Letter to the Editor


 Cause and Effect

Lawrence Lyons

2172 Moggill Rd

From: PSCF 46 (December 1994):288.

Edward B. Davis' essay review in your issue of June 1994 shows how hard it is to establish cause and effect relations in intellectual history. Amongst other things he looks at the relationship between Christian thought and modern science, explored by Hookyaas, Merton, Foster and others.

Sir Fred Catherwood, Industrial Adviser to the (UK) Ministry of Economic Affairs, in The Christian in Industrial Society (Tyndale Press, London. 1964.) published figures for the national income per head for 34 nations in 1961, and looked at the results against the predominant religion in the nation's main period of economic growth. The results were that the top ten national incomes per head were all in nations with a predominantly Protestant Christian culture, except for number 10, which was Israel. The order of the first nine was: USA, Sweden, Canada, Switzerland, New Zealand, Australia, United Kingdom, Denmark, and West Germany. Number 11 was Norway; numbers 12 & 13 were Belgium and France. These facts indicate that there was a correlation between Protestantism and wealth from scientific technology. They are reminiscent of the link seen by Weber and Tawney between Protestantism and the growth of capitalism, and seem also to be consistent with the backgrounds of US scientists around 1960, which I recall were 45% Protestant Christian, 40% Jewish and 5% Catholic and Orthodox.

These days, the principles of wealth creation seem to be used best by non-Christian Japan.