Conservapedia:World History Lecture Eight

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World History

Eighth Lecture – Exploration and Enlightenment

Instructor, Andy Schlafly

Our midterm exam will be next week. It will be multiple-choice, perhaps 30 minutes in length, and will cover lectures one through eight (that includes this one). Items and topics mentioned on the homework will be given greater priority in designing the questions.

UPDATE This section, consisting of the material up to the Contents Box, appears to have been added to Lecture Eight on Conservapedia's own page, some time after the material discussed below. It is worthy of inclusion as it reveals a lot about Andy's method of teaching , his "standards", and the expectations he has of his homeschooled Fundafascists. There's also a delightful romp through Biblical linguistics, which is well worth a laugh. Enjoy!

The exam already sounds piss-poor. Thirty minutes? At high-school level, an exam should last between one and two hours, in any subject. Thirty minutes is a pathetically short amount of time, even more so considering that in that half-hour, students are expected to answer questions about the entirety of human history from the Bronze Age to the late eighteenth century. In the Humanities and Social Sciences (including history), every second of this time must be used, as students sitting the exam are expected to write either a series of short essays, or two or three longer ones, on a few selected questions. The idea of a multiple-choice exam for history is frankly ridiculous, as all it would test is students' ability to memorise dates and names, without any understanding of the themes of their chosen historical period. For example, there's no point in having multiple-choice questions on the History of Medicine, as students would be unable to demonstrate their knowledge of such themes as geographical and chronological variance, historical continuity and change, etc, and instead simply parrot names and dates. This says a lot about how Andy thinks students are assessed.

This exam will be less detailed than prior exams. Try to understand the "big picture" of world history. Do not expect to be asked about specific dates, specific Roman emperors, or other detailed matters. Focus more on trends and broader concepts. And now it just gets even worse. Andy is exhorting his acolytes not to memorise specific factoids and instead focus on broad themes - something which is impossible in a half-hour multiple-choice exam. The outcome of this contradictory approach is, inevitably, absolute chaos. In the exam answers submitted for public viewing on Conservapedia, high marks are simply awarded for copy-and-pasting, single-word answers, and spouting Conservapedian propaganda. Any attempt to disagree with Andy's loaded questions results in low marks. Andy is not just a moron for doing this; he is putting his students at a severe disadvantage. If and when they try to interact with the real world on an academic basis, they will realise that their "education" through Mr Schlafly's classes was a complete waste of time. Andy should be ashamed.

Remember and use the following test-taking tips for multiple-choice exams. You can improve your scores enormously by following and mastering these tips. In other words, "believe what I say, without evidence, or you'll fail".

Test-taking tips Understand: Understand the question before you try to answer it. Read the question twice if you have doubts. You want an answer that fits the question best, like a key fitting a lock. Does Andy really need to use such a clumsy analogy? As for "Understand the question", the evidence on CP suggests that what Andy actually means is "Recognise and agree with my personal beliefs".

Eliminate: Eliminate the wrong answers before picking the right one. This can bump your score up another point or two. It would be rather nice to eliminate Conservapedia, wouldn't it?

First Impression: Go with your first impression unless you have a good reason to change it. More often than not, your first impression will be right. Oh God, no!! Exams aren't meant to be guesswork! His students should have learned material, not simply go by instinct! Perhaps if their teacher had bothered to actually teach them...

Stay on Track: Stay on track during the test. Expect to miss a few, and do not waste too much time on a difficult question. "Expect to miss a few" what? Questions? Tests? There are actually examples of homework on CP which have received scores of 90% or higher, in spite of the student having not answered all the questions. Pointless advice, therefore.

Try Different Approaches: Try different approaches to a difficult question until you figure out the right answer. There are many ways to find the correct answer for a question. Don't give up too easily on figuring out a question. How many "different approaches" can there be in a multiple-choice exam? This might be valid advice were the exams structured like real history tests, in which the student writes substantial essays in response to pre-selected questions. But for tick-box exams like Andy's, there is only one approach. Tick a box.

Avoid Broad Language in Answers: Broad or sweeping terms like "only", "never", "solely", "everyone", "always", "purely", "all" and "every" are often signs of incorrect answers because they are rarely true. Oh good God, this must be among the worst advice to give for a history exam. It's the complete opposite of what real history teachers advise their students. Broad and sweeping terms are welcomed, so long as the student supplies evidence. And looking at the homework on Conservapedia, the top-scoring tests are riddled with these words (yet no evidence). So why did Andy bother saying this?

Try to Answer Every Question: You can't increase your score by refusing to answer, just as you can't score a basket in basketball without tossing the ball towards the net. Trying is better than not trying. Try hard on every question, and if no points are deducted for wrong answers, be sure to answer every question. Even if you don't know the answer, try to make an educated guess. But... but earlier on, Andy told his students to expect to miss questions! As mentioned, high scores are awarded to unfinished CP exams, so Andy is lying here. Again. Note his assurance that "no points are deducted for wrong answers". What?!? So if a student claims that Hitler was a Roman Emperor, Andy won't mark them down for it? Jesus Christ...

Test-taking on multiple-choice exams is a skill that can be mastered with practice, determination and cleverness.

Or random answers and trusting in the laws of probability, or simply spewing forth cut-and-pasted propaganda. In Andy's world, these techniques are deemed far more effective.

Poor kids. They'll be eaten alive in the real world.


Introduction

This lecture will be briefer than usual, with no homework questions, in order to give you time to prepare for the exam. "I can't be bothered with a proper lecture, kiddies, so just skim through this and parrot some Republican crap."

On September 11, 1683, Muslims made a second major attempt to conquer Europe (recall that Charles the Hammer turned back their first attempt). A massive Islamic army arrived at the Gates of Vienna. An alliance of Christian armies, led by the Polish King Jan III Sobieski, defeated the Muslim force. Some have observed that the "9/11" massacre in New York City was on the anniversary of this day.

Oh for fucks sake. This is one of the worst and most tenuous links that Andy has tried to make. Is he deliberately lying to his students in order to ram conspiratorial shit down their throats, or does he genuinely believe that the entire Islamic world has, for the last four hundred years, had some weird obsession with the eleventh day of September? And does he really believe that the 1683 Turkish invasion of the Hapsburg Austrian lands, culminating in the Battle of Vienna, only lasted one day? What an absolute moron this man is. It doesn't help that he has completely ignored the rest of the campaign, and is confusing the Christian alliance of the 1529 Siege of Vienna with the 1683 Battle of Vienna. What a prat!! Well, Andy, as fuel for your paranoid conspiracy theories, here's some other fun things which happened on September 11th:

  • 1297 - the Scots under William Wallace defeat the English at Stirling Bridge
  • 1541 - Santiago, Chile is destroyed in an indigenous uprising against the Spanish
  • 1649 - Oliver Cromwell's army slaughters the inhabitants of Drogheda, Ireland
  • 1709 - the Battle of Malplaquet between France and an Anglo-Dutch coalition results in a coalition victory
  • 1776 - an unsuccessful ceasefire between Great Britain and the Continental Congress fails to stop the Revoutionary War
  • 1777 - at the Battle of Brandywine, the British kick George Washington's arse
  • 1813 - the British invade the United States from Canada (hooray!)
  • 1941 - construction begins on the Pentagon (oooh...)
  • 1997 - Scotland votes for a devolved parliament
  • 2001 - a terrorist attack in the USA causes Christofascist twats to think that it is the most important event in human history

See, Andy? There is nothing special about the 11th of September. It's just a normal day in the year, and if Republicans were to pull their heads out of their arses and actually read some bloody history, they might realise that September 11th, 2001, was not a turning-point in global history, but simply one more day when people were killed. Just like every other September 11th, and every March 31st, and every December 16th, in human history.

Deal with it.

Two other momentous events happened in the 1600s which would also affect the world forever. In 1607, Englishmen established a permanent settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. In 1611, the King James Bible was published with this introduction: THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties Special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611. Why are these two dates significant? There were colonies in the New World before 1607, Including English colonies. Roanoake, Virginia, was founded in 1585. And there were Bibles before 1611, Andy. Including English Bibles. The Catholic Church had banned the English-language Wycliffe Bible in 1409; predating the KJV by two hundred years. And Bibles had circulated in the Roman Empire as far back as the first century AD (not counting, of course, the Old Testament, which had already been in existence for centuries). What's so special about the KJV? Andy loses points for his cutesy oldey-worldy transliteration. Which is wrong. And anyway, why do we care?

Some might say that the publication of the King James Bible was more significant than the settlement at Jamestown. This version of the Bible, which became known as the "Authorized Version," was a spectacular work that transformed and elevated the entire English language to new heights. Even a Catholic scholar expressed the highest praise for this Protestant work, as all Christians recognized it to be an absolute masterpiece: Yes, we would all say that the publication of a Bible which so excites twenty-first century Fundafascist twats was more important than the foundation of one single colony.

The highest eulogiums have been made on the translation of James the First, both by our own writers and by foreigners. And, indeed, if accuracy, fidelity, and the strictest attention to the letter of the text, be supposed to constitute the qualities of an excellent version, this of all versions, must, in general, be accounted the most excellent. Every sentence, every work, every syllable, every letter and point, seem to have been weighed with the nicest exactitude; and expressed, either in the text, or margin, with the greatest precision. Why is there no citation for this quote? Who's it from? And from when? And where? Come on, Andy. We want to know.

To this day many feel that the King James Bible is the finest English translation available, despite the antiquity of some of its terminology. It is free from modern translation biases that hide the existence and wrath of Hell, for example. But for the purposes of this course, we are interested in how this was a defining moment in the development of the English language, and how the language has grown since then.

The KJV was translated into a style which was already considered old-fashioned in 1611. It uses terminology and grammar which seemed archaic at the time, in order to make it seem older and therefore a bit more legitimate. Andy really shoots himself in the foot here. If it's so great, and "free from modern translation biases", why did he start the Conservapedia Bible Project?

Ah yes, Hell. The default setting for everyone on Earth. Make one violation of God's petty little thoughtcrime laws, or be born into a culture which has never heard of Christianity, and you will be tortured in searing agony for eternity. Hmm, that's fair. The Judeao-Christian deity is an absolute shit. If you must have a god, pick a nicer one. The Ancient Egyptians had some very fun gods. Ra is love!

The King James Bible established a framework of knowledge of the English language, which began to develop rapidly afterward. English is unique in its ability to develop new words, at a rate of about 1000 new words per year.[3] This enables English to constantly improve its ability to express concepts. English easily incorporates and adapts words from other languages, such as "detente" (French for a lessening in tensions between nations) and "tsunami" (Japanese for a massive tidal wave). Ugh. And there we were thinking that Andy had finally dropped his tedious linguistic preoccupation. Which, by the by, he always gets wrong. Really, Andy - if you're going to harp on and on about something, at least get it right. He daren't even use the word "evolve" in relation to language. Oh, and is he implying that the English language didn't really exist before 1611? Is he also implying that English is the only language which loans words from other tongues?

English has the smallest alphabet of widely used languages; this compact simplicity gives English an advantage, particularly in using computers. For example, modern English lacks accented letters (letters bearing a diacritic mark such as the "e" in "noël"), hybrid letters (such as the archaic digraph ligature æ used in British English in words such as encyclopædia or the ampersand character - a contraction of "et"), and pictograph characters. Eh? What the hell is he prattling on about now? Maybe Andy doesn't realise that all languages derived from Latin or Proto-Germanic have the same letters. What gives letters an advantage in English, when French and Italian use those exact same letters? Modern English does indeed have accented letters, you pillock. They're used in loan words (notice how Andy misspelled détente earlier). Oh, and the ampersand (&) isn't a letter, it's a punctuation mark. His last sentence is frankly ridiculous - "modern English lacks...hybrid letters...such as æ used in British English". Maybe Andy considers we British to be thoroughly un-modern. The little scamp! Well Andy, it's our language. We invented it. So you can shove your "Amurikan Inglish" right up your...

It helps that English uses a writing system that has some relation between sounds and symbols as opposed to a purely ideographic system. This also applies to all other languages using alphabets, abjads, syllabaries, and so on - such as ancient Greek and Latin (though English developed from German, not from Greek or Latin). Christ on His Cross, what the hell is this?? English letters have relation to sounds? What, like the letter "P"? Oh yeah, that symbol really expresses the sound "puh" or "pee". How onomatopæic! Idiot. It's f***ing arbitrary, Andy. All writing is arbitrary. It only works because society mutually agrees on a set definition for abstract symbols, which evolved from other writing systems far back in the mists of time. Curiously, one writing system which bears a greater similarity to actual sounds is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs (the symbol which looks like a cat, for example, is delightfully pronounced "meow") - the very language which, in Lectures One and Two, Andy slagged off as being incapable of complex abstractions. Why even bother, Andy? And anyway, what the hell has any of this got to do with the history of the eighteenth century?

