God and the Folly of Faith
The Incompatibility of Science and Religion
Prometheus Books 2012
Foreword by Dan Barker
Must reading for anyone interested in the interaction between religion and science
It has become the prevalent view among sociologists, historians, and
some theistic scientists that religion and science have never been in
serious conflict. Some even claim that Christianity was responsible for
the development of science. In God and the Folly of Faith, physicist
Victor Stenger shows that this conclusion flies in the face of the
In a sweeping historical survey that begins with ancient Greek science
and proceeds through the Renaissance and Enlightenment to contemporary
advances in physics and cosmology, Stenger makes a convincing case that
Christianity held back the progress of science for 1,000 years. It is
significant, he notes, that the scientific revolution of the
seventeenth century occurred only after the revolts against established
ecclesiastic authorities in the Renaissance and Reformation opened up
new avenues of thought.
The author goes on to detail how religion and science are fundamentally
incompatible in several areas: the origin of the universe and its
physical parameters, the origin of complexity, holism versus
reductionism, the nature of mind and consciousness, and the source of
In the end Stenger is most troubled by the negative influence that
organized religion often exerts on politics and society. He points out
antiscientific attitudes embedded in popular religion that are being
used to suppress scientific results on issues of global importance,
such as overpopulation and environmental degradation. When religion
fosters a disrespect for science, it threatens the generations of
humanity that will follow ours.
This thorough and hard-hitting critique is must reading for anyone interested in the interaction between religion and science.
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13. From Conflict to Incompatibility
14. Why Does It Matter?
Read section on the origin of life
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