CHAPTER 8 Out of Darkness 第8章 走出黑暗

We expect scientists to be trying to discover new things, and for science to be constantly changing. But what would science be like if we thought that everything had already been discovered? Being a top scientist might then involve just reading about other people's discoveries.

我们希望科学家努力发现新事物,希望科学持续更新。但如果我们认为已经发现了所有事物,那么科学会是什么样子呢?作为一个顶级科学家,一项任务就是阅读理解他人的新发现。

In Europe, this backward-looking view became the norm after the fall of the Roman Empire in AD 476. By then, Christianity had become the official religion of the Empire (Constantine had been the first emperor to convert to Christianity), and only one book mattered: the Bible. St Augustine (354-430), one of the most influential early Christian thinkers, had put it this way: ‘The truth is rather in what God reveals than in what groping men surmise.’ There was no room for those scientists who were ‘groping’ for knowledge; the ancients had already discovered everything worth knowing in science and medicine. Besides, it was far more important to focus on getting to Heaven and avoiding Hell. Being a 'scientist' might mean just studying Aristotle and Galen. And for 500 years, from about AD 500 to 1,000, even that was difficult, since very few Greek and Latin texts from the classical world were available. Nor did very many people know how to read.

在欧洲,自从公元476年罗马帝国灭亡以后,这种向后看的消极观点就成为了规范。那时,基督教已经成为帝国国教(康斯坦丁是第一个皈依基督的皇帝),所以重要的只有一本书:圣经。圣奥古斯丁(354-430)是最有影响力的早期基督教思想家,是这样说的:“真相是由上帝揭示的,而不是人探索猜测得到的”。探索知识的科学家没有立足之地,古人已经发现了所有科学和医学中有价值的东西。除此之外,最重要的是探寻怎样进入天堂,怎样避免堕入地狱。当一个科学家,意思就是去研究亚里士多德和盖伦。从公元500到1000年,这500年时间里即使去当一个科学家也是非常困难的,因为古典世界留下的希腊和拉丁书籍都是极少的,而且也没有几个人懂得怎样去阅读。

The Germanic tribes who sacked Rome in 455 did bring some useful things with them, however. Wearing trousers instead of togas was one (though women had to wait a while longer). So were new grain crops such as barley and rye, and eating butter instead of olive oil. There were technological innovations in that 'dark' half-millennium, too: it saw new ways of growing crops and of ploughing the land. Building churches and cathedrals encouraged craftsmen and architects to experiment with new styles, and find better ways of spreading the heavy weight of stone and timber. This meant they could build ever-bigger and grander cathedrals, and some of these early buildings still take your breath away. They are reminders that what is sometimes called the 'Dark Ages' was not without its light.

但455年洗劫罗马的日耳曼部落确实带走了一些有用的东西。穿裤子而不穿托加就是其中一个(尽管女性还要多等一段时间),还有新的农作物,比如大麦和黑麦,吃黄油而不是橄榄油。在那黑暗的五百年中,还是有科技革新的:有新的作物耕种和土地耕作的方法。建造各种教堂的过程鼓励了工匠和建筑师实验各种新的方式,找到更好的方法平衡石料和木料的重量。这意味着他们可以建造更大更宏伟的大教堂,有一些大教堂今天仍让我们屏息驻足。这是被称为黑暗时代的残余,说明那时并不是暗无天日的。

With the coming of the second millennium of the Christian era, however, the pace of discovery picked up. St Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-74) was the greatest medieval theologian. He admired Aristotle immensely, and he meshed Christian thought with Aristotelian science and philosophy. Aristotle, together with Galen, Ptolemy and Euclid, shaped the medieval mind. Their writings needed to be translated, edited and commented upon. Originally much of this activity took place in monasteries, but gradually it moved to the universities, which were first introduced in this period.

但随着基督教时代第二个千年的来临,发现的脚步逐渐赶了上来。St Thomas Aquinas (c. 1225-74)是中世纪最伟大的神学家。他非常尊崇亚里士多德,他将亚里士多德的科学与哲学思想引入到基督教思想中。亚里士多德、盖伦、托勒密和欧几里得,塑造了中世纪的思想。他们的著作需要翻译、编辑和注释。最开始这些活动都是在修道院里进行的,后来在这个时代出现了大学,于是逐渐转移到了大学里,

The Greeks had schools: Aristotle studied at his teacher Plato's Academy, and established his own school in turn. The House of Wisdom in Baghdad was also a place where people came together to study and learn. But the new universities of Europe were different, and most of them have survived to this day. Many were established by the Church, but community pride and rich supporters helped some towns and cities start their own university. The Pope authorized the foundation of several universities in southern Italy. The University of Bologna (established around 1180) was the first to open its doors, but, within a century or so, there were universities at Padua, Montpellier, Paris, Cologne, Oxford and Cambridge. The name 'university' comes from the Latin word meaning ‘whole’, and these institutions were supposed to cover the whole of human knowledge. They usually had four schools, or 'faculties': Theology, of course (Aquinas called theology 'the queen of the sciences'), Law, Medicine and Arts. The medical faculties initially relied mostly on Galen and Avicenna. Medical students also studied astrology, because of the widespread belief in the power of the stars to affect humans, for better or worse. Mathematics and astronomy - which we would think of as very scientific - were generally taught in the arts faculty. Aristotle's vast works were studied in all the faculties.

