top of page
  • Writer's picture Peter Kupisz

Historian of Science & Religion Explains "Greatest Myth"

People commonly believe that science and Christianity have been perpetually at war with each other. That, however, is not what the vast majority of historians believe. Historians recognize that there has been some limited conflict but that these episodes (e.g. Galileo) are usually more complex than people realize and that they are the exception rather than the rule. The false “conflict view" is widely regarded to have begun with the biased research of two men in the late 1800s - Andrew Dickson White and John William Draper.

Dr. Ronald Numbers, Professor of the History of Science and Medicine at the University of Wisconsin–Madison states that these two men are responsible for a lot of "propaganda."

The greatest myth in the history of science and religion holds that they have been in a state of constant conflict. No one bears more responsibility for promoting this notion than two nineteenth-century American polemicists: Andrew Dickson White (1832-1918) and John William Draper (1811-1882)… Historians of science have known for years that White’s and Draper’s accounts are more propaganda than history.

Learn More


Ronald L. Numbers, ed., Galileo Goes to Jail: And Other Myths about Science and Religion, 1st ed. (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 2009), 1–2, 6.



bottom of page