“The Idea That Wouldn’t Die:” The Warfare between Science and Religion

Dr. Jeff Hardin and Dr. Ronald Numbers

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).