A Short History of Science and Religion - The Ancient World
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Article Index
A Short History of Science and Religion
The Ancient World
The Greek Contribution
Rise of Christtianity
Dark and Middle Ages
Enlightenment
Rise of Science and Philosophy
Galileo, Newton, Kant
Reason
Modern Times
Personal Theology
All Pages

The Ancient World

Babylonian TabletWe in the West have been taught that all of the science we have today was developed by the Greeks. Through work in the last 50 years we now know that we owe almost all of the roots of modern science and the roots of Greek science to developments in India, China, and the Arab lands, developments that predated the Greeks. The Greeks did indeed carry forward many of the ideas and laid the foundations for our modern philosophy, physics, metaphysics, and mathematics, but they already had learned much from the world surrounding Greece.

For example, Babylonian mathematics in 3000 BCE ("before common era", or more commonly, "BC", or "before Christ") had developed a number system, or a "place system," based on the base 60. Our modern number system is based on 10 (the decimal system). Around 2000 BCE the astronomers of Mesopotamia used tables with squares of numbers, a system that came much, much later in the West. In 1800 BCE the Egyptians used equations to deal with food distribution. Even the earliest recording of the creation story came from India around 2000 BCE and was recorded in the Rig-veda, which evolved into Hinduism. More about the contributions of the non-Greek scientists can be found in the paperback, Lost Discoveries, by Dick Teresi.

The Abrahamic Genesis story was first written down around 1400-1200 BCE (before it was oral tradition), and around 1000 BCE the Sumarians and Babylonians were using a sophisticated algebra, millennia before algebra was introduced in Egypt and Greece by Hero of Alexandria.