The Single Greatest Health Discovery of the 21st Century

Easily clip, save and share what you find with family and friends. Easily download and save what you find. All the Single Greatest Health Discovery of the 21st Century truths begin as blasphemies.

In this section we will look at how the Church has affected the development of medical and other related sciences, from ancient times to the modern day. Already in ancient times medicine had started the transition from magic to science. Various types of surgery were carried out, including plastic surgery. Stone Age man had practised successful brain surgery, a fact witnessed by healed trephined skulls found in Neolithic deposits all over Europe. Ancient Egyptian papyri emphasise the importance of cleanliness and hygiene , a view shared by the Mesopotamians.

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They built sewers and water closets over 4,000 years ago. Egyptian dental work ca 2000 BC. Etruscans and other cultures also pioneered dental work. Such expertise was lost to Europe during the Christian period, and redeveloped in the secular age. For Christians, toothache was caused by tooth-demons. Around 400 years before Jesus, Hippocrates had founded the scientific study of medicine on the proposition that every illness has a natural cause. A Hippocratic text called An Ancient Medicine asserts that, using Hippocratic methods, causes and cures would in time be discovered for all illnesses.

In On the Sacred Disease he referred to those who invoked demonic forces as charlatans guilty of ignorance, deceit and fraud. After Hippocrates progress was made quickly. The ascendancy of the Christian Church dates from around the time of the death of Galen. Having progressed so far, rational medicine was now abandoned. Medicine in the Bible is entirely supernatural. The Church developed the view that real practical medicine savoured of black magic. In any case it was wrong to try to subvert God’s holy will by interfering with the natural course of events.

It was God who caused illness. If, by divine judgment, leprosy happens to a husband or wife, and the sick one demands the carnal debt from the one who is healthy, what is demanded must be rendered in accord with the Apostle’s general commandment , which gives no exception for this case. Illness was indisputably caused by sin. The Bible said so, and so did Church Councils. The only alternative explanations given credence were diabolical possession, witchcraft and other satanic machinations.

In Christendom, from AD 300 to around 1700 all serious mental conditions were understood as symptoms of demonic possession. Since illness was thought to be caused by supernatural agents, cures had to be essentially supernatural as well. The Christian ideal was that women should die rather than allow themselves to be helped by a physician. Some women won their sainthood for doing no more than declining medical assistance. In the fourth century Saint Gorgonia, the daughter of two saints, was trampled by a team of mules, causing multiple broken bones and crushed internal organs. She would not see a doctor, as she thought it indecent.

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Illness not caused by sin was necessarily caused by demons possessing the sick individual. Such illnesses could be cured only by exorcism. Here St Francis exorcises a demon from a sick woman. Bibliothèque nationale de France, NAF 28640, f, 84r. All manner of illnesses were allocated a patron saint, whose intervention was required to work the required miraculous cure.

Ergotism, known as sacer ignis or holy fire, was held to be alleviated by the intervention of the Virgin Mary. It was thus known as The King’s Evil. By the Middle Ages, medicine had regressed on all fronts in Christian lands. Christians adopted the view that it was wrong to wash. It was flying in the face of God to presume to clean off his honest Christian filth. The Manner of His Majesties Curing the Disease, Called The Kings-Evil. The practice of medicine was monopolised by the Church, so laymen who practised it became criminals.

Then the Church stopped certain clergymen practising it as well. Monastic medicine was prohibited by the Synod of Clermont in 1130. To the extent that it survived at all surgery was now the province of barbers, executioners, bath-keepers and proto-veterinarians. Monks now went off to the barber-surgeon for the dual purpose of having their tonsures shaved and their arms bled, but this was about the limit of surgical health care permitted by the Church.

No cleric may decree or pronounce a sentence involving the shedding of blood, or carry out a punishment involving the same, or be present when such punishment is carried out. If anyone, however, under cover of this statute, dares to inflict injury on churches or ecclesiastical persons, let him be restrained by ecclesiastical censure. Dissections of dead bodies were permitted in selected universities, but nothing of any value was learned because no research was carried out. By now Galen, even though a pagan, was recognised as knowing more than any Christian, so his word like Aristotle’s, was treated as indisputable. During these dissections the learned professor would read aloud from Galen while a lowly surgeon opened the body. Then the professor would point toward the organ and describe the five-lobed liver and other miracles of Galenic anatomy, such was the blinding weight of tradition and authority2. Freelance anatomy for original research was illegal.

Scientists like Leonardo da Vinci were obliged to carry on their anatomical research in secret. Leonardo’s famous mirror writing was used to disguise his findings, in case the Church authorities found out about them. His notes were not published for more than 200 years after his death. Anatomists have pointed out that the robes around God, Sophia and associates in this famous depiction of The Creation of Adam are a perfect representation of the human brain. On examination, details in the painting match major sulci of the cerebrum in the inner and outer surface of the brain, the brain stem, the frontal lobe, the basilar artery, the pituitary gland and the optic chiasm. Many Christian ideas about biology were spectacularly wrong. Leading theologians taught that women had more water in their bodies than men, so if a humid south wind blew during pregnancy, or if there were frequent rains, the baby was more likely to be born female3.

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The functions of the organs were also misunderstood. The Reformation brought little relief to proto-scientists. Calvin burned alive scientific pioneers like Michael Servetus. Luther saw logical argument as dangerous to Christianity.

