Galileo and the Conflict between Religion and Science
New Books in Christian StudiesNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in ReligionNew Books in Religion & FaithNew Books in Science, Technology, and SocietyNew Books in SecularismNew Books Network March 18, 2019 Benjamin Rossi
Open conflict between religion and science may not be inevitable, but a germ of discord resides in some of the fundamental commitments of both; in this sense, war is always, potentially, just around the corner. In Galileo and the Conflict between Religion and Science (Routledge, 2016), Gregory Dawes uses the famous Galileo affair as a case study in the profoundly different attitudes to knowledge exhibited by religious and scientific communities—differences that will make conflict highly likely whenever scientific claims contradict the revealed truths of scripturally-based faiths. Dawes argues that these faiths postulate a divine source of knowledge distinct from human reason; hold that the knowledge derivable from this source is certain, not merely probable; and because of this, allow apparent conflicts between science and religion to be resolved in science’s favor only when conclusive justification for scientific claims is available—a condition that science does not, and arguably cannot, ever satisfy. The implications are clear: insofar as Christians hold to the traditional epistemic commitments of their faith, they will brook no criticism of their revealed truths, and under certain conditions may even seek to suppress science on God’s authority.