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Article: Is Christianity At War With Science? (5/20

June 18, 2007

The following is a continuing list of Christians down through the centuries who, far from being constantly at war with science (commonly called ‘natural philosophy’ in previous times), took an active interest in seeking to understand how the universe worked. The first page in this list is here.

7th century: Sisebute of Hispania: Contributed a remarkably accurate explanation of how and why lunar eclipses occur. He argued that the moon had no light of its own but only reflected light from the sun, and that the earth sometimes obstructed that light when it was between the sun and the moon. In an age when such events were clouded in superstition, and attributed to supernatural causes, Sisebute (a Christian and firm defender of the Catholic faith), countered the myths of the day with a sound, rational, and scientific explanation.

673-735: Bede of Jarrow: A monk in Northumberland (England), also known as Beda or ‘The Venerable Bede’. A famous medieval historian, whose writings are one of the most important primary sources for his era. Bede discovered that the earth’s spherical shape affects the length of daylight in different parts of the world, observed a relationship between the moon and the tides, gave a scientific explanation of the changing appearance of the moon throughout the seasons, and improved the accuracy of the calendar.

‘What is more pitiable than to say that a thing is, because God is able to do it, and not to show any reason why it is so, nor any purpose for which it is so; just as if God did everything that he is able to do! You talk like one who says that God is able to make a calf out of a log.

But did he ever do it? Either, then, show a reason why a thing is so, or a purpose wherefore it is so, or else cease to declare it so.’

Bede, ‘Elementa Philosophiae’, 8th century

Article here.

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