Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion

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9780674033276: Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion

If we want nonscientists and opinion-makers in the press, the lab, and the pulpit to take a fresh look at the relationship between science and religion, Ronald Numbers suggests that we must first dispense with the hoary myths that have masqueraded too long as historical truths.

Until about the 1970s, the dominant narrative in the history of science had long been that of science triumphant, and science at war with religion. But a new generation of historians both of science and of the church began to examine episodes in the history of science and religion through the values and knowledge of the actors themselves. Now Ronald Numbers has recruited the leading scholars in this new history of science to ­puncture the myths, from Galileo’s incarceration to Darwin’s deathbed conversion to Einstein’s belief in a personal God who “didn’t play dice with the universe.” The picture of science and religion at each other’s throats persists in mainstream media and scholarly journals, but each chapter in Galileo Goes to Jail shows how much we have to gain by seeing beyond the myths.

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From the Back Cover:

Myth 2. That the Medieval Christian Church Suppressed the Growth of Science Myth 3. That Medieval Christians Taught That the Earth Was Flat Myth 4. That Medieval Islamic Culture Was Inhospitable to Science Myth 12. That René Descartes Originated the Mind- Body Distinction Myth 16. That Evolution Destroyed Darwin's Faith in Christianity—Until He Reconverted on His Deathbed Myth 21. That Einstein Believed in a Personal God Myth 25. That Modern Science Has Secularized Western Culture

About the Author:

Ronald L. Numbers is Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has served as president of the History of Science Society, the American Society of Church History, and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, Division of the History of Science and Technology.

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