Are Scientists who practice a faith held to a different standard?

Couldn’t find a Science area so posting on here as this is for everyone.

**Do you think the scientific world takes less seriously or is more critical of scientists of faith? Scientists of any faith - muslim, buddhist, jewish etc. Would a rabbi or imam have been treated any differently in the case below? **

I have been reading about Monsignor Georges LeMaitre a Belgian Roman Catholic priest, physicist and astronomer. He is credited with the first definitive formulation of the idea of an expanding universe commonly referred to as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.

He was viewed suspiciously and ridiculed in some sectors of the scientific community when he first proposed the idea of an expanding universe. Much of this scorn was based on the fact that he wore a collar and not on the science of what he proposed.

He proposed, independently of Russian physicist Alexander Friedman, who found it in 1922, the theory of the expansion of the universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble.

He was also the first to derive what is now known as Hubble’s law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article.

Despite his unquestionable scientific credibility, Lemaître’s priesthood often led skeptics to question his theories, believing the Big Bang was "presented in a spirit of concordism with the religious concept of creation, and even received its inspiration from that religious concept.

Concordism is the belief that the Bible contains scientific information not known by people at the time of the writing of the sacred texts. Even Professor Einstein confronted Lemaître on this issue. Not surprisingly, Father Lemaître had an excellent response to such critics:

“Should a priest reject relativity because it contains no authoritative exposition on the doctrine of the Trinity? Once you realize that the Bible does not purport to be a textbook of science, the old controversy between religion and science vanishes . . . The doctrine of the Trinity is much more abstruse than anything in relativity or quantum mechanics; but, being necessary for salvation, the doctrine is stated in the Bible. If the theory of relativity had also been necessary for salvation, it would have been revealed to Saint Paul or to Moses . . . As a matter of fact neither Saint Paul nor Moses had the slightest idea of relativity.”

In 1927, he discovered a family of solutions to Einstein’s field equations of relativity that described not a static universe, but an expanding universe (as, independently, had the Russian Alexander Friedmann in 1922). The report which would eventually bring him international fame, entitled “A homogeneous universe of constant mass and growing radius accounting for the radial velocity of extragalactic nebulae” in translation, was published later in 1927 in the little known journal “Annales de la Société Scientifique de Bruxelles”. In this report, he presented his new idea of an expanding universe.

In May of 1933, Albert Einstein was scheduled to deliver a series of lectures in Belgium. However, following the second lecture, Einstein announced that Lemaître would be delivering the final seminar, much to Lemaître’s surprise. Einstein told the scientists that Lemaître “has interesting things to tell us” and following the seminar said simply, “Very beautiful, very beautiful indeed.”

Many scientists just don’t know the debt that the world owes to the Catholics who have discovered and developed science, and the case of Le Maitre is symptomatic of this myopia, and even distrust.

In Science and Creation Father Stanley Jaki lists seven great cultures in which science suffered a “stillbirth” – Arabic, Babylonian, Chinese, Egyptian, Greek, Hindu, and Maya – they did not have the Catholic conception of the divine. Fr Jaki emphasises that “nature had to be de-animized” for science to be born. (Creation and Scientific Creativity, Paul Haffner, Christendom Press, 1991, p 41). “During the twelfth century in Latin Europe those aspects of Judeo-Christian thought which emphasized the idea of creation out of nothing and the distance between God and the world, in certain contexts and with certain men, had the effect of eliminating all semi-divine entities from the realm of nature.” (How The Catholic Church Built Western Civilization, Dr Thomas E Woods, Regnery, 2005, p 93).

“From Ockham through Copernicus, the development of the heliocentric model of the solar system was the product of the universities — that most Christian invention. From the start, the medieval Christian university was a place created and run by scholars devoted entirely to knowledge. The autonomy of individual faculty members was carefully guarded. Since all instruction was in Latin, scholars were able to move about without regard for linguistic boundaries, and because their degrees were mutually recognized, they were qualified to join any faculty. It was in these universities that European Christians began to establish science. And it was in these same universities, not later in the salons of philosophes or Renaissance men, that the classics were restored to intellectual importance. The translations from Greek into Latin were accomplished by exceedingly pious Christian scholars.

“It was the Christian scholastics, not the Greeks, Romans, Muslims, or Chinese, who built up the field of physiology based on human dissections. Once again, hardly anyone knows the truth about dissection and the medieval Church. Human dissection was not permitted in the classical world (“the dignity of the human body” forbade it), which is why Greco-Roman works on anatomy are so faulty. Aristotle’s studies were limited entirely to animal dissections, as were those of Celsius and Galen. Human dissection also was prohibited in Islam.

“With the Christian universities came a new outlook on dissection. The starting assumption was that what is unique to humans is a soul, not a physiology. Dissections of the human body, therefore, have no theological implications.
Catholicism and Science by Rodney Stark (from Catalyst 9/2004)].

The twin pillars of Faith and Reason (Fides et Ratio, St John Paul II) will always result in the best science – directed to the discovery of God’s laws and based on His natural moral law as to ends and means – with which Christ’s Church alone is fully equipped by Him to guide.

I don’t think it will change anytime soon.

Yale PhD graduate, Dr Francis Collins former head of the Genome project and a Evangelical christian faced similar suspicion.

On July 8, 2009, President Barack Obama nominated Collins as Director of the National Institutes of Health, and the Senate unanimously confirmed him for the post. He was sworn in by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on August 7, 2009.

Science writer Jocelyn Kaiser opined that Collins was “known as a skilled administrator and excellent communicator,” that Obama’s nomination “did not come as a big surprise” and that the appointment “ignited a volley of flattering remarks from researchers and biomedical groups.”** Yet, she wrote, Collins “does have his critics,” some of them who were concerned with the new director’s “outspoken Christian faith.”**

Washington Post staffer David Brown wrote, however, that Collins’ status as a "born-again Christian . . . may help him build bridges with those who view some gene-based research as a potential threat to religious values."

In October 2009, shortly after his nomination as NIH director, Collins stated in an interview in The New York Times: “I have made it clear that I have no religious agenda for the N.I.H., and I think the vast majority of scientists have been reassured by that and have moved on.”

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Collins to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

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