science and fundamentalism
Why conflict between science and fundamentalism?Conflict between science and religious fundamentalism originates not in 19th century Darwinism but rather in 17th century enlightenment. Fundamentalism relies on Christian orthodoxy. Science incorporates enlightenment heterodoxy.
Orthodoxy requires accepting doctrine and collecting evidence to support it (apologetics). Fundamentalists believe that orthodoxy provides special insight. Secular scholarship, on the other hand, avoids doctrine, relying on heterodox methods. Science, for example, employs hypothesis and experimental test. Science has built a body of scholarship and a set of culturally independent methods which have shed light on the natural world. Scientists argue that orthodoxy gives not special insight, but blind obstinacy.
The Catholic church firmly resisted the enlightenment but has come to terms, at least with science. Pius XI established the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (1936) whose members are chosen for scientific achievement rather than orthodoxy. Fundamentalists prefer religious doctrine to scientific achievement. Fundamentalist schools are specifically charged with promoting orthodoxy. Fundamentalist science training is especially poor. Consequently church hierarchies tend to scientific illiteracy. Institutional inertia will retard change.
Bench scientists regard fundamentalism as, overlooking its cultural significance, a joke. On the other hand science is a genuine threat to fundamentalism. Hypothetico-deductive thinking is antithetical to apologetics. The Catholic church is large and stable enough to deal with uncertainty. Fundamentalist churches may not be. Dialogue will be problematic.