Science and Religion

An Impossible Dialogue

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Yves Gingras
Peter Keating
  • Maiden, MA: 
    Polity Books
    , July
     272 pages.
     For other formats: Link to Publisher's Website.
Review coming soon!

Review by James C. Ungureanu forthcoming.


Today we hear renewed calls for a dialogue between  science and religion: why has the old question of the relation  between science and religion now returned to the public domain  and what is at stake in this  debate?

To answer these questions, historian and sociologist  of science Yves Gingras retraces the long history of the  troubled relation between science and religion, from the  condemnation of Galileo for heresy in 1633 until his rehabilitation by  John Paul II in 1992. He reconstructs the process of the  gradual separation of science from theology and religion,  showing how God and natural theology became marginalized in  the scientific field in the 18th and 19th centuries as the  naturalist mode of thinking spread from astronomy and physics  to geology, natural history, the origins of the species and  the history of societies and religions. Finally, Gingras  identifies the forces that have contributed to the recent resurgence  of the question of science and religion by analyzing the  active role of the Templeton Foundation in promoting the idea  of “dialogue” between science, religion and spirituality.  In contrast to the dominant trend among historians of  science, Gingras argues that science and religion are  social institutions that give rise to incompatible ways of  knowing, rooted in different methodologies and forms of  knowledge, and that there never was and cannot be a genuine  dialogue between  them.

Wide-ranging and authoritative, this new book on one of  the fundamental questions of Western thought will be of  great interest to students and scholars of the history of science  and of religion as well as to general readers who are intrigued  by the new and much-publicized conversations about the  alleged links between science and  religion.

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s): 

Yves Gingras has been a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal since 1986.

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