The conflict thesis is a historiographical approach in the history of science which maintains that there is an intrinsic intellectual conflict between religion and science and that the relationship between religion and science inevitably leads to hostility.Examples to support this thesis have commonly been drawn from the relations between science and religion in Western Europe. The thesis retains support among some scientists and in the public while historians of science reject the thesis.
Historiography is the study of the methods of historians in developing history as an academic discipline, and by extension is any body of historical work on a particular subject. The historiography of a specific topic covers how historians have studied that topic using particular sources, techniques, and theoretical approaches. Scholars discuss historiography by topic—such as the historiography of the United Kingdom, that of WWII, the British Empire, early Islam, and China—and different approaches and genres, such as political history and social history. Beginning in the nineteenth century, with the development of academic history, there developed a body of historiographic literature. The extent to which historians are influenced by their own groups and loyalties—such as to their nation state—remains a debated question.
The history of science is the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural and social sciences. Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists who emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real-world phenomena. Historiography of science, in contrast, studies the methods employed by historians of science.
Religion is a social-cultural system of designated behaviors and practices, morals, worldviews, texts, sanctified places, prophecies, ethics, or organizations, that relates humanity to supernatural, transcendental, or spiritual elements. However, there is no scholarly consensus over what precisely constitutes a religion.
In the 1800s, the relationship between religion and science became an actual formal topic of discourse, while before this no one had pitted science against religion or vice versa, though occasional interactions had occurred in the past.More specifically, it was around the mid-1800s that discussion of "science and religion" first emerged because before this time, science still included moral and metaphysical dimensions, was not inherently linked to the scientific method, and the term scientist did not emerge until 1834. The scientist John William Draper (1811-1882) and the writer Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918) were the most influential exponents of the conflict thesis between religion and science. Draper had been the speaker in the British Association meeting of 1860 which led to the famous confrontation between Bishop Samuel Wilberforce and Thomas Henry Huxley over Darwinism, and in America "the religious controversy over biological evolution reached its most critical stages in the late 1870s". In the early 1870s the American science-popularizer Edward Livingston Youmans invited Draper to write a History of the Conflict between Religion and Science (1874), a book replying to contemporary issues in Roman Catholicism, such as the doctrine of papal infallibility, and mostly criticizing what he claimed to be anti-intellectualism in the Catholic tradition, but also making criticisms of Islam and of Protestantism. Draper's preface summarises the conflict thesis:
Historians of science and of religion, philosophers, theologians, scientists, and others from various geographical regions and cultures have addressed various aspects of the relationship between religion and science. Even though the ancient and medieval worlds did not have conceptions resembling the modern understandings of "science" or of "religion", certain elements of modern ideas on the subject recur throughout history. The pair-structured phrases "religion and science" and "science and religion" first emerged in the literature in the 19th century. This coincided with the refining of "science" and of "religion" as distinct concepts in the preceding few centuries - partly due to professionalization of the sciences, the Protestant Reformation, colonization, and globalization. Since then the relationship between science and religion have been characterized as conflict, harmony, complexity, or mutual independence.
The scientific method is an empirical method of acquiring knowledge that has characterized the development of science since at least the 17th century. It involves careful observation, applying rigorous skepticism about what is observed, given that cognitive assumptions can distort how one interprets the observation. It involves formulating hypotheses, via induction, based on such observations; experimental and measurement-based testing of deductions drawn from the hypotheses; and refinement of the hypotheses based on the experimental findings. These are principles of the scientific method, as distinguished from a definitive series of steps applicable to all scientific enterprises.
John William Draper was an English-born American scientist, philosopher, physician, chemist, historian and photographer. He is credited with producing the first clear photograph of a female face (1839–40) and the first detailed photograph of the moon in 1840. He was also the first president of the American Chemical Society (1876–77) and a founder of the New York University School of Medicine. One of Draper's books, the History of the Conflict between Religion and Science, popularised the conflict thesis proposing intrinsic hostility in the relationship between religion and science. It was widely read and was translated into several languages. His son, Henry Draper, and his granddaughter, Antonia Maury, were astronomers, her younger sister, Carlotta Maury, was a paleontologist, his eldest son, John Christopher Draper, was a chemist, and son Daniel Draper, was a meteorologist.