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He said that “To be a Christian, you must pluck out the eye of Reason” and referred to reason as “The Devil’s whore”. Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has: it never comes to the aid of spiritual things but, more frequently than not, struggles against the Divine Word. Reason must be deluded, blinded, and destroyed. Even with the whole of the schismatic Western Church opposed to scientific reasoning, the Renaissance had already triggered the revival of Greek learning, and secular ideas were having an effect. The supernatural outlook of the Church was challenged by rationalism, and advances were once more possible. When Europe became static and religious during the Middle Ages, its medicine resembled Indian medicine tremendously, except that Indian medicine was much better.

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When in Europe, through the Renaissance, the Greek attitude prevailed again, Europe surpassed India rapidly4. It is no coincidence that modern medical terminology is largely derived from Greek, for the ancient Greeks were still the best medical authorities available after more than 1,000 years of Christian hegemony. Ancient techniques could now be revived. But the Church did not yield ground easily.

A sick monk calls out for the Virgin’s help and is miraculously healed by milk squirted from her breast. Andreas Vesalius in the 16th century carried out the most extensive anatomical investigations up to his time. His hands-on direct observation was a huge break with medieval practice, and considered little short of heresy. He was attacked for his disagreement with orthodox ideas derived from Galen’s studies of human anatomy. As a young man, around 1536, he had had a dispute with the theologians of Louvain over the physical location of the soul. In England, dissection had remained entirely prohibited before the 16th century. Now a series of royal edicts gave specific groups of physicians and surgeons limited rights to dissect cadavers.

The permission was still limited for generations to come. By the mid-18th century, the Royal College of Physicians and Company of Barber-Surgeons were the only two groups permitted to carry out dissections, and had an annual quota of ten cadavers between them. Elsewhere more liberal bishops licensed various medical practice from surgery to physic and midwifery, which gave them control of all these disciplines. Despite the advances, the Church still held medicine back roughly to the level of a pre-literate society. Physicians, licensed by the Church authorities, continued to diagnose cases of witchcraft7.

They appeared in court as prosecution witnesses, confirming that fits and other symptoms were the product of witchcraft. They claimed to have discovered devil’s marks on the accused. The Church was still clinging to the theory that illness was caused by sin or demonic agencies. Clergymen were still claiming to cure illness by magical means.

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In 1606 the Royal College of Physicians attempted to prevent the Rev. John Bell from purporting to cure fevers by writing charms on a piece of paper8. For the Church, Illness was still caused by sin and so was to be cured only by means approved by the Church. The four humour theory of medicine had survived from ancient times as an alternative explanation for illness. According to this theory illness was caused by an imbalance of the four humours, not a punishment for sin.

Composition of bodies elements and humors. Bartholomaeus Anglicus, On the Properties of Things. At base, illness was caused by sin, and that was all there was to it. The Louvain medical faculty denounced him in 1623. Subsequently he was called before the Inquisition and imprisoned. To the extent that there was a genuine scientific theory at all, it was the ancient one espoused by Galen, that illness was caused by an imbalance in the four humours in the body. Medicine in transition: This anatomical figure was used for medical teaching, but the figure is the biblical protypical woman – and she still guards her modesty, even from medical students.

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The Church opposed the scientific method and was hostile to scientific discoveries by Paracelsus or anyone else, preferring its own pseudo-science. When the rings of Saturn were discovered by Galileo Galilei in 1610, using his new telescope, the Church needed an explanation that fitted with Christian theology. A recent photograph of Jesus’ foreskin, according to a 17th Roman Catholic theory. Like many embarrassing documents, Leo Allatius’s work has inexplicably disappeared from the Vatican Library.

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Some Catholic apologists have claimed that it never existed. Below is an extract from a Vatican catalogue – proof that it did exist. The Church could not deny the efficacy of medicines indefinitely, and views gradually changed. Now, instead of banning medical practices, it sought to reassert its medical monopoly. The Church now became interested in drugs. New ones from South America were exploited by churchmen. For example the Jesuits exploited quinine, introduced from Peru in the 1630s.

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It was even known as “the Jesuit powder” because of their lucrative monopoly. A stranger came and said to me “My friend, put out your candle, so that you will find the way better”. Until the Enlightenment the state of European medical knowledge was still no better, and arguably rather worse, than that of the ancient Greeks. Useful research was not possible while the Church exercised control. In fact the Church’s ignorance often made medical problems all the greater. When plagues and other epidemics swept through Europe, devout Christians gathered in churches to pray for deliverance.

During the whole 1500 years of the Christian period, caesarian deliveries were assumed to be necessarily fatal to the mother, and for most of that period they invariably were. The first modern Caesarian section in Europe was performed in 1881. Detail from Birth of Caesar, Royal 16 G VII f. Gradually the hold of the Church was relaxed as new ideas filtered into Europe from the Americas and from the East. Thus for example, innoculation was learned from the Turks in the eighteenth century, having already been used to prevent smallpox for 1,000 years in the East. She had arrived at the court of the Ottoman Empire in 1717 with her husband, the British ambassador. She wrote voluminously of her travels.

While freethinkers like Condorcet and Voltaire advocated inoculation against smallpox, it was condemned in France by university faculties of theology. In England, as a result of pressure from anatomists in the rapidly growing medical schools, the Murder Act 1752 allowed the bodies of executed murderers to be dissected for anatomical research and education. Churches made no significant objection to this as it was consistent with the traditional Christian practice of posthumously punishing the bodies of those found guilty of particularly heinous crimes. William Hogarth, Four stages of cruelty – The reward of cruelty, 1751, last of a series of engravings.