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Science and Religion from Antiquity to the Present: Free Web Sites

This is a guide to researching science and religion from antiquity to the present. Last updated 06-27-2023

Free Web Sites

It is important to evaluate the web sites you use. To do this, ask yourself:

Who is the site’s author?  Is it/are they (a) reputable person(s) in the scholarly world? Phony articles sometimes have fake bylines/author names. 

Is the grammar good?  Typos and grammatical errors can signal a fake news writer.

Who is the site’s publisher?  Prefer sites whose web addresses end in ".edu" or ".org" rather than ".com."  Be wary of sites whose domain names end with "", ".ma", or ".co".

What is the point of view or bias of the site? Information is rarely neutral.

Does the material include, refer to, or indicate knowledge of the subject matter?

Are the details accurate or verifiable? Check it out by doing a  Google search to check if trustworthy publications have reported the same information.

Is the information current or timely?  When was the site last updated?

 A few general web sites, followed by an alphabetical list.

Evaluating Web Pages

Sources to help with picking a credible web resource.  A list of web sites drawn together by MSU’s education and psychology librarian, Kate Corby, that help researchers pick useful, reliable, scholarly web sites.

History of Science and Technology: a Research Guide

This is another guide similar to this one by one of the other MSU librarians, Mike Unsworth.  It has a larger list of possible subject headings and some links to scholarly organizations devoted to the history of science.

Things (about the MSU Library) that History Undergraduates Should Know

Aestimatio: Critical Reviews in the History of Science

A journal providing critical, timely assessments of books published in the history of what was called science from antiquity up to the early modern period in cultures ranging from Spain to India, and from Africa to northern Europe.

American Association for the Advancement of Science

An international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. In addition to organizing membership activities, AAAS publishes the journal Science, as well as many scientific newsletters, books and reports, and spearheads programs that raise the bar of understanding for science worldwide.

Art and Science of Healing

The Kelsey Museum of Archeology and the University of Michigan Library recently put together this website that traces the history of medicine in Europe and the Middle East, from Ancient Greece and Rome through the Renaissance. The exhibit is divided into five sections: Religion and Magic, Graeco-Roman Medicine, Islamic Medicine, Medieval Medicine, and Renaissance Medicine. In each of these five sections, visitors can browse multiple topics to view interesting artifacts and manuscripts related to these topics.

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Ten major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions have joined to form the Biodiversity Heritage Library Project. They are digitizing the published literature of biodiversity held in their respective collections, and so far have over 1.124 million pages of key taxonomic literature available on the web. From a scholarly perspective, these collections are of exceptional value because the domain of systematic biology depends -- more than any other science -- upon historic literature. The “cited half-life” of natural history literature is longer than that of any other scientific domain.  Has a date of publication browse capability and many illustrations.  Offers full texts.

Biointeractive: The Origin of Species

Produced by Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  See three short films. One is a 30 minute exploration of Darwin's travels and initial discoveries.  One looks at four decades of research on finch species in the Galapagos Islands.  Third looks at ways lizards have adapted to several common habitats.

Casebooks Project

The Casebooks Project is a digital product offering a tool for searching and reading the medical records of the astrologers Simon Forman and Richard Napier. It covers 1596-1634. The project is ongoing: 48,500 cases are now live. When complete, it will contain 80,000 cases and images of the manuscripts. Our editors transcribe the formulaic material at the beginning of each entry, and categorise and tag it using historically sensitive analytic categories. Full transcriptions of the casebooks are not provided, but other information in the records, including information about individuals and their associates, is tagged and can be searched.

Catalog of the Scientific Community in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

This catalog is a collection of 631 detailed biographies on members of the scientific community during the 16th and 17th centuries with vital facts about each individual and their contributions to science. The information here was compiled by the late Richard S. Westfall, Professor in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science at Indiana University. While the scope of Dr. Westfall's research is immense, the information is concise and very well organized. All individuals in the catalog are systematically described by ten categories using twenty searchable fields.

Center for Islam and Science

Dedicated to a creative exploration of Islamic spiritual and intellectual traditions. See under “Resources” the section called “Islam and Science” which has links to Islamic authors’ writings.

Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences

To promote the creative mutual interaction between theology and the natural sciences. The CTNS mission is carried out through three program areas: research, teaching and public service.  The central scientific focus of these programs is on physics, cosmology, evolutionary biology, and genetics, with additional topics in the neurosciences, technology, the environmental sciences, and mathematics. The central theological focus is on Christian theology, ethics and spirituality, with additional attention to the theological issues arising from the engagement between the sciences and world religions.

Counterbalance Foundation

Counterbalance Interactive Library offers new views on complex issues from science, ethics, philosophy, and religion. Extensive resources on the evolution/creation controversy, biomedical ethical challenges, and much more.  The founders of Counterbalance believe that valuable insights come when theories from the worlds of science and religion are integrated or held in tension - i.e. counterbalanced . Purely scientific views serve well when we need to explain physical nature around us, but science is mostly inept when we try and apply it to problems of human-nature, or to ethically complex situations. Similarly, a purely traditional religious view provides an ethical framework, but has little to say about new technologies.

Charles Darwin's Beagle Library

The books that were aboard the HMS Beagle during Darwin's voyage, 1831-1836.  The original catalog of the books was lost, but has been reconstructed here by the scholars of the Darwin Correspondence Project (link below).

Charles Darwin's Letters

Darwin's letters to people held in the collections of University of British Columbia Woodward Library.  40 to Jim Scott Burdon Sanderson about research on insect-eating plants. 80, part of Fox/Pearce (Darwin) Collection 1821-84, detail observations or natural history of insects, birds, and eggs.

Charles Darwin's Library

Charles Darwin was a man of science and letters, and his library was impressive. This digital project created by the Biodiversity Heritage Library offers interested parties a virtual reconstruction of the surviving books owned by Darwin, and it includes over 330 titles. 

Charles Darwin Research Guide

By MSU librarians.

Darwin Correspondence Project

Contains 2,000 or more letters, full text, to or from Charles Darwin from 1821-1882, and summarizes the contents of up to 14,500 letters. Includes online copies of some 5,000 of his letters from the published volumes of The Correspondence of Charles Darwin. Includes biographical information about those to whom he wrote, those who wrote to him, and people he mentioned in his letters. See also the bound volumes of Darwin's letters, edited by Frederick
This is an open access resource featuring human bones which have been digitised using 3D laser scanning, CT and radiography. The resource focuses on a wide range of pathological type specimens from archaeological and historical medical collections, specifically examples of chronic diseases which affect the human skeleton for which many of the physical changes are often not directly observable within clinical practice. Of major interest to many will be high fidelity photo-realistic digital representations of 3D bones that can be viewed, downloaded and manipulated on their computer, tablet or smartphone.

Darwin Online

The most complete, largest, most used resource on the naturalist Charles Darwin.

Digitised Diseases
This is an open access resource featuring human bones which have been digitised using 3D laser scanning, CT and radiography. The resource focuses on a wide range of pathological type specimens from archaeological and historical medical collections, specifically examples of chronic diseases which affect the human skeleton for which many of the physical changes are often not directly observable within clinical practice. Of major interest to many will be high fidelity photo-realistic digital representations of 3D bones that can be viewed, downloaded and manipulated on their computer, tablet or smartphone.

ECHO: Exploring and Collecting Online-Science, Technology and Industry

Echo's research center catalogs, annotates, and reviews web sites on the history of science, technology, and industry. The database includes over 5,000 web sites, and can be browsed by topic, time period, publisher or content.

Faces of Science: African Americans in the Sciences

Profiled here are African American men and women who have contributed to the advancement of science and engineering. The accomplishments of the past and present can serve as pathfinders to present and future engineers and scientists. African American chemists, biologists, inventors, engineers, and mathematicians have contributed in both large and small ways that can be overlooked when chronicling the history of science. By describing the scientific history of selected African American men and women we can see how the efforts of individuals have advanced human understanding in the world around us.

Faraday Institute for Science and Religion

It is an interdisciplinary research enterprise based at St Edmund's College, Cambridge. In addition to academic research, the Institute engages in the public understanding of science and religion by means of Courses, Conferences, Lectures, Seminars and the Media.

Galileo Project

Information on the life and work of Galileo Galilei, 1564-1642 and the science of his time.  Site done at Rice University.