The history of Science is not a mere record of isolated discoveries; it is a narrative of the conflict of two contending powers, the expansive force of the human intellect on one side, and the compression arising from traditionary faith and human interests on the other.
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In 1874 White published his thesis in Popular Science Monthly and in book form as The Warfare of Science:
In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both to religion and to science—and invariably. And, on the other hand, all untrammeled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous to religion some of its stages may have seemed, for the time, to be, has invariably resulted in the highest good of religion and of science.
In 1896, White published A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom , the culmination of over thirty years of research and publication on the subject, criticizing what he saw as restrictive, dogmatic forms of Christianity. In the introduction, White emphasized that he arrived at his position after the difficulties of assisting Ezra Cornell in establishing a university without any official religious affiliation.
A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom was published in two volumes by Andrew Dickson White, a founder of Cornell University, in 1896. In the introduction White states the original goal of his 1874 lecture on The Battlefields of Science and elaborated in a book The Warfare of Science the same year:
In all modern history, interference with science in the supposed interest of religion, no matter how conscientious such interference may have been, has resulted in the direst evils both to religion and to science, and invariably; and, on the other hand, all untrammelled scientific investigation, no matter how dangerous to religion some of its stages may have seemed for the time to be, has invariably resulted in the highest good both of religion and of science.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and the savior of all people, whose coming as the Messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Ezra Cornell was an American businessman, politician, and philanthropist. He was the founder of Western Union, founder of Ithaca's first library, and a co-founder of Cornell University. He also served as President of the New York Agriculture Society and as a New York state Senator.
The historian of medicine James Joseph Walsh criticized White's perspective as anti-historical in The Popes and Science; the History of the Papal Relations to Science During the Middle Ages and Down to Our Own Time (1908),a book dedicated to Pope Pius X:
the story of the supposed opposition of the Church and the Popes and the ecclesiastical authorities to science in any of its branches, is founded entirely on mistaken notions. Most of it is quite imaginary. Much of it is due to the exaggeration of the significance of the Galileo incident. Only those who know nothing about the history of medicine and of science continue to harbor it. That Dr. White's book, contradicted as it is so directly by all serious histories of medicine and of science, should have been read by so many thousands in this country, and should have been taken seriously by educated men, physicians, teachers, and even professors of science who want to know the history of their own sciences, only shows how easily even supposedly educated men may be led to follow their prejudices rather than their mental faculties, and emphasizes the fact that the tradition that there is no good that can possibly come out of the Nazareth of the times before the reformation, still dominates the intellects of many educated people who think that they are far from prejudice and have minds perfectly open to conviction.
In God and Nature (1986), David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers report that "White's Warfare apparently did not sell as briskly as Draper's Conflict, but in the end it proved more influential, partly, it seems, because Draper's strident anti-Catholicism soon dated his work and because White's impressive documentation gave the appearance of sound scholarship".During the 20th century, historians' acceptance of the conflict thesis declined until rejected in the 1970s. David B. Wilson notes:
Despite the growing number of scholarly modifications and rejections of the conflict model from the 1950's ... in the 1970s leading historians of the nineteenth century still felt required to attack it. ... Whatever the reason for the continued survival of the conflict thesis, two other books on the nineteenth century that were published in the 1970s hastened its final demise among historians of science ... 1974 ... Frank Turner ... Between Science and Religion ... Even more decisive was the penetrating critique "Historians and Historiography" ... [by] James Moore ... at the beginning of his Post-Darwinian Controversies (1979).
In his course on science and religion, historian Lawrence Principe summarizes Draper's and White's works by saying,
While we can look today with astonishment upon the shoddy character of Draper and White's writings, their books have had enormous impact, and we can’t deny that. Much of this is due to their great success in their creating a myth for science as a religion. Their myth of science as a religion is replete with battles, and martyrdoms, and saints, and creeds. And as we know, or should know, myths are often much more powerful than historical realities.
In the coursebook, Principe writes,
No serious historians of science or of the science–religion issue today maintain the warfare thesis ... The origins of the warfare thesis lie in the late 19th century, specifically in the work of two men – John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White. These men had specific political purposes in mind when arguing their case, and the historical foundations of their work are unreliable.