English features easy interchangeability of nouns, verbs, and adjectives, without much variance in form for pronouns and verbs. That promotes easy communication through brief, cryptic messages if necessary, the style preferred by electronic media. English enjoys a powerful pipe-like quality, such that one phrase can be cut and pasted to another phrase with ease. Computer-based cutting and pasting text works more efficiently in English than in many other languages, such as those using pictorial characters. This gives English an advantage in the internet medium, and about 80% of the internet uses English. English is now the second most widely spoken language in the world, with only Chinese dialects spoken by more people. English is overwhelmingly the second language of choice for non-English-speaking people. Andy's latent racism has now taken on a linguistic aspect. Apparently no other language in human history was, or is, or will be, capable of expressing double entedres, and no other language has ever been useful for communication. Especially electronically. Those poor Germans, all sitting round crying because they can't send emails. It's ironic that Andy praises "brief, cryptic messages", considering that his preferred style of communication is short, bitchy, holier-than-thou snarks. Note the claim that "English enjoys a powerful pipe-like quality" - what the HELL does that mean?? Is the English language made of aluminium? This...this is just unbelievably shit. Even for Andy. Maybe he wrote this while high on prescription drugs. It's the only explanation.

Introduction[edit]

The “Age of Exploration” consisted of Christians from Europe searching the rest of our globe to spread the faith and seek wealth, particularly between 1450 and 1650. This began the “Global Age” in world history, which continues to this day.

Ah, thank Christ. We're back to history! The European Age of Discovery. This is sure to be a disheartening read, as Prince Andy the Navigator has immediately started off with a crude misrepresentation in order to crowbar in some Christian polemics. But put steel in your chests, me hearties! Like those intrepid sailors of yesteryear, clinging in fear to their creaking ships as they sailed into wild storms in uncharted oceans, let us take courage and stand tall upon the deck as we steer the HMS Rationalism straight into the tempestuous tidal waves of fundamentalist bullshit. We'll lash ourselves to the masts of reason and logic, and trust in the bravery and fortitude of our stalwart crew, to steer us safely to Port Truth! And as we sail doggedly into the tempest, let us spare a thought for those poor souls adrift on the USS Conservapedia; its captain a bumbling imbecile, its officers a gaggle of feckless morons, and their knowledge of the world riddled with hopeless mistakes. Many homeschoolers will sadly be swept to intellectual devastation when they encounter the jagged rocks of The Real World. May God have mercy on their brains.

"our globe"? "our"? Just who is Andy referring to here? Is he implying that the Earth belongs only to Christians? Ahoy there! Fundamentalist Dominionism off the starboard bow! Load the cannons and prepare to blast the smug, condescending bastards back to Davy Jones' locker!

Oh and for the record, European exploration had precious little to do with spreading the faith. It was all about money. Religion was just a pretext, and certainly didn't stop the Europeans from shooting natives whenever worlds collided. Remember that, Conservapedians.

As Europe was emerging from the Middle Ages and experiencing the Renaissance, people had the curiosity and the courage to look beyond their own continent to others. Scientific discoveries and technological improvements made it easier to travel across the vast oceans. Christians sought to spread their faith far and wide, and merchants sought new goods and business opportunities in both the East and West. North and South America awaited visits by the Europeans.

No, no, NO. This appears to be Andy's attempt to explain the reasons for the European Age of Discovery, and is doing a piss-poor job. Even by his standards. It's not as though a few Europeans woke up one morning and thought "Hmm, I fancy sailing somewhere". Let's examine the causes in brief.

Firstly, and arguably most important, is trade. Throughout the Middle Ages, trade between Europe and the Far East had been carried along Andy's beloved Silk Road. Goods such as spices, silk, gems, and perfume would usually arrive either in the Holy Land or Constantinople, be carried across to Western Europe by Italian traders, and sold at huge prices. And we're talking huge prices. Avarice seems to be a universal constant among rich bastards, and the super-rich of Late Medieval Europe were no different. Royalty and nobles - and top clergy - were every bit as ostentatious as people in our society, and would pay ridiculous sums of money to own fancy goods from the strange and mysterious lands at the other end of the world. The Crusades largely shut down the Holy Land route, but the goods still flowed into Constantinople throughout the 1300s and 1400s. This was possible as the entire Silk Road, from China to the edges of the Byzantine Empire, was controlled by the Mongol Khanate - who were quite happy to offer military protection to traders, in exchange for a cut of the profits. But in the late 1400s the Khanate fractured following the death of Tamerlane, and the Silk Road became dangerous to travel. Additionally, Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, and as the Turks weren't particularly interested in ensuring the safe passage of luxury goods to the infidel Christians, trade ground to a halt. Yet the demand was still there, the profit potential was extremely high, and some navigators began presenting proposals to cut out the middleman (literally) by sailing all the way West to China, instead of squabbling with the Turks and Mongol factions. Europeans were well aware that the Earth is spherical, and driven by the lust for hard cash, the sea route seemed an attractive idea.

Second, is the end of the Reconquista in Spain and Portugal. The Spaniards and Portugese had spent the Middle Ages fighting to drive the Islamic Moors out of Spain, and in 1492 the last Moorish stronghold in Spain - Granada - fell to the Spanish. This ended the conflict, but left the King and Queen of Spain with a lot of battle-hardened troops who didn't want to go back home. They also needed money, badly, and encouraged by Portugese discoveries along the west coast of Africa, gained interest in sending ships westwards, across the Atlantic, to make contact with the Chinese.

Third, is technological. European cartography had advanced significantly, largely aided by the discovery in the late 1400s, of mapmaking handbooks written by the Roman geographer Ptolemy. Using his algorithms and instructions, the Europeans were able to fill in the blanks on their maps and abandoned religious cartographies in favour of recognisable maps. This combined with magnetic compasses to allow European sailors to venture out into open water, without having to hug the shore. At the same time, shipbuilding technology improved, allowing bigger, sturdier ships capable of enduring rough seas and carrying enough food and water for long ocean voyages.

Finally, religion. As mentioned, this was largely a pretext for avarice. But in a few cases, the desire to convert people was genuine. Not out of some pissy funda-fascist ideal, though, but because Europeans were genuinely concerned that the Asians would go to Hell if they did not at least hear about Jesus. Rememeber to keep this in the context of the late 1400s. Additionally, there was still an old rumour in Europe, from the High Middle Ages, about a legendary Christian king in the Orient called "Prester John", who had apparently sent a letter to the Pope bragging about how great his country was and how he wanted to meet other Christians. It was all a hoax, but there was still enough interest to pique some European minds.

So, combined together, these factors led to intrepid adventurers stocking up their ships with nice presents for the Emperor of China and enough food to carry them from Lisbon to Shanghai, pointing the prows West, and setting sail.

What a shame that Andy didn't know this.

The Age of Exploration[edit]

The Portuguese were the first great explorers. They developed the “caravel”, a small, lightweight ship with three lateen-sailed masts that could hold much more cargo than previous ships. The more cargo that a ship could hold, the greater its profits would be, as cargo consisted of goods that could be picked up in a faraway land and sold upon the ship’s return to its homeland. European demand was strong for exotic Indian goods, especially spices, and this drove explorers to discover new routes to India different from the Eastern Mediterranean trade controlled by the Ottomans. The discovery of new western routes accidentally led to the discovery of lands in the New World (Western Hemisphere). Portugal and Spain then emerged as the two major players in what was to become an intense European competition for exploration, conversion and colonization. Andy apparently hasn't heard of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Malian, Maori, Russian, Byzantine, Aruyvedic, Saxon, Inuit, etc etc, explorers. They all predated the Portugese, albeit at a smaller scale. But hey, who's quantifying? A little bit of Eurocentrism is rather good, compared to Andy's normal style. Andy is right about caravels (although confuses his readers by not explaining "lateen" - triangular sails which increase the sails' surface area and the ship's manoueverability), and surprisingly actually gets the bit about spices right. The little jars in our spice racks that we take for granted today, were worth killing for five hundred years ago. And of course, that's exactly what happened.

Portuguese Exploration[edit]

The Portuguese initiated the age of exploration in Europe as early as 1394, when Prince Henry the Navigator established his School of Navigation and made it his life’s work to explore the West African coast and reach the Indian Ocean. His ships reached as far as Sierra Leone, but he failed to reach India. Another explorer named Bartholomew Diaz failed to reach India also, but he did manage to sail around the tip of Africa (the Cape of Good Hope) in 1487. Hey! Cap'n Schlafly is right! Prince Henry the Navigator did indeed try to sail around Africa as it seemed the logical choice. The Europeans were well aware that Asia could theoretically be reached that way, and the ships could stop off on the African coast to restock on food and water. Alas, it didn't work. Partly because Henry grossly underestimated the distance he would have to travel, partly because his ships weren't up to the task, and partly because his crews weren't happy. Bartholemew Diaz encountered very similar problems, and turned back because his crew flatly refused to go any further. Not surprising, considering how terrible the conditions on board were, and how little the navigators knew about the region. It's surprising they even got that far.

It was during this time that a young Italian by the name of Christopher Columbus approached the Portuguese King John II to ask him for financial support. Columbus, like many from the Italian city of Genoa, was an expert mariner, having started as early as the age of 14. He had studied the works of Ptolemy on his own; Columbus did not attend formal school, just as homeschoolers do not today. Columbus at all times was a devout Christian, writing frequently about his faith in his diary. His desire to sail to India was motivated in large part by his attempt to spread the Christian faith. He repeatedly cited a desire to convert pagans to Christianity when he sought support for his voyage. Late in life, even when treated as a prisoner, he sought to devote all his money and efforts towards winning back Jesus Christ’s Holy Sepulchre (burial cave) from Muslims in the Holy Land. Oh for pity's sake. Yes, yes, Columbus was homeschooled. As was every educated person prior to the nineteenth century. Stop twisting the definition of words, Andy. Yes, Columbus was a Christian. As was just about every European, especially when the Inquisition was in town. Anyway, why does any of this matter?

King John II denied Columbus’s request to fund his voyage across the Atlantic. Indeed, Columbus was ridiculed for seeking to reach India by sailing west rather than east. He indeed was - not for claiming that the world was round, but for claiming that a European ship of the 1490s could carry enough food and water to sail all the way to China.

Vasco da Gama finally reached India by sailing eastward around Africa and up the East African coast between 1497 and 1499, with the help of the powerful monsoon winds. Shortly thereafter, regular trade was established with India under the Portuguese King Manuel, and conflict began with the Muslims over dominance of Indian Ocean trade. Ahh, da Gama. A deeply unpleasant man. In at least one incident, Vasco kidnapped a local West African prince and tortured the man for information on which way to go - the prince gave false information, da Gama went round and round in circles, and eventually sailed off in exasperation. You'll be happy to know that said African prince escaped after two days, and absconded with an armful of gold which Vasco had been carrying for the Chinese Emperor. Good for him! Sadly, a lot more people died at da Gama's hands - Africans, Muslims, Indians, and even other European explorers who had taken the land route to India. It is know that da Gama had a Spanish explorer in Calicut interrogated under severe torture every day for at least a month, and in one deeply unpleasant incident, captured 400 Indian women and children in a pilgrimage ship to Mecca, and burned them alive. Not, err, not the nicest man to be around. How unsurprising that Andy didn't mention a Christian doing this.

Spanish Exploration[edit]

The Spanish entered the scene in the year 1492—during the reign of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, who were working hard to defeat Islam and establish Christianity as the only religion in Spain. Known as the “Reconquista” (or Reconquest) of Spain, this was accomplished first through the reconquest of Granada, the last Muslim city in Spain. As explained in the prior Lecture, Queen Isabella ordered all Muslims and Jewish residents to convert or leave Spain. Initially, this caused Spain an economic and academic setback, as Jewish residents had comprised a large number of scholars and merchants. Apparently the Iberian Peninsula just popped out of the sea in the year 1492. Points off for trying to equate Ferdinand and Isabella with Dubya and Cheney. Note how Andy refers back to the expulsion of Jews and Muslims, but neglects to remind us just how unpleasant the Christians were to Jews and Muslims (and each other). It's no coincidence that most of the ghastly torture devices invented in the Late Middle Ages bear the moniker "Spanish" (Spanish Chair, Spanish Boot, Spanish Horse, Spanish Cradle, Spanish Cloak, Spanish Pear, etc etc). Way to whitewash history, Andy.

