Article: Is Christianity At War With Science? (15/20)July 20, 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.
1822-1884: Gregor Mendel: Called the ‘father of genetics’, Mendel was an Austrian priest of the Augustinian order whose revolutionary insights into genetics were not fully understood and appreciated until the 20th century, years after his death.
His 1865 paper ‘Experiments On Plant Hybridization’ received much criticism when it was first presented to the scientific community and was largely ignored subsequently as a result, yet that same paper is now recognised as the defining work of modern genetics. Gene theory in Mendel’s day. It is ironic that at the same time the deeply religious Mendel was establishing the foundation of modern genetics, Darwin’s work was relying on the incorrect ‘pangenes’ theory of inheritance.
In fact, Mendel had read Darwin’s ‘Origin Of The Species’ prior to publishing his own work (though after he had already completed it). There is evidence in Mendel’s paper that he was influenced by some of Darwin’s ideas on biological inheritance, though not by his theory of the origin of the human species.