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What is now needed
is a new generation of historians of science capable of following the
truth as dispassionately as their scientific colleagues believe
themselves to be doing, unafraid of where their inquiries may lead
For the Christian, the use of history for apologetic purposes is surely
as legitimate as arguments based on anything else (nature, aesthetics,
moral imperatives etc.).
But such history must be marked by honesty, integrity painstaking
attention to detail and a scrupulous regard for alternative
is worthy of the Lord of nature who is also Lord of history.
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Historical Studies of Science and Christianity
The Christian church has had a continuing concern for
the relation between God, man, and nature. Since Western science emerged in
cultures dominated by Christianity we might ask how Christianity influenced
attitudes toward nature and
the practice of what was later to be called science (earlier,
natural philosophy). It is also important to discover the ways that an
increasing knowledge of nature has influenced Christian thought.
we also offer some basic studies in the areas of philosophy, general history
and the sociology
of science, the focus of this page is on the interaction of religion
(mainly Christianity) on science, medicine, and engineering fields.
articles are arranged along chronological lines with additional categories
for major fields of interest such as evolutionary biology and the history
of the ASA. You may use the search engine on the
home page and the
ISIS Bibliographic Index for additional information.
Our keynote paper by English, Chemist-Historian
Colin Russell aptly focuses on the value of history in
understanding toady's science/faith concerns. American historians of science
David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers offer a seminal statement on the 'conflict
Beyond War and Peace: A Reappraisal of the Encounter between Christianity and
Thomas S. Kuhn's
"The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"
was an important 20th C work
on the nature of science. An
Outline and Study Guide
prepared by Professor Frank Pajares, Emory University,
provides a useful introduction - especially the
We offer a selection of papers
from Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith (PSCF) and
other sources that illustrate the wide-ranging scope of
the subject, plus a
on Desmond and Moore's best-selling Darwin, a
on the science interests of British evangelical pioneer John Wesley, a
selection of papers on ASA history
from which the field may be explored in detail.
16 Oct 2007
Public Spectacle and Evolutionary Theory: The Fortunes of
Darwinism in the Calvinist Cultures of Victorian Edinburgh and
Belfast (46 min. + discussion)--Faraday
Richard P. Aulie, "Al-Ghazali
Against Aristotle: An Unforeseen Overture
in Eleventh-Century Baghdad," PSCF 46.1:26-46 (3/1994)
The year was A.D. 1091, the city was Baghdad, and a
thirty-three year-old scholar, whose reputation for Greek learning and
religious piety had preceded him, was arriving by caravan from the east.
His name was Abu Hamid Muhammad ibn Muhammad al Tusi al-Ghazali. He was born
in Persia. He wrote and spoke Arabic. His religion was
Islam.1 And what he wrote during the next four
years played a definite, though unforeseen rule in the origin of modern
John Ray (1628-1705)
The Wisdom of God manifested in the Works of Creation,
John R. Armstrong, "Rediscovering
John Ray (1627-1705) PSCF 41.2:105-107 (6/1989)
John Ray (1627-1705) became a teaching fellow of
Trinity College, Cambridge in 1649, an ordained Church of England minister
in 1660. His Puritan sympathies,
however, prevented him from signing an agreement with 1662 restrictions upon
liturgy under the Act of Uniformity, so that his employment ended (Faul &
Faul, 1983, p. 47). Turning to science, he produced the major botanical
reference of his generation, met and corresponded with leading scientists across
Western Europe. and tutored for a wealthy family. Honesty, thoroughness,
humility, and gentleness pervade his writings: he repeatedly acknowledged
incomplete understanding and demonstrated a willingness to revise his opinions
whenever evidence warranted a different interpretation.
David L. Woodall,
"The Relationship between Science and Scripture in the Thought of Robert Boyle,"
PSCF, 49 (March 1997): 32 - 39.
The writings of Robert Boyle advance the
thesis that Christianity in seventeenth- century England advocated and
facilitated scientific development. As a scientist and theologian, he
rejected the popular view that the Bible was a scientific textbook and yet
believed in the absolute harmony between scientific statements in the
Bible and experimental science. Conflicts between the two were explained
as either a mistake in science or an incorrect interpretation of
Scripture. Boyle followed Calvin's view of accommodation.