Gifford Lectures Online

Over 100 years of lectures on natural theology.  The online Gifford Lectures database presents a comprehensive collection of books derived from the Gifford Lectures. In addition to the books, the Web site contains a biography of each lecturer and a summary of the lecture or book. The Web site also contains a biography of Adam Lord Gifford, a copy of his will bequeathing money to the four major Scottish universities to hold the lectures, a brief description of natural theology, an introduction to each of the four universities and news about forthcoming Gifford-related events.

Harry Potter's World: Renaissance Science, Magic and Medicine

From the U.S. National Library of Medicine.  Highlights the relationships between the magic depicted in the Harry Potter universe and the "Renaissance traditions that played an important role in the development of Western science, including alchemy, astrology, and natural philosophy." examples of Renaissance texts discussing potions, monsters, herbology, magical creatures, and immortality, with each example paired with relevant examples from the Harry Potter books. Under the SEE the digital gallery tab toward the bottom of the page, visitors can browse scanned images from 25 works by Renaissance thinkers. Teaching resources for middle school through university.

History of Medicine

Site of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, a division of the National Institutes of Health.  See link to “Historical Collections” on the main page.

Immanent Frame

Digital project created in conjunction with the Religion and the Public Sphere program of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).  The website's title derives from Charles Taylor's The Secular Age which describes the desacralised world as one in which religious belief is but "one option among many."  The website editors hope to elevate the public and academic discussion of religion and secularism by inviting religious and secular thinkers to write on key themes and current controversies.  The Essays & Exchanges section organizes original contributions around themes of religion in public life, politics, and culture, the science of religion, and secularism and society.  Contributions are engagingly written and regularly cited in the academic literature.

Institute for the Biocultural Study of Religion (IBSCR)

This Institute was founded by Patrick McNamara and Wesley Wildman, Boston University, to conduct research into the biological and cultural functions of religion. Its mission includes research, training, and outreach regarding the interaction of science and religion in the public sphere. Current projects include the Templeton Lectures in Religious and Psychological Well-Being, a doctoral program in science, philosophy, and religion, the Human Relations Area Files (an electronic database), and a weekly journal club. The web site ''explores the nexus of culture, mind and religion.''

Interactive Historical Atlas of the Disciplines

Aims at collecting and mapping data related to the history of the disciplinary structure of science. Launched in 2018 at the University of Geneva, this collaborative website provides several tools to explore the various 'classifications of the sciences' put forward by numerous scholars over the centuries, and to visualize the evolution of disciplinary borders from Antiquity to our days.
The ultimate goal of this project is to reconstruct the genealogical tree of the sciences, namely, the "table of contents" of the history of human knowledge. As such, the present atlas should be of interest not only to historians, but also to philosophers, sociologists and anyone interested in the history of their discipline and its relations to others sciences.

International Society for Science and Religion

Promotion of education through the support of inter-disciplinary learning and research in the fields of science and religion conducted where possible in an international and multi-faith context. Along left side of page see “Books by Members” and “Recommended Books and Documents.”

Internet History of Science Sourcebook

By Paul Halsall, Fordham University.  Organized links to public domain texts, commentaries, and other websites.  Strong sections on Greco-Roman scientific philosophy and culture, science in Latin Christendom, and Islamic science.  Non-Western scientific topics are not as well represented.  Minimal annotation.

IsisCB Cumulative: Open Access Bibliography for the History of Science, 1913-1975

This is a digitized version of the Isis Cumulative Bibliography of the History of Science, covering materials indexed from 1913-1975, on all topics in the history of science for all historical periods.   There are seven large HTML files corresponding to the seven volumes of the printed bibliography issued during this period.  It is a companion to IsisCB Explore, covering the files 1974 to present (next entry, below).  Over 154,000 citations to 83,000 articles, 44,000 books, 20,000 reviews, 6,000 chapters.  Made possible by Sloan Foundation, History of Science Society, University of Oklahoma Libraries, University of Oklahoma History of Science dept. 

IsisCB Explore History of Science Index

IsisCB Explore is a research tool for the history of science, whose core dataset comes from bibliographical citations in the Isis Bibliography of the History of Science. The IsisCB currently contains 40 years of citation data from 1974 to 2014. The dataset is composed of two main types of records:1) Citations, items from the bibliography that have been classified and indexed, and 2) Authorities, records that include both subject terms that classify citations as well as authors, publishers, and journals that have written and published those works.  It blends a professionally curated database with social media tools, so that the community can play a more active role in building a tool that will cater to its needs.

