Four articles on this page:

1 Christianity and Science
2 Origin of Modern Science
3 Origin of Modern Science - reply
4 Modern Science and Christianity

Christianity and Science

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 169, 2016 July)

In The Bible on Tolerance (No 167, page 37) anonymous makes the claim that "modern science itself began in Christianity."

No doubt Christians have made contributions to science. Science, however, had its origins in Classical Greece, where people were largely free from the supernaturalism of theology, which in turn gave them the opportunity to seek naturalistic explanations for the world.

There really was no Greek theology in the sense that theology provides a coherent and profound explanation of the workings of both the cosmos and the human heart. Hence, there were no easy answers to inquiring Greek minds. The result was that ample room was left for a more penetrating and ultimately more satisfying mode of inquiry. Thus were philosophy and its oldest offspring, science, born. (1)

Islamic scientists and philosophers preserved and added to the legacy of the Greeks when classical civilisation ended. During the 12th century this knowledge began to flow back into Europe via Islamic Spain, and provided the intellectual stimulation which eventually gave rise to the European Renaissance. (2)

In the fourth century B.C., when Alexander the Great conquered Asia Minor and founded Alexandria, he set the stage for the great migration of Greek philosophy and science to that part of the world. During the Ptolemaic period, Alexandria, Egypt, was the radiant centre for the development and spread of Greek culture throughout the Mediterranean.

That great centre of learning continued after 641, when Egypt became part of the Muslim state. Thereafter Syria, Baghdad, and Persia became similar channels for the communication of essentially Greek, Syriac, pre-Islamic, Persian and Indian cultural values. As a result, Islamic philosophy was influenced by the writings of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle.

The great Muslim philosophers such as Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406), Ibn Sina (Avicenna, d. 1037), Ibn Rushd (Averroes, d. 1198), al-Farabi and al-Ghazali translated the works of earlier Greek philosophers and added their own significant contributions. It was essentially through such works, intellectually faithful to the originals, that Western civilization was able to benefit from these earlier legacies. In fact, St. Thomas Aquinas, the founder of Catholic naturalism, developed his views of Aristotle through the translation of Ibn Sina (Avicenna) and Ibn Rushd (Averroes).

These great philosophers produced a wealth of new ideas that enriched civilization, particularly Western civilization which has depended so much on their works. The influence of Islam ultimately made possible the European Renaissance, which was generated by the ideas of the Greeks filtered through the Muslim philosophers. (3)

Science has been advanced by the work of many people from diverse cultures, with each civilisation building on the foundations laid down by the previous. Science is a collective enterprise, and any attempt to arrogate science solely to Christianity is unjustifiable.

Modern science commenced to emerge with the scientific revolution, which occurred during the 15th  to• the 17th centuries and began with Copernicus (1473-1543) who questioned the Ptolemaic view of the universe — that the Sun, Moon and planets orbited the Earth and proposed that the heliocentric
theory (an idea first formulated by the ancient Greek Aristarchus of Samos: ca. 310-230 BC), which postulated that the planets orbited the Sun, was more in keeping with astronomical observations.

At the time Aristotelian physics (based on perceptible qualities and verbal logic rather than mathematics) dominated scientific thinking. By contrast Copernicus, Kepler and Galileo embraced the spirit of Neo-Platonic and Pythagorean philosophy, which saw nature as comprehensible in terms of harmonious  mathematical qualities.

In addition to this shift away from Aristotelian ideas was the
rediscovery of the ancient Greek philosophy of atomism as
espoused by Leucippus (fl. 5th century BC) and Democritus (c. 460 - c.370 BC) and their successors, Epicurus (341-270 BC) and the Roman Lucretius (c.99 BC - c.55 BC), which also
played a significant role in the emergence of modern science.

Atomism was to provide other and no less consequential contributions to the developing cosmology. For not only was the structure of the atomistic cosmos congruent with the Copernican theory, but, in addition, the atomistic conception of matter itself was singularly appropriate to the working principles of the new natural scientists. Democritus' atoms were characterised exclusively by quantitative factors — size, shape, motion, and number — and not by any perceptible qualities, such as taste, smell, touch, or sound. All apparent qualitative changes in phenomena were created by differing quantities of atoms combined in different arrangements, and therefore the atomic universe was in principle open to mathematical analysis. (4)

As can be seen, the emergence of modern science occurred due to a shift in the scientific conceptual schema — a movement towards an atomistic, naturalistic world view, and the adoption of mathematics as the foundation for the elucidation of the cosmos.

