Science in Christian Perspective



Religion and the Rise of Modern Science:
A Reply to D.M. MacKay


From: JASA 28 (March 1976): 48.

D.M. MacKay has made it quite clear (Journal ASA, Sept. 1975) that he disagrees with my reading (and thus my review) of R. Hooykaas, Religion and the Rise of Modern Science (Journal ASA, Dec, 1974). He thinks Hooykaas has pursued his subject with care and thoroughness and that the resulting book is an exemplary piece of scholarship. Fine! Disagreement is an inevitable feature of the quest for understanding, and it is entirely healthy.

May I reply simply by suggesting (1) that the cause of dialogue would be advanced if MacKay would address himself to the issues instead of denouncing those with whom he disagrees; and (2) that interested readers first inform themselves by plunging into the scholarly literature on the rise of modern scienceo-then take Hooykaas's book in hand and judge for themselves whether, as MacKay asserts, it is "one of the most carefully documented and scholarly short treatments of his subject that have recently appeared," or whether, as I am firmly persuaded, it is more polemical than scholarly and represents a conception of the rise of modern science that is no longer tenable.

David C. Lindberg
Department of the History of Science
University of Wisconsin
Madison, Wisconsin 53706