Mythbusting: Are Science and Religion Really at War?

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An exploration of common myths surrounding the historical relationship between science an religion. From a Baha'i perspective, though the information is largely from Ronald Numbers's anthology on the subject of science and religion: Galileo Goes to Jail.

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  • Thanks, Brian! I appreciate your kind comments! My son is also an aspiring physics teacher (with a brand new teaching credential) and a Bahá'í.
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  • As a former physics teacher, still a lover of science, and a Baha'i, thanks so much for sharing this enlightening presentation - great knowledge and visuals! :-)
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Mythbusting: Are Science and Religion Really at War?

  1. 1. MythbustingAre science and religion really at war?
  2. 2. Galileo Goes to Jail and other Myths about science and religionedited by Dr. Ronald Numbers, (HilldaleProfessor of the History of Science andMedicine at the University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  3. 3. Dr. Numbers’ GoalTo confront “Thegreatest myth in thehistory of science andreligion . . . that theyhave been in a state ofconstant conflict.” — Ronald Numbers
  4. 4. Genesis of a MythIn 1874, American polemicistJohn William Draper wrote: “The antagonism we thus witness between Religion and Science is the continuation of a struggle that commenced when Christianity began to attain political power...” (History of the Conflict Between Science and Religion, 1874)
  5. 5. Why is this important to Bahá’ís?The polarities this “battle” creates is of vitalimportance to Bahá’ís because Our own faith—born three decades before Draper made the above claim—has as a primary principle the harmony of science and religion. The scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith state clearly that if science and religion seem to disagree, then we have misunderstood what one or the other (or perhaps both) are telling us.
  6. 6. The oneness of religion and science“Any religious belief which is notconformable with scientific proof andinvestigation is superstition, for true scienceis reason and reality, and religion isessentially reality and pure reason; therefore,the two must correspond. Religious teachingwhich is at variance with science and reasonis human invention and imaginationunworthy of acceptance, for the antithesisand opposite of knowledge is superstitionborn of the ignorance of man. If we sayreligion is opposed to science, we lackknowledge of either true science or truereligion, for both are founded upon thepremises and conclusions of reason, andboth must bear its test.” — Abdu’l-Bahá
  7. 7. Is Draper’s contention true?
  8. 8. Is Draper’s contention true? Has science been at war with faith since the dawn of Christianity?
  9. 9. Is Draper’s contention true? Has science been at war with faith since the dawn of Christianity? Dr. Numbers notes that the discussion of the relationship between science and religion heated up in the early 19th century when the word “science” came into vogue to replace the terms “natural philosophy” and “natural history”.
  10. 10. Is Draper’s contention true? Has science been at war with faith since the dawn of Christianity? Dr. Numbers notes that the discussion of the relationship between science and religion heated up in the early 19th century when the word “science” came into vogue to replace the terms “natural philosophy” and “natural history”. Up until this point, while there had been some dialogue around the subject of the roles of faith and reason, no one was pitting an entity called Religion against a second entity called Science.
  11. 11. The Christian Philosopher
  12. 12. The Christian PhilosopherThe first English-language book linking scienceand religion was the 1823 volume THECHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER (The Connection ofScience and Philosophy with Religion) by ThomasDick.
  13. 13. The Christian PhilosopherThe first English-language book linking scienceand religion was the 1823 volume THECHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER (The Connection ofScience and Philosophy with Religion) by ThomasDick.As Bahá’u’lláh was establishing His faith inPersia with its emphasis on the harmony ofscience and faith, there were programs inseveral American colleges and seminaries“demonstrating the harmony of science andrevealed religion” (Numbers).
  14. 14. The Christian PhilosopherThe first English-language book linking scienceand religion was the 1823 volume THECHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER (The Connection ofScience and Philosophy with Religion) by ThomasDick.As Bahá’u’lláh was establishing His faith inPersia with its emphasis on the harmony ofscience and faith, there were programs inseveral American colleges and seminaries“demonstrating the harmony of science andrevealed religion” (Numbers).It wasn’t uncommon at this point for men ofscience to engage in discourse on scripture (theBible, in the West) and for seminarians toconsider scientific themes.
