Re: [asa] science martyrs

From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
Date: Sun Mar 01 2009 - 18:11:48 EST

Hi Marco,

I'd tend to agree with your perception that claims of persecution of scientists by the church are often overblown.

However, it is not unknown and I would even go so far as to say that the persecution of scientists by the church is more prevalent in the present day than at any time in history.

The best contemporary case I can think of is that of Rick Colling of Olivet Nazarene University. As a theistic evolutionist Rick was forced to stand down from teaching biology, and his book "Random Designer" was banned from courses at the university. There is a brief overview of the affair here: http://tinyurl.com/bhj469. Something of Rick's view of the matter can be ascertained from this statement: http://tinyurl.com/dlccgo. Despite the positive outcome mentioned in the Science and Religion Today piece, Rick has recently decided to move on from ONU.

One might also parallel this with the case of Howard Van Till, who describes his attempts to maintain scientifically integrity within the context of one particular confessional tradition: http://tinyurl.com/bdbctm. It is, I think, obvious that Van Till's reservations regarding the theological tradition of which he was part were a direct consequence of the intransigence of his theological opponents.

The above two cases are -- as George Murphy pointed out -- not correctly to be ascribed as cases of "martyrdom" for the cause of science. But both men's teaching positions were to some extent made untenable as the direct result of religious objection to sound scientific views. I would not be the least surprised to find examples could be multiplied.

Blessings,
Murray.

Marcio Pie wrote:
> Hi there,
>
>
>
> I got a simple question: what are the well-established cases of science
> martyrs? By that I mean cases of scientists (or, more appropriately,
> natural philosophers) that experienced persecution **because** of their
> scientific beliefs.
>
>
>
> There is the commonly cited but mistaken case of Galileo, which is part
> of scientific pop culture, but has been regarded as a myth by people
> like Ron Numbers. Also, I just learned that Giordano Bruno was not
> condemned because of his scientific views, as commonly stated, but
> rather due to his theological views on the trinity.
>
>
>
> So, is there any example of someone that was really persecuted (or
> martyrized) because of his/her scientific views?
>
>
>
> Marcio
>

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Received on Sun Mar 1 18:12:34 2009

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