希腊人有过学校:亚里士多德在他老师的柏拉图学院里学习,然后建立了自己的学校。巴格达的智慧宫,也是人们聚集学习研究的地方。但欧洲的新大学是不一样的,这些新大学大部分都保留到了现在。很多是由教堂建立的,但社区的自尊心和富有的支持者帮助了一些市镇建立了它们自己的大学。教皇授权建立了意大利南部的几所大学。Bologna大学(建于约1180年)是第一所建成的,但在其后约一个世纪内,Padua、Montpellier、Paris、Cologne、Oxford、Cambridge都出现了大学。“大学”这个词的拉丁词源意思是“完整”,这些机构在设想的时候应当是覆盖人类所有的知识的。通常有四种学校,或者“系”:首先当然是神学,阿奎那称神学为“科学的女王”,然后是法学,医学和艺术。医学系最开始主要依靠盖伦和阿维森纳,医学系的学生也学习占星术,因为人们普遍都相信星星的力量多多少少会影响到人类。数学和天文学,我们都认为是非常“科学”的,通常是在艺术系教授的。所有院系都学习亚里士多德的宏大作品。

Many of the 'scientists' of the Middle Ages were either doctors or clergymen, and most of them worked at the new universities. The faculties of medicine gave their graduates degrees – Doctor of Medicine (MD) or Bachelor of Medicine (MB) - and this in turn separated these physicians from the surgeons, apothecaries (pharmacists) and other medical practitioners who learned their trades in other ways. Their university education didn't necessarily make doctors more interested in finding out new things (they preferred to rely on Galen, Avicenna and Hippocrates). But from around 1300, anatomy teachers began to dissect bodies to show the internal organs to their students, and autopsies were sometimes carried out on royalty, or when the death was suspicious (or both). None of this necessarily made doctors more able to treat diseases, especially those that swept through communities.

中世纪的很多“科学家”不是医生就是牧师,他们大多数都在这些新式大学中工作。医学系给他们的毕业生学位,比如医学博士学位,医学学士学位,通过这样来区分内科医生、外科医生、药剂师以及通过其他方法学习到技能的其他行医者。他们的大学教育并不一定使医生对发现新事物更感兴趣(他们通常更喜欢依靠盖伦、阿维森纳和希波克拉底)。但从1300年前后,解剖学的老师开始解剖尸体来向学生展示内部器官,验尸有时候在皇室中进行,或者当死亡很可疑的时候进行(或者两种情况同时都有的时候)。这些都不会肯定让医生更好的治病,尤其是那些传染性极强的疾病。

What we now call the Black Death, a form of plague, entered Europe for the first time in the 1340s. It probably came from Asia, along trade routes, and killed about one third of the people of Europe in the three years it took to make its rounds. As if that were not enough, it returned ten years later, and then with depressing regularity for the next 400 years. Some communities established special hospitals for plague sufferers (hospitals, like universities, are a medieval gift to us), and Boards of Health were set up in some places. The plague also led to the use of quarantine in cases of disease thought to be contagious. 'Quarantine' comes from the number 40 (in Venetian, quaranta), which was the number of days that the sick or suspected person was placed in isolation. If the individual recovered in that time, or showed no signs of the disease, he or she could be released. The playwright William Shakespeare was born in Stratford-upon-Avon in a plague year in England (1564), and his career was interrupted several times, when plague epidemics forced the theatres to close down. Shakespeare has Mercutio, in Romeo and Juliet, say ‘A plague on both your houses!’, to condemn the two warring families. His audience would have understood what he meant. Most doctors thought that plague was a new disease, or at least one that Galen had not written about, and so they had to cope without his advice: remedies included blood-letting and drugs that would make the patient vomit or sweat, popular cures for other diseases at the time. Galen didn't know everything, after all.

