Double Truth: Medieval story Reveals How You Can Believe Two Conflicting Positions At Once



By Ann Giletti in The Conversation.


Identity can compel you to reject the truth – even when you have evidence proving it. We see this today with the US political establishment: Trump supporters can look at two photos of his inauguration and say the largely empty Mall is full.

This problem is far from new. It was particularly pronounced in the Middle Ages, when emerging scientific thinking severely contradicted accepted religious doctrine. Scientists in the late Middle Ages confronted this conflict with surprising results.

Some rejected theories that had been rigorously proved, because the ideas conflicted with Christianity – and therefore their entire worldview. Others looked at these contradictory ideas – scientific and Christian – and somehow accepted both. European society was religious, and its outlook was Christian. What were scientists to do when faced with a convincing theory, such as that the world was eternal, if for a Christian the truth was creation? As scientists, they regarded the theory as true scientifically, but as Christians, they believed in creation.


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