Fjordman’s latest essay has been posted at Europe News. Below are some excerpts:
People of European origins are constantly accused of harboring prejudice against people of other cultures. But the more I read of European history, the more I believe that some of the worst prejudice actually targets our own ancestors, particularly during the Middle Ages. Virtually any young Westerner you ask will reply that the Muslims, the Chinese…(fill in the blanks) were vastly more sophisticated than the backward Europeans in medieval times. This is true in some cases, but not in others.
China was always significantly better at applied technology than she was in the theoretical sciences. And no, science and technology didn’t merge until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and then only in Europe. According to Toby E. Huff in his excellent book The Rise of Early Modern Science, if we consider the main fields of scientific inquiry to be astronomy, physics, optics and mathematics, then the Chinese lagged behind not only Europeans, but also Muslims from the eleventh century onwards, if not before. Even Joseph Needham in his monumental Science and Civilisation in China concluded that “the Chinese had very little systematic thought in this domain.” While one can find “Chinese physical thought,” one “can hardly speak of a developed science of physics.”
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Many Westerners to this day are convinced that medieval Europeans thought the earth was flat. They never did, at least not the educated ones. All the civilizations that were exposed to the learning of the ancient Greeks — Europe, the Middle East and to some extent India — were aware of the fact that the earth is round. Did none of the major civilizations of Eurasia believe that the earth was flat? Yes, the Chinese did. The general consensus among Chinese scholars well into the seventeenth century AD, more than two thousand years after the Greeks had demonstrated that the earth is spherical, was that the earth is flat. The error wasn’t corrected until the Chinese were confronted with European astronomy.
Read the rest at Europe News.