Regarding the scholarship of Draper's work, Principe says
How does he [John William Draper] support his contention of conflict? Well, unfortunately, with some of the worst historical writing you are ever likely to come across. Historical facts are confected, causes and chronologies twisted to the author’s purpose. We find interpretations made merely by declaration. We find quotations violently taken out of context. And instances, quite a few of them where Draper claims a historical writer said something in fact 180 degrees away from what he actually claimed...Much of Draper’s book is so ridiculous, so malodramatic, so rabid, it’s hard for a knowledgeable person actually to read it without a wry smirk...Let’s start with a simple and a notorious example: the idea that before Columbus people thought that the world was flat. Well, in fact, it is Draper and White, specifically, both of them, who bear most of the blame for popularizing this baseless view to the extent that nowadays, 80 percent of school teachers still foist this upon poor innocent school children. The fact is that of course the sphericity of the Earth was well established by the fifth century BC by the Greeks, and a good measure of its circumference made by the third century BC. And these facts were never forgotten in learned Western Culture.
Principe's summary comment on Draper's work at the end of his coursebook reads: "The book that started the conflict myth. Take a sense of humor and/or a stiff drink with this dated bit of melodrama."
Historians of science today have moved away from a conflict model, which is based mainly on two historical episodes (those involving Galileo and Darwin) in favor of a "complexity" model, because religious figures took positions on both sides of each dispute and there was no overall aim by any party involved in discrediting religion.Biologist Stephen Jay Gould said: "White's and Draper's accounts of the actual interaction between science and religion in Western history do not differ greatly. Both tell a tale of bright progress continually sparked by science. And both develop and use the same myths to support their narrative, the flat-earth legend prominently among them". In a summary of the historiography of the conflict thesis, Colin A. Russell, the former President of Christians in Science, said that "Draper takes such liberty with history, perpetuating legends as fact that he is rightly avoided today in serious historical study. The same is nearly as true of White, though his prominent apparatus of prolific footnotes may create a misleading impression of meticulous scholarship".
In Science & Religion, Gary Ferngren proposes a complex relationship between religion and science:
While some historians had always regarded the Draper-White thesis as oversimplifying and distorting a complex relationship, in the late twentieth century it underwent a more systematic reevaluation. The result is the growing recognition among historians of science that the relationship of religion and science has been much more positive than is sometimes thought. Although popular images of controversy continue to exemplify the supposed hostility of Christianity to new scientific theories, studies have shown that Christianity has often nurtured and encouraged scientific endeavour, while at other times the two have co-existed without either tension or attempts at harmonization. If Galileo and the Scopes trial come to mind as examples of conflict, they were the exceptions rather than the rule.
Some modern historians of science (such as Peter Barker, Bernard R. Goldstein, and Crosbie Smith) propose that scientific discoveries – such as Kepler's laws of planetary motion in the 17th century, and the reformulation of physics in terms of energy, in the 19th century – were driven by religion. Religious organizations and clerics figure prominently in the broad histories of science, until the professionalization of the scientific enterprise, in the 19th century, led to tensions between scholars taking religious and secular approaches to nature. Even the prominent examples of religion's apparent conflict with science, the Galileo affair (1614) and the Scopes trial (1925), were not pure instances of conflict between science and religion, but included personal and political facts in the development of each conflict.
The Galileo affair is one of the few examples commonly used by advocates of the conflict thesis. Maurice Finocchiaro writes that the Galileo affair epitomizes the common view of "the conflict between enlightened science and obscurantist religion," and that this view promotes "the myth that alleges the incompatibility between science and religion." Finocchiaro writes, "I believe that such a thesis is erroneous, misleading, and simplistic," and refers to John Draper, Andrew White, Voltaire, Einstein, Bertrand Russell, and Karl Popper as writers or icons who have promoted it.Finocchiaro also describes as mythical the notion that Galileo "saw" the Earth's motion, since this direct observation was only possible in the 21st century, and the idea that Galileo was "imprisoned", since he was "actually held under house arrest." He notes that the situation was complex and objections to the Copernican system included scientific, philosophical, and theological arguments.
