Simple Example: The Bible and Basic Book Knowledge
Gutenberg’s accomplishment was monumental, and all lovers of books and bibles should be grateful for it. But he printed his Bible in 1455, which was just 142 years after the world’s first mass produced book was printed in China by Wang Zhen in 1313. The book was the Nong Shu, the Book of Farming, a complex and “substantial” book (I’m wondering if “substantial” in the Ransom Center’s statement was meant as a weasel word to excise Chinese competition?). It was printed with over 100,000 characters (the copy I own comes in three hefty volumes—sure feels “substantial,” though standards for substantial might be bigger in Texas). It also has dozens of drawings with DaVinci-like mechanisms including, for example, water wheels that crank a piston pumping a bellows attached to a blast furnace producing molten metal (see figure below), drawn and described over a hundred years before Europeans invented the blast furnace. Go read about it at Wikipedia in the article on the inventor, Wang Zhen, or read about it over at the Nauvoo Times. It was an amazing accomplishment. One controversial writer, Gavin Menzies, even argues that copies of the Nong Shu that made it to Europe may have triggered the Italian Renaissance and been the source for some of DaVinci’s inventions (or rather, his well-drawn adaptations and possible improvements of Chinese inventions). See Gavin Menzies, 1434:The Year a Magnificent Chinese Fleet Sailed to Italy and Ignited the Renaissance (New York: HarperCollins, 2008). Interesting theory, but I’m not so sure about it, though I also can’t rule it out. Not with my limited knowledge.
Establishment Science and Fatal Maternity Wards
Science, Ye Scurvy Dog
Pride and Prejudice: Science and the Messy Areas
The Variety of Human Experiences: An Indictment of Religion?
Mormonism: Surprisingly Comfortable with Science
In one of my next posts, I'll describe the ongoing process of discovery and experimentation that many Mormons apply in their pursuit of religious knowledge and their own personal "testimony." It's not just a one-time random feeling, but a process involving the mind and the heart as we seek deeper knowledge and experience that can be obtained from traditional book learning or even from Wikipedia.