Catholic Physicists?

Are there any devout Catholics out there who write about physics from an orthodox perspective? Every physics book I read, such as those of Stephen Hawking, always involve at least one insult against Catholicism. While I know that doesn’t make everything else in the book untrue, it would just be nice to have a Catholic author.

Furthermore, are there any Catholics writing books about science in general?

Lemaitre
Schroedinger
Copernicus
Galilei
Kepler

Stephen Barr is a MUST read

here’s his book on Amazon.com Modern Physics and Ancient Faith

here’s a sample of his articles out there on the net;
orthodoxytoday.org/articles/BarrScience.php
ignatiusinsight.com/features2006/sbarr_interview_sept06.asp

Thank you both, I appreciate the references. :slight_smile:

Many of these people were previously not considered orthodox Catholics by the church due to their scientific discoveries and personal beliefs:

Copernicus
Galilei

[quote=“The Sunday TImes”]Nicolaus Copernicus, the “heretical” 16th-century astronomer who was buried in an unmarked grave nearly 500 years ago, was rehabilitated by the Roman Catholic Church this weekend as his remains were reburied in the Polish cathedral where he had once been a canon.

The move comes nearly two decades after the Vatican rehabilitated Galileo Galilei, the Italian astronomer who was persecuted by the Inquisition for developing Copernican theory and forced to recant.
[/quote]

**Kepler **

Schroedinger

I don’t think Copernicus was ever a heretic, that “Sunday Times” article is probably being very loose, I think. His research was celebrated by the Church, and he was a friend of the popes of his lifetime. The Jesuits, a religious order in the Church, carried on his research and were never dissuaded by the hierarchy, so I am not really sure what the article means. In any case, many of the saints, particularly the early ones, had ideas which were considered heretical, but we revere them just the same.

As for Galileo, he was a devout Catholic to the end. His trial and sentencing to house arrest had more to do with bad blood between him and members of the hierarchy (Galileo insulted quite a number of them, including the pope!), historical context (Protestant-Catholic relations affected the situation quite heavily), and just plain stupidity on the part of both parties. His science had little to with it. It’s unfortunate, too, since this is the founding myth of the “science vs.religion” nonsense.

Yeah, when I saw Schrödinger listed with Copernicus, Lemaitre, and Galilei, I was thinking of that Sesame Street song “one of these things is not like the others”. Schrödinger was contantly taking up new mistresses, while staying married, and he was big into eastern mysticism. You seem to be nitpicking with Copernicus and Galileo, so what if ignorant bishops had a problem with their teaching, they WERE devout Catholics

I do and did write about physics. tens of peer reviewed papers. However, physics has nothing to do with religion. There are a lot of physicists and scientists that write about garbage without having a basic understanding of philosophy and they believe in Scientism. Scientism is not physics, it is a religious belief.

Mistress, who cares, we studied Schroedinger’s Wave Equation for about 4 weeks in Nuclear Physics. Most brilliant. I refer to him often.

There seem to be mixed reports on Kepler. Several years ago there was a remarkable series on PBS “Mechanical Universe” where they reported him doing work as a Catholic priest. Maybe we need more research on this.

I do agree with Cristiano, though. Physics is not religion.

Michael Guillen is a theoretical physicist who is also a devout Evangelical Christian. His book “Can a Smart Person Believe in God” is an interesting read for the most part.

Copernicus was never persecuted and was buried in a Cathedral,

Galileo on the other hand had it coming…

But Galileo was intent on ramming Copernicus down the throat of Christendom. The irony is that when he started his campaign, he enjoyed almost universal good will among the Catholic hierarchy. But he managed to alienate almost everybody with his caustic manner and aggressive tactics. His position gave the Church authorities no room to maneuver: they either had to accept Copernicanism as a fact (even though it had not been proved) and reinterpret Scripture accordingly; or they had to condemn it. He refused the reasonable third position which the Church offered him: that Copernicanism might be considered a hypothesis, one even superior to the Ptolemaic system, until further proof could be adduced.

Such proof, however, was not forthcoming. Galileo’s belligerence probably had much to do with the fact that he knew there was no direct proof of heliocentrism. He could not even answer the strongest argument against it, which was advanced by Aristotle. If the earth did orbit the sun, the philosopher wrote, then stellar parallaxes would be observable in the sky. In other words, there would be a shift in the position of a star observed from the earth on one side of the sun, and then six months later from the other side. Galileo was not able with the best of his telescopes to discern the slightest stellar parallax. This was a valid scientific objection, and it was not answered until 1838, when Friedrich Bessel succeeded in determining the parallax of star 61 Cygni.

Galileo’s other problem was that he insisted, despite the discoveries of Kepler, that the planets orbit the sun in perfect circles. The Jesuit astronomers could plainly see that this was untenable. Galileo nonetheless launched his campaign with a series of pamphlets and letters which were circulated all over Europe. Along the way, he picked fights with a number of Churchmen on peripheral issues which helped to stack the deck against him. And, despite the warnings of his friends in Rome, he insisted on moving the debate onto theological grounds.

