science of the middle of the nineteenth century, claimed for himself and his scientific colleagues a truth mission and a scientific priesthood - no less than his non-Christian rival Huxley did. Scientific discovery - he maintained - was a form of divine revelation. The scientific institution founded by Owen, the British Museum (Natural History), was seen by many of his supporters as a 'cathedral of nature', and some of its architectural features gave expression to such ecclesiastical pretensions.52
The institutional tug-of-war, in extreme cases, divided the scientific community, with Christian scientists founding bulwarks against anti-ecclesiastical colleagues. For example, in 1907 the Lutheran biologist Eberhard Dennert (18611942), supported by the botanist and Darwin-critic Johannes Reinke (18431921) and many other scientific as well as non-scientific academics, founded the Kepler Union, to counteract the Monist League, established in 1906 at the instigation of Ernst Haeckel (1834-1919). For decades, the monist movement had gathered strength in Germany, claiming to replace the churches and appropriating Christian ritual. Science was put forward as a secular religion, Darwin as its saviour and redeemer, Humboldt as one of its saints; scientists were priests or high priests, monistic Sunday sermons were preached, and hymns of scientism composed and sung during the Sunday services.53 Haeckel wrote a widely translated confession of scientific faith under the title Der Monismus als Band zwischen Religion und Naturwissenschaft (1892). When the monists founded the periodical Der Monismus, the Kepler Union countered with Unsere Welt, and when Haeckel built his monist temple, the Phyletic Museum in Jena, the Kepler Union established its Museum for Popular Science. Organisational initiatives were matched, blow for blow, and the Catholics followed suit with the founding of the Albert Union (1912-13) and its periodical Die Schöpfung. Many local branches were established, linking the religion-science discourse to a range of national, provincial and local issues.54 Such situated studies help show the extent to which the cognitive dissonance was part of institutional power politics, and more of these studies are needed. Yet the most urgent desideratum of secondary scholarship remains a comprehensive critical documentation of the primary literature, combining and comparing the Anglo-American with the continental, Protestant with Catholic, scientific with theological, and building on the encyclopaedic approach by Zockler.
52 Rupke, Richard Owen, pp. 323-52.
53 W. Bolsche, Alexander v. Humboldt (Berlin: Rubenow, 1891).
54 Daum, Wissenschaftspopularisierung, pp. 220-4.
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