The Humanist's Apologist: Andrew D. White
Of the 70 references provided on the humanist's web page, 31 are for Andrew D. White's book "A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom" (in two volumes).
With nearly half of the humanist's referenced assertions having their support in this book, I thought it worthwhile to examine the book.
"Andrew Dickson White,... along with his contemporary John William Draper, did much to set the modern tone of the historical conflict between religion and science."
- Jole Shackelford, "Myth 7: That Giordano Bruno Was The First Martyr of Modern Science." - in the book Galileo Goes To Jail, page 60
FFor a book to be referenced so much, it must truly be an astounding work. I had to read this book. I was able to immediately get a Kindle copy and started reading. It is an astounding book... astounding that a book so filled with fiction could be considered such a reliable source that 31 out of 70 humanist references are to this book! Truly astounding! Incredibly sad.
Filled with more fiction than fact, the premise of the book is that religion, and Christianity in Europe in particular, held back the advance of science. Supposedly it was only when Christianity was pushed aside, that science was able to make significant progress.
Could this book really be as bad as it appeared to be? Maybe I was wrong in my evaluation. I should investigate further to learn what others thought about Andrew White. I generally don't go to Wikkipedia as a source, they tend to be highly biased, and very pro-humanism and anti-Bible. But, it came up at the top of the Google search results, so I went there. This is what Wikkipedia had to say about White's book (https://tinyurl.com/ydxj7d7c):
[There is] mounting evidence that White read the past through battle-scarred glasses, and that he and his imitators have distorted history to serve ideological ends of their own. Although it is not difficult to find instances of conflict and controversy in the annals of Christianity and science, recent scholarship has shown that the warfare metaphor to be neither useful or tenable in describing the relationship between science and religion.
Writing about the inaccuracies of Andrew White and others, historian of science Ronald Numbers has stated: "Historians of science have known for years that White's and Draper's accounts are more propaganda than history." [ Ronald Numbers, ed. (2009). Galileo Goes To Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion. p. 6]
Another Wikipedia page has this to say:
He has included falsehoods that he would have noticed if he had taken a properly objective attitude towards all his evidence. The points given above together with Numbers and Lindbergs criticisms noted in their article are sufficient, however, to prove Whites work as utterly worthless as history. - Wikipedia, quoted from: James Hannam, The Mythical Conflict between Science and Religion, 2003.
Wikipedia summarizes by saying: "You'd do better to rely on modern historians like Heilbron rather than polemicists like White with an anti-Christian axe to grind."
Warfare Between Science and Christianity - The Myth
The major premise of White's book is that there is war going on between science and Christianity. As I researched this further, I found this to be a false premise that had it origins in the 19th century in this book by White, and an earlier book by John William Draper titled "History of the Conflict between Religion and Science." This hypothesis became know as the Draper-White Conflict Thesis... and it was all based on fictional history.
The diagram to the right is one the keeps popping up in my research. It shows a gradual increase in scientific knowledge, and then a "black hole" during the Middle Ages that was supposedly caused by Christianity. The idea is that, anti-science/anti-reality Christian beliefs were forced on Europe, resulting in suppression of science and truth.
However, that is not what actually happened and this diagram is a total fictional fabrication.
Is this what happened? Did Christianity suppress science?
No. That is a myth that was created in an effort to suppress Christianity and discredit the Bible. Let's go to a secular history web site called the "Odd Historian." They have an interesting article about seven myths commonly believed about the Middle ages. Here are a few quotes from that article:
Myth #1 - Among circulated myths, one highly accepted is that of Church suppressing rational analysis and progress of science is a medieval fallacy. As per historical records, no scientist/ scholar was incarcerated, burned and tortured by Church for furthering scientifically justified claims. The isolated case of Giordano Bruno is shocking to some extent.
Myth #2 - Lack of Scientific Advancement: Contrary to myths, the medieval Europe was an incubator for modern scientific and philosophical research. Roger Bacon was the first individual to propose cyclic experimentation, comprising of observation, hypothesis and experimentation. He applied this method to research nature of light and optics, the functionality of eye and nature of lenses. It eventually led to the creation of eyewear. He proposed a design for the telescope (never built one). Inspired by an Arabic scholar Al-Battani, Robert Grosseteste posited that experimentation should verify particulars.
Myth #6 - As the predominant rhetoric goes, Dark Ages inhibited scientific progress, scientists were termed as heretics, deeming them immoral and naysayers against the Bible. The mass majority even perceived the earth to be flat.
The truth: The church was largely responsible for rescuing science as opposed to inhibiting it.
These are just three of the seven myths about Christianity suppressing science and knowledge during the Middle Ages. I recommend reading the full article. It's not that long
and it will give you an overview of the seven myths commonly believed about the Middle ages.
Another good article about the myth of war between science and Christianity can be read here.
Andrew D. White and John William Draper both wrote fraudulent books containing myths and fictions they created in order to suppress the Bible and Christianity. Neither author is a trusted authority, and anyone referencing them or using them as source material should be immediately suspect. If these authors are referenced, you are probably being misled and deceived... so be wary... be smart... don't accept the lie that Christianity suppressed science.
If you've come to this page from outside of our web site, FYI this page is a part of our responses to humanists accusations against the Bible. We've taken a web page from the American Humanist web site and have point-by-point answered all of their accusations against the Bible.
Go to the table of contents: Responses to Humanists accusations against the Bible
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