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Re: Change (was: (TFT) Jobs table: ...)

On Oct 2, 2011, at 12:43 AM, gem6868 wrote:

> like so many people, you're forgetting that Christian Roman Empire  
> that didn't fall until almost 1500, Byzantium.  Which regarded  
> itself as the Roman Empire, btw, and they should know.  Read more  
> history.
> As for your "throwing ideas around"...they merely present popular  
> prejudice. Solution - Read more history.
Sure the Christian Roman Empire lasted, but they weren't Catholic for  
a large part of that (that is, they had a split with the Catholics for  
a large part of that), and they weren't an Empire by 1500, and hadn't  
gotten close to the power of Rome at its height (pre-Christian Rome).  
They were also more Mediterranean than Western European, which is more  
where modern society comes from... Hence, its irrelevant to whether or  
not the Catholic Church was the cause of the unique 'uplifting' of  
Western Civilization... I'm not sure why you bring it up.

Regardless of all of that, I'm just saying its fundamentally  
ridiculous to say that the Church is the reason that we aren't  
barbarians humping sheep when they coexisted with many non-sheep  
humpers who were oftentimes humping less sheep than Europe was (The  
Middle East, North Africa, and Spain), and when science and  
civilization predates the church by many, many years. Add that to the  
fact that there were several times when the Church acted very much  
like barbarians humping sheep (The Inquisition, destroying and hiding  
documents, all the times they tried to suppress discoveries so that  
they wouldn't threaten the Church's stance as always being right).

Thats not to say that the Church is anti-science or unprogressive.  
Overall their track record has actually been fairly proscience, in the  
sense that they did try to preserve many things, many great scientists  
have been educated by the Church, have been priests, and so on, and  
that the Church has always come around (even if its taken them  
centuries, in some cases.... looking at you, Earth going around the  
Sun) to agreeing with the science.

Side note, I think its kinda ridiculous to say that the Church in  
itself is pro-science because priests and monks have been great  
scientists... smart people go where education is and then they use it.  
The Church controlled education, so obviously the smart scientists  
(educated and using it) are going to be members of the Church. Its  
hardly an argument one way or the other, but I think it is a cool way  
to notice the dichotomy of the Church on one hand being a 'source,'  
or, better, facilitator of science, while on the other hand  
suppressing it when felt the science was too contradictory to their  
world view (and therefore their power).

Other side note, and particularly relevant to RPGing: It seems to me  
that, in the general flow of things, the Church has been better  
(scientifically and morally) when it has had LESS power. Today the  
Church is totally proscience and also nice to minorities and all, but  
at the height of their power, the Middle Ages, they did things like  
the Inquisition (bit late for the Middle Ages, but point stands, as  
they did similar things before that) and destroyed documents.  
Actually, its almost more like as they started to lose power (due to  
protestantism and such) they became more protective... the  
Inquisition, Copernicus, Galileo, so on... perhaps this is generally  
applicable to any group that uses their infallibility as the source of  
power... they're willing to suppress truth and even get rather violent  
to maintain that infallibility, that power. Maybe the Wizards Guild  
works this way. Maybe the king of Freedonia is said to be God... so if  
something he said earlier turns out wrong, or someone doesn't bow to  
him, that can be the cause of a fight.
> But this is not a place to debate history.  You're trying to develop  
> a fantasy world.  ANYTHING YOU DO IS FINE.  If you can rationalize  
> it to the satisfaction of your players, who cares about all this  
> history?  It's pretty much irrelevant, unless you are trying to  
> present a world that is close to some period in history (probably  
> the high middle ages).  Then it's nice to know things like people  
> didn't use forks, ate out of trenchers they shared with others (and  
> shared a mug or skin of wine / water / ale...yuck), the difficulties  
> of procuring and using medieval weapons, finding food, or even  
> finding the time to "adventure" (which is really just banditry, and  
> makes all the players are target, essentially).  Basically, the more  
> "real" you make it, the less fun it will be for the players, as life  
> back then was EXTREMELY limited.  A magical fantasy world gives us  
> the fun of exploration without the misery.  I believe Hobbes said it  
> first, "life was nasty, brutish and short".  Who wants to game that?
Desperation can lead to adventure, but overall I agree. We tend to  
base our fantasy worlds more off Tolkien, where society overall better  
resembles Enlightenment or later, but with 'medieval' weapons (I  
wouldn't even say a medieval aesthetic, as most fantasy worlds seem a  
bit more like a mashup of late Renaissance with various other bits of  
history and armors thrown in).