The Galileo affair was a sequence of events, beginning around 1610,culminating with the trial and condemnation of Galileo Galilei by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633 for his support of heliocentrism. In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), describing the surprising observations that he had made with the new telescope, namely the phases of Venus and the Galilean moons of Jupiter. With these observations he promoted the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus (published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543). Galileo's initial discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church, and in 1616, the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be formally heretical. Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to refrain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas.
Pope Urban VIII had been an admirer and supporter of Galileo, and there is evidence he did not believe the Inquisition's declaration rendered heliocentrism a heresy. Urban may have rather viewed heliocentrism as a potentially dangerous or rash doctrine that nevertheless had utility in astronomical calculations.In 1632, Galileo published his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems , which implicitly defended heliocentrism, and was popular. Pope Urban VIII had asked that his own views on the matter be included in Galileo's book, and were voiced by a character named "Simplicio", who was a simpleton. This angered the Pope and weakened Galileo's position politically. Responding to mounting controversy over theology, astronomy and philosophy, the Roman Inquisition tried Galileo in 1633 and found him "vehemently suspect of heresy", sentencing him to indefinite imprisonment. Galileo's Dialogue was banned, the publication of his past or future works forbidden, he was ordered to "abjure, curse and detest" heliocentric ideas. Galileo was kept under house arrest until his death in 1642.
Observations that favored the Copernican model over the Ptolemaic or other alternative models accumulated over time:the emergence of Newtonian mechanics later in the 17th century, the observation of the stellar aberration of light by James Bradley in the 18th century, the analysis of orbital motions of binary stars by William Herschel in the 19th century, and the accurate measurement of the stellar parallax in the 19th century. According to physicist Christopher Graney, Galileo's own observations did not actually support the Copernican view, but were more consistent with Tycho Brahe's hybrid model where the Earth did not move, and everything else circled around it and the Sun. Copernicus' work De revolutionibus remained on the Index of banned books until 1758.
This thesis is still held to be true in whole or in part by some scientists including the theoretical physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who said "There is a fundamental difference between religion, which is based on authority, [and] science, which is based on observation and reason. Science will win because it works."Others, such as Steven Weinberg, grant that it is possible for science and religion to be compatible since some prominent scientists are also religious, but he sees some significant tensions that potentially weaken religious beliefs overall.
A study done on scientists from 21 American universities showed that most did not perceive conflict between science and religion. In the study, the strength of religiosity in the home in which a scientist was raised, current religious attendance, peers' attitudes toward religion, all had an impact on whether or not scientists saw religion and science as in conflict. Scientists who had grown up with a religion and retained that identity or had identified as spiritual or had religious attendance tended to perceive less or no conflict. However, those not attending religious services were more likely to adopt a conflict paradigm. Additionally, scientists were more likely to reject conflict thesis if their peers held positive views of religion.
Science historian Ronald Numbers suggests the conflict theory lingers in a popular belief, inclusive of scientists and clerics alike, and that while history reflects an intrinsic and inevitable intellectual conflict between (Judeo-Christian) religion and science, it is perpetuated by the polemics surrounding controversies involving creation–evolution, stem cells, and birth control.Many religious groups have made statements regarding the compatibility of religion and science, urging, for example, "school board members to preserve the integrity of the science curriculum by affirming the teaching of the theory of evolution as a core component of human knowledge. We ask that science remain science and that religion remain religion, two very different, but complementary, forms of truth." The Magis Center for Reason and Faith was founded specifically to apply science in support of belief in a deity and the Christian religion. Some scholars such as Brian Stanley and Denis Alexander propose that mass media are partly responsible for popularizing conflict theory, most notably the myth that prior to Columbus, people believed the Earth was flat. David C. Lindberg and Numbers point out that "there was scarcely a Christian scholar of the Middle Ages who did not acknowledge Earth's sphericity and even know its approximate circumference". Numbers gives the following as mistakes arising from conflict theory that have gained widespread currency: "the Church prohibited autopsies and dissections during the Middle Ages", "the rise of Christianity killed off ancient science", and "the medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of the natural sciences". Some Christian writers, notably Reijer Hooykaas and Stanley Jaki, have argued that Christianity was important, if not essential, for the rise of modern science. Lindberg and Numbers, however, see this apologetical writing as lacking in careful historical study and overstating the case for a connection.
