could very well equal death for a commoner.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Possibility of adventure and exploration


Can't deny this one. But we still have this today.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Superior primary education



You would get a great education if your were lucky enough to be born a noble. Even then it was not guarrenteed. And of course, no education for women.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

- Strong family unit


meh.

Quote from: "Erasmus"

I could go on....

Of course I admit there are many cons as well.  Just wanted to point out that there's a lot to be said for medieval society.



There's a lot either way, but overall I'm glad the medieval days are gone.
People forget that all of the material and sources we have from the middle ages are written by the few that knew how to read and write, AKA. not the peasants. Even though the peasents made up close to 97%+ of the population during the middle ages, very little attention is paid to them. The focus is on Kings, Popes, Knights, wars, the crusades, and other more glamorous people and happenings. But the fact is that about 97% of the people in the middle ages owned close to nothing and lived a life of constant and never-ending hard work and hardship. Life was short, hard, and brutal for most people during the middle ages.

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Erasmus

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« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2006, 04:22:54 PM »
My list of "good things about the middle ages" is really looking at the ideal scenario.  I think the items I mentioned are things that people considered important virtues to expect in others, if not necessarily habits they practiced themselves.

As far as the many ways in which being a pauper in the middle ages sucks, obviously, I agree, but it sucks to be poor in an ideal capitalist society as well.  Also, it's difficult to improve your situation in both setups, and before you bring up any noble blood issues, surely you'll agree that blood is noble if it's backed with steel -- no other way.  If you get an (possibly small) army together and overthrow a (possibly small) government, you have moved up in society.  Nowadays the methods are different, but the difficulties are the same.

So really, when I talk about the pros of medieval society, I'm really talking about the pros of being somebody other than a serf in medieval society.  If you talk about the benefits of capitalism, it's probably the benefits of being somebody other than a poor, unskilled labourer in capitalist society.

I would also ask, "Why should we pay attention to peasants in the middle ages?  What interesting things did they do?"  Insofar as they were interesting, I'm pretty sure history does pay attention to them.

Lastly I want to specifically defend two of the items I mentioned.

First, personal honour.  Again, on the assumption that you had some social status above serf (although I note that the minimum social level you could hold, and still have this be acceptable, decreased over time), there was the mechanism of the duel available to you to rectify blemishes to your honour.  While I realize this could get out of hand (and did so in France in the late Renaissance) I think that the notion that one's honour sometimes supercede's one's life is beneficial to society.  This mechanism is not available in modern society.

Second, on the possibility of adventure and exploration.  I claim it is difficult to find places on Earth that are unexplorable through books.  It's probably impossible to sail across uncharted waters or come across lost cities deep in the jungle.  On this point, I happily welcome evidence to the contrary.

I have minor disagreements with your other refutations, but with the two points above I have some emtional attachment.

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2006, 04:58:27 PM »
Well blood feuds were an acceptable method of settling agreements in the early middle ages as it was part of the germanic barbarian tradition to settle things like this, but it wasn't common or accepted as much after that.

And as for exploration. 50 years ago to about 10 years ago I think the frontier was space, and how far we could get. Still Mars remains a goal, but it's much less important to everyday people then reaching the moon before the soviets was during the cold war. Today we have replaced it with another frontier. How small can we go?
With the advent of nano-bots and the ability to create smaller and smaller machines I think that this is currently the new frontier. The communications revolution, the internet, and the computerization of everything is dependant on electronics getting smaller and smaller.

Of course discovering a new way to make a chip 5% smaller isn't the same as discovering a new landmass, but it's a parallel I could draw.

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Erasmus

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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2006, 05:08:59 PM »
Quote from: "troubadour"
Well blood feuds were an acceptable method of settling agreements in the early middle ages as it was part of the germanic barbarian tradition to settle things like this, but it wasn't common or accepted as much after that.


I'm referring to personal duels of honour.  Fiore di Liberi writes about such duels in his treatise on duelling Flos Duellatorum from the early fifteenth century, and there is an earlier manual -- so-called I.33, from somewhere in the early fourteenth century. -- instructing use of the sword for personal duels as well.

Quote
Of course discovering a new way to make a chip 5% smaller isn't the same as discovering a new landmass, but it's a parallel I could draw.


