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Unbelievable

7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and ReligionMichael Newton Keas

Scientists love to tell stories about the quest to understand the universe — stories that often have profound implications for belief or disbelief in God. These accounts make their way into science textbooks and popular culture. But more often than not, the stories are nothing but myths.

Unbelievable explodes seven of the most popular and pernicious myths about science and religion. Michael Newton Keas, a historian of science, lays out the facts to show how far the conventional wisdom departs from reality. He also shows how these myths have proliferated over the past four centuries and exert so much influence today. The seven myths, Keas shows, amount to little more than religion bashing — and especially Christianity bashing. Unbelievable reveals:

  • Why the vastness of the universe does not deal a blow to religious belief in human significance
  • Why the “Dark Ages” never happened
  • Why “Flat Earthers” had basically disappeared by the third century B.C.
  • Why the real story of Giordano Bruno’s life and death is far more complicated than the popular account of him as a martyr for science
  • What everyone gets wrong about Galileo, and why it matters today
  • Why the notion that Copernicus “demoted” humans from the center of the universe didn’t gain traction until centuries after his death
  • The futuristic myth that scientists and others are positioning to challenge religion

In debunking these myths, Keas shows that the real history is far more interesting than the common account of religion at war with science. This accessible and entertaining book lays out powerful arguments that will be embraced by religious believers tired of being portrayed as anti-intellectual and anti-science.

Reviews

Unbelievable should be on the shelf of every science popularizer and college astronomy professor. Perhaps then we can begin to purge our culture of the ‘science is the enemy of religion’ myths Michael Keas slays in his refreshingly contrarian book.

Guillermo Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Ball State University; coauthor of The Privileged Planet 

Not content to knock down the myths about the alleged conflict between science and religion, Mike Keas shows where they came from and how science popularizers like Carl Sagan have used them to further their own agendas. Using a wide range of sources, including textbooks and television shows, Keas explains how these myths got into the bloodstream of our culture. An invaluable resource.

James Hannam, author of God’s Philosophers and The Genesis of Science

Michael Keas decisively debunks an array of myths that have long impeded our understanding of the histories of science and of religion. Unbelievable may earn Keas plenty of enemies, but nobody concerned with real evidence can dismiss his argument out of hand. This is a brilliant, engaging, and important contribution to a debate about truly universal matters.

Dennis Danielson, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia; editor of The Book of the Cosmos

Michael Keas does a splendid job dispelling viral myths and common errors about the relationship between science and Christianity. This book is well documented and written in a pleasing style accessible to the general reader as well as scholars.

Jeffrey Burton Russell, Professor of History Emeritus, University of California, Santa Barbara; author of Inventing the Flat Earth

“The notion of inevitable, perpetual conflict between science and religion is one of the most prevalent grand narratives in the modern West. It takes many specific forms, and Michael Keas deftly disposes of myths like these with lively, thoroughly researched stories that will leave readers much better informed.”

Edward B. Davis, coeditor of The Works of Robert Boyle 

The supposed warfare between science and Christianity has long been a staple of science textbooks and popular science. Michael Keas skewers the most popular myths used to illustrate that warfare, displaying his deep knowledge of the history of science. If you want to understand the true, and positive, relationship between science and Christianity, you should read Unbelievable.

Jay W. Richards, bestselling author of Infiltrated and Indivisible