When Science and Christianity Meet

By Ryan C. MacPherson, Ph.D.

Rev. of When Science and Christianity Meet, edited by David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers, Journal of the History of Biology 38, no. 1 (2005): 182-84.



Sixteen years after David Lindberg and Ronald Numbers presented God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter between Christianity and Science (1986), the scholarly duo has published another edited anthology on the same topic. Like the earlier volume, When Science and Christianity Meet (2002) challenges both the “conflict” thesis that was advanced in the late nineteenth century by John W. Draper and Andrew D. White and the “harmony” interpretations promoted by Robert K. Merton, Reijer Hookyaas, and Stanley K. Jaki in the twentieth century. Despite the immense body of scholarship that has developed over the past two decades in support of an alternative view, which may be dubbed the “complexity” thesis, the older generalizations persist in popular conceptions. Thus, the editors’ goal in 2002 remains much the same as it had been in 1986. ... The essays in this volume may helpfully introduce the complexity thesis to college undergraduates and others who are new to the history of science.

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