However, economic stability was soon reached as the strain of fighting the Muslims was now gone, and taxes for the sole purpose of funding explorations were soon imposed. Isabella and Ferdinand felt secure in granting the Genoese upstart Christopher Columbus his long-awaited funds. Beginning on August 3, 1492, Columbus embarked on four voyages, perhaps becoming the first European to discover the New World, although at first he believed he had reached India (hence his name for the inhabitants of the New World: “Indians”). The discoveries by Columbus included the Bahamas, Cuba, Haiti, San Salvador, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Trinidad and Honduras. Columbus’ astounding success presented an increasing challenge to Spain’s Portuguese rivals.

Hmm. We ought to give Andy at least some points, as he has provided a crude approximation of actual events. Lose a couple of points for bitching about taxes. Although it's unclear why he refers to Columbus as an "upstart". As for being the first European to discover America? Umm, no.

Conservapedia has relevant pages to Columbus and the Columbian Epoch, and what characterises them is Andy's strangely fierce defence of Columbus as the first Old Worlder to clap eyes on the New World. He rejects outright all of the evidence that the Vikings reached Newfoundland, despite an actual Viking settlement being discovered in 1960 at L'Anse aux Meadows, Canada. That alone is enough, but let's not forget those legends which linger at the extreme limits of plausability, such as the purported voyages of Sir Henry Sinclair in the 1300s and Saint Brendan of Ireland in the 800s. Some curious artefacts have been discovered in North America to lend possible support to pre-Columbian contact. Roman coins, medieval swords, and some peculiar artefacts such as the carvings at Rosslyn Chapel, Scotland; the Westford Knight in Massachusetts; the Kensington Runestone; the Bourne Stone; the Bat Creek inscription; and such cartographic curiosities as the Zeno Map and Ultima Thule. Most of these, admittedly, are vague artefacts upon which we impose some sort of link because we want there to be a link. They're pseudohistorical, but there's just enough plausability that they might be true. After all, who's to say that Roman or European ships didn't really try to sail west? Or were blown off course? It just - just - might be possible.

ANd of course, let's not forget that the West Africans were in contact with the peoples of Brazil as far back as the second millennium BC. We know this because Egyptian mummies have been found with cocaine seeds in their teeth - presumably as a painkiller (all that sand in their food meant the Egyptians had really bad teeth) - and the only way they could have reached Ancient Egypt was via a very, very long trade route from the Amazon to the coast, across to Mali, across to Sudan, and up the river to Pharaoh's palace. Stranger things have happened.

If you're interested, Wikipedia has a wholoe category of "Pre-Columbian transoceanic contact", with some good reading recommendations. A very fun way to while away a rainy afternoon!

So there, Andy. Your obsessive, almost homoerotic, love of Christopher Columbus can't save him from the march of truth.

To be fair to Columbus, he was a very brave man. His journal is available to read online, and you really feel for the poor man. Commanding three rickety, worm-infested little ships, sailing out into the great unknown in a rare genuine quest to introduce people to a religion which he genuinely believed would help them (and make a few florins while at it). He had to lie to his crew about how far they had travelled, for fear they would mutiny when they realised they were stuck in the middle of the ocean with only a couple of weeks' worth of food left. It is very fortuitous that America was there because had there been open water between Europe and Asia, Columbus and his crew would have starved to death long before they reached Japan and China. Alas, for better or for worse, the Europeans discovered the New World, and some of the most shameful events in European history unfolded as the whites swarmed out to colonise the Americas; massacring millions, torturing and working the survivors to death, and shipping in the Africans to toil in chains until an early death, all in order to provide Europeans with cheap consumer goods. It'll be interesting to see how capitalist Andy relates these events.

The pope finally resolved this rivalry between Spain and Portugal in the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494, which established an 1100-mile long “Line of Demarcation.” This division of world territories gave Portugal trading rights in India, China, the East Indies, East Brazil and Spanish Americas. Spain was given control of the remaining, vast majority of the Americas. Ferdinand Magellan then led the first successful voyage to circumnavigate the globe in 1519. Although Magellan was killed by Philippine natives before completing the last leg of the journey, he was the first to sail around Cape Horn at the tip of South America to enter the Pacific Ocean. Only 18 of approximately 250 sailors made it back to Spain three years later, in 1522.

Andy has opted to describe this in a very confusing way. The Treaty of Tordesillas was quite simple. The Pope took a globe and drew a line from North to South Pole. This line bisected the Atlantic roughly halfway between New York and London. Everything on the West side went to Spain, everything on the East side to Portugal. Another line on the opposite side of the globe, through the Pacific Ocean, wrapped the whole thing up. The New World went to Spain, while the non-Christian Old World (Africa and Asia) went to Portugal. Simple. Subsequent discoveries showed that part of Brazil jutted over the line into the Portugese side, which is why the Brazilians speak Portugese today. Why did Andy go for such a convoluted explanation?

He's right that Magellan was not the first man to sail around the world. That honour goes to Juan Sebastián Elcano, one of Magellan's officers and the first man to set foot on Spanish soil when the last surviving ship sailed home after its circumnavigation. And it wasn't a very pretty voyage. The cause of scurvy was still unknown, and while sailing across the Pacific while riddled with scurvy, Elcano and his surviving sailors had to slice away their swollen gums with knives in order to chew their food. They also had to drink their own piss, and as Andy gets right, the vast majority of sailors on the fleet died. It was a tough voyage. Give the man his due, Andy.

As a result of Magellan’s journey, Spain gained control of many South American territories, including Mexico and Peru. Spain also obtained control over the Philippines in the Far East. Spanish warrior Hernando Cortes led the conquest of Mexico, with the initial help of the Aztecs, many of whom believed Cortes was their god Quetzalcoatl (who, conveniently for the Spanish, was expected to appear that very year). Cortes captured the Aztec ruler Moctezuma (popularly known as “Montezuma”) and conquered their empire. Cortes was also aided by an Aztec woman named Malinche, who served as a guide and translator. Cortes burned the Aztec capital Tenochtitlan and built Mexico City in its place.

Really? The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs gets six sentences? REALLY?? There aren't even any dates!!

Let's examine this. Hernan Cortes, a lawyer by trade, sailed to the tiny, newborn Spanish colony in Hispaniola with a rag-tag band of soldiers who had no more Muslims to fight in Spain, and in 1519 his little fleet landed at what is now Veracruz ("True Cross"). They were drawn by rumours of cities of gold in the interior, and aided by Malinche's linguistic skills and dubious political loyalty, marched on Tenochtitlan. They were greatly aided by local societies such as the Tabasco and Tlxcalans, who hated the Aztecs and were more than happy to throw their weight in with these strange men who promised them freedom from Montezuma's harsh rule. With 200 Spanish and other Europeans (including, interestingly, a female conquistador called Inés de Suárez and a black conquistador known as Estevanico - Cortes was apparently an equal-opportunities bastard) and thousands of Tlaxcalan allies, marched on the Aztec capital with no resistance.

In Tenochtitlan, meanwhile, Montezuma listened to reports of the Spaniards' advance with worry. He knew that his fragile hold over the neighbouring societies was tenuous, and didn't much fancy the idea of them all allying against him. However, he did not believe that Cortes was Quetzlcoatl. The legend, propagated by Cortes himself, claimed that the Aztec war-god Quetzlcoatl, the feathered serpent, was clad in grey metal, had a beard and white skin, and would one day return from the sea to wreak his vengeance upon the Aztecs. Cortes fit all the criteria. However, it's total bullshit. Quetzlcoatl was supposed to come back at any time (rather like Jesus) and not at a pre-arranged time. The Aztecs themselves were not concerned about this, and the story only appears in Cortes' own letters back to the King of Spain. The Aztecs were perfectly aware that the Spaniards were humans like them, as scouts from the coast had been reporting on these strange white men for years - how they ate, shit, slept, got sick, and died. Just like the Aztecs. Indeed, it appears that Montezuma thought he could use the Spaniards to his own political advantage by turning them against the Tlaxcalans. It's unclear why he concocted this crap, but itr was possibly to explain his easy march on the city without having to admit that he wheeled and dealed with the locals. Or was just a ploy to make the Aztecs look gullible and easily conquered.

Whatever the reason, Cortes entered the city with no resistance and imprisoned Montezuma. Demands for more and more gold, and hatred of their emperor, caused the Aztec people to rise up against the Spaniards in the temple square. Montezuma was killed in a fracas (probably murdered by the Spanish, although they blamed the Aztec crowd), and during La Noche Triste ("The Night of Tears"), the Europeans were forced to flee the city via its causeways, with appalling losses. However Cortes rallied his troops, built ships, and attached the lake-city where it was weakest. The arrival of reinforcements allowed the Spanish to break into the city. They massacred the elite of the Aztec Empire, inflicted a variety of creative and ghastly tortures on the new Emperor, Cuauhtemoc, and destroyed the city. Beyond Tenochtitlan, the demographic devastation caused by European diseases allowed the Spaniards to completely destroy the Aztec civilisation within a few short years. An awful lot of people died truly horrific deaths for the Spaniards' entertainment, died during torture to reveal the location of their gold, or were brutally executed for "the good of their souls".

And that is only the beginning of the European genocide in the Americas. Over the next four centuries, the Europeans and their offspring states in the Americas - including the USA - continued to slaughter natives until now, there are hardly any left. The European colonisation of the New World was on a scale far, far worse than the Holocaust, and involved much worse techniques. The Nazi Holocaust was supremely evil, but at least the SS didn't hack off peoples' hands and feet, roast them on griddles, rape them with poisonous snakes, disembowel pregnant women, force parents to kill and eat their children, burn them alive for not worshipping a god they'd never heard of, and all sorts of other things which the conquistadors did.

Andy could at least have mentioned this.

Francisco Pizzaro led the conquest of Peru, betraying and eventually killing their emperor, Atahualpa. The ancient Peru city of Cuzco was completely destroyed and replaced with the city of Lima. While in Peru, Pizzaro also discovered the greatest silver mine in the Americas, the vast majority of which was traded with China, whose economy was based on silver. Both Cortes’ and Pizzaro’s conquests were facilitated by the use of horses, superior weapons, and devastating European diseases like smallpox. The native population had no immunity to such disease, and simply giving them a bunch of blankets exposed to the deadly germ could end up killing many natives.

Ah, Pizarro (not "Pizzaro", Andy). Another total bastard. Like Cortes, his march on Cuzco was closely watched by the Incas who realised that the Spaniards were just men. When the Spaniards entered the town of Cajamarca, they found it utterly deserted, with the main Inca army - millions strong - camped outside the city. Atahualpa and his nobles entered the city with presents for the Spanish, but when Atahualpa threw a Bible on the floor, the Spaniards opened fire on the crowd. Atahualpa was captured and tortured, and without a leader, the Inca army was paralysed. In a mock trial, Atahualpa was condemned to be burned alive - this horrified him, so he converted to Christianity in order that he might be strangled to death instead. Pizarro placed a puppet on the throne and in the subsequent Inca civil wars, the Inca empire was shattered. By the time the Spanish had set themselves up in Cuzco, they were there to stay. The aftermath was much the same as it had been in Mexico - industrial-scale torture, rape, enslavement, slaughter, and genocide through disease. Hooray for the conquistadores, eh? Lovely chaps.

Oh, and the "poisoned blankets" thing is not a Spanish ply from the sixteenth century. It was perpetrated by the United States in the nineteenth century. There's no point in trying to rewrite history in order to shift blame from the good ol' US of A, Andy. Every country has done shameful things in its past - we British financed the slave trade, oppressed most of India and Africa, slaughtered the Aborigines, and committed all sorts of atrocities in our days of empire. We acknowledge and face up to those dark days. Why doesn't America? Or at least, right-wing white Republican America. Just admit, Andy, that your country has done terrible things in its past. We might respect you more if you do.

Using the Spanish system of “encomiendas”, many of the South American natives became slaves to their Spanish conquerors. A Dominican monk and missionary, Bartholomew de Las Casas, sent sensational descriptions to the Spanish government of the supposed atrocities committed against the “patient, meek and peaceful” natives by the Spanish conquistadors, whom he described as “cruel tigers, wolves and lions.” Although some of what Las Casas said was true, historical research has proved most of it to be false and exaggerated. However dishonest his methods may have been, Las Casas’ reports eventually led to the king of Spain issuing “New Laws,” by which exploitation of the natives was ended by the replacement of the old “encomiendas” with the new “repartimientos”. Both systems are criticized as unfair today. The system of “encomiendas” was based on royal grants of land, while the system of “repartimientos” was based on gifts of Indian labor. Either way, the Indians ended up working for the Spanish.