Anonymous mentions scientists he considers Christian. But a scientist's religion is a separate issue because science and religion operate under different paradigms as shown in the table below. (5)

Issue Religion Science
Subject matter God & humanity Phenomena of Nature
Information source Religious leaders, Scripture Observation, experiment
Object of study Purpose & plan Mechanisms
Language Everyday speech Mathematics
Method Literary interpretations Measurement & analysis
Results Ethical imperatives Explanations
Validation Personal experience Replication, testing
Limitations Mechanisms unexplained Mechanisms provisional
Community Church Scientific establishment

Scientists, regardless of whether they are Muslims, Christians or members of any other faith, make contributions to our understanding of the world not because of their religion, but because they apply scientific principles to their investigations and use logic to draw deductions from the evidence. These deductions become formalised theories if the evidence warrants it, and these theories are then tested by independent researchers to ascertain their validity.



(2) Bernal, J.D. Science in History, Vol 1: The Emergence of Science, Penguin Books, England, 1969

(3) http://www.

(4) Page 266 in Tarnas, R. The Passion of the Western Mind,
Ballantine Books, New York, 1991

(5) Based on table 1.3, page 65 in Casti, J.L. Paradigms Lost, Sphere
Books Ltd., London, 1989



(Investigator 170, 2016 September)


Mr Straughen (Investigator 169) challenged my statement that: "modern science itself began in Christianity."


The book 100 Scientists Who Changed The World (2003) presents the following numbers of world-changing scientists:

Straughen attributes the origin of science to Greeks and Arabs. But it can be traced back much further, to when humans first controlled fire.

However, I specified "modern science".

Modern science required the social conditions inaugurated in Christianity such as widespread free secular education, opposition to slavery and idolatry, establishment of Universities, empowerment of women, the Protestant work ethic, and equality before the law.

Many of the 100 scientists who "Changed The World" had Christian backgrounds. Achievements by ancient Greeks and Medieval Islam were primitive compared to scientific disciplines founded in recent centuries and discoveries made.

A "Professor of the History of Science" writes in his "Epilogue"

…one has to recognize as a simple fact that 'classical modern science' rose only in the western part of Europe in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Once the right methods had been discovered and solid foundations laid, each new development in the fundamental science of nature (physics) refines and corrects, but does not completely overthrow, the older one. Henceforth, from this point on, anyone with the necessary talent may help to build up science on solid established foundations. Scientists from nations whose own culture did not give birth to anything like western science have already made notable contributions to it. Western people who have lost all contact with the religion of their forebears continue in their scientific activities the tradition inherited from them…

The confrontation of Graeco-Roman culture with biblical religion engendered, after centuries of tension, a new science. This science preserved the indispensible parts of the ancient heritage (mathematics, logic, methods of observation and experimentation), but it was directed by different social and methodological conceptions, largely stemming from a biblical world view… (Hooykaas 1972)


Straughen says Syria, Baghdad, and Persia became "channels for the communication of essentially Greek, Syriac, pre-Islamic, Persian and Indian cultural values" and "The influence of Islam ultimately made possible the European Renaissance, which was generated by the ideas of the Greeks filtered through the Muslim philosophers."

What Straughen quotes is discredited. The greatest collection of Greek and Latin learning after Barbarians destroyed the Western Roman Empire was not in Syria or Iraq, rather:

1.    Byzantium (Constantinople);
2.    Europe's monasteries.

Bonnell (2008) writes:

Sawa (2006) estimated that at least 75% of the known Greek classics in existence today are Byzantine copies…

With collapse of the Roman Empire and the destruction of the great libraries of the ancient world, advocacy for learning passed from the government to the church…

The main contribution of the monks who managed the monastic libraries was the preservation of the Greek and Latin writings of the ancient world. These writings formed the foundations of the great library collections of the period. Every monastery had scriptoria a room where Greek and Latin manuscripts were hand-copied by monks. The monks also instituted the first inter-library loans…

From the monasteries the manuscripts passed in various ways—copying, gift, theft, looting—to form the core of the important libraries of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance…

In the late twelfth century, universities emerged as institutions of higher learning… The University of Paris in 1289 had round 1,000 titles in its collection…

Monk (2016), reviewing The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise, writes:

Islam was not the vehicle through which classical Greek learning was preserved, as is often claimed. It was chiefly Constantinople that archived and protected the patrimony of Greek antiquity, philosophical, medical and mathematical. The Arabs acquired all this through Greek Christian scholars translating the classics for them. Greeks from the east and Christians in the west revived such learning for themselves.

