Untitled Document

One Big Phony War

Of Popes and Unicorns: Science, Christianity, and How the Conflict Thesis Fooled the World
by David Hutchings and James  C. Ungureanu

Popular culture continues to entertain a narrative about the conflict between science and Christianity. Specter-like, this narrative haunts both the intellectual class and the normal people. Although scholars of the history of science and religion have exploded the myths on which this narrative is based, the narrative is so consoling to those who reject traditional Christianity that it keeps returning after being refuted. In Of Popes and Unicorns, Hutchings and Ungureanu, two British intellectuals, undertake to inform the public of what history-of-religion scholars already know: that the “conflict thesis” is a myth that, having received its death blow, deserves a proper burial.

The two authors blame the conflict myth for all sorts of current evils—discrimination against scientists who are Christian on the part of an influential atheist minority of scientists, for example. They even blame the conflict narrative for reducing the number of blacks, Latinos, and women in science (allegedly, they are scared away from scientific work by the fear that they will have to abandon their faith).


Max Longley is a writer in Durham, North Carolina. He is the author of Quaker Carpetbagger (McFarland, 2020), For the Union and the Catholic Church (McFarland, 2015), and numerous articles.

Print &
Online Subscription

Get six issues (one year) of Touchstone PLUS full online access including pdf downloads for only $39.95. That's only $3.34 per month!


Get a one-year full-access subscription to the Touchstone online archives for only $19.95. That's only $1.66 per month!

bulk subscriptions

Order Touchstone subscriptions in bulk and save $10 per sub! Each subscription includes 6 issues of Touchstone plus full online access to touchstonemag.com—including archives, videos, and pdf downloads of recent issues for only $29.95 each! Great for churches or study groups.

Transactions will be processed on a secure server.

more on science from the online archives

28.2—March/April 2015

The Icon of Materialism

Why Scientism's Cherished Progress Narrative Fails by Jonathan Witt

29.4—July/August 2016

Naked Truth

on Noticing That Modern Science Has Rendered Atheism Irrational by Harry Biltz

17.6—July/August 2004

Reality & Reluctant Science

Old Science Confronts a Formidable Challenge in the Scientific ID Movement by Jay W. Richards

more from the online archives

30.3—May/June 2017

St. Luke the Evangelist

by Mary Elizabeth Podles

18.4—May 2005

Of Weeds & Fairy Tales

The Idylls, Idols & Devils That Corrupt the Moral Imagination by Vigen Guroian

31.6—November/December 2018

Virtue Gone Mad

Victimhood Culture Scapegoats Its Very Source by Michael P. Foley

calling all readers

Please Donate

"There are magazines worth reading but few worth saving . . . Touchstone is just such a magazine."
—Alice von Hildebrand

"Here we do not concede one square millimeter of territory to falsehood, folly, contemporary sentimentality, or fashion. We speak the truth, and let God be our judge. . . . Touchstone is the one committedly Christian conservative journal."
—Anthony Esolen, Touchstone senior editor

Support Touchstone