RELIGION can halt human progress, a speaker at the upcoming Gibraltar Literature festival has claimed.
Violet Moller, who will be speaking about her book, The Map of Knowledge, on November 14 at The Rock’s Garrison Library, added that all religions can have a ‘negative’ impact on society.
“I think that all religions have on occasion had a negative effect on the development of ideas and science in particular,” Moller told the Olive Press this week.
“The two have often been uneasy bedfellows, in part because religion relies on tradition and ancient ideas for its authority
“These traditions are naturally threatened by scientific ideas which are new, innovative and by their very nature at the boundaries of knowledge.”
Moller’s book charts the way scientific discoveries were brought into Europe by Arabic writers.
“They are not all exclusively Arabic ideas, but they were developed and transmitted by scholars writing in Arabic,” she said.
“These include algebra, the Hindu-Arabic numeral system, toothpaste, psychology and catgut for use in internal stitching.
“Most really important ideas are the product of several civilisations and have been gradually refined and improved over millennia.”
Historian Nick Higham will be speaking to Moller on how centres of scientific discovery like Toledo, Cordoba and Venice changed Europe.
“I learnt that the history of science is the most fascinating, compelling subject that can teach us so many things about the past and the present,” she concluded.
Moller is already starting on a new book on a different aspect of the history of science.