Research on perceptions of science among the American public concludes that most religious groups see no general epistemological conflict with science, and that they have no differences with nonreligious groups in propensity to seek out scientific knowledge, although there may be epistemic or moral conflicts when scientists make counterclaims to religious tenets.The Pew Center made similar findings and also noted that the majority of Americans (80–90 per cent) strongly support scientific research, agree that science makes society and individual's lives better, and 8 in 10 Americans would be happy if their children were to become scientists. Even strict creationists tend to express very favorable views towards science. A study of US college students concluded that the majority of undergraduates in both the natural and social sciences do not see conflict between science and religion. Another finding in the study was that it is more likely for students to move from a conflict perspective to an independence or collaboration perspective than vice versa.
A scientist is someone who conducts scientific research to advance knowledge in an area of interest.
The "Dark Ages" is a historical periodization traditionally referring to the Middle Ages, that asserts that a demographic, cultural, and economic deterioration occurred in Western Europe following the decline of the Roman Empire.
Andrew Dickson White was an American historian and educator, who was the cofounder of Cornell University and served as its first president for nearly two decades. He was known for expanding the scope of college curricula. A politician, he had served as state senator in New York. He was later appointed as a US diplomat to Germany and Russia, among other responsibilities.
The scientific community is a diverse network of interacting scientists. It includes many "sub-communities" working on particular scientific fields, and within particular institutions; interdisciplinary and cross-institutional activities are also significant. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method. Peer review, through discussion and debate within journals and conferences, assists in this objectivity by maintaining the quality of research methodology and interpretation of results.
Criticism of religion involves criticism of the ideas, validity, concept.
The Galileo affair was a sequence of events, beginning around 1610, culminating with the trial and condemnation of Galileo Galilei by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1633 for his support of heliocentrism.
Ronald Leslie Numbers is an American historian of science. He was awarded the 2008 George Sarton Medal by the History of Science Society for "a lifetime of exceptional scholarly achievement by a distinguished scholar".
The Merton thesis is an argument about the nature of early experimental science proposed by Robert K. Merton. Similar to Max Weber's famous claim on the link between Protestant work ethic and the capitalist economy, Merton argued for a similar positive correlation between the rise of Protestant Pietism and early experimental science. The Merton thesis has resulted in continuous debates.
The Hedgehog, the Fox, and the Magister's Pox (2003) is Stephen Jay Gould's posthumous volume exploring the historically complex relationship between the sciences and the humanities in a scholarly discourse.
In the history of ideas, the continuity thesis is the hypothesis that there was no radical discontinuity between the intellectual development of the Middle Ages and the developments in the Renaissance and early modern period. Thus the idea of an intellectual or scientific revolution following the Renaissance is, according to the continuity thesis, a myth. Some continuity theorists point to earlier intellectual revolutions occurring in the Middle Ages, usually referring to the European Renaissance of the 12th century as a sign of continuity. Despite the many points that have been brought up by proponents of the continuity thesis, a majority of scholars still support the traditional view of the Scientific Revolution occurring in the 16th and 17th centuries.
The myth of the flat Earth is a modern misconception that Earth was believed to be flat rather than spherical by scholars and the educated during the Middle Ages in Europe.
The role of Christianity in civilization has been intricately intertwined with the history and formation of Western society. Throughout its long history, the Church has been a major source of social services like schooling and medical care; inspiration for art, culture and philosophy; and influential player in politics and religion. In various ways it has sought to affect Western attitudes to vice and virtue in diverse fields. Festivals like Easter and Christmas are marked as public holidays; the Gregorian Calendar has been adopted internationally as the civil calendar; and the calendar itself is measured from the date of Jesus's birth.
The relationship between the Catholic Church and science is a widely debated subject. Historically, the Catholic Church has often been a patron of sciences. It has been prolific in the foundation and funding of schools, universities and hospitals, and many clergy have been active in the sciences. Historians of science such as Pierre Duhem credit medieval Catholic mathematicians and philosophers such as John Buridan, Nicole Oresme, and Roger Bacon as the founders of modern science. Duhem found "the mechanics and physics, of which modern times are justifiably proud, to proceed by an uninterrupted series of scarcely perceptible improvements from doctrines professed in the heart of the medieval schools." Yet, the conflict thesis and other critiques emphasize historical or contemporary conflict between the Catholic Church and science, citing in particular the trial of Galileo as evidence. For its part, the Catholic Church teaches that science and the Christian faith are complementary, as can be seen from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states in regards to faith and science:
Though faith is above reason, there can never be any real discrepancy between faith and reason. Since the same God who reveals mysteries and infuses faith has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind, God cannot deny himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. ... Consequently, methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are.
