Tag Archives: David Lindberg

The supposed warfare between science and religion: A historian of science speaks out

The interview with eminent historian of science Dr. David Lindberg excerpted here first appeared in issue #76 of Christian History.

The Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution: Christian History Interview – Natural Adversaries?
Historian David Lindberg shows that Christianity and science are not at war – and may never have been.
David Lindberg

Has Christianity always warred with science? Or, conversely, did Christianity create science? CH asked David Lindberg, Hilldale Professor Emeritus of the History of Science and currently director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin.

And he should know. Lindberg specializes in the history of medieval and early modern science, especially the interaction between science and religion. His Beginnings of Western Science (University of Chicago Press, 1992) is an oft-translated standard in the field. He is also currently the general editor, jointly with Ronald Numbers, of the forthcoming eight-volume. Cambridge History of Science

Many people today have a sense that the church has always tried to quash science. Is this, indeed, the case?

This view is known as the “warfare thesis.” It originated in the seventeenth century, but it came into its own with certain radical thinkers of the French Enlightenment. These people were eager to condemn the Catholic Church and went on the attack against it. So, for example, the Marquis de Condorcet (1743-1794), a mathematician and philosopher, assured his readers that Christianity’s ascension during the Middle Ages resulted in “the complete decadence of philosophy and the sciences.” Continue reading

Religion & science post #1: the myth of the warfare between science and theology

Isaac Newton

Isaac Newton

Since my recent Galileo post is getting a lot of traffic, I’ve bumped the following related post from a while back to the front page for a few days.

If you want to see what a real expert has to say about the supposed “warfare between science and theology,” check out the interview with David Lindberg here. I’ll post a little taste of it shortly.

Coming into the editor’s chair at Christian History magazine in 2002, my first issue was #76, on the sciences. We decided to narrow it down to the scientific revolution and came up with The Christian Face of the Scientific Revolution. As the issue came together, I imagined its audience: Christian undergraduates who weren’t sure how a career in the hard sciences (especially such fields as biology or genetics) could mesh with their faith. That was a wonderful few months for me, as I learned that the story of the perpetual “warfare between science and theology” was in fact a myth. Here’s my editor’s note from that issue; Continue reading