Though I agree debating history isn't fundamental to RPGing, I think  
that understanding overall trends is important, because those trends  
can be used in world developing. In other words, one can use the  
history of the Church for an interesting campaign world, regardless of  
whether or not the players share a mug of ale or have their own.
> -----Original Message----- From: Joey Beutel
> Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2011 10:51 PM
> To: tft@brainiac.com
> Subject: Re: Change (was: (TFT) Jobs table: ...)
> On Oct 1, 2011, at 8:01 PM, gem6868 wrote:
>> Lots of ancient philosophers were into all sorts of stuff.  And   
>> Newton was a die-hard Christian.  So?
>> Responsible scientific methodology is a very new concept, not even  
>> a hundred years old.  100+ years ago, 90% of so-called  
>> "scientists"  were charlatans, and wildly irresponsible by todays  
>> standards.   Today, there are still plenty of irresponsible  
>> scientists around,  but they get called onto the carpet (how many  
>> more times is the  "missing link" of evolution going to be found by  
>> a Chinese  scientist...?)
>> Magic on Cidri cam be more comparable to whatever guild magicians   
>> belong to today (entertainers?  no idea) than to being part of any   
>> methodical scientific revolution.  Note, this also answers your   
>> question RE: Cidri technology.
>> Finally, while the church as an organization repressive to   
>> "progress" gets kicked around a lot, the church as being the   
>> progressive motor is usually overlooked (not PC).  check into it  
>> and  report your findings back.  If it wasn't for the church, you'd  
>> still  be an illiterate barbarian humping sheep and roasting your  
>> enemies  in cages when angry. And you'd be a "progressive"  
>> barbarian if you  knew how to hump the sheep.
> Thats highly debatable. The church certainly maintained a lot of
> knowledge, and even (rarely and often in baby steps) made some
> discoveries, but it also hid a lot and tried to keep science down (see
> Copernicus and the loads of ancient manuscripts they locked up under
> Rome for being 'heretical.'). Note that the Romans, pre-Christianity,
> were considerably better off than Europe under the Church for a long
> period of time (basically until people started to ignore the Church
> when it came to science, government, and to a certain extent  
> morality).
> Note, also, that islamic society was considerably better off in most
> respects during most of the middle ages when it came to science and
> overall enlightenment than Europe under the Church- to the extent
> where one could even say that the philosophical tradition of that
> society wasn't just muslim, but also jewish (Maimonides being a well
> known example of a philosopher during this time in this region).
> This is just throwing ideas around, but perhaps the reason there was a
> renaissance, enlightenment, and industrial revolution had more to do
> with a rebellion against the earlier church than it has to do with the
> church just magically creating progress... once people started
> rediscovering philosophy and the other ancient writings (influenced by
> the arabs, who had recorded some greek writings and maintained a
> philosophical tradition, discovered by Europeans during the Crusades)
> they desired to learn more and emulate the ancient society to on
> extent or another (The Renaissance), which was tied into a
> dissatisfaction with the Church (reformation, protestantism). Then the
> Europeans had some momentum, with relatively fast changes (helped
> along by some technological advances that were happening all around
> the Old World and spreading to Europe at about the same time) going
> on, and they started viewing scientific progress (in addition to
> Enlightenment) as a goal in and of itself, getting a true
> philosophical tradition going in Europe, more intense than the ones
> before it due to the rapid changes that had been taking place, and at
> that point things basically just lead from there to the Industrial
> Revolution.
> Probably many flaws with that theory. But if its even vaguely right it
> could be a possibility for why things don't change on Cidri-in the
> real world things stayed pretty similar in overall technology and
> social dynamics (Sure, bronze weapons became steel, but a spear is a
> spear, and a farmer is a farmer) for thousands of years until the
> last, say, 700 years, and for a lot of years under the early church it
> was worse than years before it, or other regions in the world.
> So I wouldn't say that the Church was exactly a progressive force that
> is the reason we're civilized, as all the evidence I've ever seen is
> directly against that, but people who say that the Church was just an
> oppressive force that kept Europe down, scientifically and otherwise,
> are wrong... even if it was an indirect affect, the unification it
> brought about and the later changes it helped create (by being the
> thing people wanted to change) certainly did help Europe 'win' even if
> it didn't help their science...
>> -----Original Message----- From: Margaret Tapley
>> Sent: Saturday, October 01, 2011 7:14 PM
>> To: tft@brainiac.com
>> Subject: Re: Change (was: (TFT) Jobs table: ...)
>> On Sep 30, 2011, at 8:14 PM, raito@raito.com wrote:
>>> Quoting gem6868 <gem6868@verizon.net>:
>>>> I've a problem with magic as science.  The two have nothing to  
>>>> do   with one
>>>> another historically, philosophically and mythically.  It's like  
>>>> trying to
>>>> explain "miracle" with "science" and vice-versa.
>>> Again, I disagree. Very much of modern chemistry has its roots in  
>>> alchemy, for example.
>>> Neil Gilmore
>>> raito@raito.com
>> Also, Pythagoras (yep, the guy with the triangles) was big into
>> mysticism. He wasn't unique in this regard, either. And remember how
>> much the Church hated Copernicus? His theory that the earth wasn't  
>> the
>> center of the universe directly threatened the Church's religious
>> principles. There just wasn't much of a dividing line between science
>> and philosophy (and therefore magic / occultism) in those days.
>> So... if you see a miracle, and you don't promptly start trying to
>> figure out what caused it, and how it might be reproduced, isn't that
>> kind of irresponsible? Think of the knowledge humanity could  
>> gain! :-)
>> Anyway, the point is that systems involving magic are basically a  
>> sub-
>> set of science fiction. Pretty much all science fiction posits
>> something; magic posits that if a person who knows what they're doing
>> says a Word of Power and points their finger, they can make something
>> explode, or turn invisible, or any of a number of other things. So,  
>> in
>> that way, magic is no different than FT-
>> JustPretendIt'sPossibleForAMinute-L travel. In settings with FTL,  
>> it's
>> science. Why can't magic be science on Cidri? (At least to the extent
>> that Cidri even has science - medieval society, see...)
>> By the way, does anyone else wonder why Cidri technology doesn't
>> develop any further than it has? We get the lack of firearms  
>> (sulfur's
>> hard to get), but what's keeping back the Industrial Revolution? No
>> coal? Wizards being paranoid? Some kind of Mnoren-imposed glass
>> ceiling? This question's probably been discussed somewhere in the
>> archives, but I'm too lazy to go look right now...
>> - Meg Tapley
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