John Hedley Brooke, Darwinism and the Survival of Religion, The Historical Review/La Revue Historique, 13|2016, 271-291

It is a great honour and privilege to give the Constantinos Th. DimarasLecture for 2016. I am grateful to the National Hellenic Research Foundationfor the opportunity to do so and to Dr Efthymios Nicolaidis for kindly issuingthe invitation.In our age of the internet, there are few topics that excite such strongopinions in the blogosphere as the relations between science and religion.Deeply embedded in the consciousness, both scholarly and popular, of WesternEurope is the belief that science and religion have continuously been, and mustbe, in conflict. This belief has been described as “the idea that wouldn’t die”,despite excellent historical research drawing attention to its shortcomings.2It is certainly not the only view. Those, including scientists themselves, whorepresent different religious traditions, have often argued that, when “science”and “religion” are properly understood, there can be a deeper relationship ofharmony, or at least compatibility, between them. When, during the 1960s, Istudied the history of science at Cambridge University, I realised that thesetwo master narratives of conflict and harmony are too general to capturethe complexity of historical controversy and debate.3 One of my aims in thislecture is to illustrate this complexity by examining religious responses toCharles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

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