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Famous Conflicts Between Science and Religion

The two most famous, and arguably the most misunderstood, episodes of tension between Western science and religion (as represented in both cases by Christianity) are:

  • The rise of Copernicanism from 1543 on, leading in the 1630s to ‘the Galileo Affair’ - the trial and detention of the great Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, denounced, so the popular story goes, merely for saying that the Earth goes round the Sun.

  • The rise of Darwinism after the publication of The Origin of Species in 1859, leading to a general rejection of the belief that every creature remained in the form in which the creator God had designed it.

See also ‘the love affair gone wrong’ for a discussion of a period in Europe (1680-1800) during which the rise of science and the claims of theologians seemed at first to be in harmony and then underwent a profound change.

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

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