I agree that there are different kinds of adventures and explorations nowadays... I am particularly interested in adventures of the more visceral sort such as described above.  One should occassionally fear for one's life on a true adventure :)

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2006, 04:48:12 AM »
Were the points in Erasmus's list not valid?  Only in the sense that they were understated.  All of them are historically true.

  I would add that people in the middle ages lived longer lives than people of today, and they had better food and medicine and medical care.  Bleeding and other such monstrosities mark the beginning of early modern medicine.  

  People of the middle ages did indeed work harder than many of those persons in the socialist welfare society of today with the laziness it creates.  On the other hand, they worked less than many overworked proletariats and the medieval men had more time for Church and their families than the deunionized society of today.  

  Medieval peasants had more money and power than common people of today.  Virtually all peasants owned their own land and the means of production.  It was an agricultural society, and each was able to provide for themselves as people were self sifficient, unlike those dependent on electricity and food and even manufactured wants from sources other than themselves, so people have progessively become enslaved in many  respects.

  And from Elizabeth I's Poor Laws of the 1580's (which provided welfare for that homeless caste created by her father's confiscation of monastic lands for the benefit of a few rich nobles) all the way to Roosevelt's 'New Deal' of the 1930's and beyond, the welfare state has accompanied the capitalist state and the people dependent upon government or private interest has increased so we are returning to a slave society.  The effect of socialist laws on capitalist states is to transform them gradually into to slave states.  In servile society, men do not posess the means of livelihood or survival and are dependent on others for this, which is the way society is today.  People are less self sufficient and therefore more dependent than they were in the middle ages.

  The capstone of the return to slavery will occur when it takes on the power of law in written legal form.  To anyone who thinks this is ridiculous, I was naive enough to think the same thing about the possibilty of legalized torture until very recently.

  The return to slavery of the modern world has accompanied the decline of the Church and the resurgence of paganism.  

  A proletariat is a peasant who has had his land stolen from him by a capitalist.

  A capitalist is a noble who has had his nobility stolen from him by greed.

- Dionysios

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Erasmus

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« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2006, 06:00:32 PM »
Quote from: "Dionysios"
I would add that people in the middle ages lived longer lives than people of today, and they had better food and medicine and medical care.  Bleeding and other such monstrosities mark the beginning of early modern medicine.


Better food?  More organic food, maybe.  Better medicine?  This I'm not so sure about.  Do you believe the germ theory to be false?

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People of the middle ages did indeed work harder than many of those persons in the socialist welfare society of today with the laziness it creates.


Heartily agreed.

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Medieval peasants had more money and power than common people of today.  Virtually all peasants owned their own land and the means of production.


So are you saying that serfdom and feudalism were in fact very rare?

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The effect of socialist laws on capitalist states is to transform them gradually into to slave states.  In servile society, men do not posess the means of livelihood or survival and are dependent on others for this, which is the way society is today.  People are less self sufficient and therefore more dependent than they were in the middle ages.


Again, wholeheartedly agree.

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A proletariat is a peasant who has had his land stolen from him by a capitalist.

A capitalist is a noble who has had his nobility stolen from him by greed.


Interesting take; however not all proletariat are previously landowners.  In general they are anybody who sells their labour to somebody else, and that other person is the capitalist.  If you don't have any land to begin with, all you've got is your time; labour is the product that you produce.

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2006, 01:17:07 AM »
The modern germ theory which says all "germs" are bad is a bunch of rot.  Real germs are good, and when modern practitioners of death who style themselves as doctors try to eliminate them, they destroy natural things which help the body.

  Here is a critical look at Louis Pasteur (the man who preferred Anthrax as an aphrodisiac) which includes much information on this entitled 'The Dream and Lie of Louis Pasteur':

http://www.whale.to/a/b/pearson.html

  Here is a review of an older more thorough book by Ethel Douglas Hume entitled 'Beauchamp Versus Pasteur:  A Lost Chapter in th History of Biology':

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/customer-reviews/1564599272/ref=cm_cr_dp_pt/002-0857670-6025642?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=283155&s=books

