Fundies Founded Modern Science

Robert BoyleAt the various forums where I converse with non-creationists, I hear a common theme … “Fundies are anti-science, authoritarian, not very smart denialists who would return the civilized world to the Dark Ages.” I’ve always believed that this is utter and complete nonsense … I think the opposite is actually true. But I have never attempted to document my position … UNTIL NOW. When you begin to examine the evidence and quit reading modern revisionists, you find that, in a very real sense, it was “Fundies” who founded modern science. Stay with me now as we take a look. (At left: Robert Boyle, Founding Royal Society Member, Father of Modern Chemistry, Puritan Christian Activist, Example of How NOT to Fix Your Hair if You Are Male :-) , etc. Credit: Wikipedia) Below, you will see that … “When the Royal Society was chartered by Charles II on this day July 15, 1662, it was the first scientific society in history. Not surprisingly, active Christians, with their interest in God’s creation, brought it into existence. In fact, its membership was overwhelmingly Puritan in makeup.”

First, what do I mean by a “fundy”? I mean a “fundamentalist” … that is, someone who believes in the fundamentals of (in this case) the Christian Faith … more specifically, the fundamentals of the Christian Faith articulated by the Protestant Reformation, for example, Calvinists, and even more specifically for this post … Puritans.

Now I don’t know if you are familiar with the Royal Society in England, but it is one of the most prominent scientific societies the world has ever known … From the Encyclopedia Britannica …

The stimulus of free expression provided an impetus to scientific thought and developments in England. By the 18th century the achievements of the Royal Society were internationally famous. Its publication, Philosophical Transactions, begun in 1665, was one of the earliest periodicals in the West. Isaac Newton was elected to the society in 1671, and Edmond Halley, the astronomer, in 1678. In 1768 the society sponsored the first scientific expedition to the Pacific, under James Cook. In 1919 it sent an expedition to Principe Island, in the Gulf of Guinea, to photograph the solar eclipse of May 29, which verified Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity and helped to make him famous.

In addition to the ones mentioned above, there was Robert Boyle, John Ray, Robert Hooke, Georges Cuvier, Charles Babbage, James Joule, Lord Kelvin, Joseph Lister and James Clerk Maxwell. OK? So we are talking about some of the world’s leading scientists of the past … the founders of whole new fields of modern science.


Again from EB …

Founded in 1660, the Royal Society is the oldest scientific society in Great Britain and one of the oldest in Europe. It began earlier with small, informal groups that met periodically to discuss scientific subjects. The so-called Invisible College of London and Oxford, which first met in 1645, and a number of small academies in England became incorporated in 1662 when the newly restored king, Charles II, granted a charter to the Royal Society of London for the Promotion of Natural Knowledge. Largely composed of Puritan sympathizers and adherents of Francis Bacon, the Royal Society received little more than moral support from the crown, unlike academies on the European continent, which were established by the state and whose members gained an income but lost their independence. Founders and early members of the Royal Society included the scientist Bishop John Wilkins, the philosopher Joseph Glanvill, the mathematician John Wallis, the inventor and microscopist Robert Hooke, and the architect Christopher Wren, who wrote the preamble to its charter.

Did you catch that? “Largely composed of Puritan sympathizers and adherents of Francis Bacon …” Puritans? Did you say PURITANS? You mean those “witch-burning, small-minded, religious fanatics”? Yes, but as you can see, this stereotype is quite unfair … simply a product of revisionist imagination.

Also, from the Christian History Institute …

When the Royal Society was chartered by Charles II on this day July 15, 1662, it was the first scientific society in history. Not surprisingly, active Christians, with their interest in God’s creation, brought it into existence. In fact, its membership was overwhelmingly Puritan in makeup. It grew out of the meetings of the so-called “invisibles” who gathered at the home of the chemist Robert Boyle’s favorite sister, Katherine. She supported the Parliamentarians (and Puritans) in the revolt against Charles I. Of deep intelligence herself, she welcomed the group into her house so that she might share the new findings. Not bound by tradition, Puritan schools fostered science. Theodore Haak, a professor at the largely Puritan Gresham College, initiated the meetings of the “invisibles.” Other Protestant schools revolutionized medicine about the same time, and it was a Protestant school which later trained John Dalton, author of modern atomic theory.

Chief architect and secretary of the Royal Society after the Restoration was John Wilkins, whose religious inclinations later led him to become a bishop and to prepare arguments in defense of scripture.

Thomas Willis [CHI erroneously says ‘John Willis’] also helped inaugurate the society. Considered one of the best doctors of his generation, he was so strong in his attachment to the Church of England that he was cold-shouldered at the royal court which inclined to Romanism. Among his charities he funded a clergyman to conduct worship services at hours when average working men could attend. John Wallis, a professor, was also among the earliest members.

Robert Boyle’s faith is well-known, not only because of the apologetics he wrote but because he endowed a lecture series to defend Christianity. He assisted persecuted Welsh clergymen. In addition, he subsidized scripture translation and made researches into Bible languages. An innovative chemist, he gave us Boyle’s Law of Gases and wrote a book which exploded alchemy. He is often called the Father of Modern Chemistry. Christian History Institute Article

So who founded Modern Science? Well … we are not done with our study yet, but today we have seen that the Royal Society in England — an arguably huge influence on modern science, if not the largest influence on modern science — was founded largely by Puritans and Puritan sympathizers.


So please, my skeptic friends … let’s not revise history and try to say that fundies are anti-science. Let’s stick with the facts, shall we?


Brief history of the Society (From the Society’s website) Note the failure to mention the Puritan influence. Interesting.

3 Responses to “Fundies Founded Modern Science”

  1. lordkalvan says:

    The founders of modern science that you identify cannot have been fundamentalists as you claim because such a term only came into use, to quote Wikipedia, ‘to describe a narrowly defined set of beliefs that developed into a movement within the US Protestant community in the early part of the 20th century. These religious principles stood in opposition to the modernist movement and espoused the strict adherence to and faith in religious “fundamentals”.’ (

    It is also the case that, the further you look into the discussions, work and conclusions of the Royal Society, the more obvious it becomes that its distinguished members very quickly came to an understanding that the Biblical account of creation was so at variance with the observed evidence that to treat it as anything other than metaphor and allegory would be foolish. Thus, if they were in any sense ‘fundies’ as you claim (and I dispute), they soon abandoned such a narrow literalist belief-system in the face of the overwhelming evidence against it.

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