Science and Religious Fundamentalism in the 1920s
Religious pamphlets by leading scientists of the Scopes era provide insight into public debates about science and religion
In response to William Jennings Bryan's efforts to ban the teaching
of evolution, several leading scientists joined forces with liberal
Protestant clergy in the early 1920s to popularize their
"modernist" religious views through a series of pamphlets.
Published by a correspondence school operated by the University of
Chicago Divinity School, the pamphlets were underwritten by the AAAS
and dozens of individual scientists in partnership with John D.
Rockefeller, Jr. Copies of various pamphlets were sent to every
state and federal legislator and every high school principal in the
country, yet they are virtually unknown today. Author Edward B.
Davis, a historian of science, tells how he found the pamphlets,
sketches their history and analyzes their role in debates over the
relationship between science and religion in the 1920s.
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