Oh fuck you, Andy! These atrocities were fabricated? Fuck you!! Why would he even say this? There are a lot of other sources besides Las Casas, all of which confirm - in nauseating detail - all of the creative and excruciatingly painful ways the conquistadores put native New Worlders to death. Go and read The Conquest of New Spain, or A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies, both written by contemporaries who set out with the explicit intention of writing pro-Spanish propaganda. What they actually found, and reported back to Madrid, horrified even the King of Spain. Thanks to Las Casas the first human rights legislation was passed, and Europeans began to realise that rather than animals, the New Worlders were humans like them (not that it really helped them though, nor the Africans shipped in to replace them once the native workforce had become virtually extinct). Indeed the population loss was so heavy that by the late 1500s the Spanish Empire was already in decline - in the space of only a couple of generations - precisely because they had conquered vast territories but did not have the population necessary to work the land, the mines, and pay for the upkeep of Spanish troops.

Millions of people - Native Americans on both continents and the Caribbean, and enslaved Africans - spent their only lives on this Earth brutalised, chronically unhappy, in severe pain, and died truly horrible deaths at the hands of greedy, self-righteous Christian capitalist c***s. So on behalf of all those people, and for claiming that their short, miserable existences never happened - fuck you, Andrew Schlafly.

Exploration by Other Nations[edit]

Other European nations participated in exploration as well. King Henry VII of England sent John Cabot, a resident of London born in Genoa (like Columbus), to explore across the Northern Atlantic Ocean. Cabot discovered Newfoundland and the New England coast in 1497 and 1498, respectively, and the land became the property of England. From France, Jacques Cartier discovered Canada and the Mississippi Basin, including Louisiana in 1534 and 1541. These colonies were initially less significant than those in South America, and there was a lack of initial interest in North America because it did not have the gold and silver of South America. Whereas intermarriage and cultural blending occurred heavily among the Spanish and the Indians in South America, it barely existed between the English or French and the Indians in North America.

Giovanni Caboto (let's give the man his real name) is a curious explorer. Like Columbus he went off in search of Japan, but ended up landing in North America. What makes him interesting is that he is a very plausible origin of the name "America". The name is traditionally thought to come from Amerigo Vespucci, an Italian explorer of the early sixteenth century, who surveyed much of the coast of North America from Maine to Georgia. However this has been disputed for quite some time, and Caboto is an alternate origin. Caboto's sponsor was a very wealthy merchant in Bristol, UK, by the name of Richard Merrick. A notation in Caboto's log records Pays a Merrick ("Land of Merrick" in the lingua franca of the day, French), which simply became a Merick in subsequent references. Coincidentally, Merrick's coat of arms - from the late fourteenth century, mind you - bears an uncanny resemblance to the Stars and Stripes. Curious!

Anyway, back to Andy. Sadly. He is right that there was less interest in North America than the southern continent. By the mid-sixteenth century, explorers had given up searching for the legendary El Dorado or City of Gold, and consigned themselves to plundering the resources of the Carribean and South America, enslaving surviving indigenous peoples or shipping in African slaves. With Spain's territories over-extended and underprotected, the other Europeans realised they could make a lot more money by raiding Spanish ships and colonies, than starting their own further north. Andy's little tangent about race is both inaccurate and irrelevant here.

Of course, eventually the interest and development in North America increased and surpassed that of South America. Commercial competition between European nations in North America culminated in the Seven Years’ War (1756-1763)—a conflict brought to America in the form of the French and Indian War. This War marked the end of French (and Spanish) influence in North America, and signaled the rise of Britain as the primary world superpower for the next 150 years. Bloody hell. We've just jumped ahead three centuries to the Seven Years' War. Why? Doesn't Andy know anything about the New World c.1520-1600? Evidently not, which is unsurprising as it would involve opening a book. He could at least have talked about pirates!

The Slave Trade[edit]

In what is known as the “Columbian Exchange,” plants and animals were brought from America to Europe and vice-versa. Columbus brought from Europe to America wheat, melons, onions, grapes, sugar cane and horses. Horses proved to be influential not only in the European conquest of native peoples but also in the natives’ abilities to avoid white settlers, particularly among the Plains Indians in North America. Oh wow, Andy has actually used a real historical term. Although it's unclear why he places the Columbian Exchange in with the slave trade. He is almost implying that like foodstuffs and goods, slaves are just commodities. Well considering Andy's previous discussions of Africa, a certain latent racism seems to simmer just beneath the surface of his crass writing. We're off to a predictably ugly start here.

America had new fruits and vegetables that were then exported to Europe and Africa. America introduced the white potato to Europe and the manioc or cassava to Africa. Chili peppers, pumpkins, squash and peanuts were also brought back from America and became popular in countries such as India. These new foods helped increase population, and in Africa the population growth almost cancelled out population losses caused by the slave trade. Again, Andy, fuck you for trying to whitewash the slave trade. People aren't bloody statistics, you ass. In the real world, people don't blithely ignore slavery so long as their population numbers remain stable. These are people that Andy is talking about, not numbers. And besides, his claim is entirely erroneous. As mentioned in an earlier lecture, it's difficult to estimate population numbers for anywhere in the world prior to the twentieth century, and West Africa is no exception. However, we can make approximations, and historical research demonstrates that the West African population declined significantly due to slavery. This was largely because of the cateogry of people taken. Enslaved Africans shipped over to the New World were almost exclusively young males between the ages of 15 and 35. Any younger and they wouldn't be able to perform the heavy manual labour on agricultural plantations, any older and they'd die before their owners could work them hard, and females were unwanted as the white owners weren't too happy about the idea of a slave population growing. Throughout the periuod c.1500-1700, the Atlantic Slave Trade was almost exclusively in young males, and it wasn't until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that females began to be traded in significant numbers. Now, this had a devastating impact in West Africa, as a shortage of young males meant that there were fewer people to produce crops. Food supplies dropped, and so did the population. Indeed, John Iliffe - a leading historian of West Africa - estimates that the demographic impact of the slave trade was so severe that it caused West Africa's population to drop by a full half. Had there been no trade, he estimates, normal rates of population growth would have meant that by 1800, the population of West Africa would have been some 20 million. In reality, it was 10 million. Perhaps Andy should actually read a bloody book.

Slaves became a major part of the Columbian Exchange. In 1455, a “papal bull” (formal letter by the pope) justified a “right” of Christian nations to enslave any non-Christian in the name of exploration. The Spanish had already been enslaving South American natives on a limited basis, but with the rise of sugar plantations the need for a larger slave force arose. Millions of African slaves were brought by the Spanish and Portuguese to Mexico, Peru, the Caribbean and especially Brazil. The growth of sugar—which had first been introduced to Europe when the Muslims ruled Spain—was exploding in popularity throughout the entire western world. Soon France, the Netherlands and Great Britain were also establishing profitable sugar plantations in the new world. The plantation system began in Brazil, where rich white plantation owners were the highest rung in the social hierarchy and black slaves were at the bottom. Obviously life on a sugar plantation was very hard work for a slave. Oh isn't that lovely. The Church condoned slavery! Of course, so do both the Old and New Testaments. Yep, God is a tosser. By "enslaving South American natives on a limited basis", Andy means "enslaving all the natives who hadn't died of smallpox or been exectued with extreme brutality, and worked them into early graves". As Andy is such a fan of statistics, let's chuck one in here to give an idea of just how appalling the African Holocaust was. Through lifetimes of painstaking research, historians estimate that between the period c.1500-1850, between 11-15 million Africans were sold in slave markets in North America, South America, and the Carribean. However, considering the approximate 50% death rate involved in transporting slaves from Africa to the New World, it is estimated that some thirty million Africans were enslaved by the West. Which was given the thumbs-up by the Bible and the Church. Remember that, readers, next time you interact with a Fundamentalist Christian. Thirty million people. And in the Catalogue of Christian Atrocities, that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Slavery was widespread within Africa itself, and the richest in Africa were not those owning the most land, but those who owned the most slaves. In the Sahara Desert, slaves worked in caravans and were used in gold and salt mining. Slaves were usually prisoners of war from other areas of Africa, or debtors, or enemies or the king, but many women outside of those three categories were also enslaved in African societies. Polygamy—the practice of having more than one wife—was common in Africa, as was the existence of harems, from which African women were often sold to join Arabian or Middle Eastern harems. Oh, Andy tries to shift blame onto the Muslims and the Africans themselves. That's right, Andy. The Atlantic Slave Trade was the Africans' own fault, really. Try lecturing this to an audience of black teenagers. Preferably in Compton, LA. We'd love to watch that. Hope you have health insurance.

The trading of slaves with other countries was encouraged in Africa, and was considered an important component of the African economy. Slave trade across the Atlantic (the Trans-Atlantic slave trade) became a booming business for Europeans and Africans alike, by which African rulers sold their people to Europeans for goods such as iron, alcohol, tobacco and most importantly, guns. Trans-Atlantic trade led to the degrading use of “chattel” slaves, whereby the slaves were treated purely as property of the owner. The slaves served as sailors, skilled craftsmen or farmers. The journey across the Atlantic, known as the Middle Passage, led to the death of 10-20% of the African slaves. But an even higher percentage lost their lives in the journey from their homes in Africa to the African coast, where they were to board the slave ships.

Curiously, the Conservapedia article on slavery denies the existence of a Triangular Trade, so we must ask why Andy includes it here. Regardless of what this moron thinks, the Triangular Trade was all too real. Europeans traded iron, industrial-grade alcohol, and very cheap guns with local West African potentates in exchange for slaves - usually from neighbouring societies, but often their own. The King of Dahomey, for example, was selling his own people in the 1760s to the tune of £250,000 a year - a hell of a lot of money. Note Andy's claim that slaves enjoyed skilled, professional jobs. Like hell they did. Until early industrialistaion in the United States and the Caribbean in the early nineteenth century, slaves (nearly all of whom were male, remember) toiled in the fields from dawn to dusk for the entirety of their short, painful, desperately unhappy lives.

Note Andy's attempt to blame the Africans for the death toll. Well he's partly right, but neglects to tell the full tale. Iliffe has calculated that on averager, for every 100 slaves captured in the West African interior: 20 would die en route to the coastal fortresses, 10 would die in the slave-forts awaiting transportation, 10 would die on board ship, 5 would die before reaching markets in the New World, and 5 would be killed throughout the process in order to keep the rest frightened and obedient. These numbers, though, fail to encapsulate the human dimension of all this.

The Trans-Atlantic slave trade was one component in a system of routes known as the “Triangular Trade” between South America, New England, and the West Coast of Africa. The three main items that were exchanged were sugar, rum and slaves. European goods, mainly guns, were used to buy slaves from Africa. The slaves were then shipped to the Americas. Then, from America, sugar, rum and tobacco were brought back to Europe, completing the “triangle” of trade. No, Andy. The Triangular Trade involved Europe, West Africa, and the Caribbean/northern South America/southern North America. Try to get it right.

The end of slavery in Europe was not to come until the beginning of the 1800s, when Christian reformers such as William Wilberforce and John Wesley began speaking out against the evils of the system. Although the United States banned slave trade in the early 1800s, slavery itself was not abolished until decades later in 1865 when the 13th Amendment was passed, and in South America it was finally ended in Brazil in 1888.

Oh hooray, it's Jesus to the rescue! No mention of the fact that the whole Slave Trade was initiated and orchestrated by Christians - some in name only, others genuine believers. In fairness, real Christians (ie: those who actually follow the teachings of Christ, and not bigoted twerps like Andy) had been speaking out against slavery for centuries. It's just that by the early nineteenth century, a combination of political and economic factors merged with the moral argument of the Abolitionists. The Napoleonic Wars disrupted Atlantic trade and allowed the British to patrol Africa for slaveships, Smithian economic theories offered increasingly persuasive arguments on how a wage-earning working class with purchasing power would be far better for colonial economies than an underclass of unpaid slaves, the extension of voting rights in Britain in 1832 gave the Abolitionist middle classes a lot of political clout, while in the New World the slave population had become self-sustaining and no longer needed new imports. These factors combined in the ad-hoc Abolitionist movement in Europe and the United States from c.1800-c.1865.

Abolition was a slow process, of course. Britain abolished slave-trading in 1807, but existing slaves remained slaves. At the Congress of Vienna to end the Napoleonic Wars, Britain's allies nominally agreed to follow suit. Britain only banned slavery in its entirety in 1833, and this was only extended to India in 1846. France had a more back-and-forth abolition movement throughout the late eighteenth century.