  15. 15. The Christian PhilosopherThe first English-language book linking scienceand religion was the 1823 volume THECHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHER (The Connection ofScience and Philosophy with Religion) by ThomasDick.As Bahá’u’lláh was establishing His faith inPersia with its emphasis on the harmony ofscience and faith, there were programs inseveral American colleges and seminaries“demonstrating the harmony of science andrevealed religion” (Numbers).It wasn’t uncommon at this point for men ofscience to engage in discourse on scripture (theBible, in the West) and for seminarians toconsider scientific themes.Science was, to the believer, a way of knowingGod and appreciating His activities in theuniverse.
  16. 16. Nicolai William of Kopernik, Occam Catholic Catholic clergyman, monk, astronomer Moses ben philosopher Maimon, Jewish rabbinical scholar, physician The involvement of religious Sir Isaac Newton,Ibn Firnas, astronomer, Anglican theologian, meteorologist, aviator believers in the work of physicist science goes back millennia. al-Khwārizmī, Muslim. father of algebra
  17. 17. Food for Thought
  18. 18. Food for ThoughtThere are religious people who fear anddistrust science, or who see it as beingdangerous and in conflict with theirbeliefs.
  19. 19. Food for ThoughtThere are religious people who fear anddistrust science, or who see it as beingdangerous and in conflict with theirbeliefs.There are non-religious people who fearand distrust religion and who see it asbeing dangerous and in conflict withtheir beliefs.
  20. 20. Food for ThoughtThere are religious people who fear anddistrust science, or who see it as beingdangerous and in conflict with theirbeliefs.There are non-religious people who fearand distrust religion and who see it asbeing dangerous and in conflict withtheir beliefs.Surprise fact: recent surveys and pollsabout religion and science have shownthat, while there is an unhealthypercentage of people worldwide whodo not accept any theory of evolution asfact, not all of them are religious or rejectevolution for religious reasons.
  21. 21. Bahá’ís may find themselvesin the position of having tograpple with both scientificand religious illiteracy in thepeople they interact with.This means it’s critical thatBahá’ís have a good grasp ofboth science and religion!
  22. 22. Abdu’l-Bahá wrote:Scientific knowledge is the highestattainment upon the human plane, forscience is the discoverer of realities. It is oftwo kinds: material and spiritual. Materialscience is the investigation of naturalphenomena; divine science is the discoveryand realization of spiritual verities. Theworld of humanity must acquire both. Abird has two wings; it cannot fly with one.Material and spiritual science are the twowings of human uplift and attainment.Both are necessary... — Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 138 (23 May 1912, Cambridge, MA)
  23. 23. The Scientific Mystic:“Science is an effulgence of theSun of Reality, the power ofinvestigating and discovering theverities of the universe, the meansby which man finds a pathway toGod.” — Abdu’l-Bahá
  24. 24. The Mystical Scientist:“Do not be afraid of being freethinkers. If you think stronglyenough you will be forced by scienceto the belief in God, which is thefoundation of all Religion. You willfind science not antagonistic, buthelpful to Religion.” — Lord Kelvin
  25. 25. A Look at Some Myths
  26. 26. A Look at Some Myths
  27. 27. A Look at Some Myths The rise of Christianity began the demise of science. The medieval church stifled scientific thought. Medieval Christians taught that the world was flat. Islam is, and has always been, anti- science.
  28. 28. Myth: The rise of Christianitybegan the demise of science.
