Not without astonishment can we look back at what, in those times, were popularly regarded as criteria of truth. Doctrines were considered as established by the number of martyrs who had professed them, by miracles, by the confession of demons, of lunatics, or of persons possessed of evil spirits...
-from Chapter VIII: Conflict Respecting
the Criterion of Truth
In 1874, John William Draper foresaw the grand political conflict between religion and science that has afflicted American culture since the early 20th century-he deemed it an extension of the battle the Catholic Church has been fighting against logic and reason since its inception.
In this incendiary work, which retains all of its passion and power today, Draper posits that the history of science cannot be appreciated except in relation to its war for legitimacy in the eyes of the Church, and he gives us a lucid and fascinating history of the discipline alongside the Church's ongoing grab for imperial power.
This is an intriguing portrait of an "intellectual night" that fell in ancient times and is only breaking into an enlightened new dawn today.
American scientist and writer JOHN WILLIAM DRAPER (1811-1882) was professor of chemistry and later medicine at New York University and made significant contributions to the development of photography. His many books of scholarship include The History of the Intellectual Development of Europe (1862).