Michael Rectenwald’s essay, “Secularism and the cultures of nineteenth-century scientific naturalism,” has appeared in the British Journal for the History of Science, published by Cambridge University Press, August 31, 2012. The essay examines Secularism as developed by George Jacob Holyoake in 1851–1852. While historians have noted the importance of evolutionary thought for freethinking radicals from the 1840s, and others have traced the popularization of agnosticism and Darwinian evolution by later Victorian freethinkers, insufficient attention has been paid to mid-century Secularism as constitutive of the cultural and intellectual environment necessary for the promotion and relative success of scientific naturalism. Rectenwald argues that Secularism was a significant source for the emerging new creed of scientific naturalism in the mid-nineteenth century. The full article is available here.
Michael Rectenwald publishes in the British Journal for the History of Science