(4) Science vs. Theology

nord at mail.atw.earthreach.com nord at mail.atw.earthreach.com
Thu Mar 5 10:09:21 EST 1998





# 4




My lecture grew--first into a couple of magazine articles, and
then into a little book called The Warfare of Science, for
which, when republished in England, Prof. John Tyndall wrote a

Sundry translations of this little book were published, but the
most curious thing in its history is the fact that a very
friendly introduction to the Swedish translation was written by a
Lutheran bishop.

Meanwhile Prof. John W. Draper published his book on The
Conflict between Science and Religion, a work of great ability,
which, as I then thought, ended the matter, so far as my giving
it further attention was concerned.

But two things led me to keep on developing my own work in this
field: First, I had become deeply interested in it, and could not
refrain from directing my observation and study to it; secondly,
much as I admired Draper's treatment of the questions involved,
his point of view and mode of looking at history were different
from mine.

He regarded the struggle as one between Science and Religion.  I
believed then, and am convinced now, that it was a struggle
between Science and Dogmatic Theology.

More and more I saw that it was the conflict between two epochs
in the evolution of human thought--the theological and the

So I kept on, and from time to time published New Chapters in the
Warfare of Science as magazine articles in The Popular Science
Monthly.  This was done under many difficulties.  For twenty
years, as President of Cornell University and Professor of
History in that institution, I was immersed in the work of its
early development.  Besides this, I could not hold myself
entirely aloof from public affairs, and was three times sent by
the Government of the United States to do public duty abroad:
first as a commissioner to Santo Domingo, in 1870; afterward as
minister to Germany, in 1879; finally, as minister to Russia, in
1892; and was also called upon by the State of New York to do
considerable labor in connection with international exhibitions
at Philadelphia and at Paris.  I was also obliged from time to
time to throw off by travel the effects of overwork.

The variety of residence and occupation arising from these causes
may perhaps explain some peculiarities in this book which might
otherwise puzzle my reader.

While these journeyings have enabled me to collect materials over
a very wide range--in the New World, from Quebec to Santo Domingo
and from Boston to Mexico, San Francisco, and Seattle, and in the
Old World from Trondhjem to Cairo and from St. Petersburg to
Palermo-- they have often obliged me to write under circumstances
not very favorable: sometimes on an Atlantic steamer, sometimes
on a Nile boat, and not only in my own library at Cornell, but in
those of Berlin, Helsingfors, Munich, Florence, and the British
Museum.  This fact will explain to the benevolent reader not only
the citation of different editions of the same authority in
different chapters, but some iterations which in the steady quiet
of my own library would not have been made.

It has been my constant endeavour to write for the general
reader, avoiding scholastic and technical terms as much as
possible and stating the truth simply as it presents itself to

That errors of omission and commission will be found here and
there is probable--nay, certain; but the substance of the book
will, I believe, be found fully true.  I am encouraged in this
belief by the fact that, of the three bitter attacks which this
work in its earlier form has already encountered, one was purely
declamatory, objurgatory, and hortatory, and the others based
upon ignorance of facts easily pointed out.

And here I must express my thanks to those who have aided me.
First and above all to my former student and dear friend, Prof.
George Lincoln Burr, of Cornell University, to whose
contributions, suggestions, criticisms, and cautions I am most
deeply indebted; also to my friends U. G. Weatherly, formerly
Travelling Fellow of Cornell, and now Assistant Professor in the
University of Indiana,--Prof. and Mrs. Earl Barnes and Prof.
William H. Hudson, of Stanford University,--and Prof. E. P
Evans, formerly of the University of Michigan, but now of Munich,
for extensive aid in researches upon the lines I have indicated
to them, but which I could never have prosecuted without their
co-operation.  In libraries at home and abroad they have all
worked for me most effectively, and I am deeply grateful to them.


Posted by Robert E. Nordlander
nord at mail.atw.earthreach.com
March 5, 1998

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