Strenuous efforts

From Science and Religion: a historical introduction Gary B Fergren ed.

Chapter 1, “The Conflict of Science and Religion” by Colin Russell, which is an overview of the “conflict thesis” and how it has been displaced by the “complexity thesis.” Page 8:

…the conflict thesis ignores the many documented examples of science and religion operating in close alliance…[He lists examples from 17th century.] Since then, a continuous history of noted individuals making strenuous efforts to integrate their science and religion has testified to the poverty of a conflict model.

Wait. The mask slipped a bit there.

If it took strenuous efforts to integrate their science and religion, then it wasn’t easy, right? It wasn’t just a natural combination. So maybe it’s not quite right to say that such strenuous efforts are evidence of the poverty of a conflict model.

“Strenuous efforts” sounds like the kind of thing Karl Giberson engages in now, and his efforts are not all that convincing. That’s not to say that complexity is not a much better way to describe the relations between science and religion in the past than conflict pure and simple, but it is to say that the more strenuous the efforts are, the more they indicate a difficulty. If the “integration” of science and religion is difficult and strenuous, then maybe there are reasons for that, real reasons, to do with methodology as well as ontology.

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