This volume of historical essays encourages non-scientists and opinion-makers in the press, the lab, and the pulpit to take a fresh look at the relationship between science and religion. Author, Ronald Numbers, suggests that the hoary myths that have masqueraded too long as historical truths must first be dispensed with.
Until about the 1970s, the dominant narrative in the history of science had long been that science was triumphant in a war with religion. But a new generation of historians both of science and of the Christianity began to examine episodes in the history of science and religion through the values and knowledge of the actors themselves. In this volume leading scholars in the contemporary history of science puncture the myths, from Galileo’s incarceration to Darwin’s deathbed conversion to Einstein’s belief in a personal God who “didn’t play dice with the universe.” Although the picture of science and religion at each other’s throats persists in mainstream media and too many scholarly journals, each chapter in Galileo Goes to Jail shows how much can be gained by seeing beyond the myths.
Ron Numbers is the Emeritus Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsi-Madison.
About this book, Edward B. Davis, Professor of the History of Science at Messiah University, has written that Ron Numbers "is a religious agnostic whose scholarship on the history of American religion and science is marked by meticulous accuracy and impartiality...[This book was written] with ordinary readers, not specialists, in mind, making this a truly rare book: where else can you find such authoritative scholarship delivered so accessibly and fairly on such an important subject?”