Getting the History Right

A New Science & Theology on Tap Series
Written by Drew Rick-Miller
• Has Christianity throughout the ages suppressed the growth of science? 
• Aren’t Galileo and Darwin evidence enough of the enduring conflict between science and faith? 
• Hasn’t the church always been at odds with evolutionary science?
Think for a moment about how our culture might answer these questions.  The perception of conflict, justified by history, runs deep in the minds of many, both inside and outside the church, but is that true to the historical record? Is conflict or what some have called the warfare thesis a true telling of the story?  Two 19th-century books are at the root of this misperception – Andrew Dickson White's, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom and John William Draper's, History of Conflict between Religion and Science. Draper's underlying motivation was as much an anti-Catholic treatise as it was history, and White was trying to loosen Cornell from unwanted church influence. Yet, these texts continue to set the tone, putting not just the church but all religious faith at odds with science.
A more accurate historical picture is complicated, which is why many historians of science refer to the complexity thesis when addressing religion and science. You can tell a tale of perfect consonance or you can tell one of warfare if you cherry-pick your examples and take them out of context. Reality is usually more complicated than any single individual's perspective on it.  The conflict thesis isn't the only myth still influencing science and religion in America. There are those claiming the church suppresses science or has completely rejected evolution from the beginning. It can be hard to discern fact from fiction.  This Sunday, February 3, in the Haasis Class, we will introduce the complexity thesis; why one historian calls the warfare thesis “more propaganda than history”, and scratch the surface on a few of these myths. 
Sunday will also serve as the launching point for a new Science and Theology on Tap. Starting February 6, we will meet on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 pm and we will dig deeper into these historical myths.  The edited volume, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion, will serve as our guide as we shift from conflict towards complexity. 
The initial meeting – which is BYO – will be held at 401 Oberlin Apartment (corner of Oberlin & Clark) in the Gather Room.  Future meetings will be held at So-Ca restaurant in their private room (as long as it is not reserved for other events – be sure to watch your emails for weekly notices). In that initial meeting, we will identify volunteers to pick a chapter and a Wednesday to lead our discussion of one of the 25 myths debunked in Galileo Goes to Jail. So get the book and pick the myth you most want to explore. 
To register, contact Marietta or sign up in the parlor.
Books are available through Amazon for $15.75.  A small number of books will be available for purchase through WRPC for $15/book.   Look for them in the parlor and join us for this exciting series.

Add comment

Security code