Pope Sylvester II (940-1003) collected classical manuscripts and:

He endorsed and promoted study of Arab and Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere… He is said to be the first to introduce in Europe the decimal numeral system using Arabic numerals. (Wikipedia)

Much of the knowledge entering Western Europe from Byzantium went via Italy and Spain where Spanish monasteries had copies of books held in the library of Cordoba.


Also, note the level of difference between Greek discoveries with today. Hero of Alexandria (10-70 CE) used steam to rotate a sphere for amusement. And that was it. No Greek philosopher imagined an industrial revolution, powered by steam, propelling thousands of trains and ships, and generating prosperity for billions of people.

Or consider medicine:

In the Hellenistic world, the study and practice of medicine was inextricably bound up with religion and superstition … charms and potions, of the Evil Eye and curses, of the influence of the stars and so on, which even educated men believed. (Marlowe 1971)

Or atomic theory: Greek philosophers thought of atoms as the tiniest indivisible units of matter, having shape and hardness, and indestructible. This was not evidence-based, and wrong. Correct is modern science which uses the "Large Hadron Collider" to smash atoms into hundreds of different types of particles.

Mathematics, however, is different in that Euclid and others established an excellent foundation — see Waerden (1963).

Straughen wrongly claims, "…in Classical Greece … people were largely free from the supernaturalism of theology…"

The truth is that Greece had thousands of myths attached to 12 major gods, 11 important secondary gods and hundreds of minor gods. Greece was saturated with "supernaturalism". Half the people were slaves, illiterate, ignorant, and superstitious.


The idea of Islamic Spain as tolerant and free where cultural coexistence and science flourished and inspired Europe's "Renaissance" is myth. (Fernandez-Morera 2016)

Spanish Islam was often like ISIS today — intolerant with a religious mandate to kidnap, enslave, exploit, and fight "infidels", thereby ensuring paradise for themselves.

For around 500 years Arabs, Berbers and Syrians in Spain, besides fighting each other,  inflicted on Catholics and Jews massacres, forced conversions, slavery, crucifixions, beheadings, impalings, protection tax (i.e. extortion), and kidnappings for ransom and for harems. For Muslims it was harsh Sharia Law. Women suffered suppression, clitorectomies and stoning. Splendid Islamic monuments were funded with stolen wealth and built largely by slaves.

Despite several famous achievers, such as Al-Zahrawi (800-850) "Father of Algebra", the milieu of discrimination, bigotry and persecution could not source the Renaissance or the modern scientific revolution.


Science is difficult; therefore scientists require high intelligence and talent. To find that talent requires universal basic education, and this began in Europe when kings (e.g. Alfred the Great), bishops, and wealthy individuals sponsored talented children or founded schools — schools that slowly grew in number to hundreds, then thousands.

Universal education has a biblical basis in counsel meant for everyone such as:

Get wisdom, and whatever else you get, get insight. Prize her highly and she will exult you. (Proverbs 4:5-9)

An intelligent mind acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15)

After basic education, outstanding students often proceeded to university. Haskins (1957) writes:

The Greeks and the Romans … had no universities… Much of their instruction in law, rhetoric, and philosophy it would be hard to surpass, but it was not organized into the form of permanent institutions of learning.

Only in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries do there emerge in the world … all that machinery of education represented by faculties and colleges and course of study, examinations and commencements and academic degrees. In all these matters we are the heirs and successors, not of Athens or Alexandria, but of Paris and Bologna…

The occasion for the rise of universities was a great revival of learning … which historians now call the renaissance of the twelfth century. (pp 1-2, 4)

Greeks, Romans and Arabs in contrast suppressed much of the talent in their empires by slavery, denial of education, suppression of women, and discriminatory taxation.

