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The ‘Conflict’ or ‘Warfare’ Hypothesis

The conflict or warfare hypothesis on the relationship between science and religion is probably still the view most widely held among those who have not followed the recent debate in this area. It supposes that there is a conflict in which one subject is overwhelming the other, forcing it off its territory.

As John Brooke shows, this is a limited and flawed way of understanding the history of the relationship between science and religion. (See Science and Religion (Brooke) p33-42). See also Different sciences, different relationships.)

The hypothesis derives a lot of its popularity from certain 19th Century understandings of the two subjects. It was much furthered by two books originating in the 1870s: History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science by John William Draper and A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom by Andrew Dickson White.See Welch, Claude, ‘Dispelling Some Myths About the Split between Theology and Science in the Nineteenth Century’ in Religion and Science, ed. by W.Mark Richardson and Wesley J. Wildman, (London:...

Email link | Feedback | Contributed by: Dr. Christopher Southgate
Source: God, Humanity and the Cosmos  (T&T Clark, 1999)

Outlines of the Debate

Index - God, Humanity and the Cosmos, 1999 T&T Clark

The ‘Conflict’ or ‘Warfare’ Hypothesis

Related Book Topics:

Science and Religion - Conflict or Dialogue?
The Words ‘Science’ and ‘Theology’ in Popular Usage
Possibilities for Dialogue
Different Sciences - Different Relationships
A ‘Special Relationship’?
The Metaphor of the Maps
The Metaphor of the Maps and Understanding the Mind
Key Figures and Developments in the Science-Religion Debate
Typologies Relating Science and Religion
Barbour’s Typology
Natural Theology vs Theology of Nature
Peters’ Typology
Drees’ Typology
Religion as Evolutionary Phenomenon
A Critique of Willem B Drees’ Typology
Critical Realism in Science and Religion
Judging the Fit Between Data and Reality
Alternatives to a Realist Position
Applying Critical Realism to Theology
The Ongoing Debate on Critical Realism and Theology
The Role of Model and Metaphor
Model and Metaphor Compared
Consonances Between Science and Religion
Greek Philosophy and the Rise of Western Science
Religion and the Rise of Science


Dr. Christopher Southgate, Mr Michael Poole, and Mr Paul D. Murray in God, Humanity and the Cosmos.Published by T&T Clark.

See also:

Saint Augustine
Sir Isaac Newton
Charles Darwin
The Relation of Science & Religion
Books on Science and Religion - General