At Evolution News & Views (May 31, 2011) science historian Michael Flannery reviews James Hannam’s The Genesis of Science: How the Christian Middle Ages Launched the Scientific Revolution, which mostly tells us what Christians should be ashamed of not knowing:
The standard rendering that the medieval Church stood in the way of scientific advance and spent its time persecuting the leading intellects of the day like Galileo until free and open inquiry was rescued by the Renaissance humanists is shown to be utterly false.
Flannery and Hannam (who ends up falling in later, unfortunately) are quite right to say what they do. But one gets the sense that something is missing from these scholarly discussions. How about the role of, for example, Christian Darwinists in fronting the idea that any Christian who does not believe in the ape Adam and Eve depicted recently in Christianity Today is actually causing the hostility of materialist atheists? That, of course, may be true. But if so, what about it? Why is Karl Giberson allowed to feel humiliated about the Christians he feels superior to, because he is prepared to believe in such disgusting follies? Why are the BioLogians willing to alter any timeless Scriptural teaching in order to cater to them? But more, why tolerate their arrogance?
As a hack, I first smelled a rat a decade ago when a Christian Darwinist, quoted in the CT article, either showed himself completely incompetent to teach what he was teaching at the university level or else told me an untruth. (Obviously, I can’t know which.) He quoted, pompously and portentously, Darwin’s sudden slipping into his second edition of Origin of Species a hint of theism. And wasn’t that just grand, and didn’t it just show ….
I wonder how many pert, chipper young Christian journalists have been just wowed and taken in. A lifetime of experience told me to be very careful of these bluff, plausible, well-spoken people. There is no easy accommodation between non-materialist and materialist ideas – that’s because it’s an accommodation between truth and lies, and the advantage only ever goes one way. So, as it happens, I had done my homework, and knew that Darwin had told his atheist friend Joseph Hooker how deeply he regretted that minor concession to popular opinion.
Now, I have no doubt that many prominent Christians see nothing wrong with that professor misleading me. Whew! If I go spread that story, I may help reduce their shame about the Christian rubes and yay-hoos whom the system would always betray anyway. Who therefore see no need to make the accommodations sought, to supposedly science-based materialist doctrines.
But it has happened before: The rubes’ great grandparents were the intended targets of eugenics, which was supported by prominent Christians of the day. Materialists got it started and prominent Christians embraced it, and it was inflicted on poor sand uneducated Christians. And where is eugenics now, when not the subject of court cases stretching out for decades?
There are two churches in my neighbourhood who are up-to-date about Adam and Eve, but come to think of it, both of these historic institutions closed recently. The only churches I would attend are not up to date about Adam and Eve, and they are very much open.
The tragic thing is that, the more I learn, the less necessary does any accommodation to materialism seem. Surviving Christians sense this.