REFLEXIONS IN THE NINETEEN-THIRTIES
WHEN Andrew D. White published his famous book, A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom, he quite naturally supposed there was no doubt as to the victor. He was a good man and loved truth, and freedom in searching it. He thought theology had waged a steadily losing battle all along the line; and its defeat, if not so immediate, was as certain as that of King Canute. Religion had lost one position after another; Science, always opposed and hindered and delayed by the struggle with theology, had nevertheless advanced, because the Truth was on its side. Furthermore, this conquest of religion by science was something that all reasonable men should greet with joy; it meant the removing of shackles of superstition, a free field for independent individual investigators. This was to be at last a brave new world, where men and women, released from all theological or governmental restraint, were to live in the clear and bracing atmosphere of truth.
Very good: very good indeed: we are now living in this Paradise which the former men of science saw afar off. Except in certain localities, there is no restraint on scientific investigation and scientific experiment; the modern hero is the man of science, regarded with universal respect and admiration; and perhaps with some mystical wonder, like the mysterious priests of old. For just as ignorant people believed that the priests had access to sources of knowledge beyond the range of the crowd and that they
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Publication information: Book title: Autobiography, with Letters. Contributors: William Lyon Phelps - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1939. Page number: 954.
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