Staff Picks: Books
Staff-recommended reading from the
Science vs. Religion, or Science and Religion?
This is a must-read for anyone confused or curious about the historical relationship between science and religion. For most, especially modern Americans, the accepted story is that these two cherished disciplines have always been at war, and still are; that the rise of one is the fall of the other; that they are a divorced couple who should never have been married in the first place. In an era of Richard Dawkins and the Intelligent Design movement, this story is hard not to accept.
The editor and contributor of this collection of essays calls this story "the greatest myth in the history of science and religion," argues that it is propagandist in nature, recognizes that several sub-myths are related to it; and proceeds to "dispel the hoary myths that continue to pass as historical truths" in chronological order, beginning with the murder of Hypatia and ending with creationism in America. As you will read, some are partly true, some completely false, and many simply need to be qualified and amended.
Nowadays it may be hard to find a general-audience book that is not biased to either science or religion, but with a twenty-five numbered cast of specialists on science and/or religion who convincingly have "no...scientific or theological axes to grind" (half are agnostic/atheist, the other being members of various religions), I think we have found one.
Galileo Goes to Jail