  Although I would not hardly recommend most books by Health Research Publishers, they do reprint several good medical books including this one:

http://www.healthresearchbooks.com/pages/book_detail.php?pid=632

  And although I should perhaps include it in the post on psychiatry instead, in order to give a somewhat broader idea of the degenerate history of modern medicine, here is a link to Eustace Mullins's critical history of the American Medical Association from its founding in the mid-1800's until today entitled 'Murder By Injection':

http://curezone.com/art/read.asp?ID=16&db=3&C0=1

  As to serfdom and what is often called feudalism, I am not saying that they were rare but that they were good things which have been totally misunderstood by most modern men.  This is the result of deliberately false education about these things which has been manufactured by those who have benefited from the protestant reformation and capitalism and industrialization and is designed to keep modern generations from realizing how much better their grandparents and previous generations' lives were than those of most people in modern society.  Histiory taught in British schools (and Germany as well) was for centuries given a false idea of the reformation so British people were on the whole unfamiliar with the alternative catholic view.  This only began to change a little bit in the mid-1800's, but the 'Oxford movement' was never triumphant and the same false view of history was already being taught in america and had been passed onto the modern world.

  All proletariats today are not previously landowners, but as you go back each generation, more and more of one's ancestors were landowners (this is true at least of the west in general - it ultimately applies to the east as well - only the east is not as thoroughly modernized as the west, but it is catching up to it).  I do not mean they were all gargantuan capitalists or majestic nobles, but modest landowners who had enough to survive and lead a life much more decent than that of their descendents of today.

- Dionysios

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Cinlef

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« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2006, 07:00:12 PM »
Dionysios do you believe in the scinetif method at all? If so how do you discount modern medicine completly?
Also while I'm deeply grieved I don't get to toil all day at backbreaking labour so as to produce enought food to subsist on I feel incumbent to point out that since I do not I have more time free to read books both of science theology and fiction to educate enlighten and entertain myself. I also have more time to devote to helping my fellow man and in genral learn and grow as a person. I wonder would I have had the same priviledge if I was a medival peasant?
Just wondering
An enraged
Cinlef
Truth is great and will prevail-Thomas Jefferson

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Cinlef is the bestest!

Melior est sapientia quam vires-Wisdom

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #19 on: May 27, 2006, 09:13:42 AM »
I do believe in the logical method of Euclid.  The so-called "scientific method" of Bacon (which is probably what you were referring to) is not something I subscribe to.  It is a formula designed to tear down tradition.  It deliberately leaves room for any hypothesis whatsoever, including the wrong ones.  (Just like democracy which has room for any opinion whatsoever.)  Bacon's misnamed "scientific method" is understandably at the heart of the modern science which you love so much, and I do not believe it is the way to knowledge.  It is logical that he lived at the close of the middle ages and the beginning of the modern.

  Euclid's laws of geometry and logic are much more orthodox and were followed during the times of pagan Rome and the middle ages.  They are absolute, and Euclid's logic does not allow for the opinion of the researcher like Bacon does and therefore conflict with Bacon.  Never the less, Euclid's math was taught in schools in the west throughout the middle ages up until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when it became neglected due to the popularity of the disproven relativity theory.

  I recommend we return to the tried and true geometry and logic of Euclid.

LONG LIVE THE MIDDLE AGES!

- Dionysios

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Erasmus

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« Reply #20 on: May 27, 2006, 10:55:32 AM »
Quote from: "Dionysios"
Euclid's laws of geometry and logic ... are absolute,


What do you think about non-Euclidean geometry?  If you believe that it's "wrong", could you explain what exactly you mean by that?

Also, if you think it's "wrong", what do you think about the failure of Euclidean geometers to either prove the fifth postulate from the other four?  Furthermore, how do you think geometry should be done on surfaces other than planes?

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Never the less, Euclid's math was taught in schools in the west throughout the middle ages up until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when it became neglected due to the popularity of the disproven relativity theory.


Disproven how?  Also, I would point out that Euclidean geometry is still taught in schools... at least, it was taught to me when I was in elementary school and in high school (which wasn't that long ago I assure you).

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I recommend we return to the tried and true geometry and logic of Euclid.


I would completely agree, were it not for the usefulness of noneuclidean geometry for objects other than planes.

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LONG LIVE THE MIDDLE AGES!


Are you by any chance a member of the SCA?

-Erasmus
Why did the chicken cross the Möbius strip?

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2006, 11:01:57 AM »
I happen to be a member of the valient COB.

Medieval versus Modern
« Reply #22 on: June 07, 2006, 07:58:33 AM »
I am not a member of the SCA, but I know who you are talking about (the jousts and festivals with costuming).  

  As to relativity, we coud make a post exposing Einstein some time, but I would prefer to first reply to Cinlef's requesting a thread about the real existence of dragons.

- Dionsyios