  29. 29. Hypatia and OrestesHypatia was a 5th Century paganmathematician.When in her sixties, she was torn from herchariot and slaughtered in an Alexandrianchurch by a mob of fanatical Christians.The story was featured in a 1720 pamphletwritten by John Toland: The History of a MostBeautiful Lady; Who Was Torn to Pieces by theClergy of Alexandria to Gratify the Pride,Emulation, and Cruelty of the Archbishop,Commonly but Undeservedly titled Saint Cyril.Some authorities view Hypatia’s martyrdom asthe “the beginning of the Christian DarkAges” (Martin) and the death of science andmath in Alexandria, and hold the story up asan example of what happens when ignorantreligion conflicts with enlightened science.
  30. 30. Hypatia and OrestesAccording to a recent biography ofHypatia by Maria Dzielska: Hypatia’s work with mathematics had nothing to do with her death. She was friends with Orestes, the regional Roman Prefect, who was in a political struggle with Cyril the Not-So-Saintly (Dzielska calls him “an ambitious and ruthless churchman eager to extend his authority”.) Cyril used Orestes’ friendship with the pagan Hypatia to blacken his reputation, even going so far as to charge the poor old woman with witchcraft.
  31. 31. Hypatia and Orestes
  32. 32. Hypatia and Orestes What evidence do we have that this is so?
  33. 33. Hypatia and Orestes What evidence do we have that this is so? Some years after he’d disposed of Orestes, Cyril went on a campaign against pagans—NOT natural philosophers like Hypatia. Those, he left alone.
  34. 34. Hypatia and Orestes What evidence do we have that this is so? Some years after he’d disposed of Orestes, Cyril went on a campaign against pagans—NOT natural philosophers like Hypatia. Those, he left alone. Science and mathematics flourished in Alexandria for decades to come.
  35. 35. Hypatia and Orestes What evidence do we have that this is so? Some years after he’d disposed of Orestes, Cyril went on a campaign against pagans—NOT natural philosophers like Hypatia. Those, he left alone. Science and mathematics flourished in Alexandria for decades to come. In other words, the historical record does not bear out the claim that the rise of Christianity as a faith tolled the death knell of science.
  36. 36. Myth: The medieval church stifled scientific thought.
  37. 37. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” —Tertullian
  38. 38. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” —TertullianThis question forms the basis of themyth that the medieval churchactively suppressed the growth ofscience.
  39. 39. “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” —TertullianThis question forms the basis of themyth that the medieval churchactively suppressed the growth ofscience.“The Church . . . set herself forth asthe depository and arbiter ofknowledge . . . She thus took acourse that determined her wholefuture career; she became astumbling block in the intellectualadvancement of Europe for morethan a thousand years.” — JohnDraper, The History of ConflictBetween Religion and Science, (1874)
  40. 40. 100 years of lost opportunity? Carl Sagan’s 1980 book Cosmos contains a chart of astronomical progress that leaves a 1000 year gap between mathematician Hypatia (and her contemporaries) and Copernicus and DaVinci. The caption: “a poignant lost opportunity for mankind”.
  41. 41. How Dark Was It?
  42. 42. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:
  43. 43. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:William of Saint-Cloud’s work on solareclipses,
  44. 44. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:William of Saint-Cloud’s work on solareclipses,Dominican friar Dietrich von Freiberg’sdiscoveries about rainbows,
  45. 45. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:William of Saint-Cloud’s work on solareclipses,Dominican friar Dietrich von Freiberg’sdiscoveries about rainbows,Jean Buridan’s application of impetustheory to explain projectile motion, free-fall acceleration, and the rotation of thenight sky.
  46. 46. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:William of Saint-Cloud’s work on solareclipses,Dominican friar Dietrich von Freiberg’sdiscoveries about rainbows,Jean Buridan’s application of impetustheory to explain projectile motion, free-fall acceleration, and the rotation of thenight sky.Bishop Nicole Oresme’s arguments forthe rotation of the earth,
  47. 47. How Dark Was It?Accomplishments from this scientifically“dark” era in Europe include:William of Saint-Cloud’s work on solareclipses,Dominican friar Dietrich von Freiberg’sdiscoveries about rainbows,Jean Buridan’s application of impetustheory to explain projectile motion, free-fall acceleration, and the rotation of thenight sky.Bishop Nicole Oresme’s arguments forthe rotation of the earth,Oxford’s natural philosophers applicationof mathematics to the study of motion.
