In his book “Die Geburt der modernen Wissenschaft in Europa” (German, Munich 1997),

Sea Lioness, Baby, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989
Sea Lioness, Baby, Rápida, Galapagos August 1989

the well-known Italian historian of science Paolo Rossi compared scholasticism and modern science with early modern times. The medieval scholastic method is strongly reminiscent of the way theology works today, as manifested in its letters of reply.


Rossi writes (p. 19): “Modern science resembles the exploration of a new continent, medieval science the persistent exploration of problems according to codified rules.“


Rossi continues (p. 19): “Scholastics do not meet modern criticism with an investigation of nature, but with an investigation of their knowledge of nature, which always leads to satisfactory answers. In this knowledge there is only room for teachers and pupils, but not for inventors”.


Rossi continues (p. 21): “The modern scientists – above all Galilei – go to work with an ‘impartiality’ and a ‘methodological opportunism’ which are completely unknown to the medieval tradition. (…) The paralyzing myth of absolute precision prevented the thinking of the 14th century from moving from abstract calculationes to a truly quantitative investigation of natural phenomena.


Who doesn’t think of the horrible comment apparatuses in theological works that fake the scientific nature of the “myth of absolute accuracy” and yet document only the anxiety with which the authors ascertain their own school tradition?

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