Newton Reconsidered (2005)
Comments on recent
scholarship about Newton's theological views.
Eighteenth century (coming)
Newton Collection (digital)
David C. Bossard, "The
Stones Cry Out: How Early Christian Geologists
Understanding of the Creation Account,"
IBRI Research Report #57 (2006).
The development of modern geology in the early 1800s challenged traditional Biblical
interpretation in a way that no other advance in science had.
Over the centuries, there had been many philosophical challenges to
Biblical revelation -- the nascent higher criticism of the
Biblical text, and many Christian and secular world views as
(then) recent examples -- but these are all based on
philosophical particulars that cannot be refuted objectively. Never
before had such an extensive, sustained and comprehensive assault on
tradition been fortified with such an abundance of irrefutable
factual data, which could be tested and affirmed by all, even
those with radically clashing world views. How, then, did devout
Christians process this challenge?
R. Armstrong, "William
Buckland in Retrospect" PSCF 42.1:34-38
(3/1990) The Reverend Dr. William Buckland (1784-1856)
profoundly influenced the historical sciences of geology and paleontology as an Oxford professor during most of the major controversies-neptunist/plutonist,
catastrophist/uniformitarian, glacial, and creation/evolution. His
theology remained orthodox, while his perspectives adapted to the latest
developments in science. ...
Michael B. Roberts:
Genesis and Geology Unearthed,15 December 2002.
The challenge of Geology to Genesis is often
perceived to be one of the issues of the "Victorian Crisis of Faith".
Geologists had, since Charles Lyell had published his Principles of
Geology in 1831, been demonstrating that the age of the earth was
somwat oldwe than Archbishop Ussher's Six Thousand Years. ...
Mark A. Kalthoff, "John
Henry Newman on Christianity, Science and Intelligent Design," PSCF
53 (March 2001): 14 - 23.
Although much scholarship treats Newman's thought and Victorian science
separately, little has been written about both; and no historian of
science and religion has provided a focused study of Newman's 1855
lectures. This paper contributes to such a study. After a brief
introduction to Newman and the context of his 1855 lectures, this paper
provides a critical summary and analysis of Newman's thought on science
and Christianity as presented in those lectures. It concludes by
suggesting ways Newman's thought may contribute to contemporary
discussions of Intelligent Design theory.
"The Christian Character of Michael Faraday as Revealed in His Personal Life and
Recorded Sermons","PSCF 43.2: 92-95 (6/1991)
During his scientific career Michael Faraday was a well-known public
figure. For more than a century now, his scientific activities have been studied
and described by various authors. There was another, more private aspect of
Michael Faraday - his religious beliefs and
activities. Contemporaries, such as Tyndall, Gladstone, and others have given us
some insights into Faraday's personal life and character. However, little has
been written regarding his religious activities. As an elder in the Sandemanian
church, Faraday often presented sermons, or "exhortations,"
as they were called. Only a few of these have been preserved, but those that
have been give us a view which is quite different from the typical biographical
information. Here we see not Michael Faraday, the scientist, but Michael
Faraday, the Christian.
Darwinism, Fundamentalism, and R. A. Torrey PSCF
62 (March 2010):
A. Torrey (1856–1928), a leading world evangelist at the turn of the twentieth
century, played a prominent role in the emergence of fundamentalism, which aimed
to defend Christianity against liberalism. The writers of
(1910–1915), including Torrey,
proposed harmony between science and Christianity by accepting the standard
geological ages and by offering some criticisms of Darwinism....
Larsen, Timothy. “‘War
Is Over, If You Want It’: Beyond the Conflict between Faith and Science,”
PSCF 60 (2008): 147. "The
purpose of this article is to help emerging scholars, especially in the
sciences, to reframe the issue of the relationship between faith and
learning in a productive way. While critiques of the warfare model exist
in the specialized literature of the history of science, the presumption
of conflict continues to dominate in the media and in popular
conversations in both secular and religious contexts. As a result, young
scholars have often imbibed this model themselves as an accurate portrait
of the way things are, and they usually do not have a clear, up-to-date
reflection on the relationship of faith and learning to put in its place."
