Not without astonishment can we look back at what, in those times, were popularly regarded as criteria of truth. Doctrines were considered as established by the number of martyrs who had professed them, by miracles, by the confession of demons, of lunatics, or of persons possessed of evil spirits...-from Chapter VIII: Conflict Respecting the Criterion of TruthIn 1874, John William Draper foresaw the grand political conflict between religion and science that has afflicted American culture since the early 20th century-he deemed it an extension of the battle the Catholic Church has been fighting against logic and reason since its inception. In this incendiary work, which retains all of its passion and power today, Draper posits that the history of science cannot be appreciated except in relation to its war for legitimacy in the eyes of the Church, and he gives us a lucid and fascinating history of the discipline alongside the Church's ongoing grab for imperial power. This is an intriguing portrait of an "intellectual night" that fell in ancient times and is only breaking into an enlightened new dawn today.American scientist and writer JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER (1811-1882) was professor of chemistry and later medicine at New York University and made significant contributions to the development of photography. His many books of scholarship include The History of the Intellectual Development of Europe (1862).
"The antagonism we witness between Religion and Science is the continuation of a struggle that commenced when Christianity began to attain political power. Can we exaggerate the importance of a contention in which every thoughtful person must take part whether he will or not? In a matter so solemn as that of religion, all men, whose temporal interests are not involved in existing institutions, earnestly desire to find the truth. What I have sought to do is, to present a clear and impartial statement of the views and acts of the two contending parties. In one sense I have tried to identify myself with each, so as to comprehend thoroughly their motives; but in another and higher sense I have endeavored to stand aloof, and relate with impartiality their actions. I therefore trust that those, who may be disposed to criticize this book, will bear in mind that its object is not to advocate the views and pretensions of either party, but to explain clearly, and without shrinking, those of both"--Preface. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved).
“The general argument of this book, then, is as follows: I first direct attention to the origin of modern science as distinguished from ancient, by depending on observation, experiment, and mathematical discussion, instead of mere speculation, and shall show that it was a consequence of the Macedonian campaigns, which brought Asia and Europe into contact. A brief sketch of those campaigns, and of the Museum of Alexandria, illustrates its character. Then with brevity I recall the well-known origin of Christianity, and show its advance to the attainment of imperial power, the transformation it underwent by its incorporation with paganism, the existing religion of the Roman Empire. A clear conception of its incompatibility with science caused it to suppress forcibly the Schools of Alexandria. It was constrained to this by the political necessities of its position.”