Oh, and let's not forget the East African slave trade, wherein millions more were sold into slavery in the Ottoman Empire and European colonies in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Seeing as Conservapedia's article on the slave trade overwhelmingly focuses on the East African trade, it's remarkable that he devotes time here to the Christian side of slavery.

Well say goodbye to Africa, readers. Glancing ahead, it doesn't look like Africa will appear again in this series. Slavery - what a cheerful place to end your history of Africa. Thanks, Andy. What a genius you truly are.

China’s Role in the Age of Exploration[edit]

In the East, under the Ming dynasty, Emperor Yongle sent a band of explorers led by “Zheng He” throughout parts of southern Asia, Persia, Arabia and Africa. The crew of over 28,000 men embarked on seven naval expeditions in the Indian Ocean from 1405 to 1423 and as a result, trade with East Africa began. However, by the 1430s, Mongol raids caused the Chinese to withdraw from exploration for the time being, and instead spend their time and money on defenses such as repairing the Great Wall. Either Andy is throwing a bone to the non-European world, or he's read Gavin Menzies' shitty pseudohistorical drivel 1421. My money's on the latter. Zheng He and his "Treasure Ships" were a marvel of the time, the ships far, far exceeding in size the biggest vessels in European waters. The fleet did make several remarkable journeys to Indonesia, India, East Africa, and possibly sighted Australia - which was still unknown to Europeans and Asians. Despite what crackpots claim, though, Zheng He did not reach America (although the Fra Mauro Map of c.1450 mentions a Chinese fleet sailing round South Africa into the southern Atlantic). But we must remember that the Chinese approach to maritime exploration was different to European motives - the Europeans were driven by greed and a religious zeal to convert the heathens, while the Chinese were only interested in vague commercial links. Additionally, rivalries between the Europeans pushed exploration further (curious of Andy not to mention his sacred capitalist competitiveness), while the Chinese had no rivals with whom to play the game of one-up-manship. When Zheng He returned to China, the new emperor was far from keen on interactions with the barbarian Europeans, Africans, and non-Chinese Asians, so the fleet was left to rot.

The Ming dynasty thereby retreated from the world stage, mostly in order to strengthen Chinese defenses against Mongol threats. Beijing became the capital of China, and eventually the Ming rulers began to retreat even more completely from the outside world, living in an elaborate Beijing palace known as the “Forbidden City.” When a devastating famine occurred in China, the rulers were living extravagantly in their secluded palace and cared little for the plight of the peasants. The people of China revolted, and in 1644, the Ming Dynasty was replaced with the Qing, made up of the Manchu peoples. Andy is actually correct here. China withdrew into isolationism - partly because of more significant pressures from the crumbling Mongol Khanates, the Russians' expansion into Siberia and the consolidation of powerful military states in southeast Asia, and a generally scathing view of the non-Chinese world as primitive barbarians not worth bothering with. Points off for Andy criticising the Chinese court's refusal to help the starving peasantry. For one thing, it's wrong (the Chinese imperial court had a Heavenly Mandate to ease the suffering of its people), and sounds dangerously close to advocating a welfare state. Someone ring up the Tea Baggers and tell them that Conservapedia is a pro-Obama organisation.

Under the Qing dynasty, marriage between members of the Chinese and Manchurians was forbidden, and the official spoken language remained Chinese. Female infanticide occurred, as well as the practice of binding the feet of rich girls and, increasingly, middle class girls also. The primary philosophy was Neo-Confucianism, a mixture of Buddhism and traditional Confucianism. Jesuits attempted to evangelize China, but were not very successful. Nevertheless, a Jesuit presence in China contributed to the exchange of ideas and technology between the East and the West. Oh god forbid, the middle classes are getting hurt! Why is Andy so preoccupied with race and class? He's starting to sound like a postcolonial Marxist. Maybe he's reading Franz Fanon - although there's more chance of him reading Richard Dawkins.

China did not withdraw completely from world trade during the Ming and Qing dynasties. China continued to trade with the Spanish, Portuguese, Japanese and Dutch, mainly for silver, which had become the Chinese currency, and with the Russians for furs. Under the Ming dynasty, beautiful blue and white porcelain was produced and exported. The influence of the Ming vase spread throughout the Muslim and Christian worlds, as seen in Holland through the production of Delft pottery and in England, Wedgwood China. Other Chinese exports included silk and tea, and imports consisted of spices, textiles and animal skins from Europe. Maize, sweet potatoes and peanuts were brought over from the Americas and became popular crops in China. Again, Andy is remarkably right! The Chinese did continue to trade with the West, through "stations" or "manufactories", mostly in Canton and Shanghai. They were perfectly happy to unload their silk, spices, tea and porcelain on the grubby, unwashed European sailors, but only accepted payment in silver bullion as they had no interest whatsoever in Western products (which Andy gets badly wrong). Bear in mind that until the mid-nineteenth century, China was by far the most populous, economically and militarily powerful, and bureaucratically advanced state in the world. In the spirit of fairness, we should point out that while contemporary Europeans were frequently savage and bloodthirsty bastards, the contemporary Chinese were supremely arrogant. So, back to trade. The drain in precious metals to China was well-known and frequently commented upon by contemporary European sources, and is arguably a key factor in the political economy of "Mercantilism". Andy will try to explain this later, but suffice it to say that Mercantilism is a theory preaching that there is a fixed amount of wealth in the world, and like energy, wealth cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be transformed. This was a very popular theory c.1500-1750, and was the driving force in Europeans' frantic acquisition of precious metals from the New World, in order to pay for things from the Far East. Not that Andy can get this right.

Growth of Nation-States and Monarchs[edit]

The development of European nation-states continued throughout the Renaissance and Age of Exploration. In the 1400s and 1500s, the most powerful nation-states were England, France and Spain. The Holy Roman Empire, which consisted of parts of Italy and Germany, was a powerful but declining force. Enemies that weakened the Holy Roman Empire included the Ottomans and French enemies, who resisted its expansion. The fact that the cultures of Germany and Italy were very different also contributed to the downfall of the Holy Roman Empire, as did the Reformation. Andy's pet project of nation-states has sadly returned. Well, at least he isn't wittering on about languages again. And surprise surprise, he's started off with hopeless errors. During the period c.1400-1600, the balance of power shifted severely as the Age of Discovery, capitalism, and maritime expansion tilted the balance in favour of different states at different times. Following 1492, it's fair to say that Spain and the Holy Roman Empire were the most powerful states. Especially 1519-1566, when Spain and the Imperium were united under Charles V. France, meanwhile, had just staggered out of its high-price victory in the Hundred Years' War, while England was alternately licking its wounds following defeat by France, and fighting the internal Wars of the Roses. Both were relative sideshows. Portugal was also powerful, as was Venice. Yet Andy has neglected to mention the most powerful emergent state in Europe - the Netherlands. While nominally a part of the Holy Roman Empire and the Spanish territories, the Netherlands grew in such economic and military power throughout the 1500s that in the 1580s, the Dutch fought a vicious war of independence against both Spain and the Holy Roman Empire - the most powerful states of the period - and won. Throughout the 1600s, the Dutch ruled the seas and dominated the intellectual world. Strange, that Andy doesn't bother to mention them.

The European nation-states grew in power by strengthening their central authority. They increased bureaucracy, the size of their armies and the amounts of their taxation. The rise of absolutist rulers contributed to the centralization of France, Spain, Austria, Russia and Prussia. The nature of an absolute monarch was expressed well in this famous quote attributed to Louis XIV (1527-1598), “L’etat c’est moi!” (I am the state). Absolute monarchs controlled all aspects of government and society including the church, the bureaucracy and the military. Absolute monarchs claimed “divine right” to rule, stating that they had been appointed by God himself and were therefore responsible to God alone. They enjoyed “sovereign immunity” under the view that “the king can do no wrong,” a principle that continues to exist in English and American law today (unless government “waives” its immunity with a law granting certain rights to sue it).

Wahey, Absolutism! Andy doesn't bother to say why this happened though.

Recall, earlier in the lecture, the discussion of gunpowder. Gunpowder had been in use since the 1250s, albeit as a noisy, primitive sideshow which did little more than frighten the horses. However by the late 1400s, gunpowder was coming to dominate the battlefield. Medieval castles with their tall, thin walls designed to keep people out, were no match for gunpowder artillery (as proved when the Turks smashed their way into Constantinople in 1453, ending the Roman Empire), and battles were increasingly fought in the open. No longer the medieval brawls in which armoured knights rode down bands of poorly-armed peasants, these battles were dominated by artillery and ranks of trained, disciplined infantry carrying primitive guns. Early guns were inferior to crossbows and longbows, but they were cheap to make and didn't require years of physical training in order to use them. So, if you wanted to keep your kingdom intact, you needed a lot of money to pay for trained, full-time soldiers equipped with firearms and backed up by artillery. This was beyond the budget of noblemen, and the monarchs became the only people capable of fielding armies. To ensure their upkeep, state bureaucracies expanded, taxation became much more efficient, and centralised their control in the capital cities in order to keep an eye on their nobles. Andy at least hints at this, but doesn't bother to explain why Absolutism emerged.

Note, as well, Andy's claim that sovereign immunity continues to exist in Britain and America. Umm, it doesn't. We did away with sovereign immunity when Parliament executed King Charles I in 1649, and as the United States is not a monarchy, the concept has never existed on your side of The Pond. And it's not as if the President is immune. Look at Nixon! **cough**Republican**cough**

Religious conflict in England between Catholics and Anglicans caused absolutism to fail there. The “Glorious Revolution” (so named by supporters of the Church of England) brought down the Catholic King James II and the idea of divine right along with him, placing William and Mary on the throne in 1688. In France, however, absolutism triumphed until the French Revolution, especially with the reign of Louis XIV, the leading absolute monarch in Europe. The French court at Versailles during the reign of Louis XIV, who called himself the “Sun King,” was considered rich in culture and an example to other societies. Truth be told, it was also extravagant and immoral.

It wasn't between Catholics and Anglicans. That belongs to the sixteenth century, not the seventeenth. It did admittedly linger on, but the big issue in early seventeenth-century Britain was Parliament versus the King. By the way, Andy should now be referring to "Great Britain" or "United Kingdom", rather than "England". The Union of England (and its principality, Wales) and Scotland was in 1603. The contest between Parliament and Crown was the leading factor in the outbreak of the English Civil War (1642-1651), a brutally savage conflict which killed of 4% of the English and Welsh population, 6% of the Scottish population, and an appalling 41% of the Irish population. There you go, Andy. Some nice statistics for a war which you didn't even bother to mention. Arse.

Oh, and as for Versailles being immoral - provide some evidence, Andy. How was it immoral? The fops and dilettantes of Versailles frowned upon gays and abortions, promoted militarism and national expansion, abolished taxes for the nobles and clergy, and couldn't give a rat's ass about the overworked poor. Isn't that the stuff of Conservapedian wet dreams?

In Spain, Philip II (1638-1715), who was the great-grandson of Isabella and Ferdinand, worked to cleanse Spanish territories of all religions but Catholicism, and viewed Elizabeth I of England as his main rival. But his mighty Spanish Armada was defeated by a quicker English fleet in 1588. In 1579, William of Orange led the Netherlands in a revolt against their Spanish masters. These two losses contributed to the weakening of Spanish power. "cleanse...of all religions but [Christianity]". That's just chilling, Andy. No mention of the close diplomatic links between Spain and England - Henry VIII's first wife had been a Spanish queen, and Mary I was married to King Phillip II of Spain. When Mary died and the throne passed to Elizabeth I, Phillip naturally wanted to get his paws back on England. Hence the Armada. Points off, again, for not mentioning context.

Meanwhile, artistic pursuits flourished during this period in Spain. El Greco (1541-1614), a painter, architect and sculptor best known for his paintings of saints and martyrs, and drew a stunning of a storm over a Spanish town (“A View of Toledo”). Diego Velázquez painted portraits of the royal family and scenes from daily life at court. In 1605 Miguel de Cervantes wrote the novel Don Quixote, probably the most influential piece of Spanish literature, and Lope de Vega wrote an estimated 2,000 plays. Oh great, the pogo-stick of history bounces us from the quarterdeck of a galleon and sends us crashing into an art gallery. Andy could at least have mentioned themes or contexts instead of giving us another grocery list of random artefacts he's overheard more intelligent people talking about.

