Science and Roman Catholicism have both acted as powerful agents of change in Ireland and elsewhere. But the interaction between Catholicism and science in Ireland has received very little attention from historians to date. The purpose of this book, therefore, is to address this longstanding deficiency in Irish historical literature. There is a strong international dimension to this study. The period of interest is from the Famine to the “Celtic Tiger.
The subject matter encompasses a diverse range of topics. Issues indigenous to Ireland include recurring controversies about university education, the relative paucity of Catholic scientists in nineteenth-century Ireland, the perception of science as a trait of a Protestant and colonial mindset, anti-Catholicism and science, the economic and political conditions in the Irish Free State which worked against the growth of science in Ireland, and the impact of science and technology on Irish Catholicism in recent decades. These subjects are interwoven with topics which extend far beyond Irish interest - such as evolutionary debates, the question of whether or not Catholicism was compatible with science, anti-modernism in the Catholic Church, Vatican pronouncements on science, the theological implications of extra-terrestrial life and of Big Bang cosmology, whether human freewill is real or not, and the importance of science in arguments about the existence of God.
Don O’Leary, Department of Anatomy, University College Cork.
ISBN 978-185918-497-4, €39, £35, Hardback, 234 x 156mm, 360pp