John Snow Archive and Research Companion

John Snow's contributions during the early years of inhalation anesthesia, and his investigations during two mid-century cholera epidemics in Victorian London, are landmarks in anesthesiology, epidemiology, medical cartography, and public health. This Web site contains an archive of searchable texts of Snow's published writings, most appearing in medical journals, and recorded presentations and comments at medical society meetings between 1838 and his death in 1858. The archive will also include selections from writings by some of Snow's contemporaries, whether supporters, skeptics, or outright antagonists.

John Templeton Foundation

Philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. It supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights.  See links at page bottom.  M.S.U. Libraries will have some books published by this organization; do a keyword search “John Templeton Foundation.”

Linda Hall Library Digital Collections

The Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri, bills itself as "the world's foremost independent research library devoted to science, engineering, and technology." Nearly 250,000 images from its extensive History of Science Collection.   Search the entire digital collection by keyword and filter the results by collection, creator, date, and subject.  The site also has an advanced search feature to search multiple fields simultaneously.

Medical Heritage Library

The Medical Heritage Library is a "digital curation collaborative" between numerous leading medical libraries, including the August C. Long Health Science Library at Columbia University, the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and the Wellcome Library, to name just a few. These libraries are working together on this remarkable collection that provides insight into the history of medicine in the United States and Great Britain. Through the website's Content tab, visitors can browse hundreds of medical journals, pamphlets, and books dating back to the sixteenth century. Researchers can also conduct a keyword Search in order to find relevant material within this extensive (and still growing) collection.

Medieval Science Page

A convenient and comprehensive set of links to all Internet resources worldwide which deal with aspects of medieval science, both in Western and other cultures.

Metanexus Institute on Religion, Science, and the Humanities

Promotes the transdisciplinary approach to the most profound questions of nature, culture, and the human person. Metanexus serves an ever-growing network of locally-acting, globally connected scholars, researchers, teachers, students, and ordinary citizens committed to exploring our world from a rich diversity of perspectives.

National Center for Science Education

Not-for-profit, membership organization providing information and resources for schools, parents and concerned citizens working to keep evolution in public school science education. We educate the press and public about the scientific, educational, and legal aspects of the creation and evolution controversy, and supply needed information and advice to defend good science education at local, state, and national levels. Our 4000 members are scientists, teachers, clergy, and citizens with diverse religious affiliations.  On their “About” page see link along left for “Library/Archives” and at top for “Publications.”

Newton Papers

Isaac Newton, 1642-1727, was a noted chair of mathematics at Cambridge University, which holds many of his papers.  The Cambridge Digital Library project has made what they have available online. 

NYPL Digital Collections: Pictures of Science: 700 Years of Scientific and Medical Illustration

This digital collection draws upon the materials selected for an exhibition called "Seeing Is Believing," held in the Library's Gottesman Exhibition Hall, October 23, 1999 - February 19, 2000. Natural history materials were included very selectively in that exhibition; however, natural history materials have their own separate presentations in NYPL Digital Gallery, devoted to plants and to animals respectively. "Although not providing a comprehensive history of scientific and medical illustration, these images open a window on the radical shift in the cosmology of early modern Europe that began around 1543 with the publication of seminal works by Copernicus and Vesaliius, and continued with the work of Newton, Harvey, Darwin, Curies and others."

Organizations Promoting Science-Faith Compatibility and the Teaching of Evolution

A web portal from the Nebraska Religious Coalition of Science Education at Creighton University offering links to organizations, sermons, etc.

Public Religion Research Institute PRRI

Nonpartisan organization founded 2009. Conducts qualitative research and public opinion polls on the intersection of religion, values and public life.  Their research section aggregates their articles, fact sheets, surveys, and popular research; also they track book chapters, articles, and other work in the field.  Links to full texts.  The interactive American Values Atlas (AVA) combines annual PRRI survey data with a rich interactive mapping system by which people can explore similarities and differences between America's political, religious, and demographic groups. 

Religious Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

"We are a multi-faith agency of five volunteers in the U.S. and Canada who follow five different religious beliefs (Agnosticism, Atheism, Christianity, Wicca, and Zen Buddhism). Our group is affiliated with another multi-faith group Beliefnet, but not with with any other religious organization. Our office is located in Canada; our web site server is located in Texas; our technical support is from California. Our staff live in either the U.S. or Canada."

Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne

John Polkinghorne is one of the greatest living writers and thinkers on science and religion: a truly world-class scientist turned priest.

Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science

Mission is to support scientific education, critical thinking and evidence-based understanding of the natural world in the quest to overcome religious fundamentalism, superstition, intolerance and suffering.

Sam Harris

Sam Harris is the author of the New York Times bestsellers, The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, and Free Will. The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. Mr. Harris's writing has been published in more than 15 languages. He and his work have been discussed in Newsweek, Time, The New York Times, Scientific American, Nature, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. His writing has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.  Mr. Harris is a cofounder and the CEO of Project Reason, a nonprofit foundation devoted to spreading scientific knowledge and secular values in society. He received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

School Gardening in the Early 1900s

Primary source materials and information about gardening within K-12 schools in the early 20th century.

Royal College of Physicians Museum and Archive Collections

Search RCP collections to uncover a wealth of information on the history of medicine and the RCP.   Near complete records of the RCP's activities for 500 years. Manuscripts and personal papers of eminent physicians. 300 oil and sculptural portraits of physicians and over 5,000 prints and drawing. Silver and decorative art collection. Rare medical instruments and artefacts.

TalkOrigins Archive

Usenet newsgroup devoted to the discussion and debate of biological and physical origins. Most discussions in the newsgroup center on the creation/evolution controversy, but other topics of discussion include the origin of life, geology, biology, catastrophism, cosmology and theology. The TalkOrigins Archive is a collection of articles and essays, most of which have appeared in at one time or another. The primary reason for this archive's existence is to provide mainstream scientific responses to the many frequently asked questions (FAQs) that appear in the newsgroup and the frequently rebutted assertions of those advocating intelligent design or other creationist pseudosciences.

Unofficial Stephen Jay Gould Archive

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was among the best known and widely read scientists of the late 20th century. A paleontologist and educator at Harvard University, Gould made his largest contributions to science as the leading spokes-person for evolutionary theory. On this website you will find articles by Gould and his colleagues focusing on the finer points of his work, the nature of life's evolution, and the general ontogeny of evolutionary theory.

USTC, Universal Short Title Catalogue

USTC is a freely accessible database of bibliographical entries, with library holdings information, for books printed in Europe between the invention of printing and the end of the sixteenth century. Its purpose is akin to the ESTC, English Short Title Catalogue, also in our electronic resources. USTC began as a professor's project at University of St. Andrews to "survey French religious books, intended as a contribution to the study of the Reformation. But it proved impossible to make sense of French Protestantism without also creating a bibliography of Catholic books; then it seemed important to survey all French vernacular imprints, to establish how religious books fitted into the economy of print. It was only when this first project was nearing completion in 2007 that we conceived the more ambitious goal of extending our work on France to all of Europe." Then the project surveyed holdings in over 300 French libraries, particularly municipal libraries, which have many early printed books seized during the French Revolution. The project then "turned its attention to other areas of Europe for which there were no comprehensive surveys of early print: notably the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal) and the Low Countries." They are now working to include entries from German and Italian libraries There are links to some freely accessible, full texts.

Wellcome Library (U.K.)

Through its collections and services, the Wellcome Library provides insight and information to anyone seeking to understand medicine and its role in society, past and present. With over 600 000 books and journals, an extensive range of manuscripts, archives and films, and more than 100 000 pictures, we are one of the world's major resources for the study of medical history. This is one of the world's greatest collections of books, manuscripts, archives, films and paintings on the history of medicine from the earliest times to the present day.  See especially Welcome Images.

WISE: Archives of Women in Science and Engineering

To preserve the historical heritage of American women in science and engineering. To do this, the Archives solicits, collects, arranges, and describes the personal papers of women scientists and engineers as well as the records of national and regional women’s organizations in these fields. The Archives will also serve as a local, regional, national, and international resource for information on women in science and engineering, with a particular emphasis on K-12 and college level students. The Archives of Women in Science and Engineering collects the personal and professional papers of women in all areas of the sciences and engineering, except that of the medical sciences.  Papers are held in Special Collections at Iowa State University.