In Russia, absolute emperors known as “czars” arose. The first czar of Russia was Ivan IV “the Terrible,” who executed many innocent people during his fearful reign from 1533 to 1547. Ivan was succeeded by his son Feodor, whose repeated failures led Russia into a “Time of Troubles.” In 1613, the first of a long line of Romanov czars, Mikhail Romanov, took the throne. Under Romanov rule, serfs lost almost all of their freedoms. Peter the Great, another Romanov who ruled Russia from 1682 to 1696, instituted sweeping reforms in Russian government and society. He built St. Petersburg and tried to make European traditions a part of Russia. In the Great Northern War against Sweden, new territories were gained. Other absolutist rulers arose, such as the Hapsburg Empress Maria Theresa in Austria, and the Hohenzollern Frederick the Great from Prussia. These two rulers clashed in the War of the Austrian Succession, in which Frederick won the territory Silesia. Now we're in Russia! Say what you will about this pogo-stick, it certainly has incredible range! Andy really should have mentioned the origin of "Czar", given his linguistic preoccupation. From the late 1400s onwards, the rulers of Kievan Rus used such titles as "Imperator" and "Kyser" in their correspondence, and the marriage of Ivan III to the Byzantine princess Sophia Paleologue in 1469 granted the use of the title "Czar" from the Latin "Caesar". As the last Byzantine Emperor had died during the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Ivan III took his new marriage as a sign that Russia had become "The Third Rome". Hence Russia adopted the titles, architecture, iconography, and religion of the old Byzantine (and by extension, Ancient Roman) Empire. These things are quite easy to research, Andy. We'll not even bother examining the rest of this paragraph, as it reduces nearly three centuries to a staccato list of random monarchs. Is this the best that Andy can do? Really?

Europeans during this era desired a “balance of power” that would prevent any single nation from becoming most powerful. The expression of this idea was seen in the intense competition and warfare between the various European nations for control in Europe, especially with the Thirty Years’ War. The war initially began as a religious conflict in Germany between Bohemian Protestants and Hapsburg Catholics in 1618. However, it soon became a political conflict for power that involved Spain, Holland, Denmark, France, Switzerland and The Holy Roman Empire. The Treaty of Westphalia finally marked the end of the Thirty Years’ War in 1648. The war significantly weakened Germany and the Holy Roman Empire, as well as Austria and Spain. Although France was largely a Catholic country, it had chosen the side of the winning Protestants in order to oppose the Holy Roman Empire, and France emerged strengthened and more unified as a result.

Oh no, no, NO!! The concept of "balance of power" has nothing to do with the Early Modern Era (c.1550-1650). It is a concept from the nineteenth century, and is as alien here as democracy in Ancient Egypt. The endless wars in Europe during this period were largely caused by the centralisation of states, which caused people to think of their realms not in terms of people, but territories - territories which could be surveyed, cordoned off, patrolled, and fought over with map and musket.

Andy hopelessly misrepresents the Thirty Years' War. It's remarkable that he bothered to mention it at all. It did not start over religious disputes. Religious friction was of course a factor, but there were many, many causes of the war and historians are still struggling to understand why it began. The Holy Roman Empire c.1618 was a loose, federal-like system which, despite attempted reforms, still retained the political structures of the Middle Ages. Since then, different parts of the Empire had developed different identities, and economic growth had been unequal and erratic. The result was that some areas were underrepresented in the Reichstag. Additionally, there were religious and ethnic tensions between different groups, and let's not forget the increasing pressure on the Imperium's frontiers as its Absolutist neighbours France, Poland, and Spain (which still possessed significant territories in the Imperium) gained strength. Holland had already broken away, as had Switzerland, and the result by 1618 was a tinderbox. When two Bohemian diplomats were tossed out of the window of Prague Castle in 1618, this bizarre little escapade ignited the shaky, squabbling, archaic, and extremely complex Empire. The war simply got worse as time went on and different component states seceded, rebelled, stuck with the Emperor, and conducted their own foreign policy. The rest of Europe sent troops to fight for various sides, and by the 1640s it had all the hallmarks of what we might well call a World War. The fighting was extremely savage, and by 1648 the Empire alone had suffered over eight million deaths while some areas of Germany had lost up to 90% of their pre-war population. The Treaty of Westphalia ended the war by granting the component states the right to pursue their own foreign policy, but historians are still divided as to whether the Treaty weakened the Empire. It certainly carried on for another hundred and fifty years - albeit at times, in name only - and arguably only began to weaken during the "German Supremacy" of the 1700s as Austria and Prussia fought each other on and off the battlefield for control of the Imperium.

But hey, that's complex, and could only be known by bothering to open a book. Something which Andy can't do. Not even the Bible, judging by his version of Christianity. Oh well.

The Scientific Revolution[edit]

A remarkable Polish scientist named Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) made a stunning claim that rocked the religious and scientific world: he asserted that the earth revolved around the sun, not the sun around the earth. “Finally we shall place the Sun himself at the center of the Universe. All this is suggested by the systematic procession of events and the harmony of the whole Universe, if only we face the facts, as they say, ‘with both eyes open.’” With that bold declaration, this respected scientist in the Catholic Church began the “Scientific Revolution,” which rejected geocentric (earth-centered) theory of the universe dating back over a thousand years to Ptolemy.

Dear, dear me. Y'know, Andy, God is watching. He's making a list (of your blasphemies), he's checking it twice, and it's quite assured that he will judge you to be naughty, not nice. A heliocentric Earth, you say? You are defending Copernicus? HERETIC!!! Quick, stack the cordwood round the stake, summon the townspeople, and we shall have ourselves a public cleansing! Sod the Spanish Inquisition, someone ring up the Imperial Inquisition from Warhammmer 40,000. They're much more fun. Burn the heretic! Smash the traitor!! Purge the unclean!!!

The Bible is predictably vague about the structure of the solar system, but a significant inference can be made. Joshua 10:13 states that while engaged in his latest bout of religiously-induced genocide, Joshua asked God to make the sun stand still in the sky, thus giving his armies enough daylight by which to slaughter even more locals (charming chap). The verse goes on to say that God indeed makes the sun stand still - the sun, not Earth - thus implying a geocentric orbit in which the sun whizzes merrily round and round our happy little planet.

Now, Copernicus certainly wasn't the first person to claim this. The Ancient Greeks had squabbled over geocentrism versus heliocentrism, the Indians had debated the possibility of a sun-centred system, and even in the Middle Ages, Bishops Nocole Oresme and Nicholas of Cusa hinted at a sun-centred system (along with a confusing hybrid system in which Earth is at the centre, the sun goes round Earth, but all the other planets go round the sun). The Church didn't pay any attention, and the majority of scholars simply accepted the assertions of the Roman geographer Claudius Ptolemy, that Earth was at the centre. But by Copernicus' time, a lot of ancient knowledge had been rediscovered and debated in European universities for nearly two centuries - including Aristotle's arguments for and against heliocentrism. Additionally, the Church was faced with heresies and breakaways at every turn, so they seized this opportunity to stamp out dissent and assert the authority of the Bible. But thanks to the bravery of men like Copernicus, and the existence of the printing press, these new-fangled ideas spread faster than the Inquisition could burn books. Hooray!

So, yes, back to Andy. He's going to burn. Burn forever. In fairness, we all are (according to Fundamentalist "Christianity"), which means we'll have to spend eternity in Hell with Andrew Schlafly. Oh, crap. Andy, recant! Please! For the good of your soul and ours! Neither of us want to spend eternity together!!

Copernicus worked for years on his book describing his theory, and did not publish it until near the very end of his life. He entitled it, “De revolutionibus orbium coelestium” (“On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres”), and published it in 1543. The work was far from perfect: Copernicus assumed that the planets moved in circular revolutions (they actually revolve in ellipses, though the orbit of the earth is nearly circular), and Copernicus also thought that the sun stood motionless as some kind of stationery temple in the universe. "Stationary", Andy. Not "stationery". "Stationery" is the stuff you keep on a desk at work. Although it is quite fun to think of the sun as a temple to pencil sharpeners and staple removers. And really, give Copernicus a break! Ok, he made some mistakes, but at least he was trying!

The reception to his work was initially positive within the Catholic Church, but negative among Protestants who felt it conflicted with some literal interpretations of the Bible, such as the account of how Joshua benefited from the sun standing still as it passed over the earth. “And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” Joshua 10:13. But there were few Protestants in Poland then (or now), and Copernicus died without much controversy. Oh wow, Andy actually knows the Joshua story! Note here how the Bible refers to a book (The Book of Jasher) which doesn't appear in modern versions of the Bible. Must be one of those books which Emperor Constantine snipped out for some reason. Hmm, wonder why....?

Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), a Protestant in Germany, built on Copernicus’s work and discovered that planets orbited the sun in ellipses rather than circular orbits. Kepler was a brilliant mathematician, astronomer and devout Christian who cited God many times in all of his writings. He felt it was his Christian duty to understand the creation of God, the universe. He also felt that man, being in the image of God, was fully capable of understanding the universe. Like Plato and Pythagoras, Kepler felt that God must have created the universe according to a mathematical plan. Ah, Kepler. Was he the one with the metal nose? That might have been Tycho Brahe. Or was he the one who died from a burst bladder, because he thought it was rude to leave the banquet table in order to go to the toilet? Anyway, points off for Andy trying to shoehorn in a polemic about Kepler being a Christian. Nearly all Europeans at that time were Christian, and the kind of Christianity they practised was far removed from Andy's weird, cult-like Fundamentalism with its heretical "Conservative Bible" and the beliefe that you don't need to do jack shit in order to get into Heaven. If Andy were to actually talk with these men, they would be horrified at his warped version of Jeezuz.

Galileo (1564-1642) was a contemporary of Kepler who lived in Catholic Italy. Galileo was not as bright as Kepler or Copernicus, and was a bit of an entertaining showman who made a lively party guest. He taught geometry to medical students so that they could use astronomy and astrology in the practice of medicine. Galileo’s primary scientific contribution was his improvement on the telescope in order to view celestial bodies. Andy obviously couldn't be bothered to find out Galileo's first name, and instead launches straight into a character assassination. Apparently Galileo was a bit of a party animal. We can all picture him, tiddly from one too many flagons of ale, trying to climb the inverted side of the Leaning Tower of Pisa as some sort of sixteenth-century Jackass stunt. No wonder he "was not as bright as Kepler or Copernicus", the nerds of the class. Medieval beer was pretty strong stuff.

But the Catholic Church was then in a struggle with Protestantism, which was critical of Copernicus’s theory of the earth revolving around the sun. In 1616, the Catholic Church officially prohibited teaching Copernicus’s theory as fact, although there was no objection to learning it as a mathematical theory. Galileo, however, felt Copernicus was correct and wanted to teach his theory. He had met with Pope Urban VIII on numerous occasions and felt that the Church would not object to Galileo’s publishing the Copernican theory about the universe. This is confusing. Who was critical of Copernicus' theory? Catholics? Protestants? Both of them? If that were the case, you'd think they could have set aside their petty little differences for five minutes in order to squash heliocentrism. An irony point is awarded for Andy bitching about not teaching a theory as fact. Well, Mr Schlafly, I have never read a textbook which says "Fact of Heliocentrism". It's always "Theory of Heliocentrism". Heliocentrism is only a theory! It's patently not true, and is just concocted crap by these gay-luvin', kitten-eatin' lie-entists in order to denigrate the word of god. Say, brothers and sisters of Christ, let's have a purge of all orreries, planetariums, telescopes, Star Trek, and anything else which dares to make baby Jesus cry by claiming that the sun in the centre of the Solar System!!

There was no right of free speech in Italy at that time, and in 1632 Galileo published a work called “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief Systems of the World - Ptolemaic and Copernican” with the apparent approval of the Catholic Church. Buyers and readers of the book were led to believe that Galileo’s reflected the official views of the Church, when they did not. Galileo had received permission from a local cleric in Florence, but not from Church authorities in Rome, and they felt that Galileo knew that he was prohibited from claiming that the Church supported the Copernican view. There was no concept of free speech either. That's like criticising Ancient Egypt by saying there was no freedom of the press. If the concept isn't there, how can there be a related freedom? Not everything can be understood by reference to the US Constitution, Andy. Also, this is starting to get tedious. Yet again, Andy has expended more effort discussing a few years in one man's life, than he spent discussing the entirety of pre-colonial Oceania. Moron.

Galileo also angered Church officials in the way that he mocked opponents of the Copernican system. His “dialogue” was between a fictional Salviati, who supported the Copernican system, and an Aristotelian philosopher given the unflattering name “Simplicio”. The simpled-minded “Simplicio” was made to look like the pope himself, and was mocked in the book for his skepticism about the Copernican system. "Simplicio" sounds like a fantastic name. Let's use it to describe Conservapedians.

