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As our culture becomes more secularized it has become fashionable to see “science” as one of the engines of this secularization. As science advances, religion must retreat—so the theory goes. This viewpoint draws much of its continuing inspiration from two books in the late nineteenth century. John William Draper wrote History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science in 1874 and Andrew Dickson White penned A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in 1896. Both books came to exemplify what became known as the “warfare thesis” in the history of the relationship between science and religion. Contemporary historians recognize that the “warfare thesis” is much too simplistic and that Draper and White’s arguments are not well supported.
“Today historians of science generally no longer favor a conflict model. Colin Russell, formerly the president of Christians in Science, criticized the conflict model noting that, ‘Draper takes such liberty with history, perpetuating legends as fact that he is rightly avoided today in serious historical study. The same is nearly as true of White, though his prominent apparatus of prolific footnotes may create a misleading impression of meticulous scholarship’.”
Thesis - Hands - Historians - Approach - View
Although the “warfare thesis” has suffered at the hands of historians who recognize a more interactive approach, the view continues to find expression in our culture. Since this is the case it may be prudent to consider more fully another way of challenging this thesis.
For many the pursuit of science is thought to require a belief in naturalism. Naturalism can be defined in various ways but atheistic philosopher Kai Nielson captures the main core of naturalism in the following manner:
Naturalism - Realities - Transcendent - World - Ground
“Naturalism denies that there are any spiritual or supernatural realities transcendent to the world or at least we have no good ground for believing that there could be such realities… It is the view that...
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