God new evidence

GOD: new evidence


The Tipping Point ('Bad Faith' #14)

What's in the series?      Previous: The Great Debate - Huxley and Wilberforce      Next: What really happened?

The 'Great Debate' that happened in Oxford in 1860 has been called a 'tipping point' in the 'conflict' between science and religion. Was it really?

Everyone knows that in this debate Thomas Huxley won a great victory for science over religion, championed by Samuel Wilberforce.  But what everyone knows is wrong:

It was not a debate at all. The pattern was that someone presented a paper, and then people responded to the paper. In this case, the paper was presented by John William Draper (someone we shall meet again later). Draper went on far too long, and everyone was bored. Samuel Wilberforce, the Bishop of Oxford, got up to respond. Wilberforce was one of the most popular public speakers in Britain at the time.  He was not an ignorant churchman. He did not quote the Bible.  He attacked Darwin’s theory on scientific grounds, not religious grounds.

With Dr Allan Chapman (Oxford University), author of 'Slaying the Dragons: destroying myths in the history of science and faith' and 'Stargazers: Copernicus, Galileo, the Telescope and the Church.'

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