The Closing of the Western Mind: The Rise of Faith and the Fall of Reason (2003) is a book by the classical historian Charles Freeman, in which he discusses the relationship between the Greek philosophical tradition and Christianity, primarily in the fourth to sixth century AD. He argues that far from suppressing Greek philosophy, Christianity integrated the more authoritarian aspects of Platonism at the expense of the Aristotelian tradition. He explores the contribution of the Roman emperors to the definition of Christian doctrine, an argument followed up in his 2009 book AD 381. He dates "the reopening of the western mind" to the integration of Aristotle's thought into Christian doctrine by Thomas Aquinas in the thirteenth century.
The Blackwell Companion to Science and Christianity is a reference work in science and religion, edited by J.B. Stump and Alan G. Padgett, and published by Wiley-Blackwell in 2012. It contains 54 new essays written by an international list of 55 authors, many of them leading scholars in the discipline of science and religion, and others new or up-and-coming voices in the field. The editors claim, "We are seeking to introduce and advance serious thinking and talking about science and Christianity, particularly as they interconnect. We are reflecting on the work of scientists and theologians, trying to find points of contact and points of tension which help to illuminate these practices and doctrines in clear, scholarly light." The book has received positive reviews in Choice, Reference Reviews, Themelios and Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith. The article by Sean M. Carroll generated significant attention when it was discussed on the Huffington Post.
Most sources of knowledge available to early Christians were connected to pagan world-views. There were various opinions on how Christianity should regard pagan learning, which included its ideas about nature. For instance, among early Christian teachers, Tertullian held a generally negative opinion of Greek philosophy, while Origen regarded it much more favorably and required his students to read nearly every work available to them.
... while [John] Brooke's view [of a complexity thesis rather than an historical conflict thesis] has gained widespread acceptance among professional historians of science, the traditional view remains strong elsewhere, not least in the popular mind
In the late Victorian period it was common to write about the 'warfare between science and religion' and to presume that the two bodies of culture must always have been in conflict. However, it is a very long time since these attitudes have been held by historians of science.
The conflict thesis, at least in its simple form, is now widely perceived as a wholly inadequate intellectual framework within which to construct a sensible and realistic historiography of Western science
In its traditional forms, the conflict thesis has been largely discredited.
When did people first begin to speak about science and religion, using that precise terminology? As should now be apparent, this could not have been before the nineteenth century. When we consult written works for actual occurrences of the conjunction “science and religion” or “religion and science” in English publications, that is exactly what we discover (see figure 14).
Indeed, prior to about the middle of the nineteenth century, the trope "science and religion" was virtually nonexistent.".."In fact, the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries witnessed the creation of what one commentator called "whole libraries" devoted to reconciling religion and science. That estimate is confirmed by the data contained in figures 10.1 and 10.2, which reveal that what started as a trickle of books and articles addressing "science and religion" before 1850 became a torrent in the 1870s." (see Fig. 10.1 and 10.2)
The changing character of those engaged in scientific endeavors was matched by a new nomenclature for their endeavors. The most conspicuous marker of this change was the replacement of "natural philosophy" by "natural science". In 1800 few had spoken of the "natural sciences" but by 1880, this expression had overtaken the traditional label "natural philosophy". The persistence of "natural philosophy" in the twentieth century is owing largely to historical references to a past practice (see figure 11). As should now be apparent, this was not simply the substitution of one term by another, but involved the jettisoning of a range of personal qualities relating to the conduct of philosophy and the living of the philosophical life.
The United States is perhaps the most religious out of the advanced industrial democracies."; "In fact, large majorities of the traditionally religious American nevertheless hold very positive views of science and scientists. Even people who accept a strict creationist view, regarding the origins of life are mostly favorable towards science."; "According to the National Science Foundation, public attitudes about science are more favorable in the United States than in Europe, Russia, and Japan, despite great differences across these cultures in level of religiosity (National Science Foundation, 2008).
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