...are the ones that make the biggest difference
On Saturday during my microbiology class, part of the lecture focused on the history and development of microbiology. The teacher began this part of the lecture by asking, "what did people think caused disease in 'pre-scientific' times?" Vapors, curses, evil spirits, punishment for sin - all manner of things were thought to cause disease before we discovered the world of microbes. My teacher, who started as a biology instructor and later became an administrator at a neighboring Lutheran high school, apparently believes that it was the Roman Catholic Church that kept humanity in the dark about the true nature of sickness. She went on a 5-minute rant about the Catholic Church's keeping the Bible from the masses, keeping people illiterate and ignorant, opposing the progress of science and scientists and just being a bad group of folks all around. Then, and at this point I almost burst out laughing, she said, "And that's what Martin Luther came along to oppose." She then went on a 5-minute panegyric in praise of Luther's theological, and apparently, scientific acumen. She all but attributed the discovery of microbes to him. I've heard that for many Lutherans Luther's writings and teachings are just a step below the Bible, but I think this is the first time I've ever heard anyone trying to attribute the advent of microbiology to him. Thanks goodness for Luther, the Reformer and the True Discoverer of the Germ Theory of Disease!