The Edge of Contingency: French Catholic Reaction to Scientific Change from Darwin to Duhem

The Edge of Contingency: French Catholic Reaction to Scientific Change from Darwin to Duhem

The Edge of Contingency: French Catholic Reaction to Scientific Change from Darwin to Duhem

The Edge of Contingency: French Catholic Reaction to Scientific Change from Darwin to Duhem

Excerpt

The God of science is the Spirit of rational order, and of orderly development. Atheism as I understand it is the denial of the existence of the spirit. Nothing could therefore be more antagonistic to the whole spirit of science.

Robert Andrews Millikan, Evolution in Science and Religion (New Haven, 1927), p. 88.

In a discussion of Pierre Chaunu's startling thesis that the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century was stimulated by the Protestant and Catholic reform movements, the Jesuit Polytechnician Francois Russo noted, with some exaggeration, that the relationships between scientific and religious thought have never been studied profoundly. . We have been deluged with studies of the opposition and the conflicts between the two, usually by intellectual imperialists on one side or the other. Thus the issues have been distorted. What is true of the seventeenth century--part of Chaunu's originality was to leave the Galileo problem aside--is a fortiori true of the nineteenth century with its burden of Darwinismus. And even the opposition to Darwin has been frequently misunderstood because it has been viewed solely as a religiously based opposition. But it would be absurd to go to another extreme in ignoring the reality of the clash of ideas in the nineteenth century, however feeble the intellectual justification for such an encounter may now seem. Such a clash is a part of this study of the interaction of science and religion in late-nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century France. We must not, however, ignore the more positive aspects of the interaction. This is not a tale of Dover Beach revisited, "where ignorant armies clash by night. . . ."

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.