There is a well-known quotation from St. Augustine which shows how much he deprecated the attempt to make Scriptures an authority in science, and how much he valued observation as compared with authority, in such matters as are really within the domain of investigation by experiment and observation.

He says: “It very often happens that there is some question as to the earth or the sky, or the other elements of this world, respecting which one who is not a Christian has knowledge derived from most certain reasoning or observation” (that is, from the ordinary means at the command of an investigator in natural science), “and it is very disgraceful and mischievous, and of all things to be carefully avoided, that a Christian speaking of such matters as being according to the Christian Scriptures, should be heard by an unbeliever talking such nonsense that the unbeliever, perceiving him to be as wide from the mark as east from west, can hardly restrain himself from laughing.”

James J. Walsh, The Popes and Science (1908)

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