The most famous early battle between science and religion was the trial of Galileo in 1633 for publishing Dialogue, a book that argued that the earth revolved around the sun, rather than--as the Bible states- the other way around.
In our day - in the U.S. - the conflict is between science and fundamentalist Christians, particularly in the nation's classrooms.
Taking the state of Tennessee as an example, A 2012 state law, like Louisiana's, permits public school teachers to teach the "scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses" of theories that can "cause controversy," specifically citing evolution, global warming;
Yesterday in Davidson, a suburb where Vanderbilt University is located, a child was take away from Edison Middle School to the local jail in handcuffs for alleged violent behavior toward her teacher.
Judy Bright, 12, the daughter of Vanderbuild Biology Professor Dr. Nathan Bright, had gotten into a heated argument with William Jennings Bryan, a 6th grade science teacher.
According to students interviewed, the discussion began calmly enough, with Ms. Bright telling the teacher that most Christians found the theory of evolution compatible with the Bible. That it is only "the literalist fundamentalists" who needed to deny Darwin's theory. "It's about one-third of the U.S., and they're uneducated and believe every word in the Bible. You know how it is, stupid or uneducated people take everything literally."
The teacher is said to have responded that evolution can't be true because the bible says
that a Divine Being put each species on earth here individually,
The child retorted that the bible stated that Noah was over 500 years old when he had 3 sons and asked Mr. Bryan if he believed that.
The argument grew more heated when the Ms. Bright supposedly told the teacher "I 'm tired of hearing your bullcrap about evolution, global warming and 'end times.' "
"What are we supposed to do, wait until Jesus reappears and do nothing, but meanwhile watch the oceans rise, coastal areas disappear, people go hungry because of horrible draughts, watch wars over scarce water . . ."
Before she could finish her question, the teacher told her to "shut up" and that "if you raise your fist at me again and scream I'll call the vice-principal."
But the child walked to the head of the class and began telling her fellow students that we must be caretakers of the earth because God wants us to be its custodians, that in a few generations, because of the effects of extreme weather, life on earth "won't be worth living."
She reportedly told Mr. Bryan at this point, as he grabbed her arm, that just wanted one or two minutes to finish and then she would sit down and be quiet. But he would have none of it.
When the Vice-Principal and the school's security guard could not remove her from the classroom - she seems to have been schooled in the martial arts - the police were summoned and applied mace to her face.
Once home, after making bail, she and her biologist father and mother, an Episcopal Priest, walked out the door toward the church where she is the rector and was to preside over Holy Eucharist.
As for the church that persecuted Galileo - The Roman Catholic- Pope Benedict XIV had forgiven Galileo in 1741. And, It officially accepted the theory of evolution in 1950, but informally, long before that. Many members of the Anglican church -the Episcopal Church is part of the Anglican Communion - had accepted many concepts in the theory before Darwin was published in the 19th century.
But it will be a long time coming for many in Tennessee and other parts of the Old Confederacy. Perhaps the situation was best summed up by John "Red" Cunningham, 56, of Broken Urinal, 3 miles SW of Davidson, Tenn.
"I ain't related to no monkey and I'm not a monkey's uncle. Them scientists can kiss my Royal Irish Ass,"