In the book’s climax, Salviati supposedly proves the Copernican system by citing the movement of the tides. This was completely false and already disproved by Kepler. Oh get on with it, Andy. Your homeschoolers have probably already lost interest and wandered off to make a raccoon and roadkill sandwich, or whatever the devil it is that these uneducated New-World types eat.

Catholic Church officials were furious about this book and the Inquisition banned its sale. Galileo was summoned to Rome. Unlike Luther, Galileo remained a Catholic and fully accepted whatever judgment the Church would render against him. His “trial” was a bit of a farce, probably put on for show more than anything, with Galileo living in plush quarters at all times. At the end of the trial Galileo was required to live in a house where the Church could keep an eye on him, and was not imprisoned. Galileo then continued his scientific work but was kept from embarrassing the Church further. Galileo never split from the Church and completely accepted his punishment. Well, we just keep going. This discussion of a couple of years in Galileo's life now rivals - in terms of wordcount - Andy's entire history of Africa. Points off for mentioning show trials - especially when the instigators are Christians (whose side is Andy on, here?) - and Galileo having a comfy settee. Andy really goes for broke on this one, claiming that heliocentrism embarrassed the Church. Is he admitting that the dear old Bible got something wrong? Oh dear. Is that Warhammer Inquisitor still around? Ah, Inquisitor, there you are. This heretic isn't quite burned yet. Another blast with the melta-gun, if you please...

There were other noteworthy scientists during this era. Vesalius advanced the understanding of anatomy for medical doctors. John Harvey explained the circulatory system in human anatomy. Rene Descartes was a French mathematician and philosopher who discovered analytical geometry and famously declared, “I think, therefore I am.” Francis Bacon promoted research based on experimentation. Oh thank Christ - it was starting to seem that the only two people on Earth during the Renaissance were Galileo and the Pope. Finally, some other people! Andy doesn't bother to give the first name of Andreas Vesalius (darned forinurs...), and actually gets Harvey's name wrong. John Harvey is a rather handsome Togolese bodybuilder. William Harvey discovered the circulation of blood (thus disproving the theories of the Roman physician Galen, who had claimed that blood is generated by the liver and dissipates during sleep). We all appreciate your effort to give Togolese athletes a moment in the spotlight, Andy, but this really isn't the right place.

Then there was Sir Isaac Newton, who after Jesus Christ was perhaps the most influential man who ever lived. If Newton were alive today, then he would be described as a Christian fundamentalist. Everything Newton did was inspired and motivated by his powerful faith in the Word of God in the Bible. Abandoned by his own mother, Newton had an inferiority complex that drove him to achieve more and more. In one summer he discovered the laws of gravity and also calculus, and the world has never been the same since.

Hang on, back in Lecture Two Andy claimed that Alexander the Great was the most influential man after Jesus. Now all of a sudden, it's Isaac Newton. Remind me not to go to a dinner party at Andy's house. It'll be like musical chairs.

It's curious why Andy prostrates himself before Saint Isaac the Gravitous, but it's in-keeping with Fundamentalist interpretations of science. Poor Newton is doomed to be quote-mined, misrepresented, and spin in his grave for centuries, due to the crass crapness of young-earth creationists. It was Newton who famously declared that just as a watch requires a watchmaker, so the universe requires a universe-maker - and this pereptually uncited quote-mine means that Isaac Newton is something of a messiah (rather blasphemously) to YECs. What these pillocks fail to realise is that Newton was living in the seventeenth century and was intellectually confined to the knowledge of his day. With no alternate explanation for the origin of the universe, of course he believed it was made by God! It's called "default". Furthermore, Newton's personal beliefs have absolutely no bearing upon his scientific discoveies. Over here in the Humanities and Social Sciences, the personal beliefs of scholars do count for something, because they can warp our interpretation of human society. But over there in the Natural Sciences, nobody gives a rat's ass because Planck's Constant, the speed of light, terminal velocity, and the branching-tree pattern of genome diversity remain the same regardless of scientists' personal opinions. Newton, happily, falls into the latter category. He could have shouted from the rooftop of St Paul's Cathedral that he worshipped Jupiter, or Ra, or Vishnu, and his discoveries relating to gravity wouldn't have been any different.

Anyway, let's move on before we all get annoyed. Take a moment to note Andy's insightful reference to his frosty relationship with Phyllis Schlafly, and let's plod along.

Like most other men who made great advances in knowledge in world history, Newton discovered and explained something that was unseen: the invisible force of gravity. Newton proposed action-at-a-distance, whereby one object attracts another through an invisible force of gravity. Newton was ridiculed for proposing that something unseen could act at a distance and influence something else millions of miles away from it. Yet Newton was right. Speaking of the world in which live, Newton once said, “Why not try to understand it?” Newton understood it and explained it to the rest of us, and we are forever grateful.

Ooh. So you're only a great scientist if you discover something that is unseen? What, like Vesalius, Harvey, Kepler, Copernicus, and all these other people who Andy has been chirruping on about for half a lecture? They discovered things which are seen (anatomy, blood, planetary alignment), so apparently they're all rather mediocre.

This section borders on the obsessive. It's probably a good thing that Newton is dead, else Andrew Schlafly would be stalking him in true John Hinckley style: lurking in the bushes outside his house, pawing through his rubbish, and going to bizarre extremes to try and win Newton's affection. Just look at the language here - "we are forever grateful". Andy would do well to bear in mind the Second Commandment. "You shall not make yourself an idol of anything upon the Earth". That earns Andy another black mark next to his name on God's celestial surveillance list.

A German contemporary of Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, deserves mention. Like Newton, Leibniz was a devout Christian. In fact, Leibniz was a Lutheran who dreamed of reuniting that denomination with the Catholic Church. Leibniz was also a brilliant mathematician who developed calculus independent of Newton. It was Leibniz, not Newton, who first published the notation for the integral: f(x) dx. An ugly dispute developed between Newton and Leibniz over who discovered calculus first. Most English-speaking historians give the credit to Newton but bias may play a role in that. The world certainly benefited immensely from Leibniz as well as Newton. Hmm, Andy seems to have abandoned his fawning praise in favour of moving on to a subject about which he knows sweet sod-all (if Newton was the second most important person in human history, oughtn't he get a little more discussion, Andy? You haven't even told us where he's from, when he was born and died, who he married, what he liked to eat for breakfast, etc etc). Calculus is a sticky subject and I have no shame in saying that, like most people, I haven't got a bloody clue what it all means. Neither has Andy, but that apparently doesn't stop him from trying to look clever. And failing badly. I don't need to be a mathematician to guess that Andy is talking crap here. Note how Andy suddenly performs an unexpected volte-face and bitches about Newton getting undeserved credit. Aww, poor Andy. Maybe Newton took out a posthumous restraining order, and Andy is now upset. Poor diddums. Well cheer up, young Master Schlafly. You now have a whole new section in which to drown your sorrows in Republican propaganda, pointless factoids, and crap pulled right out of your derriere. It's what you're best at!

The Enlightenment[edit]

The “Enlightenment” was a philosophical movement in the 1700s that emphasized an intellectual approach rejecting traditional social, political and (sometimes) religious views. Philosophers in the Enlightenment felt that breakthroughs in science, such as Isaac Newton’s discoveries, could be duplicated in other fields through a systematic and logical approach. However, Newton’s breakthroughs were inspired by his Christian faith, while some of the Enlightenment thinkers rejected and even criticized Christianity. There were Enlightenment philosophers in England, France and even the American colonies. There were stunning new works in classical music, and the arts flourished in what is known as the neo-classical period. This asinine crap holding the inflated and unwarranted title of "Lecture" began in the mid-fifteenth century, and already we're onto the eighteenth century, with very little material in between. Andy has, barring his fawning praise for Isaac Newton, completely ignored the seventeenth century. Curious, considering that he could have warbled on about the Pilgrim Fathers. Maybe in his mind, that century didn't happen. Oh well. Let's move onto his brain-boggling version of the Enlightenment. And look, he starts with a whinge about philosophers criticising Christianity. Oh no! Evidently God is an emotionally unstable wreck, who bursts into tears every time someone makes a snarky comment about him. What is perhaps most irksome is that Fundies should be welcoming anti-Christian sentiment. After all, the closer we all get to the godlessness of the "End Times", the closer they get to being Raptured and sitting in smug, self-satisfied superiority next to Jeezuz while we dirty sinners all get arse-raped by the Infernal Legions. Isn't that what Fundies want? So why do they bitch about godlessness, when that very thing is the fulfilment of their own delusionary prophecies? It's... it's just mind-boggling...

Frenchman Voltaire (1694-1778) was a leading philosopher in the Enlightenment, advocating freedom everywhere and emphasizing his form of reason. He wrote “The Candide,” in which Voltaire described many bad things that happen to Candide in order to make the point that the world could be a better place. Increased freedom was Voltaire’s way of improving things. And now we start with one of Andy's patented devices - the Grocery List of Historical Factoids. He seems to have cobbled togather a handful of random people from the eighteenth century, and shoved them in here with no explanation why. He's also got things badly wrong. Voltaire didn't write "The Candide", he wrote Candide. It's French, Andy. It's strange that Voltaire is in here, considering how anti-Christian Voltaire was. Even Kent Hovind knew enough of this to slag off Voltaire in his pants-wettingly funny "PhD" dissertation. Andy, alas, seems to lack even the research skills of Kent Hovind. Can't get much lower than that.

Englishman John Locke (1632-1704) was the leading political philosopher, whose ideas helped the American colonists form a new government. Locke described society as a contract between an individual and society. This was a radical concept at a time when monarchs and the divine right of kings was the controlling theory. Locke’s view helped lay the foundation for the constitutional government that we use in the United States. Locke had built on the prior work of Englishmen Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes. "the leading political philosopher". What, did everyone in the eighteenth century meet up and proclaim this? Points off for mentioning the United States - twice - when it didn't exist in Locke's lifetime. Andy could have actually discussed the social contract, Hobbes' Leviathan, and Lockean theory. But of course, he doesn't know what any of this is.

Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780) was the leading legal authority on English law, upon which much American law is based. Law students in America hear about him frequently in law school. In “The Rights of Englishmen,” Blackstone described the source of the rights of the people. Again, references to the United States, even though the USA didn't exist in Blackstone's lifetime. Andy advises us that Blackstone gave the source of social rights, but neglects to tell us what this source is. Come on, Andy. Aren't you a lawyer? Didn't you read Blackstone's book? Oh, right. Of course you didn't.

Frenchman Baron de Montesquieu (1689-1755) proposed the concept of separation of powers, and checks and balances, in government. This inspired the United States Constitution. His book, “The Spirit of the Laws,” explained essential aspects of good government that became enormously influential. Montesquieu apparently didn't have a first name. Unless he was christened "Baron". Yet again, Andy doesn't tell us what the man actually wrote, and makes another anachronistic reference to a country which didn't bloody well exist.

Another Frenchman, Denis Diderot (1713-1784), contributed to literature, speculated on free will and attachment to material things, and edited an encyclopedia of scientific and social knowledge known as “Encyclopedia”. He "edited an encyclopedia (sic)...known as "Encyclopedia (sic)." Great work there, Andy. And this is hardly novel - books that we would describe as Encyclopaedias existed in the Middle Ages. The Polychronicon, for example, was a compendium of all human knowledge, written during the thirteenth century. Andy, unsurprisingly, doesn't know this.

Swiss-born political philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) wrote several controversial works. He felt that politics and morality could not be separated, and that the will of the majority was not always correct. Many Americans today would agree with that view. However, Rousseau also attacked private property, and laid the groundwork for future communist writers such as Karl Marx. Rousseau declared that government’s goal should be to provide freedom, equality and justice. But note that freedom often results in inequality. Irishman Edmund Burke (1729-1797) was in the British parliament when the conflict with the American colonies occurred, and he sided with the colonies, making him a hero to many in America. He is also considered to the world’s first political conservative, and many conservatives today praise him for that reason. His works included “Inquiries into the Sublime and Beautiful” (defending the American colonies and examining how people interpret what they see) and “Reflections on the Revolution in France” (warning how bad the French Revolution was because a few would gain control and abuse their power, even while everyone else praised that Revolution). What was striking about Burke was that he was almost always right in his political assessments and predictions. Oh great. The Marquis de Schlafly peers out of his chateau's windows, and sneers at the peasants rebelling in the streets. His first sentence sounds like a searing indictment of democracy. Well, we all knew that Andy and his ilk are in favour of a Christofascist dictatorship across the entire planet. A quick anachronistic bitch about Karl Marx, and it's straight onto an advocation to suspend civil liberties. Then after these appetisers, the main course. Andy horribly mangles Edmund Burke. The man was on neither the side of the colonies, nor Britain. That is an entirely false dichotomy. Like many Whigs at the time, Burke was in favour of extending Britain's restricted voting rights to the American Colonies, thus allowing the elite of America to elect Members of Parliament in the House of Commons. Perfectly reasonable, but Andy makes it sound as though Burke was polishing his blunderbuss and plotting a revolution in Westminster. His Reflections on the Revolution in France was not a dire prophecy of things to come. Rather, it was a searing criticism of how the noble ideals of the early Revolution had been corrupted as a small cadre of ideological zealots trampled all over the French people in order to pursue their own little vendettas. Burke was not against the French Revolution; he was all in favour of it, but against those who twisted it to suit their own selfish and petty ends. So stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Monsieur Schlafly.

