Recently an ad on NPR's News page caught my attention, which reminded me (once again) that despite my fairly regular comments to the contrary, I do pay attention to some ads when browsing.
It was an interesting looking column-wide graphic with white text against a modified orange octagon. The text read "Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths About Science and Religion." An instant later I saw "Read an excerpt/listento the podcast" and was hooked.
Galileo Goes to Jail is a forthcoming title from Harvard University Press edited by Ronald L. Numbers, who teaches history of science and medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The ad on NPR (and no doubt other sites) is part of HUP's publicity campaign to create some buzz over the book's treatment of a subject that many people talk about but very few people actually study.
"If we want nonscientists and opinion-makers in the press, the lab, and the pulpit to take a fresh look at the relationship between science and religion, Ronald Numbers suggests that we must first dispense with the hoary myths that have masqueraded too long as historical truths," says HUP.
This is a good idea.
In preparing the volume Numbers assembled a team of twenty-five scholars -- among them atheists, agnostics, and Christains -- and invited each to write about a popular myth surrounding the relationship of science and religion. Examples include Myth 6, That the Copernican System Demoted Humans from the Center of the Cosmos, by Dennis Danielson; Myth 13, That Isaac Newton’s Mechanistic Cosmology Eliminated the Need for God, by Edward Davis; and Myth 23, That “Intelligent Design” Represents a Scientific Challenge to Evolution, by Michael Ruse.
The book will be published in March. Expect to see more about it online and in the media.