Terry G. Pence,"Charles
S. Pierce, Scientific Method, and God,"PSCF 49.3:156-161(9/1997).
Charles S. Peirce, the founder of American pragmatism, wrote extensively
about a form of inference called abduction, or more familiarly, reasoning
to the best explanation. He claimed that it was essential to the growth of
science. In this article, I examine Peirce's theory of abduction to see if
he thinks that this essential form of reasoning precludes appeals to a
supernatural agency. I argue that it does not and that Peirce himself
defends just such an abductive inference in his "A Neglected Argument for
the Reality of God."
Haas, John W., Jr., Essay Review:
Bowler, Peter J. Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate in
Early-Twentieth-Century Britain PSCF
55.1:45-51 (3/2003) Belfast
University historian of science Peter Bowler has turned from his studies
of Victorian and early-twentieth-century biology to examine the
science-religion literature of this period. Rather than peaceful
somnolence, he has uncovered evidence of a “lively discussion” and
constructs a more detailed (and more inclusive) picture than previously
has been drawn.
Giberson & Donald Yerxa,
Inherit the Monkey Trial Scopes
Trial historian Ed Larson explains why Christians should be taught
Christianity Today Archive with useful links on the trial.
Arthur Compton Series
B. Davis, "Prophet
of Science—Part One: Arthur Holly Compton on Science, Freedom, Religion,
and Morality," PSCF 61
(June 2009): 73-83.
American physicist Arthur Holly Compton
(1892–1962), who shared the Nobel Prize with C. T. R. Wilson in 1927,
was a leading public intellectual in the decades surrounding World War
II. A very active Presbyterian, Compton’s “modernist” Christian
beliefs influenced his views on several important topics: evolution and
the design argument, human freedom and the limits of science,
immortality, anti-Semitism, and the morality of atomic warfare.
B. Davis, "Prophet of Science—Part
Two: Arthur Holly Compton on Science, Freedom, Religion, and Morality,"
PSCF 61 (September 2009):
175-190. The second part of this article discusses Arthur
Holly Compton’s religious activities and beliefs, especially his concept
of Science—Part Three: Arthur Holly Compton on Science, Freedom,
Religion, and Morality," PSCF 61 (December
The final part of this article examines Compton’s
views on immortality and the morality of atomic warfare. He
affirmed life after death, basing this on his faith in the value that
God places on the conscious persons produced by the divinely guided
process of evolution; however, he did not accept the bodily resurrection
John J. Compton, "Arthur
Holly Compton: The Adventures of a Citizen Scientist,"
PSCF 62 (March 2010): Perhaps one never knows one’s parents, really knows
them. You never know their early lives and, as a kid, you are living
inside your own skin, not theirs. Growing up in Chicago, I never knew my
dad was famous. He was just a firm, affectionate, if too busy father
figure, who loved music and the outdoors, played tennis better than I
could, was awfully good with tools, and could explain scientific ideas
so well that I almost understood them. .....
ABRAHAM C. FLIPSE, Against the
Science Religion Conflict: the Genesis of a Calvinist Science Faculty in
the Netherlands in the Early Twentieth Century, November 2007.
This paper gives an account of the establishment and
expansion of a Faculty of Science at the Calvinist ‘Free University’ in
the Netherlands in the 1930s. It describes the efforts of a group of
orthodox Christians to come to terms with the natural sciences in the
early twentieth century. The statutes of the university, which had been
founded in 1880, prescribed that all research and teaching should be based
on Calvinist, biblical principles. This ideal was formulated in opposition
to the claim of nineteenth-century scientific naturalists that there was
an inherent conflict between science and religion. However, despite their
selection on the basis of their strict Calvinist beliefs, the first
science professors attributed a certain independence to the domain of
science. They agreed with the criticism of the conflict thesis, and tried
to defuse the tensions between science and religion, although mainly at
the level of philosophy and history, looking for example for
between science and religion in the past. Ironically, as a result of this
approach, the Calvinist scientists mainly contributed to the acceptance of
mainstream science in Dutch Calvinist circles, contrary to developments in
countries (notably the USA) where the conflict between science
Twentieth and Early Twenty First Centuries
F. Alton Everest,
Scientific Affiliation: Its Growth and Early Development, ASA Press
(1986) A history in word and pictures of the first 45 years
from the eyes of the founding father..
