2018 – Published, John Hopkins University Press
Edited by Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, and Ronald A. Binzley
Why is the idea of conflict between science and religion so popular in the public imagination?
The “conflict thesis”—the idea that an inevitable and irreconcilable conflict exists between science and religion—has long been part of the popular imagination. In The Warfare between Science and Religion, Jeff Hardin, Ronald L. Numbers, and Ronald A. Binzley have assembled a group of distinguished historians who explore the origin of the thesis, its reception, the responses it drew from various faith traditions, and its continued prominence in public discourse.
Several essays in the book examine the personal circumstances and theological idiosyncrasies of important intellectuals, including John William Draper and Andrew Dickson White, who through their polemical writings championed the conflict thesis relentlessly. Other essays consider what the thesis meant to different religious communities, including evangelicals, liberal Protestants, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Finally, essays both historical and sociological explore the place of the conflict thesis in popular culture and intellectual discourse today.
Based on original research and written in an accessible style, the essays in The Warfare between Science and Religion take an interdisciplinary approach to question the historical relationship between science and religion. This volume, which brings much-needed perspective to an often bitter controversy, will appeal to scholars and students of the histories of science and religion, sociology, and philosophy.
Contributors: Thomas H. Aechtner, Ronald A. Binzley, John Hedley Brooke, Elaine Howard Ecklund, Noah Efron, John H. Evans, Maurice A. Finocchiaro, Frederick Gregory, Bradley J. Gundlach, Monte Harrell Hampton, Jeff Hardin, Peter Harrison, Bernard Lightman, David N. Livingstone, David Mislin, Efthymios Nicolaidis, Mark A. Noll, Ronald L. Numbers, Lawrence M. Principe, Jon H. Roberts, Christopher P. Scheitle, M. Alper Yalçinkaya
2015 – PROGRAM HISTORY
This project, led by Dr. Ronald Numbers and Dr. Jeff Hardin, began with a three-day academic conference in May, 2015 asking why North Americans believe in the “conflict thesis,” which claims that an inevitable and irreconcilable conflict exists between science and religion. The gathering brought together more than thirty scholars—including historians, sociologists, philosophers, and scientists—to consider topics such as the origin of the conflict thesis, its reception, the responses it drew from apologists for various faith traditions, and its continued prominence in public life. Participants worked to shed light on how the conflict thesis, in a career spanning roughly a century and a half, has profoundly affected both popular culture and intellectual discourse. The conference resulted in the publication of The Warfare between Science and Religion: The Idea That Wouldn’t Die (2018, Johns Hopkins University Press).