  48. 48. How Dark Was It? We now know that science was happening in the Middle Ages. Universities were founded at Oxford, Bologna, and Paris before 1200 CE. By 1500, there were about 60 of these institutions seeded around Europe, with about 30% of the curricula dedicated to the study of the natural world.
  49. 49. Mythbuster
  50. 50. MythbusterThe organization mostsupportive of the financialand educational developmentof these institutions was . . .
  51. 51. MythbusterThe organization mostsupportive of the financialand educational developmentof these institutions was . . .. . . the Catholic Church.
  52. 52. Role of the Church“The Roman Catholic Churchgave more financial and socialsupport to the study ofastronomy for over six centuries,from the recovery of ancient datain the late Middle Ages to theEnlightenment, than any other,and probably all, otherinstitutions.” — Science historianJohn Heilbron in The Sun in the Church,Harvard University Press, 1999
  53. 53. CurriculumThe curriculum of these Universitiesincluded: Theology (the “Queen of Sciences”)—taught only by ordained professors to students who had taken vows. Natural history Mathematics Astronomy Medicine All of this with the encouragement and blessing of the Church.
  54. 54. Let me sum up:If the Catholic Churchintended to quash thesciences, its methods weredarned peculiar.
  55. 55. Myth: Medieval Christianstaught that the world was flat.
  56. 56. Why We Should Not Celebrate Columbus Day.
  57. 57. Why We Should Not Celebrate Columbus Day.In school, I learned that “everyone” believedthe Earth was flat until the brave CristobalColonne (aka, Christopher Columbus)argued the point with Isabella andFerdinand and sailed off to prove otherwise,discovering the new world in the process.
  58. 58. Why We Should Not Celebrate Columbus Day.In school, I learned that “everyone” believedthe Earth was flat until the brave CristobalColonne (aka, Christopher Columbus)argued the point with Isabella andFerdinand and sailed off to prove otherwise,discovering the new world in the process.How do we know this was a myth?
  59. 59. Why We Should Not Celebrate Columbus Day.In school, I learned that “everyone” believedthe Earth was flat until the brave CristobalColonne (aka, Christopher Columbus)argued the point with Isabella andFerdinand and sailed off to prove otherwise,discovering the new world in the process.How do we know this was a myth?Because people in the middle ages wrotethings down: few people believed the worldwas flat.
  60. 60. Why We Should Not Celebrate Columbus Day.In school, I learned that “everyone” believedthe Earth was flat until the brave CristobalColonne (aka, Christopher Columbus)argued the point with Isabella andFerdinand and sailed off to prove otherwise,discovering the new world in the process.How do we know this was a myth?Because people in the middle ages wrotethings down: few people believed the worldwas flat.So, why do so many of us today believe theydid?
  61. 61. Columbus & the Flat Earth
  62. 62. Columbus & the Flat EarthThe idea that Columbus’ discovered theAmericas, proved the world was aglobe, and ushered in the age ofmodernity was introduced in 1828 bystoryteller Washington Irving (Rip vanWinkle) in The Life and Voyages ofChristopher Columbus.
  63. 63. Columbus & the Flat EarthThe idea that Columbus’ discovered theAmericas, proved the world was aglobe, and ushered in the age ofmodernity was introduced in 1828 bystoryteller Washington Irving (Rip vanWinkle) in The Life and Voyages ofChristopher Columbus.Almost fifty years later, John Draperexpressed the myth this way: “. . . thequestion of the shape of the earth wasfinally settled by three sailors,Columbus, da Gama and, above all,Ferdinand Magellan.” — History of theConflict Between Religion and Science, 1874
  64. 64. Columbus & the Flat Earth According to the reports of Fernando Colonne, and Father Bartolome de las Casas, Columbus’ argument with the crowned heads of Spain was not about the shape of the planet, but its size. According to his own diaries and logs, far from flouting authority, Columbus was a devout Catholic who thought he was doing God’s work by providing the Church and Crown with riches and slaves.