The Scotsman David Hume (1711-1776) was a philosopher and historian who promoted materialism and naturalism rather than spirituality. He was a “skeptic” towards religion, and he penned “A Treatise on Human Nature.” He quipped, “You can tell what is inside a person’s soul by what comes out if it.” Hume is considered the greatest philosopher to write in English, but that is only because there were so few good English philosophers. Hume has been criticized for his atheistic approach and his chief claim to fame is that Charles Darwin declared Hume to have been his central influence, as did “Darwin’s bulldog,” Thomas Henry Huxley. We will discuss them later in this course. Wow, what a hatchet-job. Andy not only manages to demonise David Hume, but he also rails against our entire country ("there were so few good English philosophers") and contradicts himself, as he's just been wittering on about English philosophers! Apparently Hume was only famous because a century after his death, Charles Darwin read him. What utter bollocks. And what a nice prophecy to end on. We'll all enjoy looking forward to Andy's later discussion on Darwin. It'll be better than Comedy Central.

The German Immanuel Kant (1724-1804) was one of the most famous philosophers ever. In his “A Critique of Pure Reason,” Kant criticizes pure reason as a guide to life. Though Kant may not have been a Christian himself, he considered Christian values to be the best values in the world. Kant also established a systematic basis for critical philosophy and suggested a material origin for the solar system. Kant’s own suggestion for a moral daily life was this: don’t do something which, if everyone did it, then the outcome would be bad. Expressed another way, an act is moral only if it works as a rule for everyone. For example, littering would be wrong because if everyone did it, then there would be an ugly mess. Kant is taught in all college philosophy departments to this day, though not for praising Christianity! No, no, NO. Kant did NOT consider Christian values to be "the best values in the world". Kant dedicated much of his writing to a criticism of Christian contradictions. By the way he wasn't a German, as there was no state called 'Germany' until seventy years after Kant had died. Get it right, Andy. His explanation of Kantian utilitarianism is just awful, and Andy completely ignores one of Kant's most famous works - Towards Perpetual Peace - in which Kant calls for the entire planet to be united under a single, secularist, republic. Ooh. World Government and state secularism? Poor Andy will be having nightmares for weeks to come!

Finally, let’s recognize American contributions during the Enlightenment. The great works were created by a group of people, affectionately known as the Founding Fathers. These works include the Declaration of Independence (1776) with its statement of inalienable rights and a right to break the social contract with a ruler when he (the king) violates natural rights. The United States Constitution (1787) gave the world a masterful design for government. The Federalist Papers (1788), and particularly articles by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison (most notably No. 10) were also significant. Finally, let's shove in a trite, crappy reference to the Founding Fathers, as it is inconceivable that a period of world history can be discussed wiothout constantly invoking Jeezuz' favourite country. The Declaration of Independence wasn't much of a contribution to the world at large, Andy. Outside of the USA, nobody follows it. Besides, Andy has just been haranguing us about how the US Constitution was influenced by Enlightenment ideals. All of a sudden it's the other way round. Consistency, young Master Schlafly! Consistency!!

Capitalism[edit]

Just as Isaac Newton’s discovery and explanation of the unseen force of gravity was a brilliant insight in science, Adam Smith of Scotland discovered a powerful unseen force in economics known as the “invisible hand.” If government allows free enterprise to flourish on its own, an “invisible hand” will harness the power of self-interest for the overall good of society. Men and women will be guided by this “invisible hand” to work in a way that is beneficial to others, and the overall wealth and progress of society will increase. Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, published in the same year as the Declaration of Independence in America: 1776. Adam Smith’s book is still considered the world’s greatest economics masterpiece. He explained how the basis of wealth is found in a free economy with an unregulated exchange of goods, whereby supply of goods and services responds in an efficient way to demand without government intervention. Smith advocated the concept of laissez faire, which means “allow to do” or, more simply, “hands off” by government. Ironically, homeschooling in New Jersey (and a few other states) is an activity that most resembles Adam Smith’s ideal of an unregulated market. Let’s defend this lack of regulation of homeschooling while we can!

And now we move onto capitalism - Holy Creed of Conservapedia and one which, strangely, Andy seems to know very little about.

Andy has done a really half-arsed job, and misrepresents Adam Smith. In An Inquiry into the Nature and Cause of the Wealth of Nations, Smith does indeed identify "the invisible hand" - although Andy, predictably, gets it all cock-eyed.

For Smith, the Invisible Hand is human self-interest as maximised through the division of labour. This can be confusing, so let's allow Smith himself to explain it. Well, Smith succinctly sums it up in his oft-repeated quote that: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own self interest". In other words, people contribute to the collective wealth of society not out of kindness, but in order to have a higher quality of life. And they do this by specialising in one economic field. If the butcher, baker, and brewer all live self-sufficient lives, the quality will be pretty crap. So instead they specialise, and exchange the fruits of their labour for mutual benefit. The butcher specialises in meat, the baker in bread, and the brewer in beer. So instead of eating turnips from their self-sufficient mudpuddles, everyone can have ham sandwiches and wash them down with a pint. Lovely! Contrary to Andy's claim that Smithian economics is all about the government keeping its hands off trade, what Smith himself identified as the roots of a good economy, is actually the division of labour.

This specialisation in economic fields relates very closely to Adam Smith's second observation, that the division of labour increases overall productivity. His example of the pin factory is very famous, and appears on the first page of his book (as Andy doesn't mention it, we are forced to conclude that he hasn't actually read Wealth of Nations). If a single pinmaker performs all of the processes of making a pin on his own (cutting wire, filing it to make a point, soldering a pinhead on, etc), then productivity will be low. But if that process is broken down into its sub-processes, each with an individual worker perforimg the same task each time (one person to cut the wire, one person to solder, etc), then productivity is vastly increased. These two concepts tie in to his subsequent advocation that trade should be unfettered by state meddling. This is the only one that Andy is aware off - a mere third of the argument. In Smith's words, "trade will make the nations free". By increasing productivity through the division of labour, and by relying on human self-interest through the free market, Smith believed that everyone would gain in wealth. And of course for Smith, increased trade between nations means that people are more reluctant to go to war, as that will disrupt profits. This, therefore, leads to a happier society for eveyone.

Now, whether or not this is true is a matter of personal opinion. We're not here to debate the pros and cons of capitalism, so let's stick with refuting Conservapedian political economy. What is important here is that Andy has hopelessly misrepresented Smithian political economy in order to crowbar in his own brand of right-wing propaganda. Which is terribly un-Christian, as the Bible advises that money is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10), and Jesus himself urged his followers to sell their possessions and give the money to the poor (Luke 12:33) because, as he famously claimed, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 19:24). See, Andy? You ain't going to Heaven, because you are deliberately ignoring Jesus' teachings. There's a special place marked out for you, right at the bottom of the Pit of the Damned. Have fun!

“Capitalism” became the prevailing economic theory in Britain as a result of the contributions of Adam Smith and others. The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines capitalism as follows: “an economic system characterized by private or corporate ownership of capital goods, by investments that are determined by private decision, and by prices, production, and the distribution of goods that are determined mainly by competition in a free market.” Britain quickly became the greatest empire in the modern world as a result of its adherence to this superior economic system. Oh Lord. Here comes the online dictionary again. We've come full-circle, and yet again, it is entirely unwarranted here. "Capitalism" is a very contentious term - political economists continue to squabble over what it is, and what defines it against other forms of economy. It is arguable, indeed, that every economic system is capitalist in some form. The point is, that wheeling out the dictionary is not going to get us anywhere. An additional point is that the British didn't all sit down, read Adam Smith, and suddenly change the economy. The very word "capitalism" didn't appear until a hundred years after Wealth of Nations, and is is hugely debatable to what extent the British were aware of the nature of the system back then, any more so than we are today. And another point is that Britain's imperial expansion in the nineteenth century was due to a combination of many, many factors - industrialisation, the Navigation Act, military victory in the Napoleonic Wars, local power vacuums in India and West Africa, colonisation of Australasia as a way to get rid of our convicts, free-market capitalism, public education, voting reform, the abolition of slavery, access to anti-malaria medicines, etc etc etc ad infinitum. It was certainly not as monocausal as Andy claims. But he gets a point for saying that Britain was the greatest empire in the modern world, rather than Dubya's Imperium Americanum. Good show, young Master Schlafly. Bow at our British feet, and beg forgiveness for that naughty little revolution in which you rejected the divinely-appointed rule of George III.

Another economic theory known as “mercantilism” was also popular. Mercantilism was not based entirely on “competition in a free market,” but rather was a policy for a nation (such as Britain) to increase its own national wealth based on trade with other nations and territories. Under mercantilism, a nation should accumulate gold by exporting more goods than it imported, and by using colonies (such as the English colonies in America) to ship raw materials to the mother country that could be manufactured and exported to other peoples. Another key component of mercantilism was establishing foreign trading monopolies that would have unfair advantages over competitors in other countries. One such British monopoly was the East Indian Tea Company, and its unfair business advantage caused the colonists in Boston to revolt in the form of the Boston Tea Party. Oh good God. Mercantilism should have been discussed long, long ago, and Andy should have bothered to read up on it. Mercantilism is, as political economists advise us, the prevailing system of political economy throughout the Early Modern Period (c.1550-1700). But the word was only coined by Adam Smith, and people who pursued mercantilism didn't describe themselves as mercantilists and more than Adam Smith and David Ricardo called themselves capitalists. He's at least vaguely right in his description - mercantilism does refer to the belief that there is a fixed quantity of wealth in the world, and that one's own state should try to grab as much of this as possible, in order to gain advantages over rivals. This was dismantled by Adam Smith, who demonstrated that new wealth can be generated, and the overall wealth in the world can be increased, rather than just shunted around from one country to another. Points off for getting the name of the Honourable East India Company wrong, and for reducing the politics of the Boston Tea Party to a trite monocausal crapfest.

While Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” was positive in almost every way, mercantilism did have a dark side of exploitation of colonies for the benefit of the mother country. Oh boo-hoo. The poor Thirteen Colonies. Yeah, compared to the slaves, those wealthy white colonists suffered so much. Yes, Andy, mercantilism did have a dark side. But try to keep it in proportion.

Adam Smith did not invent capitalism, but gave it a powerful intellectual justification. In 1607 capitalism had already played a prominent role in the first settlement of North America at Jamestown, which was funded by a joint-stock company (a privately owned company having a structure similar to the corporations of today). In joint-stock companies or corporations, decisions are made privately by those acting on behalf of the owners, without any direct control by government.

No shit. Sherlock. Of course he didn't invent capitalism! Points off for claiming that capitalism colonised Jamestown (and shouldn't Andy be praising the religiosity of the Pilgrims?), and another point lost for a piss-poor explanation of joint stock companies without explaining just why these were different to previous commercial entitites. And... wait, that's it? The lecture ends here? Seriously? Bloody hell. Well, that was Andy's version of the Early Modern Period. Truly abysmal. I've skipped ahead and the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries crop up in the next lecture, with no explanation why. Andy appears to be "structuring" this "course" chronologically rather than thematically, but he's doing such a god-awful job it's hard to fathom out why he has chosen such a weird layout. Why not put all of the seventeenth-century material in the same lecture, rather than spread it over two? Andy's too stupid to organise this thematically, but he could at least try to do it chronologically. It wouldn't exactly be hard.

Well, that's the Renaissance and Early Modern Period done with. Hold onto your hats as the pogo-stick of history bounces us towards the nineteenth century, where Andy will have free rein to spout his ideological diarrhoea on capitalism, evolution("ism"), communism, the horrors of rebelling against Christian government, and slagging off the non-white, non-Fundamentalist, non-American world while deftly skimming over the USA's nasty little historical sins. Well, that should be entertaining...