The ‘fall of man’ and anthropology

By Andrew Dickson White, who was the cofounder of Cornell University and served as its first president for nearly two decades

[This is a chapter from the book A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom. Volume: 1. Andrew Dickson White – author. Publisher: D. Appleton and Company. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1914. Page Numbers: 284. The book is available on Some of the text has been highlighted by the Al Islam eGazette Editor]

IN the previous chapters we have seen how science, especially within the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, has thoroughly changed the intelligent thought of the world in regard to the antiquity of man upon our planet; and how the fabric built upon the chronological indications in our sacred books–first, by the early fathers of the Church, afterward by the medieval doctors, and finally by the reformers and modern orthodox chronologists–has virtually disappeared before an entirely different view forced upon us, especially by Egyptian and Assyrian studies, as well as by geology and archeology.

In this chapter I purpose to present some outlines of the work of Anthropology, especially as assisted by Ethnology, in showing what the evolution of human civilization has been.

Here, too, the change from the old theological view based upon the letter of our sacred books to the modern scientific view based upon evidence absolutely irrefragable is complete. Here, too, we are at the beginning of a vast change in the basis and modes of thought upon man–a change even more striking than that accomplished by Copernicus and Galileo, when they substituted for a universe in which sun and planets revolved about the earth a universe in which the earth is but the merest grain or atom revolving with other worlds, larger and smaller, about the sun; and all these forming but one among innumerable systems.

Ever since the beginning of man’s effective thinking upon the great problems around him, two antagonistic views have existed regarding the life of the human race upon earth.

Read further: The fall of man and anthropology

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