  65. 65. Remember the Universities?University curriculum included Aristotle’smathematical proof of the sphericity of theworld.Natural philosophers whose work supports aspherical earth include: Ambrose (d. 420), Augustine (d. 430), Aquinus (d. 1274), Bacon (d. 1294), Magnus (d. 1280). Jean de Sacrobosco (d. 1410), archbishop of Cambrai and author of De Sphera, which demonstrated the sphericity of the Earth and which was used as a textbook in universities throughout the Middle Ages.
  66. 66. Were there Dissenters?Two early scholars whose words on thesubject are ambiguous are Lactinius(4th century) and Isadore of Seville(5th century encyclopedist).Only one medieval scholar is known“explicitly to deny the sphericity of theearth” (ref. Lesley B. Cormack, Dean ofSocial Sciences at Simon FraserUniversity): Cosmas Indicopleustes—a Byzantine monk who developed a scripturally based cosmological model that featured Earth as a table- land.
  67. 67. Was Columbus’ crew afraid of going over the edge?
  68. 68. Was Columbus’ crew afraid of going over the edge?Nope. But they did grumble alot because:
  69. 69. Was Columbus’ crew afraid of going over the edge?Nope. But they did grumble alot because: 1. The voyage was taking too long.
  70. 70. Was Columbus’ crew afraid of going over the edge?Nope. But they did grumble alot because: 1. The voyage was taking too long. 2. The prevailing wind was westerly and they feared they wouldn’t be able to sail east.
  71. 71. Was Columbus’ crew afraid of going over the edge?Nope. But they did grumble alot because: 1. The voyage was taking too long. 2. The prevailing wind was westerly and they feared they wouldn’t be able to sail east. 3. There wasn’t enough grog.
  72. 72. Myth: Islam is, and has always been, anti-science.
  73. 73. Whence the Myth?This myth has been stated and restated overtime: “The pious Muslim . . . was expected to avoid . . . [rational] sciences with great care because they were considered dangerous to his faith. . .” — Ignaz Goldziher (1916) “. . . possession of all this ‘enlightenment’ [of Greek thought] did not prompt much intellectual progress within Islam, let alone eventuate in Islamic science.” — Rodney Stark (2003) “Alas, Islam turned against science in the twelfth century.” — Steve Weinberg (2007)
  74. 74. The Historical RecordAbu Abdullah Mohammad IbnMusa al-Khawarizmi—mathematician, astronomer andgeographer.He was he was the founder ofseveral branches and basic conceptsof mathematics.His surname gives us the term“algorithm.”The word “algebra” was derivedfrom his book Al-Jabr wa-al-Muqabilah. (The Restoration)
  75. 75. The Historical RecordAbbas Ibn Firnas (810 - 887 A.D.)Invented a water clock.Manufactured colorless glass.Developed an armillary to display themotions of the planets and stars.Created a “weather” room that mechanicallysimulated stars, clouds, thunder, andlightning.In 852, he jumped from the minaret of theMezquita mosque in Córdoba using a hugewing-like cloak to break his fall, which hesurvived with minor injuries. This was thefirst example of an early parachute. In 875, atage of 65, he made the earliest attempt atflight using a rudimentary glider. He crashedand injured his back.
  76. 76. The Historical RecordAbu Bakr Mohammad Ibn Zakariya al-Razi (864-930 C.E.) aka RhazesHis al-Judari wal Hasabah was the firsttreatise on smallpox and chicken-pox.Favored cure through correct andregulated food combined with anemphasis on the influence ofpsychological factors on health.Tried proposed remedies on animals firstto evaluate their effects and side effects.Was also an expert surgeon and was thefirst to use opium for anesthesia.
