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What was the relationship between science and religion in the early middle ages of Europe?

Faith and Reason proposal on Area 51

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    Was there science? – Spencer May 26 '18 at 21:31
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    @Spencer: "Was there science?" -- Precisely! Science did not exist as a discipline during the early middle ages. There were people doing science -- Jean Buridan, a French priest and teacher at the University of Paris in the 1300s came surprisingly close to scooping Galileo -- but mathematics (other than geometry) was not yet developed enough. It took centuries of slow development for people to realize that natural science was worth studying and for it to become an independent discipline. In the middle ages, what science was done, was usually part of philosophy. – Mark Olson May 27 '18 at 0:52
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    @Alex It's much more subtle than that! The ancients did not distinguish science from philosophy from mathematics (and in some cases, e.g., the Pathagoreans, from religion). The neat divisions of knowledge we have today simply didn't exist. Aristotle wrote on science and on pure philosophy and on morals and on literature or oratory. Herodotus wrote the first history, but a big chunk of it was what we'd call "natural history" -- in his day (and in Pliny the Elder's) it was all one. Because the question is framed in modern terms, it to some extent begs its answer. – Mark Olson May 27 '18 at 16:50
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    There's different definitions of "science". I'm currently reading a book by a theoretical physicist and he repeatedly describes what people like Aristotle, Ptolemy and Democritus were doing as "science". (And some did indeed experiment, though the "scientific method" was no formulated.) – Gort the Robot May 29 '18 at 16:09
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    @jamessqf, (the ancients didn't do science).. So Aristotle the father of Biology, you don't believe he actually contributed to Biology. Democritus the father of Atomic theory to your mind never pondered atomism? Eratosthenes never pondered astronomy or geography? Euclid and Pythagorus no impact on Geometry? Hipparchus, Trigonometry? The ancients may not have had the scientific method, but if science begins with asking a question, many of those questions were asked first by those ancients. – user27618 May 29 '18 at 17:30

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