European science was, however, helped by Greek mathematics and Hindu-Arab digits (in place of Roman numerals). Hindu-Arab digits were promoted by Sylvester II who may have learned of them while living in a monastery in Spain and who applied them to create his abacus which entered wide use in 11th century Europe.


The chief discoverer of Natural Selection [Evolution] believed in Christianity.

As a boy Charles Darwin (1809-1882) attended church, received religious training at boarding school, then studied theology at Cambridge University and believed in God and "every word in the Bible".

While writing Origin of Species Darwin still believed in God as an intelligent First Cause. However, he increasingly regarded the brutality of slavery and suffering-in-general as inconsistent with God being both omnipotent and kind. His daughter's death in 1851 increased his questioning but he still assisted with local parish work. By about 1870 Darwin was agnostic, rejected the Bible as divine revelation, but wrote: "I have never been an atheist…" Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey, a Christian Church. (Comfort 2009)

Pioneers of science who believed in Christianity include:

Grosseteste (1175-1253) Founder of scientific thought at Oxford
Magnus (1193-1280) Emphasized experiment and investigation
Bacon (1214-1294) Optics; Mechanics; Empiricism
Copernicus (1473-1543) Astronomy
Brunfels (1488-1534) A "Father of Botany"
Cardano (1501-1576) Probability; Mechanics; Algebra
Turner (1510 -1568) Father of English botany
Napier (1550-1617) Inventor of logarithms
Bacon (1561-1626) Father of empiricism and induction
Galileo (1564-1642) Astronomy
Kepler (1571-1630) Astronomy; Planetary motion
Descartes (1596-1650) Algebra; Philosophy
Wallis (1616-1703) Mathematics
Willis (1621-1675) Neuro-anatomist; A founding member of the Royal Society
Pascal (1623-1662) Hydrostatics; Mechanical calculator
Boyle (1627-1691) Chemistry; Gas Dynamics
Steno (1638-1686) Anatomy & Geology
Newton (1642-1727) Calculus; Physics; Optics
Leibniz (1646-1716) Mathematics; Helped establish Prussia's Academy of Sciences
Euler (1707-1783) Mathematics; Mechanics
Linnaeus (1707-1778) Taxonomy; Botany
Dalton (1766-1844) Atomic theory; Chemistry; Meteorology
Cuvier (1769-1832) Comparative Anatomy; Palaeontology
Babbage (1791-1871) Pioneer in computers
Faraday (1791-1867) Magnetic Theory; Electric power
Morse (1791-1872)
Telegraph; Morse Code
Maury (1806-1873)
Agassiz (1807-1873) Ichthyology; Glacial Geology
Gosse (1810-1888) Marine biology
Simpson (1811-1870) Gynaecology
Joule (1818-1889) Thermodynamics
Mendel (1822-1884) Genetics
Pasteur (1822-1895) Bacteriology; Immunization
Thompson (1824-1907) Thermodynamics; Transatlantic Cable Design
Snow (1825-1896) Father of Modern Epidemiology
Lister (1827-1912) Antiseptic surgery; Bone fracture treatment
Maxwell (1831-1879) Electrodynamics
Fleming (1849-1945) Electronics; Vacuum diode
Ramsey (1852-1916) Chemistry
Tesla (1856-1943) Physicist; Electricity supply system
Planck (1858-1947) Quantum Mechanics
Carver (1864-1943) Agricultural chemistry
Wright brothers (1867-1912; 1871-1948) Aviation
Spilsbury (1877-1947) Forensic Pathology
Lemaître (1894-1966) Big Bang theory
Von Braun (1912-1977) Rocketry; Planning of Moon landings
Boyd (1922-2004) British space science pioneer
Clark (b.1935) Bionic ear
Collins (b.1950) Director of Human Genome Project

Some scientists not noted for Christian commitment nevertheless must have endorsed the Church. Otherwise would have been "Dissenters" and barred from university. For example:
In Hooke's case, his father and brothers were ministers of religion.

Thousands of others not classed as scientists, nevertheless, promoted scientific knowledge or methods. For example:


Mr Straughen's "Table 5" lists nine alleged differences between Scientific and Religious Paradigms — Subject matter, Information-source, Object of study, Language, Method, Results, Validation, Limitations and Community.

