Your view of the relation between Catholicism and science strikes me as specious. The fact that early-modern scientists were Christian is of no consequence, since what else could they have been in totalitarian Christendom?

That's like saying Christianity is needed for great art, because the greatest Western artists in the past all worked for the Church. Who else would they have worked for at that time? Who else had the money to serve as patrons, apart from those who needed to ingratiate themselves with the Church? Who in Europe would have paid artists to explore Hindu or Daoist themes?

These were not free-thinking societies. You could get excommunicated or tortured and killed for disagreeing with the Church. Only in so far as science and art reinforced Christian thinking were they tolerated. The dogmas of the Church came first, until the protestant and scientific revolutions.

Take your defense of the Church's treatment of Bruno, which is casuistic. Bruno was a pantheist, and the technicalities the Inquisition went after him for are like the US government's conviction of Al Capone for tax fraud. The point is Bruno was a free thinker and he was killed for it. That had a chilling effect, which is why many early-modern thinkers felt they had to profess to be deists, rather than pushing their luck with atheism and deeper skepticism.

This is what happens in a theocracy (in Christendom or in the Middle East, for example), when the religious institution has political power: people are persecuted for thought crimes. You want to say that Christian faith motivated science, but it's at least as easy to show that science progressed in spite of the Church's dogmatism and hostility to non-Christian hypotheses.

Knowledge condemns. Art redeems. I learned that as an artistic writer who did a doctorate in philosophy. We should try to see the dark comedy in all things.

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