The Galileo Affaiir

Hi…I have been foregoing CAF for about two weeks (tired of the warmists and geocentrists) but I am a physicist and am (as far as I am able) devout. Please see the following web sites that promote reason + faith to show that findings of contemporary science and faith in God are compatible.
magisreasonfaith.org/
and the facebook site for that group:
facebook.com/MagisReasonFaith
Here are two books by Catholic authors on the interface of science and faith:
“Modern Physics and Ancient Faith” by Stephen Barr, and
“New Proofs for the Existence of God” by Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J.
In addition to these there are many books by John Polkinghorne, a Fellow of the Royal Society (theoretical physicist) and Anglican priest,
and a series of books summarizing papers presented at conferences called by John Paul II on the interface of science/philosophy/religion on Divine Intervention… see the web site
ctns.org/books.html
In my opinion CAF is not an optimum site to discuss issues of Science and the Church–too many geocentrists, evangelical atheists and others who distract from the important issues, so I have ceased to participate.
anselm

A few corrections necessary to previous posts. Copernicus was not a physicist, he was a mathematician. He was not even an astronomer proper but used the measurements of Ptolemy. He was aware of the hermetic heliocentrism rampant at the time and gave it mathematical credence, that is, the maths invilved in the circles etc. While he knew the system was contrary to the Scriptures he gave his book to Protestants to publish. Osiander put a preface to De Rev… that said this saystem was for mathematical purposes only and that only God knows the actual true order. Osiander used the word ‘hypothesis’ but it meant only as a mathematical tool not a statement of truth. Thus the term ‘hypothesis’ was established on this matter forever. He died before he could say differently so was not censured. After the fixed sun was defined as heresy his reputation suffered somewhat until churchmen accepted the heresy as orthodox.

Kepler was a Protestant, deep into hermetic cosmology. He poached all the data from Tycho de Brahe after that great astronomer dies ‘mysteriously’. Kepler guessed, yes guessed, yes guessed, that orbits were ellipses. It was a compromise once de Brahe’s measurements showed orbits were not circles. He had a tragic life of sickness, success, poverty and family tragedy in his life.

Galileo was a physicist yes. He measured curves from balls dropping on boards. He was an asatronomer, just as hundreds were at that time of the invention of the telescope in Holland. He was a Catholic, but as a ‘good’ Catholic, no. He had a mistress, three children out of wedlock with her. He insisted he had proven heliocentrism but the dogs in the street knew he did not. The Bible was the only thing that blocked his way to the ‘greatest discovery ever’. So he went about the business of telling churchmen how they should reinterpret the Bible to his way of thinking. He got deep into exegesis and hermeneutics but came up against one of the greatest theologians who ever lived, Cardinal Bellarmine.
Galileo, according to 1000 books etc., was a perjurer. He swore to God at his trial that he no longer held the heresy but these 1000 accounts say he died a heliocentrist. Thus he died a perjurer because saying something false when taking an oath is perjury. Dakota regurges the usual version used today by Church and State, given they both are Copernican now. He says stellar parallax was proof for Galileo. Well that worked for the propaganda, but any first year physicist student knows today that you cannot get proofs for H because of the phenomenon called relativity. Parallax has two explanations in true physics, a h one and a G one.
So, if a ‘good’ Catholic is one who lived in sin, totally rejected Church teaching, and died a perjurer, then he was a ‘good’ Catholic.

Lemaitre and Schroedinger carried on the work of the other three, consigning the Bible to the rrealm of fairy tales and convinced popes to put the Catholic faith at the mercy of scientific theories.

Do you think Galileo will ever become a saint?

Why would Galileo become a saint? Has there been miraclous healings of people that are attributed to him since his death?

You make it sound as though he threw darts at some dartboard. Suspicions, hypothesis and theories aren’t always wild guesses.

Unfortunately, scientism is not a word commonly used in conversation, but when someone like Hawking uses his scientific standing to say something about the universe and God that is negative, it’s all over the news. The fact that an expert in some branch of science said something negative about God gets a lot of press - scientism, very little.

Peace,
Ed

Here is more information about Copernicus:

catholic.com/thisrock/1991/9101prof.asp

Galileo is mentioned so often. People should just present the facts. Before his theory was proven, he ran around shouting “I proved it!” He was a bit out of control.

Peace,
Ed

No:(. Not that I know of.

guess - to predict (a result or an event) without sufficient information.

Agreed, it appears Kepler had sufficient observational data about the position of the planets to conclude that his own heliocentric, elliptical model of the solar system more accurately predicted their movements and with less complexity than existing epicycle models.

csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr161/lect/history/kepler.html

scientus.org/Gassendi-Transit-Mercury.html

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