A History of Warfare of Science with theology in Christendom

Book by Andrew Dickson White, the Founding President of Cornell University

Because the suppression of scientific thought by the medieval Church represents one of blackest periods of human history, many scholars have studied this period with great care. Worth special mention is a remarkable two-volume treatise by Andrew Dickson White entitled A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, published in 1896.

Here is one example from the book:

The doctrine of the spherical shape of the earth, and therefore the existence of the antipodes, was bitterly attacked by theologians who asked: ‘Is there anyone so senseless as to believe that crops and trees grow downwards? . . . that the rains and snow fall upwards?’ The great authority of St Augustine held the Church firmly against the idea of the antipodes and for a thousand years it was believed that there could not be human beings on the opposite side of the earth – even if the earth had opposite sides. In the sixth century, Procopius of Gaza brought powerful theological guns to bear on the issue: there could not be an opposite side, he declared, because for that Christ would have had to go there and suffer a second time. Also, there would have had to exist a duplicate Eden, Adam, Serpent, and Deluge. But that being clearly wrong, there could not be any antipodes. QED!

The Intelligent Design movement, the Evolution wars in USA and efforts during the intrusive reign of President Zia ul Haq in Pakistan are prime examples of futile struggle between religion and science. There is a popular saying, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” In that spirit it would be worthwhile to read this book.

To review additional fascinating accounts in this compendium: A History of Warfare of science with theology in Christendom

To read the book: A History of Warfare of Science with theology in Christendom Vol I and A History of Warfare of Science with theology in Christendom Vol II

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