Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Bizarre Anti-Catholic Myths

From The Catholic Herald:
So where did my acquaintance get the idea from? Well, take a look at any current GCSE textbook and you will see that the Church’s ban on dissection is still being taught as fact to young people across the country. The popular BBC GCSE Bitesize revision website reflects the consensus. Its entry on Medical Stagnation in the Middle Ages states (with helpful bold type): “The Church played a big part in medical stagnation in the Middle Ages. It discouraged progress by … forbidding dissection of human corpses”.

How can it be that such an easily-disprovable slur against the Church is being taught to thousands of youngsters across the country? In fact, the problem seems to be wider than one incorrect statement. I do urge you to read the BBC GCSE Bitesize page in its entirety. It places the blame for lack of medical progress in the Middle Ages almost entirely on the Church. Apart from the mythical ban on dissection, the website criticises the Church’s “encouragement of prayer and superstition” and the “emphasis on authority rather than observation and investigation”. Pupils are also told that the Church’s “belief that disease was a punishment from God” prevented investigation into cures.

There is one piece of good news: apparently the Church’s only positive contribution to medical progress was that it encouraged people to go on the Crusades, where they came into contact with more advanced Muslim doctors! I promise you, I am not making this up – check for yourselves.

It’s a complex subject, and of course no-one wants to whitewash the Church’s record. But is it really fair not to mention the contribution of monks to preserving Greek and Roman learning during the dark ages, the Catholic insistence on the use of reason in academic study, the Church’s sponsorship of universities, the developments in surgery in the 13th century under the patronage of Pope Innocent IV, or the contributions of Grosseteste, Bacon, Magnus and countless other Catholic scientists? Professional historians will be able to give a more informed view here. Still, the overall content of the webpage (and indeed many standard textbooks) seems to me at best misleading. Frankly, it verges on straightforward anti-Catholic prejudice. (Read more.)

1 comment:

julygirl said...

Don't Gregor Mendel and his contribution to genetics.