Ronald Numbers – Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion

All too often authors, journalists, preachers and opinion-makers describe a troubled relationship between science and religion. In Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion (free PDF),  Ronald Numbers is a real myth buster. In each chapter he shows popular quotes on a certain topic from available literature, then cracks it down to the real story, unearthing unkown details, countering the popular beliefs. Numbers himself is a religious agnostic and defines a myth as  just “a claim that is false.” Together with  24 other scholars he explores 25 claims about science and religion. The pieces on all 25 are accessible, suitable for ready reference as well as recreational reading. Make up your mind on myths that:

  1. The rise of Christianity was responsible for the demise of ancient science
  2. The medieval Christian church suppressed the growth of science
  3. Medieval Christians taught that the earth was flat
  4. Medieval Islamic culture was inhospitable to science
  5. Medieval church prohibited human dissection
  6. Copernicanism demoted humans from the center of the cosmos
  7. Giordano Bruno was the first martyr of modern science
  8. Galileo was imprisoned and tortured for advocating Copernicanism
  9. Christianity gave birth to modern science
  10. Scienfitic revolution liberated science from religion
  11. Catholics did not contribute to the scientific revolution
  12. René Descartes originated the mind-body distinction
  13. Isaac Newton‘s mechanistic cosmology eliminated the need for God
  14. Church denounced anesthesia in childbirth on biblical grounds
  15. The theory of organic evolution is based on circular reasoning
  16. Evolution destroyed Charles Darwin‘s faith in Christianity : until he reconverted on his deathbed
  17. Thomas H. Huxley defeated William Wilberforce in their debate over evolution and religion
  18. Charles Darwin destroyed natural theology
  19. Charles Darwin and Ernst Haeckel were complicit in Nazi biology
  20. The Scopes trial ended in defeat for antievolutionism
  21. Albert Einstein believed in a personal God
  22. Quantum physics demonstrated the doctrine of free will
  23. “intelligent design” represents a scientific challenge to evolution
  24. Creationism is a uniquely American phenomenon
  25. Modern science has secularized Western culture