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A frequently cited but apocryphal interaction between Laplace and Napoleon purportedly concerns the existence of God. A typical version is provided by Rouse Ball:
Laplace went in state to Napoleon to present a copy of his work, and the following account of the interview is well authenticated, and so characteristic of all the parties concerned that I quote it in full. Someone had told Napoleon that the book contained no mention of the name of God; Napoleon, who was fond of putting embarrassing questions, received it with the remark, 'M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.' Laplace, who, though the most supple of politicians, was as stiff as a martyr on every point of his philosophy, drew himself up and answered bluntly, Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. ("I had no need of that hypothesis.") Napoleon, greatly amused, told this reply to Lagrange, who exclaimed, Ah! c'est une belle hypothèse; ça explique beaucoup de choses. ("Ah, it is a fine hypothesis; it explains many things.")
In 1884, however, the astronomer Hervé Faye affirmed that this account of Laplace's exchange with Napoleon presented a "strangely transformed" (étrangement transformée) or garbled version of what had actually happened. It was not God that Laplace had treated as a hypothesis, but merely his intervention at a determinate point
It is unclear whether Laplace himself was an atheist, and Newton was definitely not.
In certain respects, such as Roger Bacon's advocacy of the scientific method and Gregor Mendel's discovery of the rules of inheritance, perhaps. In others, such as the Church's persecution of Galileo and Giordano Bruno, perhaps not.
I don't see the essay as charge against religion nor it mentions or implies that it is necessary that religious people must embrace ignorance.
Quite the contrary.