I think one could savely say that the chemists, scientists, and astrologers/astronomers and wizards and such of the day were greedy little bastardios....well, least the wizards had some humor about them and didn't really give a rip....but there was quite the cover-up and misguided bunk going on back then by these chemists.
One wonders why anyone who uses logic and rational thinking would only focus their drive toward 'debunking' another's 'religious' beliefs since there is so much evidence of harbored knowledge by the science-minded folk of long ago. Just go way back to the time of alchemy's beginnings and khemeia...the rise in Christianity.
Seems like there were two forces smothering science in Europe. There was this FEAR (which, is the reason for nearly if not all bullshit that goes on in the world) that cheap gold would undermine the Roman emperor's rule so they got rid of khemeia writings and then there was the rise in Christianity.
Boy, some peoples' bitterness goes wayyyy back....wealth and religion --- the two dirtiest words in the book. Who's book, though. Consider the source.
You can do your own research or disregard this post. Your choice. lol ...I started with reading about khemeia.....alchemy.....the Roman guy, Diocletian...the rise of Christianity...pagan learning...science...chemists...pagan learning and wizardry....it's all fascinating.
I just love human nature and wonder why someones would put down any man's beliefs on religion or the Bible...call it debunk and unprovable (ha! unprovable...well...duh! it IS about 'faith') and then profess to instruct others (the ones they've put down) on their disregard and 'right-back-atcha attitude'. It amazes me. It's the NM merry-go-round!
Here's just one of zillions of readings I've partaken in and it is from the link posted here:
In Aristotle's time, Alexander the Great of Macedon (a kingdom north of Greece) conquered the vast Persian Empire. Alexander's empire broke up after his death in 323 B.C., but Greeks and Macedonians remained in control of large areas of the Middle East. For the next few centuries (the Hellenistic period") there was a fruitful mingling of cultures.
Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals, established a kingdom in Egypt, with the city of Alexandria (founded by Alexander) as his capital. In Alexandria, Ptolemy and his son (Ptolemy II) established a temple to the Muses (the "Museum") which served as what we would today call a research institution and university. Attached to it, the greatest library of ancient times was built.
Egyptian mastery of applied chemistry met and fused with Greek theory, but the fusion was not entirely to the good. Chemical knowledge in Egypt was intimately connected with the embalming of the dead and with religious ritual. To the Egyptians the ibis-headed god of wisdom, Thoth, was the source of all chemical knowledge. The Greeks, generally impressed by the superior knowledge of the Egyptians, identified Thoth with their own Hermes and accepted much of the mysticism.
The old Ionian philosophers had divorced religion and science. This new union in Egypt seriously interfered with further advance in knowledge.
Because the art of khemeia seemed so closely related to religion, the common people rather feared the practitioners as adepts of the secret arts and as partakers of dangerous knowledge. (The astrologer with his feared knowledge of the future, the chemist with his awesome ability to change substances, even the priest with his hidden secrets concerning the propitiation of the gods and with the ability to call down curses, served as models for folk-tales of magicians, wizards, and sorcerers.)
Those who where the object of these fears did not always resent them, but at times rather encouraged them as increasing their own sense of power, and perhaps their security as well. Who would care to offend a magician, after all?
This public respect or fear encouraged workers in khemeia to couch their writings in mysterious and obscure symbolism. The very obscurity added to the sense of secret knowledge and power.
As an example, there were seven heavenly bodies considered "planets" ("wanderers") because they were continually changing their position with reference to the starry background. There were also seven known metals: gold, silver, copper, iron, tin, lead, and mercury. It seemed tempting to match them. There came a time when gold would be regularly referred to as "the Sun", silver as "the Moon", copper as "Venus", iron as "Mars", tin as "Jupiter", lead as "Saturn", and mercury as "Mercury". Chemical changes could then be referred to in mythological fashion.
There are still reminders of this time. One rather old-fashioned name for the chemical now called silver nitrate is "lunar caustic", a clear indication of the old connection of silver and the moon. The metal mercury gets its modern name from the planet Mercury. The true ancient name was hydrargyrum ("liquid silver"), and the old English word was the nearly identical "quicksilver".
This more or less deliberate obscurity served two unfortunate purposes. First, it retarded progress since each worker in the field was kept in ignorance, or at least in uncertainty, as to what others were doing, so that no man could profit by another's mistakes or learn from another's brilliance. Secondly, it made it possible for any quack and faker to present himself, provided he spoke obscurely enough, as a serious worker. The knave could not be distinguished from the scholar.
The first important worker in Greek-Egyptian khemeia that we know by name was Bolos of Mendes (c.200 B.C.), a town in the Nile delta. In his writings, he used the name Democritus so that he is referred to as "Bolos-Democritus" or sometimes as the "pseudo-Democritus".
Bolos devoted himself to what became one of the great problems of khemeia, the changing of one metal into another and, particularly, the changing of lead or iron into gold (transmutation).
The four-element theory would make it seem that the various substances of the universe differed only in the nature of the elemental mixture. This hypothesis would be true whether one accepted the atomist view or not, since the elements could mix as atoms or as continuous substance. Indeed, there seemed reason to think that even the elements themselves were interchangeable. Water seemed to turn to air when it evaporated, and the air turned back to water when it rained. Wood, if heated, turned to fire and vapors ( a form of air) and so on.
Why should any change, then, be considered impossible? Surely, it was only a matter of finding the proper technique. A reddish rock could be converted to gray iron through a technique that had not yet been discovered in the time of Achilles, who had to wear bronze armor. Why, then, should not gray iron be further converted to yellow gold by means of some technique that had not yet been discovered in the time of Alexander the Great?
Many chemists throughout the centuries have honestly striven to find the technique for producing gold. Some, however, undoubtedly found it much easier and far more profitable merely to pretend to find the technique and to trade on the power and reputation this gave them. This sort of fakery continued right on into modern times (That is not our focus).