Yerxa, "Donald A.,
Johnson and the Origins of the Intelligent Design Movement,
PSCF 54 (March 2002): 47
Davis Young, "History of
the Collapse of "Flood Geology" and a Young Earth," (adapted from
The Biblical Flood: A Case Study of the Church's Response to Extrabiblical
"...I do not consider it a
violation of the integrity of the biblical text to suppose that the
biblical flood account uses a major Mesopotamian event in order to make
vital theological points concerning human depravity, faith, and obedience
and divine judgment, grace, and mercy. The evangelical church serves no
good end by clinging to failed interpretations of the Bible and refusing
to explore new directions. Christian scholars have an obligation to lead
the way toward a renewed reverence for God's truth wherever it can be
found. Conservative scholars must develop a more aggressive attitude
toward creation and encourage the church's youth to enter not only the
pastorate, mission work, and theology but also such fields as the natural
sciences, archeology, anthropology, and the social sciences."
Dorothy F. Chappell,
" Christian, Teacher, Scientist, Mentor: Dr. Russell L. Mixter Visionary for the
Role of Science in Christian Higher Education, " PSCF 44
John W. Haas, Jr.
"Irwin A. Moon, F. Alton Everest and Will H. Houghton: Early Links between the
Moody Bible Institute and the American Scientific Affiliation,"
PSCF 43 (Dec 1991): 249-258.
D. G. Hart,
"The Fundamentalist Origins of the American Scientific Affiliation,"
PSCF 43 (Dec 1991):238-248
Mark A. Kalthoff,
"The Harmonious Dissonance of Evangelical Scientists: Rhetoric and Reality in
the Early Decades of the ASA," PSCF 43 (Dec
Joseph L. Spradley,
"Changing Views of Science and Scripture: Bernard Ramm & the ASA,"PSCF
44 (Mar 1992):2-9.
ASA Web History
The Rev. John Wesley and Science
Laura Bartels Felleman, "John
Wesley's Survey of the Wisdom of God in Creation: A Methodological Inquiry,"
PSCF 58 (March 2006): 68-73.
J. W. Haas, Jr.,
"John Wesley's Vision of Science in the Service of Christ," PSCF
47 (December 1995): 234 - 243.
H. Newton Malony,
"John Wesley and the Eighteenth Century Therapeutic Uses of Electricity,"
47 (December 1995): 244 - 254.
Young Charles Darwin
"Darwin: A Man of His Times - A Theory of Its Time?" PSCF,
45 (Sep1993): 191 - 195.
David N. Livingstone,
"A Commentary on Darwin," ,PSCF, 46
(June 1994): 123 - 127.
"Cutting Both Ways - Darwin Among the Devout: A Response to David Livingstone,
Sara Miles, and Mark Noll," PSCF 46 (Sep 1994): 169
Miscellaneous Darwin Papers
Edward O. Dodson,
"Toldot Adam: A Little-Known Chapter in the History of Darwinism,"
PSCF 52 (Mar 2000):47-54. In his autobiography, Darwin mentioned an essay in Hebrew
which showed that his theory of evolution "is contained in the Old
Testament." Naphtali Halevi (or Lewy) argued in Toldot Adam that Hebrew
word choices in the Torah favored evolution, as did some passages in the
Midrash Rabbah and the Talmud. Although his argument is not entirely
convincing, he proposed interesting alternative interpretations of many
biblical texts. Collectively, they suggest that the supposed irreconcilable
contradictions between evolution and biblical creation are exaggerated because
of an inadequate understanding of the Hebrew text.
Lamoureux, Denis O.,
Theological Insights from Charles Darwin PSCF 56.1:2-12
Sara Joan Miles,
and Asa Gray Discuss Teleology and Design" PSCF 53.3:196-201
"Wonderful Life: Burgess Shale and the History of Biology,"
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 47 (September 1995):
Edward B. Davis,
"A Whale of a Tale: Fundamentalist Fish Stories,"PSCF, 43
(December 1991): 224. According to a persistent story, exactly one hundred years
ago a sailor named James Bartley was swallowed by a sperm whale off the Falkland Islands.
About thirty-six hours later his fellow sailors found him, unconscious but alive, inside
the belly of the animal. What follows is the result of my attempt to uncover the real
story, as well as the story of the story--how this whale of a tale found its way into the
fundamentalist apologetic tradition, as well as a sizeable number of conservative biblical
Christopher B. Kaiser,
"The Creationist Tradition in the History of Science," PSCF
45 (June 1993): 80 -89.