The Bible has hundreds of statements about the natural world and teaches that creation reveals the power, wisdom and greatness of God. Briggs (1969) writes: "St. Augustine … recognized that God manifested himself in the world, and that study of the world could therefore help to reveal divine wisdom."

Many scientists therefore aimed to uncover or discover the works of God. George Carver (1864-1943), for example, believed God created plants and animals for human benefit and therefore it was a human duty to discover their uses.

Eckland (2012) found that 80% of top American scientists had religious backgrounds and: "The insurmountable hostility between science and religion is a caricature…"

I'm not a scientist but got a Science Degree to assist my Biblical research. At University I consulted scientific publications to check many biblical statements — thereby uniting all nine alleged paradigm differences.


Modern science, technology and prosperity originated in Christianity. Billions of beneficiaries have much to be grateful for.


Balchin, J. 2003 SCIENCE 100 Scientists Who Changed The World, Arcturus

Bonnell, K.L. 2008 Doctoral Study, Walden University

Briggs, R. 1969 The Scientific Revolution of the Seventeenth Century, Longman, p. 9

Comfort, R. 2009 The Origin of Species 150th Anniversary Edition, Introduction, Bridge-Logos

Eckland, E.H. 2012 Science vs. Religion: What Scientists Really Think, Oxford University Press

Fernandez-Morera, D. 2016 The Myth of the Andalusian Paradise, ISI Books

Haskins, C.H. 1957 The Rise of Universities, Cornell University

Hooykaas, R. 1972 Religion And The Rise of Modern Science, Eerdmans

Lamont, A. 1995 21 Great scientists who believed the Bible, Creation Science Foundation

Marlowe, J. 1971 The Golden Age of Alexandria, Golancz

Monk, P. Challenging the idea of a tolerant Islamic Spain, The Weekend Australian Review, July 9-10, 2016

Waerden, B.L. van der 1963 Science Awakening, Wiley & Sons


Origin of Modern Science - A Final Reply

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 171, 2016 November)

In his article (No. 170, pg 35) Anonymous attempts to show that Christianity was instrumental in the emergence of modern science. However, in my opinion he has overstated his argument.

I'll begin by examining the origin of European universities. The genesis of the university began with Carolingian educational reforms brought about by Charlemagne (d. 814) who needed a body of educated men to manage his empire. At the time the church was the only source of education and so naturally he turned to this institution and issued a decree that all cathedrals and monasteries were to establish schools and provide free education. The idea was to build up a body of educated priests that could serve the empire and local communities as leaders and administrators.

Unfortunately, Charlemagne died, civil wars broke out, and the attacks of the Magyars, Vikings, and Saracens began before his plan could be fully implemented.

Some Cathedral and monastery schools, however, had been established and continued to function during the chaos of the empire's collapse. Their concern was with the training of priests only, and the curriculum consisted of grammar, rhetoric, logic arithmetic, geometry, astronomy, and music. The purpose of the curriculum was as follows:

Arithmetic served as the basis for quantitative reasoning; geometry for architecture, surveying, and calculating measurements — all essential to managing a church's property and income. Astronomy was necessary for calculating the date of Easter, predicting eclipses, and marking the passing of the seasons. For some time, about all the cathedral and monastery schools could manage was to train enough priests to provide the bare essential of educated local leaders. (1)

In 1079 Pope Gregory VII issued a papal decree ordering all cathedrals and major monasteries to establish schools for the training of clergy. This decree resulted in a significant expansion of education with Paris becoming the most noteworthy and influential of a number of centres of education:

The universities of Paris; famed for theology and the liberal arts and patronized by the papacy, and Bologna, notable for law and with a development under imperial auspices, were the models for the systems which were adopted by the other universities of Europe when they came into being.

Paris, whose government was carried out by the masters,
the masters constituting the university, was the prototype of the majority of the universities of northern Europe. Bologna, on the other hand, was rather a guild of students, who as a body possessed the supreme active power, while the professors formed themselves into a college of masters isolated from the students, and so outside the great university corporation which the students formed.

