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Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion

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Table of Contents

* Contents * Acknowledgments * Introduction Ronald L. Numbers * Myth 1. That the Rise of Christianity Was Responsible for the Demise of Ancient Science David C. Lindberg * Myth 2. That the Medieval Christian Church Suppressed the Growth of Science Michael H. Shank * Myth 3. That Medieval Christians Taught That the Earth Was Flat Lesley B. Cormack * Myth 4. That Medieval Islamic Culture Was Inhospitable to Science S. Nomanul Haq * Myth 5. That the Medieval Church Prohibited Human Dissection Katharine Park * Myth 6. That the Copernican System Demoted Humans from the Center of the Cosmos Dennis R. Danielson * Myth 7. That Giordano Bruno Was the First Martyr of Modern Science Jole Shackelford * Myth 8. That Galileo Was Imprisoned and Tortured for Advocating Copernicanism Maurice A. Finocchiaro * Myth 9. That Christianity Gave Birth to Modern Science Noah Efron * Myth 10. That the Scientific Revolution Liberated Science from Religion Margaret J. Osler * Myth 11. That Catholics Did Not Contribute to the Scientific Revolution Lawrence Principe * Myth 12. That Rene Descartes Originated the Mind-Body Distinction Peter Harrison * Myth 13. That Isaac Newton's Mechanistic Cosmology Eliminated the Need for God Edward Davis * Myth 14. That the Church Denounced Anesthesia in Childbirth on Biblical Grounds Rennie B. Schoepflin * Myth 15. That the Theory of Organic Evolution Is Based on Circular Reasoning Nicolaas A. Rupke * Myth 16. That Evolution Destroyed Charles Darwin's Faith in Christianity--until He Reconverted on His Deathbed James Moore * Myth 17. That Huxley Defeated Wilberforce in Their Debate over Evolution and Religion David N. Livingstone * Myth 18. That Darwin Destroyed Natural Theology Jon H. Roberts * Myth 19. That Darwin and Haeckel Were Complicit in Nazi Biology Robert J. Richards * Myth 20. That the Scopes Trial Ended in Defeat for Antievolutionism Edward J. Larson * Myth 21. That Einstein Believed in a Personal God Matthew Stanley * Myth 22. That Quantum Physics Demonstrated the Doctrine of Free Will Daniel P. Thurs * Myth 23. That "Intelligent Design" Represents a Scientific Challenge to Evolution Michael Ruse * Myth 24. That Creationism Is a Uniquely American Phenomenon Ronald L. Numbers * Myth 25. That Modern Science Has Secularized Western Culture John Hedley Brooke * Notes * List of Contributors * Index

About the Author

Ronald L. Numbers is Hilldale Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, University of Wisconsin--Madison. He has served as president of the History of Science Society, the American Society of Church History, and the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science, Division of the History of Science and Technology.


An illuminating study of the relationship between science and religion...This book features the contributions of a team of 25 scholars that includes agnostics, atheists, and Christians. Their collective objective is to dispel the "hoary myths" of the supposedly bellicose relationship between religion and science. Readers will be fascinated by the evidence that for advocating Copernicanism, Galileo was not imprisoned (as commonly thought) but interrogated--albeit under the threat of torture--and set up in an apartment. Other misconceptions concern the connection between Darwinian thought and Nazi biology, Einstein's belief in God, and Islam's alleged hostility toward scientific enquiry. -- C. Brian Smith Library Journal 20090302 A revealing book...Using "myth" in the popular sense, to mean falsehood, Galileo Goes to Jail debunks widespread misconceptions. -- Douglas Todd Vancouver Sun 20090515 A splendid book. -- Christopher Howse Daily Telegraph 20090606 As a collection, these myth-busting arguments work to soften the wedge responsible for the schism between science and religion. The topics and writing style will appeal to all readers, but students of science and religion should consider this essential reading. -- J. A. Hewlett Choice 20090701 Informative and thought-provoking reading. -- Ernan McMullin The Tablet 20091010 The volume's careful organization and execution reveal the kind of planning and teamwork absent from too many edited collections, but which have come to be expected from Numbers...Each chapter of Galileo Goes to Jail begins with two or three epigraphs that clearly convict scholarly and popular literature of perpetuating the myth in question. Most authors then explore the nuances of the myth, its origin, complexity, and longevity, before telling the "rest of the story." -- Mark A. Kalthoff First Things 20091001 The authors necessarily spend the bulk of their time debunking attacks on religion in the name of science, but they also clear the muddy waters left behind when pro-religion forces try to obscure the scientific record...As Numbers points out in his introduction, fewer than half of the contributors are religious believers at all; and of those, there are only two evangelicals, one Catholic, and one Jew. In other words, they have no axe to grind, and their only agenda is to set the historical record straight. Given all of the polemics published today, this is a breath of fresh air. -- Ryan T. Anderson Weekly Standard 20091019 [Ronald L. 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? -- Edward B. Davis 20090828

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