Paul Myers is probably a good biologist and I suspect he is a good biology teacher but he is a lousy historian who appears to think that wishing the world to be as he wants it to be is more important than the facts. In a post on his blog Pharyngula he makes the following set of claims:
The history of Western Civilization hasn’t been one of constant decline. It’s been a complicated series of ups and downs, and people seem to differ on when it was going up and when it was going down. I see the major lifts occurring during periods of secular thought: Greece in the 6th century BC, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution. These are the moments when great changes occurred that expanded humanity’s vision. On the other hand, the great troughs in human history were whenever religion was ascendant: the whole of the Middle Ages. Not that people weren’t aspiring to great things during the Middle Ages, but they were all weighted down with the burden of dragging an anti-scientific, reactionary church with them everywhere.
The three periods of ‘lift’ that he identifies were anything but periods of secular thought. Contrary to the popular claims about logos replacing mythos in ancient Greece and this being the reason for the birth of Greek science, if you actually look at the works of the leading Greek thinkers they are full of religious claims and statements. Turning to the Renaissance all of the major figures who erected the structure that became modern science were deeply and actively religious, a fact that they openly acknowledge in their scientific writings. Again in the 18th century the period of both the Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution nearly all of the leading participants were again deeply and actively religious.
As I have pointed out more than once on this blog the Church was not anti-scientific during the Middle Ages and in fact members of the Church actively laid the foundations on which other members of the Church created modern science in the Early Modern Period.
I did not know that the New Atheists had started an Orwellian revisionist rewriting of history.