  77. 77. The Historical RecordAbu Ali al-Husain ibn Abdallah ibn Sina (akaAvicenna).Wrote commentaries on Aristotle’, correctingwhat he saw as errors in Aristotle’s logic.Was one of the earliest pioneers of thescientific process of peer review.Wrote the 14-volume Canon of Medicine, astandard medical text in Western Europe for 7centuries. Arabic edition published at Romein 1593, Hebrew edition at Naples in 1491.Correctly asserted that tuberculosis wascontagious.Described and catalogued the symptoms ofdiabetes.
  78. 78. The Historical RecordAbū ‘l-Walīd Muḥammad ibn Aḥmadibn Rushd (1126 – 1198) (aka Averroes)Wrote commentaries on the works ofAristotle, including a rebuttal of TheIncoherence of Philosophers, al-Ghazali’spolemic against Aristotelean logic.Wrote medical encyclopedias includingKulliyat (“Generalities”), from which weget the European pronunciation Colliget,possibly the parent of the word “college”.Wrote works about celestial mechanics.(He rejected the Ptolemaic system.)Wrote works of physics.
  79. 79. Let me sum up:Far from being inimical toscience, documentation showsthat the civilization raised onthe foundation of Muhammad’steachings dominated the fieldof science from roughly800-1300 CE.
  80. 80. Sc i on ien lig ce Re Question: Why did religion cometo be seen as the enemy of science?
  81. 81. Medieval Context Science Religion
  82. 82. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist. Science Religion
  83. 83. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist.Its progenitor—natural philosophy—wasn’tdistinct from religion or philosophy. Science Religion
  84. 84. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist.Its progenitor—natural philosophy—wasn’tdistinct from religion or philosophy.Beliefs about nature, medicine, wellness, sickness,natural phenomena and life in general were Science Religionstudied and written about often with emphasis ontheir relationship to God(s).
  85. 85. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist.Its progenitor—natural philosophy—wasn’tdistinct from religion or philosophy.Beliefs about nature, medicine, wellness, sickness,natural phenomena and life in general were Science Religionstudied and written about often with emphasis ontheir relationship to God(s).The idea that religious folk of this period weredullards who didn’t think of anything beyond thepages of the Bible (which they didn’t possess assuch), is cartoonish.
  86. 86. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist.Its progenitor—natural philosophy—wasn’tdistinct from religion or philosophy.Beliefs about nature, medicine, wellness, sickness,natural phenomena and life in general were Science Religionstudied and written about often with emphasis ontheir relationship to God(s).The idea that religious folk of this period weredullards who didn’t think of anything beyond thepages of the Bible (which they didn’t possess assuch), is cartoonish.The study of creation—was seen as the province ofChristian thinkers and non-Christian thinkersalike.
  87. 87. Medieval Context“Science” as a discipline didn’t exist.Its progenitor—natural philosophy—wasn’tdistinct from religion or philosophy.Beliefs about nature, medicine, wellness, sickness,natural phenomena and life in general were Science Religionstudied and written about often with emphasis ontheir relationship to God(s).The idea that religious folk of this period weredullards who didn’t think of anything beyond thepages of the Bible (which they didn’t possess assuch), is cartoonish.The study of creation—was seen as the province ofChristian thinkers and non-Christian thinkersalike.It would be centuries before these avenues ofthought were posted with street signs that read“Science” and “Religion”.
  88. 88. The Thinkers
  89. 89. The ThinkersChristian scholars such as Tertullianand his contemporary, Tatian had somedisdain for “Athens”.
  90. 90. The ThinkersChristian scholars such as Tertullianand his contemporary, Tatian had somedisdain for “Athens”.“Athens” was short-hand for “pagan”.
