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With a deep passion for learning and knowledge, Chris is an avid enthusiast of mathematics, computer science, physics, philosophy of mind, and economics. If you have any questions or comments about what you read on this website, feel free to email him at: NoSpam@ChristopherLind.Com (Replace NoSpam with Chris) Article: The foundation of all knowledge. 5-27-2005

The foundation of all knowledge.

One of the greatest achievements of western civilization is the discovery that the universe we live in is understandable, that we can use reasoning to know and understand the world that we live in. The idea that reasoning can be used to arrive at truth was first conceived of by the ancient Greeks. This is the "reason" why ancient Greece is considered the birth place of Western Civilization. This idea was immortalized by people such as Socrates, Aristotle, and Plato. However, the Greeks were largely pagan. They believed in many gods, not all of which acted rationally or morally. What would be the motivation for systematically investigating a world brought into existence by a collage of irrational, immoral gods and goddesses? There isn’t one. To give birth to the modern world, and to science itself, another idea was needed. It was the idea that the universe was created by one God. A God of supreme Love, Intelligence, and Truth. In short, Christianity was needed. For various historic reasons, Christianity and ancient Greek rationalism met with full force in the 1600’s. The result was the birth of the Enlightenment (or Age of Reason), which marks the beginning of the modern world we live in today. It is quite simply a fact that Rationalism, started by the ancient Greeks, was not enough to launch the birth of science and bring in the modern world. Ancient Greek rationalism can be summarized as "we can employ reasoning to arrive at certain fundamental truths."

Ancient Greek rationalism, combined with Christian theology, can be summarized as "we can employ reasoning to understand the universe, precisely because the universe was created by an intelligent, reasonable being, God."

Isaac Newton was a product of this new way of thinking. He discovered the Calculus and virtually all of classical mechanics.

His discovery of a universal law of gravitation made it undeniable that the entire universe, every speck of dust and every star in it, was governed by simple mathematical laws, also called "Natural Laws". This added weight to an idea which had been conceived of in ancient Rome, and realized in the creation of the united States of America: the idea that there are fundamental, inalienable laws of morality and ethical conduct, created not by people or culture, but by God Himself. Like the mathematical laws of physics, these moral laws are binding upon all people in all ages, whether they are aware of them or not. This way of thinking about ethics and government is known as natural law philosophy, and is the second great idea of western civilization.

Western civilization and science reached their peak at the turn of the 19th century. Acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution marked the beginning of its decline. The ideas that created our modern world were born out of both Christianity and rationalism. The last great idea to come out of Western Civilization was the invention of the computer. This happened in the 1930’s, and computers themselves have not fundamentally changed since this time. There have been no great new ideas since this time, and we can expect this to continue to be the case as long as God is driven further and further from the minds of each generation.

This is the Great Challenge of educators and intellectuals today. To restore the heart and soul of Western Civilization itself.

© 2007 Chris Lind