This system was followed in general by the universities of southern Europe. The third great university of the Middle Ages was Oxford, which followed Paris. These three universities were the only ones founded ex consuetudine,that is they were already in existences as studia generalia in all but name when recognized by the pope. All the rest that followed were either founded by potentates and recognized in time by the papacy, or were founded by the papacy for the furtherance of its own influence, and as their origin was ex privilegio they never enjoyed the same glory. (2)

As we can see, universities were initially established largely to train priests to administer the Church and to be administrators for secular authorities. The development and promotion of science was not a consideration, except possibly where it could serve to bolster theology. But if scientific discoveries contradicted the doctrines of the day then a scientist could find himself in serious trouble with the religious authorities as did the Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) when he advocated the heliocentric theory of the solar system.

Over many centuries universities gradually became increasingly secular, and today are largely free from religious influences.

In the past any scientist who doubted or disbelieved a fundamental Christian doctrine would hardly advertise the fact in the light of what happened to Giordano Bruno (1548-1600), a Dominican friar, mathematician and philosopher who was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition on charges including denial of several core Catholic doctrines (including Eternal Damnation, the Trinity, the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, and Transubstantiation. (3)

In addition Anonymous' list of allegedly Christian scientists is an example of conformation bias. One could also draw up a list of atheist scientists who have publicly acknowledged their unbelief as is shown on Wikipedia. (4)

No doubt Christians have promoted science and contributed to its development, but to claim (as seems to be implied by Anonymous) that Christianity gave rise to modern science is to overstate the case.


(4) technology




(Investigator 172, 2017 January)

Mr Staughen says I "overstated" my case when demonstrating that modern science began in the Christian setting of Europe and USA.

My list of scientists who founded scientific disciplines or made significant discoveries is easily expandable:


Straugthen apparently doubts that the Scientists I listed were/are Christians.

Jesus taught that only God knows genuine Christians from imitations. (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43) Jesus also cautioned against being judgmental. (Matthew 7:1-5) However, I Corinthians 6:9-10 and Revelation 21:8 list the sins that exclude people from "God's kingdom". Therefore Christians who avoid these sins are probably genuine.

Some scientists involved in the "scientific revolution" studied for the ministry or had a father who was a minister. Others were elders in a denomination. Some were not university-trained but consciously expected their work to enrich civilization. Perhaps some scientists faked Christian commitment to get into university — if so the Christian setting was still indispensible to their scientific work which otherwise they could not have done.

I here comment on a few scientists to illustrate what I considered adequate reason to count them as Christian rather than atheist:


Straughen thinks that because the first universities taught fewer topics, and taught science not for its own sake but to manage church property, this downgrades Christianity's role in the birth and growth of modern science.

Everything that exists starts somehow and somewhere. The fact that changes follow does not refute where and how the start was made. University subjects and courses gradually increased as did the practical tasks to which scientific methods were applied. This does not refute where, how and why modern science began.

Straughen says: "it doesn't follow that just because some scientists believe in God that science resulted from their belief." Agreed — their discoveries resulted by doing research, and not from "belief in God" without research. Christianity and its emphasis on education along with European universities provided the cultural setting for science to flourish. In America too, of the first 100 colleges and universities founded almost 90% were Christian.

Straughen mentions scientists who suffered church opposition.

Such scientists created problems for themselves by publicly declaring as factual, ideas that were still hypothetical. In addition there were countless cults and self-interest groups promoting sectarian or partisan nonsense. The Church tried to control the fragmentation of society by insisting that new things be taught as hypotheses or propositions until proved. Giordano Bruno did not conform to this and, for example, proclaimed that people lived on numerous other worlds in Space. More circumspect than Bruno was Newton who although being anti-Trinitarian kept this to himself.

For centuries most scientists worked within boundaries set by the Church, were allowed to do their work, and inaugurated the "scientific revolution".


Straughen mentions a Wikipedia list of scientists who declare their unbelief. However, I don't think an impressive list of atheistic founders of scientific disciplines and innovators can be composed for the 12-18th centuries.

I included some 20th century science-innovators in my lists not to imply most scientists today are believers but to show that scientific work and discovery still has a substantial Christian component.

If most scientists today are unbelievers, it does not alter the history of how modern science started or the fact that for centuries the majority believed in God.  A "Professor of the History of Science" wrote:

Scientists from nations whose own culture did not give birth to anything like western science have already made notable contributions to it. Western people who have lost all contact with the religion of their forebears continue in their scientific activities the tradition inherited from them… (Hooykaas 1972)


Hooykaas, R. 1972 Religion And The Rise of Modern Science, Eerdmans