Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives

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Cambridge University Press, May 31, 1991 - Science - 422 pages
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One of the most fascinating and enduring issues in the development of the modern world is the relationship between scientific thought and religious belief. It is common knowledge that in Western societies there have been periods of crisis when new science has threatened established religious authority. The trial of Galileo in 1633 and the uproar caused by Darwin's Origin of Species(1859) are two famous examples. Taking account of recent scholarship in the history of science, Professor Brooke takes a fresh look at these and similar episodes, showing that science and religion have been mutually relevant in such a rich variety of ways that simple generalizations are not possible. Standing back from general theses affirming "conflict" or "harmony," which have so often served partisan interests, the author's object is to reveal the subtlety, complexity, and diversity of the interaction of science and religion as it has taken place in the past and in the twentieth century. Instead of treating science and religion as discrete definable entities, his approach is sensitive to shifting boundaries and willing to consider the contexts in which particular forms of science could be used both for religious and secular ends. The result is that, without assuming specialist knowledge, Brooke provides a wide-ranging study from the Copernican innovation to in vitro fertilization.
 

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Contents

Interaction between Science and Religion Some Preliminary Considerations
16
Science and Religion in the Scientific Revolution
52
The Parallel between Scientific and Religious Reform
82
Divine Activity in a Mechanical Universe
117
Science and Religion in the Enlightenment
152
The Fortunes and Functions of Natural Theology
192
Visions of the Past Religious Belief and the Historical Sciences
226
Evolutionary Theory and Religious Belief
275
Science and Religion in the Twentieth Century
321
Bibliographic Essay
348
Sources of Quotations
405
Index
409
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