Science and Spirituality: The Volatile Connection
Until the end of the eighteenth century, almost everyone believed that the empirical world of science could produce evidence for a wise and loving God. By the twenty-first century this comforting certainty has almost vanished. What caused such a cataclysmic change in attitudes to science and to the world?
Science and Spirituality offers a new history of the interaction between Western science and faith, which explores their volatile connection, and challenges the myth of their being locked in inevitable conflict.
Journeying from the French Revolution to the present day, and taking in such figures as Francis Bacon, René Descartes, Charles Darwin, Immanuel Kant, Albert Einstein, Mary Shelley and Stephen Hawking, David Knight shows how science evolved from medieval and Renaissance forms of natural theology into the empirical discipline we know today. Focusing on the overthrow of Church and State in revolutionary France, and on the crucial nineteenth century period when a newly emerging scientific community rendered science culturally accessible, Science and Spirituality shows how scientific disenchantment has provided some of our most flexible and powerful metaphors for God, such as the hidden puppet-master and the blind watchmaker, and illustrates how questions of moral and spiritual value continue to intervene in scientific endeavour.
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Agnosticism Anglican animals argument atheism Balfour Banks became believed Bible Bishop Bridgewater Treatise Britain Buckland Cambridge Charles Darwin chemistry chemists Christianity Church clergy clerisy Coleridge contemporaries creation Cuvier D.M. Knight Davy Davy's Deists Dissenters Earth England Erasmus Darwin evangelical evidence evolution evolutionary faith Faraday fossils France French Genesis geologists geology God's Herschel human Humphry Davy Huxley's idea intellectual J.W. Draper John Joseph Banks Kirby laboratory Lamarck later lectures living London look Lyell Mary Somerville mathematics modern moral Museum natural history natural theology Newton nineteenth century Origin of Species Oxford Paley Paley's perhaps philosophers physics Priestley prominent published reason religious Royal Institution Royal Society sceptical science and religion scientific scientists seemed seen sermons social species spirituality sublime Swainson T.H. Huxley theory things tradition twentieth century Tyndall Unitarian University Victorian Whewell William William Buckland wisdom