What If Christianity Had Defeated Reason?


What if the Christian organised religion had successfully blocked all scientific progress and philosophical development of reason for the past 2000 years?

  • We would probably still think the earth was located at the centre of the solar system (this school of thought is known as geocentrism, as opposed to heliocentrism), despite what brilliant astronomers like Copernicus and Galileo have argued.
  • We would still think that the sun revolved around the earth. (Having said that, in 2012, 18% of Americans still believed the sun revolves around the earth.)
  • Mankind would probably not have tolerated any kind of modern democracy, since theocratic politics do not tolerate opposing views, let alone critical or secular ones. After all, there is a strong argument to be made that organised religion does not tolerate dissent.
  • Secularists, radical and experimental scientists, thinkers and philosophers – dissenters of any kind for that matter – would still be silenced. That is, regularly burned at the stake.
  • Homosexuals, bisexuals and people with multiple casual sexual partners would probably be in the same amount of danger as people of a similar nature are nowadays in central Africa – perhaps even more danger.
  • Women would still be banned from most of public life; in the same way history has shown us for the past centuries.
  • We would still think human beings are a special divinely created exception in biology. Facts about evolution and genetics would be unknown.
  • And since mankind would be considered to be above nature, animals would probably be exploited even more than today.
  • Since evidence based sciences would have a tough time, evidence based medicine would probably not exist in the form we know today, we would still use quacks, faith healers and prayer to combat diseases instead of vaccinations and other medications.
  • Nations that would identify themselves as devoutly Christian would probably still be fighting religious wars against the other faithful.
  • Many of the works of noteworthy intellectual figures would never have been published (perhaps because they were placed on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum or similar black list). Notable thinkers on this list include: Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Voltaire, Denis Diderot, Victor Hugo, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, André Gide, Emanuel Swedenborg, Immanuel Kant, David Hume, René Descartes, Francis Bacon, Thomas Browne, John Milton, John Locke, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Blaise Pascal and Hugo Grotius. (Interestingly, Charles Darwin’s works were never included.)

‘Yes. To you, Baldrick, the Renaissance was just something that happened to other people, wasn’t it? [...] No that’s what I think, that’s what I think, what do you think? Try to have a thought of your own, Baldrick. Thinking is so important. What do you think?’

- Joseph M. 1998. Blackadder The Whole Damn Dynasty London, Great Britain: Penguin Books (1999) p. 137-138

Uncertainty‏


When contemplating the property uncertainty‏, as with knowledge, it turns out to be very difficult to provide an uncontentious analysis. Because of its many different conceptions and dimensions, the full value of uncertainty‏ is surprisingly hard to capture. To that end, below is a list of quotations to help sketch a definition of the property uncertainty‏.

“We demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!”
- Douglas Adams

“Il n’est pas certain que tout soit incertain.”
(It is not certain that everything is uncertain.)
- Blaise Pascal

“The mistake is thinking that there can be an antidote to the uncertainty.”
- David Levithan

“As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain; and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.”
- Albert Einstein

“Maturity, one discovers, has everything to do with the acceptance of not knowing.”
- Mark Z. Danielewski

“In these times I don’t, in a manner of speaking, know what I want; perhaps I don’t want what I know and want what I don’t know.”
- Marsilio Ficino

“When in doubt, be ridiculous.”
- Sherwood Smith

“We sail within a vast sphere, ever drifting in uncertainty, driven from end to end.”
- Blaise Pascal

“I think it’s much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers which might be wrong.”
- Richard Feynman

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Most schools in Japan don’t have a janitor as students do the cleaning.

Fish are primarily white meat due to the fact that they don’t ever need their muscles to support themselves and thus need much less myoglobin or sometimes none at all in a few cases; they float, so their muscle usage is much less than say a 1000 pound cow who walks around a lot and must deal with gravity.  Typically, the only red meat you’ll find on a fish is around their fins and tail, which are used almost constantly.

For the first two centuries of its existence, Christianity included people who believed in one god, in two, in 12, in 30, and in 144.

George W. Bush and Saddam Hussein had their shoes hand-made by the same Italian cobbler.

Homosexuality in North Korea is not a problem. Due to tradition in Korean culture, it is not customary for individuals of any sexual orientation to engage in public displays of affection. Nevertheless, as a country that has embraced science and rationalism, North Korea recognizes that many individuals are born with homosexuality as a genetic trait and treats them with due respect.

See other: Quite Interesting Facts

Hardcore English Grammar (iii)


The following collection of grammatical errors are fine examples of a number of complex and indeed very complex mistakes in English grammar. The corrections are based on Swan’s Practical English Usage (2005).

- ELLIPSIS
“The current sports centre is on campus grounds and introduced for the benefit of students.” = The current sports centre is on campus grounds and was introduced for the benefit of students.
(178.2) Wrong ellipsis. Only a repeated word with identical function and wordclass can be left out. In this case, the verb is is a copula; the verb was is an auxiliary.

- INVERSION
“Sylvia spoke only English in her first years and only when she went to nursery school, she really learnt speaking Dutch.” = Sylvia spoke only English in her first years and only when she went to nursery school, did she really learn to speak Dutch.
(302) Negative inversion. After initial negative adverbial ‘only …’ the auxiliary should be placed before the subject. In case there is no auxiliary, use do.

- MISRELATED PARTICIPLE
“Being in America, a ‘pizza party’ sounded very promising to hungry and weary travellers.” = When they were in America, a ‘pizza party’ sounded very promising to hungry and weary travellers.
(411.4) Misrelated participle. The subject of the adverbial -ing participle clause should be the same as the subject of the main clause.

See other: Notes On English Grammar