The historical relationship between
Christianity and the physical sciences is often construed in terms of the causes of the
origin of modern Western science. My own context in the study of history leads me to ask
the question in terms of the meaning of science and criteria for legitimate scientific
work. In order to answer these questions, materials are derived from a survey of the early
Jewish and Christian beliefs about creation and their implications for life and work- what
has been termed the "creationist tradition." The historic creationist tradition
is summarized here under four headings. Three of these pertain to our view of the world
and give theological meaning to natural science. The fourth pertains to our ministry in
the world and provides important social and ethical criteria.
Lindberg, David C. & Numbers, Ronald L., "Beyond
War and Peace: A Reappraisal of the
Encounter between Christianity and Science" PSCF 39.3:140-149
(9/1987) ASA Classic
Deception by Design: The Intelligent Design Movement
, Posted August
A self conscious and combative book length
historical account of creationism and the Intelligent Design movement. An
Appendix has a full reprint of the Wedge Strategy document authored
by founding father Philip Johnson.
F. Alton Everest, The American Scientific Affiliation: Its Growth and
Early Development, ASA Press 2010. Available
from the ASA office.
L. Numbers, ed.,
Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion,
Harvard University Press, 2009. Review
"Numbers is to be congratulated in bringing together a
good deal of relevant and interesting historical data, which show (as one
would expect) that the inter-relationships between science and religion are
far more complicated than religion’s critics would have us believe. Half the
job in reconciling science and religion may be done, but it is only half.
The more difficult part is to decide how the two forms of experience should
relate to-day; and for that we need more than Numbers."
Reconciling Science and Religion: The Debate In Early Twentieth-Century
Britain, University of Chicago Press, 2001
John Hedley Brooke, Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives,
Cambridge University Press NY, 1991.
G. A. Cantor, Michael Faraday: Sandemanian and Scientist, Macmillan
Publishers, London, 1991.
Adrian Desmond & James Moore,
Darwin: the Life of a Tormented Evolutionist, Warner Books NY, 1991.
Adrian Desmond, Huxley: From Devil's Disciple to Evolution's High Priest,
Addison-Wesley, Reading MA, 1994.
Dan Graves, Scientists of Faith: Forty-Eight Biographies of Historic
Scientists and their Christian Faith, Kregel Resources, Grand Rapids MI,
Frederick Gregory, Nature Lost?: Natural Science and the German Theological
Traditions of the Nineteenth Century, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge MA, 1992.
David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, eds., God and Nature: Historical
Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science, University of
California Press, Berkeley CA, 1986.
David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers eds., When Science & Christianity Meet,
University of Chicago Press, 2003.
Ronald L. Numbers. The Creationists: the Evolution of Scientific Creationism,
Alfred A. Kopf NY, 1992, 2006..
Ronald L. Numbers, Darwinism Comes to America, Harvard University Press,
Cambridge MA, 1998.
Colin A. Russell, Cross-currents: Interactions Between Science & Faith,
W. B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids MI, 1985
James Strick, Sparks of Life: Darwinism and the Victorian Debates Over
Spontaneous Generation, Harvard University Press, Cambridge MA, 2000.
The Warfare Of Science With Theology,
(e-book). A free classic.
The Alfred Russel Wallace Page
Web site dedicated to celebrating the life and work
of the English naturalist, evolutionist, and social critic Alfred Russel
Ray Web Site (1628-1705) A survey of the life
and times of English naturalist John Ray, of his place in the history of
science, in church history, and of his character and faith.
SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION HOMEPAGE"
A diverse page on all aspects of the
Scientific Revolution containing a vast quantity of links to primary readings,
secondary readings, a glossary of terminology, a timeline from Copernicus to
Newton, biographies, biblio...more.
Victorian Science & Religion
Aileen Fyfe, Dept. of History, National University of Ireland, Galway and
John van Wyhe, Fellow, NUS; Researcher, History & philosophy of science, Cambridge University.
At the beginning of the nineteenth
century in Britain, religious faith and the sciences were generally seen to be
in beautiful accordance. But...