July 28, 2022

Death by Education

"Ours may become the first civilization destroyed, not by the power of our enemies, but by the ignorance of our teachers and the dangerous nonsense they are teaching our children. In an age of artificial intelligence, they are creating artificial stupidity."

-- Thomas Sowell




Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at 08:57 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 47 words, total size 1 kb.

1 I have been thinking more and more, lately, that the world is entering a new Dark Ages, such as after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, say from the 10th to the 14th centuries. An era where city building, art, science and engineering stagnated and even regressed. An era characterized by fanaticism and war.

Posted by: Bill H at July 28, 2022 11:31 AM (Q7br2)

2 I agree, although U would not characterize the Middle Ages as the Dark Ages Bill; there was great intellectual and social ferment going on at that time. They invented eyeglasses, compasses and sextants, the chimney, and a host of other things. The university was invented then. So were new agricultural practices like crop rotation. And while everyone sneers at the idea of the "Kings Land" where peasants weren't allowed to hunt it was often done for environmental protection - quite enlightened by today's standards. You had all sorts of new technology in ships, too, with new kinds of sails allowing the ships to tack into the wind far better than in earlier times. And the Magna Carta was signed in 1215, which makes it a Medieval idea that guaranteed rights to every man.

I would argue the Dark Ages were in the 4-10th centuries, particularly the 4th where you had the collapse of the Celtic civilization as a result of the giant volcano in Iceland and crop failures all over Europe as well as the beginnings of any number of barbarian invasions - particularly the Vikings, who appeared in the 8th. Oh, and let us not forget Muhammed and the rise of Islam in the east. And the Huns first appeared in the 4th century and ravaged Europe for years afterward.

But this is mere quibbling over the timing. Your point is entirely valid and I fear we ARE heading into a Dark Age, one that will be quite terrible because we have so very many more people now than we did then.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at July 29, 2022 08:08 AM (UyNTg)

3 Nothing is 100%, Tim. Yes a couple of universities were created in England, but Europe at the time had become largely uncivilized.

That period saw massive use of torture and execution as a means of spreading of Christianity, including in England. There were numerous Inquisitions culminating in the infamous Spanish Inquisition. The Magna Carta, actually, was an act of desperation in deadly times, the result of a series of murderous kings, and was imposed by rebellious nobles.

Vikings plundered much of northern Europe while Genghis Kahn plundered the south. There was the first Hundred Years War between England and France, and multiple Crusades.

The direction we are going is a decline in engineering and replacing science with voodoo and superstition. Education is nothing more than political indoctrination, and fanaticism replaces rational thinking. The United States leads the world into a state of endless war. None of that can lead anywhere that a society wants to be.

Posted by: Bill H at July 29, 2022 10:51 AM (Q7br2)

4 Good points Bill, although some  of that has been mischaracterized by modern education. The Inquisition, for example, is largely misunderstood. Thomas Madden is a noted Medieval scholar and he said it was quite different than most people believe; it largely had to rely on the civil authorities and it was often used as a tool to cool volatile situations. If someone was accused of witchcraft, say, and a mob formed the Inquisition would claim authority over the situation, remove the person, do a cursory investigation, then quietly release them.

As for the Crusades, they were an entirely reasonable reaction to hundreds of years of Islamic aggression against Christendom. The spark that ignited them was the murder of over 1200 innocent Christian pilgrims on the way to Jerusalem by the Turks. The original idea behind them was to open a safe pathway to Jerusalem so people could go there. It wasn't just about conquest, although that was necessary to make this happen. Yes, there were excesses and out of control behavior; this was a coalition with no central authority and the Crusaders did some bad stuff, like sacking Constantinople, which was a disgrace. But they turned the tide of Islam, which would have swallowed Europe eventually. 

I don't think you can point to wars as a source of barbarism; we've had wars throughout some of civilization's finest periods. Certainly the 30 years war was at a time of great growth in Western Culture. Ditto the Napoleanic Wars.

At any rate, you make some good points although I think the Middle Ages get a bum rap.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at July 30, 2022 07:57 AM (8y7CU)

5 Whatever the "spark that ignited" the Crusades, they caused a lot of death and destruction, created a lot of widows and fatherless children, turned a lot of cities into rubble, and burned through a ton of money that could have been put to better purpose. So one of them was caused by the murder of innocent pilgrims. What were the causes of the other eight? Did the lust for glory by English kings have anything to do with it?

The Spanish Inquisition was just the last of a centuries-long series of similar inquisitions, all of them accompanied by Christian armies converting at the point of a sword, on a basis of "become a Christian or die a horrible death."

Posted by: Bill H at July 30, 2022 08:35 AM (Q7br2)

6 Again Bill, the point is the Crusades were no different than any major war. How was it different from, say, the Second World War? It was over religion while WWII was over worldviews, a very similar thing.  We don't call the 20th Century a dark age. Quite the contrary.

Wars often actually spur civilizational evolution  and technological advancement. Yeah; they are tough on the people who live through them.

What spurred the other Crusades? The attempt by the Muslim Turks to retake the territories they lost, that's what. Islam has always said where a Muslim foot has trod it shall remain. They thought they had owned it so it was their forever. That they took it by force in the first place didn't much matter to them.

Sure - some of the nobles who led the Crusades were just seeking their own glory and plunder. It's always been true of every war in human history.

I refer you to historian Steve Wiedenkpf's work on the Crusades. https://onepeterfive.com/a-crash-course-on-the-crusades/

The reason the Crusades are maligned is because it was the West that did it - and it was the Catholic Church who called for it. Protestants have used it as a bludgeon to beat Catholicism with. And the Left uses it as "proto-imperialism". But it was fundamentally nothing but a continuation of the war of aggression waged by the Islamic world against Christendom, only Christendom fought back. And it was by opening Europe to trade and to the knowledge they could in fact do more than just sit and wait to be plundered and overrun that led to the age of exploration in subsequent centuries.

As for the Inquisition, it primarily operated in areas that were already Christianized, and it was not noted for being especially brutal. The Spanish Inquisition is the primary one everyone thinks of when speaking of the Inquisition, and that too was tied more in with geopolitics than anything else. Ferdinand was creating a new nation - something unique in that it was not just an amalgamation of kingdoms but a nation-state with a common culture and language and heritage. To do that he needed to force the last of the Moslems out. And he also booted the Jews (a disgraceful affair, granted.) Those who converted to stay often did so only to circumvent the law, and that is why the Inquisition was called in - to test them to see if they were faking.

And again it was not the Inquisition that was the problem so much as the civil authorities under King Ferdinand. They were the ones who did the imprisoning and torture by and large.

Often the Inquisition protected those accused by neighbors or whatnot of being secret Moslems or Jews.

See here. https://www.nationalreview.com/2004/06/real-inquisition-thomas-f-madden/

Bill, I just don't think you can blame the dark ages on this. Certainly the Crusades ended the Dark Ages in Europe and opened Europe's eyes to a broader, wider world. And the Inquisition? It went well into the Renaissance.

Posted by: Timothy Birdnow at August 01, 2022 07:49 AM (6BIzz)

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Posted by: Kanpur Matka at September 21, 2022 01:57 AM (zm4ix)

8 Excellent disagreements, Bill, however some of them have been misinterpreted by current education. For example, the Inquisition's mission is often overlooked air fryer prices in pakistan.

Posted by: Blogger at June 20, 2023 07:12 AM (xF1vo)

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