History of the Conflict between Religion and Science
Draper (John William)
Source: Draper (John William) - History of the Conflict between Religion and Science
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    Preface – xi
  1. The origin of science – 1
    • Religious condition of the Greeks in the fourth century before Christ.
    • Their invasion of the Persian Empire brings them in contact with new aspects of Nature, and familiarizes them with new religious systems.
    • The military, engineering, and scientific activity, stimulated by the Macedonian campaigns, leads to the establishment in Alexandria of an institute, the Museum, for the cultivation of knowledge by experiment, observation, and mathematical discussion.
    • It is the origin of Science.
  2. The origin of Christianity — Its transformation on attaining imperial power — Its relation to science – 25
    • Religious condition of the Roman Republic.
    • The adoption of imperialism leads to monotheism.
    • Christianity spreads over the Roman Empire.
    • The circumstances under which it attained imperial power make its union with Paganism a political necessity.
    • Tertullian’s description of its doctrines and practices.
    • Debasing effect of the policy of Constantine on it.
    • Its alliance with the civil power.
    • Its incompatibility with science.
    • Destruction of the Alexandrian Library and prohibition of philosophy.
    • Exposition of the Augustinian philosophy and Patristic science generally.
    • The Scriptures made the standard of science.
  3. Conflict respecting the doctrine of the unity1 of God — The first or Southern Reformation – 49
    • The Egyptians insist on the introduction of the worship of the Virgin Mary
    • They are resisted by Nestor, the Patriarch of Constantinople, but eventually, through their influence with the emperor, cause Nestor’s exile and the dispersion of his followers.
    • Prelude to the Southern Reformation
    • The Persian attack; its moral effects.
    • The Arabian Reformation.
    • Mohammed is brought in contact with the Nestorians
    • He adopts and extends their principles, rejecting the worship of the Virgin, the doctrine of the Trinity, and everything in opposition to the unity of God2.
    • He extinguishes idolatry in Arabia, by force, and prepares to make war on the Roman Empire.
    • His successors conquer Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, North Africa, Spain, and invade France.
    • As the result of this conflict, the doctrine of the unity of God3 was established in the greater part of the Roman Empire
    • The cultivation of science was restored, and Christendom lost many of her most illustrious capitals, as Alexandria, Carthage, and, above all, Jerusalem.
  4. The restoration of science in the South – 73
    • By the influence of the Nestorians and Jews, the Arabians are turned to the cultivation of Science.
    • They modify their views as to the destiny of man, and obtain true conceptions respecting the structure of the world.
    • They ascertain the size of the earth, and determine its shape.
    • Their khalifs collect great libraries, patronize every department of science and literature, establish astronomical observatories.
    • They develop the mathematical sciences, invent algebra, and improve geometry and trigonometry.
    • They collect and translate the old Greek mathematical and astronomical works, and adopt the inductive method of Aristotle.
    • They establish many colleges, and, with the aid of the Nestorians, organize a public-school system.
    • They introduce the Arabic numerals and arithmetic, and catalogue and give names to the stars.
    • They lay the foundation of modern astronomy, chemistry, and physics, and introduce great improvements in agriculture and manufactures.
  5. Conflict respecting the nature of the soul4 — Doctrines of emanation and absorption – 85
    • European ideas respecting the soul.
    • It resembles the form of the body.
    • Philosophical views of the Orientals.
    • The Vedic theology and Buddhism assert the doctrine of emanation and absorption.
    • It is advocated by Aristotle, who is followed by the Alexandrian school, and subsequently by the Jews and Arabians.
    • It is found in the writings of Erigena.
    • Connection of this doctrine with the theory of conservation and correlation of force.
    • Parallel between the origin and destiny of the body and the soul.
    • The necessity of founding human on comparative psychology.
    • Averroism, which is based on these facts, is brought into Christendom through Spain and Sicily.
    • History of the repression of Averroism.
    • Revolt of Islam against it.
    • Antagonism of the Jewish synagogues.
    • Its destruction undertaken by the papacy.
    • Institution of the Inquisition in Spain.
    • Frightful persecutions and their results.
    • Expulsion of the Jews and Moors.
    • Overthrow of Averroism in Europe.
    • Decisive action of the late Vatican Council.
  6. Conflict respecting the nature of the world – 109
    • Scriptural view of the world: the earth a flat5 surface; location of heaven and hell.
    • Scientific view: the earth a globe; its size determined; its position in and relations to the solar system.
    • The three great voyages.
    • Columbus, De Gama, Magellan.
    • Circumnavigation of the earth.
    • Determination of its curvature by the measurement of a degree and by the pendulum.
    • The discoveries of Copernicus.
    • Invention of the telescope.
    • Galileo brought before the Inquisition.
    • His punishment.
    • Victory over the Church.
    • Attempts to ascertain the dimensions of the solar system.
    • Determination of the sun’s parallax by the transits of Venus.
    • Insignificance, of the earth and man.
    • Ideas respecting the dimensions of the universe.
    • Parallax of the stars.
    • The plurality of worlds asserted by Bruno6.
    • He is seized and murdered by the Inquisition.
  7. Controversy respecting the age of the Earth – 131
    • Scriptural view that the Earth is only six thousand years old, and that it was made in a week.
    • Patristic chronology founded on the ages of the patriarchs.
    • Difficulties arising from different estimates in different versions of the Bible.
    • Legend of the Deluge.
    • The repeopling.
    • The Tower of Babel; the confusion of tongues.
    • The primitive language.
    • Discovery by Cassini of the oblateness of the planet Jupiter.
    • Discovery by Newton of the oblateness of the Earth.
    • Deduction that she has been modeled by mechanical causes.
    • Confirmation of this by geological discoveries respecting aqueous rocks; corroboration by organic remains.
    • The necessity of admitting enormously long periods of time.