  91. 91. The ThinkersChristian scholars such as Tertullianand his contemporary, Tatian had somedisdain for “Athens”.“Athens” was short-hand for “pagan”.Tatian asked: “What noble thing haveyou produced by your pursuit ofphilosophy? What of your mosteminent men has been free from vainboasting? . . . Wherefore be not ledaway by the solemn assemblies ofphilosophers who are no philosophers,who dogmatize the crude fancies of themoment.” (quoted in Galileo Goes to Jailp. 11)
  92. 92. Augustine on NonsenseFar from denigrating knowledge, the earlyChristian thinkers promoted the benefits of aknowledgable congregation.Deploring the ignorance of some Christians,Saint Augustine wrote: “Even a non-Christian knows something about the earth,the heavens, and the other elements . . . aboutthe motion and orbit of the stars . . . and soforth, and this knowledge he holds to, asbeing certain from reason and experience.Now it is a disgraceful and dangerous thingfor an infidel [a non-Christian] to hear aChristian . . . talking nonsense on thesetopics; and we should take all means toprevent such an embarrassing situation, inwhich people show up vast ignorance in aChristian and laugh it to scorn.”
  93. 93. Sound familiar…?
  94. 94. Sound familiar…?Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a similar sentiment:
  95. 95. Sound familiar…?Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a similar sentiment:“Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man)and is like a ladder for ascending. To acquireknowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those scienceswhich may profit the people of the earth, and not suchsciences as being in mere words and end in merewords.”
  96. 96. Sound familiar…?Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a similar sentiment:“Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man)and is like a ladder for ascending. To acquireknowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those scienceswhich may profit the people of the earth, and not suchsciences as being in mere words and end in merewords.”But He adds:
  97. 97. Sound familiar…?Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a similar sentiment:“Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man)and is like a ladder for ascending. To acquireknowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those scienceswhich may profit the people of the earth, and not suchsciences as being in mere words and end in merewords.”But He adds:“The possessors of sciences and arts have a great rightamong the people of the world. Indeed, the realtreasury of man is his knowledge. Knowledge is themeans of honor, prosperity, joy, gladness, happinessand exaltation.”—The Tajallíyát.
  98. 98. Sound familiar…?Bahá’u’lláh has expressed a similar sentiment:“Knowledge is like unto wings for the being (of man)and is like a ladder for ascending. To acquireknowledge is incumbent upon all, but of those scienceswhich may profit the people of the earth, and not suchsciences as being in mere words and end in merewords.”But He adds:“The possessors of sciences and arts have a great rightamong the people of the world. Indeed, the realtreasury of man is his knowledge. Knowledge is themeans of honor, prosperity, joy, gladness, happinessand exaltation.”—The Tajallíyát.Does this indicate a conflict with naturalphilosophy (aka, science) or, as Tatian puts it,with those who “dogmatize the crude fancies ofthe moment”?
  99. 99. What noble thing …?What the Christianphilosophers were arguing,was the purpose of knowledge,and the appropriate attitudetoward what one could ferretout of physical reality.
  100. 100. Applied KnowledgeYet, both Christian and non-Christiancite Tertullian to support the view thatthere is a war between science andreligion.But … the difference between the“scientific” and “religious” ideologieswas (and is) largely one of attitude.Christian (and Muslim) naturalphilosophers advocated appliedknowledge—knowledge that did not“begin in mere words and end in merewords”, but was a tool to be usedtoward an understanding of thepurpose of human existence.
  101. 101. Let me sum up:“Scientific knowledge is thehighest attainment upon thehuman plane, for science is thediscoverer of realities. It is of twokinds: material and spiritual. ...The world of humanity mustacquire both.” —Abdu’l-Bahá
  102. 102. More myths ...Galileo was tortured and thrownin prison for his scientific work.Nicolai Copernicus dethronedthe Earth.Giordano Bruno was a martyr toscience.Christianity gave birth tomodern science.The “scientific revolution”liberated science from religion.Dogmatic belief is okay as longas it’s not religious belief.
  103. 103. Thank you!

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