Is Christianity At War With Science? (11/20June 29, 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.
1577-1674: Jan Baptist van Helmont: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. He made discoveries in the physics of gas, and advances in the application of chemistry to the preparation of medicine
1618-1663: Francesco Maria Grimaldi: Applied the scientific method to his investigations of the natural world. He made major advances in physics, optics and light, discovered the principles of free fall acceleration, discovered the refraction of light, observed geological features on the Moon and drew an accurate map of its surface. His studies enabled later scientists to prove light is a wave, and his research on light was used by Sir Isaac Newton in his own study.
1564–1642: Galileo Galilei: One of the most famous astronomers and astrophysicists in history, Galileo’s contributions to science have resulted in him being called the ‘father of astronomy’ and the ‘father of modern physics’. Albert Einstein even called him the ‘father of modern science’. He rejected the concept that faith should be based simply on authority, and is recognised for having made the scientific method of experimentation the basis of his studies.
Galileo made improvements to the telescope and compass, invented a thermometer, was the first to use a telescope as a compound microscope, proved a number of Aristotle’s scientific theories to be wrong (notably the idea that the sun moves around the earth), and contributed significantly to physics (mainly in the areas of motion, such as inertia and acceleration).
Like many Christians before him, Galileo believed firmly that the ‘two books’ of God (the Scriptures and the creation), were both in harmony, and that any apparent contradiction between the two was the result of misinterpretation by human error.