Friday, March 28, 2014

On RealClear Science's List of Great Priest-Scientists

As a result of the controversy surrounding the historical treatment of figures such as Giordano Bruno in Neil de Grasse Tyson's Cosmos reboot,  and the flurry of posts it's generated about the ‘war’ between religion and science, RealClearScience published a list of 9 Priests Who Were Great Scientists. The notion that science and religion are in permanent conflict is a myth, the RealClear editors note. "This superficial argument persists, no matter how much evidence accumulates against it." Indeed, they add:
The Catholic Church, of course, is the media's favorite whipping boy. However, the convenient narrative of a Church waging a two-millennia-long battle against science is drastically undermined by a long and inconvenient history of priests who were also productive scientists. Here are a few of them.

It’s a handy list--especially for history of science buffs. (Physicist Stephen Barr provides a more extensive list in his book, Modern Science and Ancient Faith.) But, I’m not sure it is going to convince skeptics that science and faith are so easily compatible.

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