Re: Information & Power /Alexandria library

Anders Sandberg (
05 May 1999 13:22:49 +0200

"Michael S. Lorrey" <> writes:

> > "Michael S. Lorrey" <> writes:
> >
> > > Destruction of the library probably helped the development of
> > >scientific technological culture, because the loss of its knowledge,
> > >right or wrong, inspired generations of men to conduct original
> > >research using the scientific method to 'recover' that 'lost'
> > >knowledge.
> >
> > Huh? I don't see much evidence for this. Among the humanities it has
> > indeed caused much research, trying to piece together the *original*
> > Illiad or _The State_, but among the natural sciences there was never
> > the same recover-mentality, not even during the renaissance.
> On the contrary, the whole alchemy/chemistry area developed out of
>'recovering' the secrets of the ancient philosphers.

Ok, this area seems to fit with a more backward looking style of science.

> Middle age europe
> lost the secret of roman concrete, and european kings all wanted to
> know how to build structures like the pyramids using the magical
> methods that myth purported they were built with.

The architects and masons did indeed look backwards to antique architecture long before the humanists did. However, I have not seen much evidence that they were trying to re-create the lost knowledge, they were rather trying to create something that worked and drew inspiration from the roman constructions. As for finding the magical building methods, as far as I know there were no attempts to do them.

> Moreover, the scarce information left about the lost 'Atlantis'
> inspired Columbus in his quest for the new world.

What is the evidence for this being a more important factor than finding a trade route to India?

>If there had been more substantial supporting 'evidence' for the
>Ptolemaic solar system, Copernicus and Galileo might have been
>supressed even more violently than they were.

No, rather the opposite. Their claims would have been less convincing, and hence less of a threat. So they might not have been suppressed, but instead their ideas could have remained forgotten for a long time.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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