Presenter: Adam Richter
Topic: The Wandering Poles: A Case Study in Science and Religion
How should we think about the relationship between science and religion? That question might seem hopelessly complex, but one productive method to consider how they've been related at different moments in history. This talk will examine an intriguing case in 17th-century England, a period that saw dramatic transformations in science, theology, and the connections between them. In the 1680s, the English scientist Robert Hooke proposed a theory to explain certain peculiarities in the distribution of fossils around the world. His theory required the Earth's poles to "wander" over time, thus dramatically change global sea levels. Hooke's main opponent, the mathematician and minister John Wallis, countered the theory with a combination of scientific and biblical evidence. This talk will investigate how these important thinkers conceived of the relationship between science and religion, and how their insights remain relevant to us in the 21st century.