现在我们称之为黑死病的,是一种瘟疫,第一次进入欧洲时是大约14世纪40年代。很可能是沿着贸易路线来自于亚洲,在三年中大约杀死了欧洲1/3的人。好像还不够,十年后又卷土重来,然后在后续400年中有规律的重复出现。一些社区建立了瘟疫患者的特殊医院(医院和大学一样,也是中世纪给我们留下的礼物),一些地方竖起了健康布告栏。瘟疫还让人学会对认为得了传染性疾病的人进行隔离检疫。Quarantine这个词来源于威尼斯语的quaranta,是数字40的意思,这个数目是怀疑传染的人隔离的时间。如果病人在这段时间内痊愈了,或者没有表现出病症,则可以得到释放。剧作家莎士比亚生于英格兰Stratford-upon-Avon,1564年,是一个瘟疫的年份,其写作事业被打断了好几次,就是因为瘟疫使剧院不得不关闭。莎士比亚在《罗密欧与朱丽叶》中有一个角色Mercutio,用台词“你们两家都有瘟疫”来诅咒这两个交战的家庭。他的观众肯定明白这是什么意思。多数医生认为瘟疫是一种新的疾病,至少是盖伦没有写过的疾病,这样就不能依靠盖伦的建议来治病了,盖伦治病的方法主要是放血,吃药让病人呕吐或出汗,这些都是当时流行的疗法。毕竟盖伦不是万能的。

Neither, it seemed, did Aristotle. His ideas about why something moves through the air were widely discussed by Roger Bacon (c. 1214-94) at the University of Oxford, by Jean Buridan (c. 1295-c. 1358) at the University of Paris, and several others. It was called the 'impetus problem' and needed to be solved. Take the example of a bow and arrow. The arrow flies because we pull back the bow's string and quickly release it, pushing the arrow through the air. We have applied a force and given it momentum (a concept that we'll talk more about later). Bacon and Buridan called this ‘impetus’, and they realized that Aristotle did not have a correct explanation for the fact that the further we pull back the bow string, the further the arrow will fly. Aristotle said that an apple will fall to the earth because that is its 'natural' resting place. The arrow will eventually come to earth, too, and yet Aristotle had said it moved only because there was a force behind it. So, if there was a force when the arrow left the string, why did the force seem to wear out?

亚里士多德好像也不是万能的。他关于物体在空气中运动有一套理论,很多人进行了讨论,包括牛津大学的Roger Bacon (c. 1214-94),巴黎大学的Jean Buridan (c. 1295-c. 1358),还有其他几个人。这被称为“动力问题”,需要解决。以弓和箭为例,箭飞行是因为我们拉了弓然后迅速释放,这推动箭在空气中飞行。我们对其有了作用力,给了它一个动量(后面我们会讨论这个概念)。Bacon和Buridan称之为“动力”,我们弓拉的越满,箭就会飞的越远,他们意识到亚里士多德没有正确的解释这个现象。亚里士多德说苹果会掉到地上是因为地上是它的自然静止位置。箭也会掉到地上,但亚里士多德说箭的运动只是因为其后有力进行作用。所以,如果当箭离开弓弦时有一个力,这个力为什么好像慢慢耗尽呢?

These and similar problems made some people think that Aristotle hadn't got everything correct. Nicolas Oresme (c. 1320-82), a churchman working in Paris, Rouen and elsewhere in France, wondered again about day and night. Rather than the sun racing around the earth every twenty-four hours, perhaps, he thought, the earth itself rotates on its axis over the course of a day. Oresme didn't challenge Aristotle's belief that the earth was at the centre of the universe, or that the sun and planets revolved around the earth. But perhaps that was a very slow journey (maybe it took the sun a year to make it around!), while the earth, at the centre of the universe, was spinning like a top.

类似的问题使人们认为亚里士多德的观点并不是都正确的。Nicolas Oresme (c. 1320-82)是在巴黎、鲁昂和法国其他地方工作的一个牧师,他在关于白天和黑夜的问题上产生了怀疑。他认为并不是太阳围绕地球每24小时运动一圈,而是地球每24小时绕自己的轴转动一次。Oresme并没有挑战地球是宇宙的中心这个亚里士多德的观点,也没有挑战太阳和行星围绕地球转动的观点。但他认为围绕地球转动的过程是非常慢的(可能太阳一年才绕地球转一圈),而地球在处在宇宙中心的同时,在迅速自转。

These ideas were new, but 700 years ago people didn't necessarily think that new ideas were always good. Instead, they liked systems that were neat, tidy and complete. This is one reason why so many scholars wrote what we now call ‘encyclopaedias’: big works that took the works of Aristotle and the other ancient masters, and put them together - synthesizing them - into gigantic wholes. ‘A place for everything, and everything in its place’: that could be the motto for this period. But trying to find that place for everything led some to realize that there were still puzzles to be solved.

这些观点都是新的,但700年前的人们并不都认为这些新观点是好的。相反,他们喜欢优雅、整齐和完整的系统。这也是众多学者喜欢编撰“百科全书”的一个原因,那时候的百科全书就是把亚里士多德和其他古代大师的著作放在一起,将其综合成巨大的整体。“这里有所有的东西,所有的东西都在这里”,这可以说是这个时期的格言。但寻找这个地方的努力使一些人意识到仍然有一些问题需要解决。

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