Monthly Archives: March 2013

Myths about Science and Religion: That Copernicanism Demoted Humans from the Center of the Cosmos

Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), Dennis R. Danielson tells us, alleged that science had inflicted on humanity “two great outrages upon its naive self-love”: the first, associated with the sixteenth-century astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543), “when it realized that our earth was not the centre of the universe, but only a tiny speck in a world-system of a […]

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The Secularization of the European Mind

A popular mind, even when that mind is middle class…has a need to inflate if it is to understand. It seizes upon a salient point; the point which is easy to identify; the point which is graphic, can be pictured; the point which a newspaper can make readable. In seizing upon the salient point it […]

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Myths about Science and Religion: That Medieval Christians Taught that the Earth was Flat

Here is the classic story. People living in the “Dark Ages” were so ignorant (or so deceived by Catholic priests) that they believed the earth was flat. For thousands of years they lingered in ignorant obscurity, and were it not for the heroic bravery of Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) and other explorers, they might well have […]

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The Enlightenment: A Genealogy

Dan Edelstein, associate professor of French at Stanford University, begins his The Enlightenment: A Genealogy (2010) with a provocative introduction: “Every age needs its story. In the story we tell ourselves about our values, our government, and our religions, the Enlightenment plays a starring role.” We tell ourselves that the Enlightenment was the founding moment […]

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Myths about Science and Religion: That the Medieval Christian Church Suppressed the Growth of Science

According to Michael H. Shank, myth is easy to manufacture. The myth of the medieval church’s opposition to science is such an example. Yet it is unlikely to go away—in part because it “dovetails so nicely with other cherished myths about the Middle Ages.” The crude concept of the Middle Ages as a millennium of […]

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An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age

In 2007 Jürgen Habermas conducted a debate with philosophers from the Jesuit School for Philosophy in Munich, Germany. This little book, An Awareness of What is Missing: Faith and Reason in a Post-Secular Age (Polity Press, 2010), includes Habermas’ speech, the contributions of his interlocutors, and Habermas’ reply to them. According to Habermas, secular reason […]

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