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March 24, 2009 at 4:55 am in reply to: The Emergence of the European Renaissance #12914
My comments about the Black Death oversimplified what I read to the point of inaccuracy I think. Sorry. Anyhow, if you want to read how and why their theories about ccr5 developed you can check these links as a starting place: http://www.thetech.org/genetics/news.php?id=13http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v427/n6975/full/427606a.html I guess I unintentionally pulled this thread a bit off-topic. As to the emergence of the Rennaissance, I'm sure all the factors mentioned so far did contribute to it greatly. But I also think there was something more. In looking at not so much the history of events as the history of ideas, the bloom, proliferation, and extinction of specifac ideas and schools of thought (in the variety of areas) reminds me in some way of the bloom, growth, and decay of other living systems. From the time I read Thomas Kuhn's "Structure of Scientific Revolutions" to the present day, I started to think very differently about the ways in which the "spirit" of an age (for lack of a better term) evolves from point a to b, c, d, etc.If we're talking about, for instance, rediscovered classics being seeds that fell on more fertile minds of a more permissive Italy, how did Italy get to have a more permissive consensus? Was it led by one or more really powerful individuals who persuaded everyone else? (I tend to think this is most likely). Could you measure the rate of change? Did it build up slowly like water that collects behind a dam til it breaks the dam or was it more like a linear thing? Hypothetically, if we knew enough, could me make a mathematical model for it?For example, the mainstream of 20th century philosophy come almost entirely from a group of a dozen or so individuals referred to as the Vienna Circle (most notably Wittgenstein and Bertrand Russell). I studied how this school of philosphy proliferated and the pattern follows real closely the model that Thomas Kuhn describes. What do you guys think of this?March 22, 2009 at 7:44 pm in reply to: The Emergence of the European Renaissance #12911
I did some reading on the effects of the Black Death last night–about its effects in England specifacly–and what I read basically elaborated on what you just said. Humph….perhaps I misremember that old argument (of my prof); its was many winters ago.*Something* changed--I don't know what--does anyone think that, for a while at least, the huge dieoff from the Black Death and resulting societal chaos weakened the ability of The Church to stifle new ideas?Speaking of the Black Death, my surfing led me into a Stanford genetics site last night. Apparently, many of these folks believe that the plague was actually *two* plagues--the bubonic plague we're all familiar with coupled with a hemoraggic viral agent. They think this because the rate of expansion of the plague-two miles per day--is faster, they argue, than the bacterial rat-flea thing could have pushed the perimeter of disease outward. Furthermore, they said, the while the Black Death burned itself out in the 1600's there continue to be pockets of endemic bubonic thruout the globe. The part of the Europen population that did best against Black Death had a gene mutation (that had hitherto been rare) that accorded them some protection. The gene mutation resulted in a change to the protein coat of human white cells that are a part of our immune system. the changed protein, called ccr5--32 prevented the hypothesized viral agent from invading host white cells and using them to repplicate itself. If all this sounds familiar, it should, since the continued presence of this particular protein in immune system of those of Europen heritage is what provides many of these individuals with a measure of protection from the HIV virus that African and Asian populations generally lack.March 22, 2009 at 1:24 am in reply to: How did you come across Westerncivforum.com? #5243
I was searching on familiar words whose definitions I couldn't quite recall. Unfortunately, can't quite recall *what* I was trying to look up, I was surfing the web for odd news because i was bored. I found myself in mideival history, which is a period that has begun to interest me but which i never sufficiently explored as an undergrad. So here i am.March 21, 2009 at 10:53 pm in reply to: The Emergence of the European Renaissance #12908
I'm not a history buff; I thought the views of my favorite college history prof were fairly well accepted by scholars. His view was that the huge proportion of the population of Europe that died off during the plague left 'surplusses' in infrastructure (though surplus might not be the exact word I want) and means of propduction. Excess capacity in Europe as a whole enabled leisure time that in turn, increasingly, led to scientific and other areas of enquiry that we call “The Rennaissance” Has anybody else ever heard any theories ressembling this one? I have no pretentions to knowing anything; just stumbled into this forum and find it fascinating and i'd like to learn more.