The Church and Science

The Church and Science

Church and science discussions always seem to follow the same tired pattern. They don't go much beyond a few personalities from hundreds of years ago and focus on only one discipline (astronomy). This leaves a lot of room for improvement. A start would be to look at the big picture of church and science. Cherry-picking a few events over a 2000 year span doesn't really tell us much. Paying more attention to science , as it is understood today and as it is conducted today (see Modern Science) would also help. And lastly, a little more discrimination on historical facts might help as well. Popular mythology (see The Galileo Myths) is not a good substitute for historical fact.

Word Cloud - Scientific Citations

Three figures from the 1500's and 1600's seem to dominate church and science discussions; Galileo, Bruno, and Copernicus. The word cloud above shows the most commonly cited scientists from various European reference books from 1758 (( see Galileo's Contemporaries). The three figures are missing. The scientists of the eighteenth century may have shown better judgement than seen in modern discussions of church and science. The scientists in the word cloud made important contributions to electricity, optics, classical mechanics, atomism, analytical geometry, hydraulics and other fields. Several of the names in the word cloud were Catholic priests.

Map of Science

The takeaway from church and science discussions is that astronomy is so important that it eclipses all other disciplines in science combined. The map of modern science above (taken from Eigenfactor-Map of Modern Science) maps the activity and influence of the disciplines of modern science. Basing any discussion of science on one discipline is ill-advised; basing it on a discipline that has little affect on other disciplines is even moreso.

Galileo's Vatican Suite

The image above is a floor plan of Galileo's Dungeon referred to by Carl Sagan in Cosmos. Not much of a dungeon; larger than the average American home, overlooking a beautiful garden and with a room for a personal valet. If science teaches anything, it is that you can't be sloppy with your facts. Sadly, this sloppiness is common in church and science discussions (see Galileo Myths).

The underlying theme of this site is that a fruitful discussion of church and science must include a proper discussion of science. It must also go far beyond a few famous historical figures and a single discipline. The use of myth should not be passively excused. The site map here has a listing of some of the pages with short descriptions of their theme.

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Copyright Joseph Sant (2018).
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