“THE DARK AGES” – POPERY, PERIODISATION AND PEJORATIVES
The concept of “the Dark Ages” is central to several key elements in New Atheist Bad History. One of the primary myths most beloved by many New Atheists is the one whereby Christianity violently suppressed ancient Greco-Roman learning, destroyed an ancient intellectual culture based on pure reason and retarded a nascent scientific and technological revolution, thus plunging Europe into a one thousand year “dark age” which was only relieved by the glorious dawn of “the Renaissance”. Like most New Atheist Bad History, it’s a commonly held and popularly believed set of ideas that has its origin in polemicists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but which has been rejected by more recent historians. But its New Atheist adherents don’t like to hear that last part and get very agitated when they do.
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