LEFT - (Eingeschränkte Rechte für bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) White, Andrew Dickson - Diplomat, Historian, Educator, USA*07.11.1832-04.11.1918+- Ambassador in Germany 1897-1902 - Photographer: Schaarwächter- 1900Vintage property of ullstein RIGHT - (Eingeschränkte Rechte für bestimmte redaktionelle Kunden in Deutschland. Limited rights for specific editorial clients in Germany.) White, Andrew Dickson - Diplomat, Historian, Educator, USA*07.11.1832-04.11.1918+- Ambassador in Germany 1897-1902 - Photographer: Schaarwächter- 1900Vintage property of ullstein
The 19th century ‘conflict thesis’ of Andrew Dickson White (l) and John William Draper is now largely discredited © FT Montage/Getty

Sir, May I ask Paul Weighell ( Letters, January 3) which “early diktat of the Christian church” he is referring to which required that natural science only be studied as long as the results did not challenge the foundation of religion?

Modern research has shown a far more productive relationship exists between religion and science than the now discredited 19th century views of Draper and White on this subject. If Mr Weighell is referring to the Galileo episode (hardly early Church of course), the Vatican recognised its error within a few years. In medieval times the scientific work of Bacon, Buridan and Oresme, and post-Reformation the work of Lemaitre, Londrick and Mendel, all clearly show the religious view that by better understanding nature we can better understand the work of a more intelligent entity.

Andrew Milligan
Edinburgh, UK

Get alerts on Letter when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.
Reuse this content (opens in new window)