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The Stillbirth of Science in China

NOTE: Today we're continuing our weekly series of essays by Dr. Stacy Trasancos on the "stillbirths" of science. They're based on Fr. Stanley L. Jaki's research into the theological history of science in the ancient cultures of Egypt, China, India, Babylon, Greece, and Arabia. See past articles here.   There is so much written about China’s rich and illustrious past that no case could ever be made—from the Shang Dynasty (1523–1028 B.C.) to the Ch’ing Dynasty (A.D. 1644–1912)—that... Read More

How Catholic Missionaries Brought Science to China

In late December 1668, in a contest held at the Chinese Bureau of Astronomy, the Jesuit Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688) correctly predicted the length of a shadow cast by a vertical rod. The Kangxi Emperor was impressed. But he challenged Verbiest to two additional tests: the prediction of the exact position of the sun and planets on a given day and the timing of an approaching lunar eclipse. Verbiest successfully completed the final two tests, and, in the process, showed that the Chinese... Read More