    • Displacement of the doctrine of Creation by that of Evolution
    • Discoveries respecting the Antiquity of Man.
    • The time-scale and space-scale of the world are infinite.
    • Moderation with which the discussion of the Age of the World has been conducted.
  8. Conflict respecting the criterion of truth – 145
    • Ancient philosophy declares that man has no means of ascertaining the truth.
    • Differences of belief arise among the early Christians
    • An ineffectual attempt is made to remedy them by Councils.
    • Miracle and ordeal proof introduced.
    • The papacy resorts to auricular confession and the Inquisition.
    • It perpetrates frightful atrocities for the suppression of differences of opinion.
    • Effect of the discovery of the Pandects of Justinian and development of the canon law on the nature of evidence.
    • It becomes more scientific.
    • The Reformation establishes the rights of individual reason.
    • Catholicism asserts that the criterion of truth is in the Church.
    • It restrains the reading of books by the Index Expurgatorius, and combats dissent by such means as the massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Eve.
    • Examination of the authenticity of the Pentateuch as the Protestant criterion.
    • Spurious character of those books.
    • For Science the criterion of truth is to be found in the revelations of Nature: for the Protestant, it is in the Scriptures; for the Catholic, in an infallible Pope.
  9. Controversy respecting the government of the universe – 163
    • There are two conceptions of the government of the world:
      … 1. By Providence;
      … 2. By Law.
    • The former maintained by the priesthood.
    • Sketch of the introduction of the latter.
    • Kepler discovers the laws that preside over the solar system.
    • His works are denounced by papal authority.
    • The foundations of mechanical philosophy are laid by Da Vinci7.
    • Galileo discovers the fundamental laws of Dynamics.
    • Newton applies them to the movements of the celestial bodies, and shows that the solar system is governed by mathematical necessity.
    • Herschel extends that conclusion to the universe.
    • The nebular hypothesis.
    • Theological exceptions to it.
    • Evidences of the control of law in the construction of the earth, and in the development of the animal and plant series.
    • They arose by Evolution, not by Creation.
    • The reign of law is exhibited by the historic career of human societies, and in the case of individual man.
    • Partial adoption of this view by some of the Reformed Churches.
  10. Latin Christianity in relation to modern civilization – 183
    • For more than a thousand years Latin Christianity controlled the intelligence of Europe, and is responsible for the result.
    • That result is manifested by the condition of the city of Rome at the Reformation, and by the condition of the Continent of Europe in domestic and social life.
    • European nations suffered under the coexistence of a dual government, a spiritual and a temporal.
    • They were immersed in ignorance, superstition, discomfort.
    • Explanation of the failure of Catholicism
    • Political history of the papacy: it was transmuted from a spiritual confederacy into an absolute monarchy.
    • Action of the College of Cardinals and the Curia
    • Demoralization that ensued from the necessity of raising large revenues.
    • The advantages accruing to Europe during the Catholic rule arose not from direct intention, but were incidental.
    • The general result is, that the political influence of Catholicism was prejudicial to modern civilization.
  11. Science in relation to modern civilization – 205
    • Illustration of the general influences of Science from the history of America.
      … It passed from Moorish Spain to Upper Italy, and was favored by the absence of the popes at Avignon.
      … The effects of printing, of maritime adventure, and of the Reformation
      … Establishment of the Italian scientific societies.
      … It changed the mode and the direction of thought in Europe.
      … The transactions of the Royal Society of London, and other scientific societies, furnish an illustration of this.
      … is illustrated by the numerous mechanical and physical inventions, made since the fourteenth century.
      … Their influence on health and domestic life, on the arts of peace and of war.
    • Answer to the question, What has Science done for humanity?
  12. The impending8 crisis – 233
    • Indications of the approach of a religious crisis.
    • The predominating Christian Church, the Roman, perceives this, and makes preparation for it.
    • Pius IX convokes an Æcumenical Council
    • Relations of the different European governments to the papacy.
    • Relations of the Church to Science, as indicated by the Encyclical Letter and the Syllabus.
    • Acts of the Vatican Council in relation to the infallibility of the pope, and to Science.
    • Abstract of decisions arrived at.
    • Controversy between the Prussian Government and the papacy.
    • It is a contest between the State and the Church for supremacy
    • Effect of dual government in Europe
    • Declaration by the Vatican Council of its position as to Science
    • The dogmatic constitution of the Catholic faith.
    • Its definitions respecting God, Revelation, Faith, Reason.
    • The anathemas it pronounces.
    • Its denunciation of modern civilization.
    • The Protestant Evangelical Alliance and its acts.
    • General review of the foregoing definitions, and acts.
    • Present condition of the controversy, and its future prospects.

In-Page Footnotes

Footnote 1: This is a theological and not a scientific issue – and appears to betray the author’s Unitarianism – though his complaints against Mariolatry are well taken.

Footnote 4: This strikes me as related to one of the obsessions of the author, and nothing much to do with the conflict of science and religion. At least the proposed “scientific” doctrine doesn’t sound likely to be true.

Footnote 5: It is much debated whether this is the Scriptural view, or than of the Mediaevals.

Footnote 6: It is much debated whether Bruno is a scientific or religious martyr (or just foolish).

Footnote 7: Da Vinci had no contemporary scientific influence, whatever private studies he might have undertaken.

Footnote 8: This crisis was topical at the time (1878) but has largely “gone away” as, post Vatican II, the RC church has retreated from some (though not all) of its conservative posturing, and its claims to infallibility are heavily circumscribed.

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2020
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