Science & Religion: The Smoking Gun, Found!

There is a persistent myth that science and religion are historical opponents — the Roman church pulls out big guns when a scientist appears. In fact, science itself wasn’t even a respectable “profession” until the 18th century — really, the 19th — and to this day scientists are just as likely to be religious as anybody else. Newton, Kepler, Boyle, Darwin, even Galileo — they all believed in God.

Yet I know at the Cranbrook Academy for Boys, where I misspent by youth, I was told that the Catholic Church martyred Galileo and the Scopes Monkey Trial was typical of the church-truth relationship.

“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.” — Gary Ferngren, “Science & Religion” (p.ix)

No, the myth of warfare is just that: a story, written by a person, that went viral and spun out of control until it found its way into textbooks (since revised). Unlike other myths, in the case of this so-called Conflict Thesis, we actually know the writer.

Hola, John William Draper! Draper was an English minister’s son — see trouble a-comin?! — who studied chemistry and emigrated to Virginia in the 1830s, and later became a chemistry professor at New York University. He claimed to have taken the first photograph of a person ever (his sister) and the first photo of the surface of the moon.

Draper wrote prolifically, and in the 1870s was asked to contribute a volume to a popular series published by Yeomans on the topic of Science & Religion. In 1874, he published his instant best-seller “History of the Conflict between Religion and Science.” Hugely popular, widely translated, it set the tone for mainstream understanding of the topic to this day.

In fact, the book is still in print, with great atheists like Richard Dawkins citing it as a credible witness to the evils of religion, and lowly Amazon reviewers crowing, “I found this to be an amazing book!” (Jake D, Louisiana)

Sadly, what its many New Atheist fans don’t know is that Draper’s book has been thoroughly, entirely and devastatingly dismissed as a credible work of historiography for decades now. Historian Colin Russell summarizes the verdict: “Draper takes such liberty with history, perpetuating legends as fact, that he is rightly avoided today in serious historical study” (from Encyclopedia of the History of Science and Religion, p. 15).

Draper’s book is basically anti-Catholic propaganda, the kind of polemic 21st century Americans have forgotten. (Draper’s sister — to whom he was, um, oddly close — converted to Catholicism and changed, as he saw it, not for the better.) In the mid-19th century, “Catholic” had many of the same connotations “Communist” would come to have a century later: anti-American, foreign, totalitarian, sneaky. There were violent anti-Catholic riots in Philadelphia in 1844, for example, and 20 people DIED. Yikes.

As a historian, Draper is a fine chemist. He’s sloppy, doesn’t cite sources, takes quotes wildly out of context, makes unsupported assertions, and radically distorts the facts. All leading up to “Chapter XII. THE IMPENDING CRISIS” — which is … you can guess, or wait till next time.

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3 responses to “Science & Religion: The Smoking Gun, Found!

  1. The problem of Christianity and science is—Christianity (in it’s true form) is not a superficial religion, that is, it’s concerns aren’t about the material or the physical. It’s concerns are of the spiritual, and states of mind in an understanding of human and/verses animal mentalities. There are only two possible beings (states of mind/person)(personality forces) that exist in the universe, 1-human 2- animal. These two are states of being. For understanding—- There are only two things that exist in the universe, thee spiritual, there is nothing else. The material life divides into two, the animate (physical bodies or flesh) and the inanimate (plants). All other material is–as is- rock, metals, etc. The physical normally contains “the person” or personage. This is what rightful Christianity is concerned about. The main problem with what is forwarded as Christianity is that it tries to preside over material elements and concerns of the superficial, which as history proves-has been fallacy. The book states–there is neither Greek nor Jew, Scythian nor Barbarian-also- there is neither male nor female in the kingdom/ways of the heavens. This simply means that Christianity is not of these concerns. The concerns are–righteous person, that is- a person that is proper in accordance with how the Creator made man in his image and likeness. Being that there are only two possibilities, righteous man/person then is opposite the animal mind. Being that the Creator is spiritual then the Creation, man, is also spiritual, The spiritual in this case is the same as Christianity is supposed to be. Christianity is nothing more the the knowledge to return to that which the Creator made—the same as Adam. Alpha Guardian 4

  2. (Correction) The only 2 things that exist are material and the spiritual.

  3. Also, for instance– Christianity is of no value in deciding the origin of the species. As previously mentioned, Christianity is the concern of the spiritual and it’s condition. Where the material and the physical came from or how it developed is not a matter of Christianity. The flaw here is—the reasoning that the bible registers material creation. Be understanding—as the universe consists of only 2 things, the material and the spiritual, then there are only two possible interpretations, the material one, and/or the spiritual one. Christianity cannot rightly be founded on a material interpretation but only on a spiritual one. To interpret the book via the superficial means that those who operate Christianity are in error. It has been found by the Guardianship that even the Jews don’t understand their own book, as they also see existence from the superficial eye. As Christians in pursuit of the knowledge of the Creator we have determined/found that Genesis is not of a material making but rather, spiritual. Such as for simplicity- In the beginning God/ the Creator made the heavens/spirtual condition and the soul, and the soul was without form (not man but animal) and void (of knowledge) and ignorance was on the face of the mind (waters).. Several of the Guardians are also accomplished physicists , and what is found is that biblical creation is out of sync with how things work in proper material processes. The, ” and let their be light” is not the making of sunlight but rather is “enlightenment”. From this, we’ve become enlightened. Alpha Guardian. .

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