Some Internationally well-known award winning scientist comes to India and lectures about how science began only in the post renaissance period of Europe and our people clap.
This is what happens when an audience meant to listen to scientific lecture and the person meant to lecture science starts talking about and listening to history instead.
So here is what they should really be doing to test their faith in what was said and what was heard.
Both the audience and the scientist should read lectures, articles and books not pertaining to science authored by great scientists like Einstein, Bohr, Schrodinger, Heisenberg, Oppenheimer, Neils Bohr, etc.
Then they should read writers, historians etc like George Bernard Shaw, Arnold Toynbee, Mark Twain, Will Durant, B G Rele, Romain Rolland, Sylvia Leve, etc.
Then they should start reading about the history behind the names like Aryabhatta, Charaka, Sushruta, Brahmagupta, Bhaskaracharya, etc.
Then they should wonder how could Pythagoras write a theorem without ever providing a proof for it and yet the theorem be named after him, and what Voltaire said about the source of Pythagoras’ knowledge, and when was the first proof of this theorem provided, and by whom? And many other instances like this.
Then they should do a little research into the Origin of Mathematics as we use today and try to do a Phd thesis on whether science and technology as we know today could have still been achieved using the mathematics based on Roman Numeral System.
Then they should go on a world tour visiting places like ancient Iron Pillars in India (For ex: in Delhi) which has withstood more than thousand years of rough whether without rusting and understand how something not known even centuries after post renaissance could exist millennium before it! Visit the Pyramids of Egypt and see if there are any machines available in this post renaissance period today which can lift the stone blocks as huge as the ones used to build the Pyramids, and to those great heights.
And after all this they should get back to the same auditorium again and now start talking about when Science began – and this time with accurately translated copies of the world’s oldest literary works, like the vedas, the upanishads, the various samhitas, the yoga sutras, Buddhist literature etc.
If they feel it doesn’t make any sense, then they should read a bit about actual science now – quantum mechanics for instance, and try to find what things like Schrodinger’s Wave Equation, non-locality, the concept of time, the nature of reality, hidden variable theories, uncertainty principle, etc really mean. And again read what Heisenberg, Bohr, Schrodinger etc said about their quest to find the meanings of these terms.
And finally, the sentence “Science began only in the post renaissance period in Europe” should be displayed on the screen.
We started with an expert in field A, making comments about a field B in which he lacked expertise – that is how we ended up with this Joke. After all, man did not start breathing only after the Oxygen was discovered.
Don’t get confused with the beginning of industrialization to be the origin of Science. You cannot start building machines in the same age of discovering metals. Claiming that man started thinking scientifically five centuries back inspite of having the same intelligent brain for millions of years is like claiming new born babies remain kids for 20 years and suddenly become engineers, doctors, etc in their 21st year.
By the way what we have achieved in this post industrialization world is visible today in the climate change summits, save earth campaigns, emission cut down treaties, pollution management boards, etc.