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When Christianity is mentioned in the context of science or modern knowledge, some standard stories are often told. First, we'll be reminded that although the church persecuted him and tried to suppress his findings, Galileo still managed to prove that the earth was not the centre of the universe. Then we'll be told that David Hume showed that miracles could not have happened, and that Darwin proved that life was not the special creation and plan of God, but a natural process. And lastly, we'll be informed that Christianity has always opposed the forward march of knowledge—such as when Giordano Bruno was martyred for his beliefs about astronomy, or when the Scopes Trial pitted the blinkered irrationalism of Fundamentalism against evolution.
The only trouble is, none of these stories are true. As common mythology, they drift around the academic world without ever being carefully examined. They have become accepted as plain historical fact among the general public, and are regularly trotted out in school texts and the media.
This accessible and well-referenced book aims to put these myths to rest by looking at the evidence, and discovering what really happened.
Dr Kirsten Birkett was the editor of the quarterly journal, kategoria: a critical review, in which the chapters in this book first appeared. She has written extensively on the history and philosophy of science, and the relationship between science and Christianity.
Click here for the introduction and a sample chapter. (338Kb PDF)