Catholicism and Science

Hello. I’m currently in university majoring in the sciences. I’ve found that a number of great scientists in history were devoted Roman Catholics, including (off of the top of my head):

Leonardo Da Vinci
Amedeo Avogadro (Avogadro’s number and Avogadro’s law)
Charles Augustin de Coulomb (Coulomb’s law plus the unit is named after him)
Georgius Agricola (probably the most impactful contributer on minerology)
Fibonacci (I think the name itself may ring a few bells!)
Albertus Magnus
Gregor Mendel (genetics)
Roger Bacon (scientific method)
Reńe Descartes
and many many more…

I think it’s amazing that so many Catholics were involved in the sciences, and I really wanted to list a few and their accomplishments on here. NOW, for my question, are there any accounts written by Catholic scientists on their faith? I realize that many of them were already priests and such, but I would like to know if anyone knows of any specific instances in which they mentioned their Roman Catholic faith and related it back to their studies?

As a science student, I enjoy probably every aspect of it, seeing as how all of it was created by my glorious Father. :). My favourite past time, however, is looking at nature (insects and smaller animals are my favourite) and using it as a complement to my faith. It really is amazing. So, any answers to my question above, or any scientific interests of your own that you would like to share? I guess you can tell that I love it a lot!

Thanks everyone :slight_smile:

Don’t forget this brother…
en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

Hi!

…I’m not a reader (avid or otherwise) so I am fully ignorant of any such writings; I doubt that there exists any since these were men and women of science–they would not, in my estimation, cloud their works with religious tidings (both due to respect of the sciences and to avoid further complications as the Church has always been hostage to criticism and distrust).

I do think that something could be found in the form of personal correspondence and biography.

I would love to join you on your venture since I believe that God’s Revelations are not only on a theological level but also on a very human and very scientific level.

Consider Romans 1:19-20:

[FONT=“Garamond”][size=]19 Because that which is known of God is manifest in them. For God hath manifested it unto them. 20 For the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made; his eternal power also, and divinity: so that they are inexcusable.

…and Wisdom 7:16-21:

16 For in his hand are both we, and our words, and all wisdom, and the knowledge and skill of works. 17 For he hath given me the true knowledge of the things that are: to know the disposition of the whole world, and the virtues of the elements, 18 The beginning, and ending, and midst of the times, the alterations of their courses, and the changes of seasons, 19 The revolutions of the year, and the dispositions of the stars, 20 The natures of living creatures, and rage of wild beasts, the force of winds, and reasonings of men, the diversities of plants, and the virtues of roots, 21 And all such things as are hid and not foreseen, I have learned: for wisdom, which is the worker of all things, taught me.

Consider too that before man has actual knowledge (discovery and tech tools) of laws and principles of math and science (micro & macro elements) his mind begins to formulate… creating, as if from nothing, the arguments (thoughts) that evolve into theories–many of which, after tech advances, can be proven through findings and experiments…

…to your list you should add Father Spitzer (has a program on EWTN–philosopher and physicist, among other things: magisreasonfaith.org/spitzer_videos.html).

Maran atha!

Angel

PS: Here’s a link posted on 25 famous scientist on God, perhaps some correspond to your list of Catholic scientist (catholiceducation.org/en/science/faith-and-science/25-famous-scientists-on-god.html), it was originally posted on another thread and credited to Javier Ordovas.

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Indeed, the historian Thomas Cahill writes in his book Mysteries of the Middle Ages that our modern idea of science came from the “cults of Catholic Europe.” He argues that this flourishing of science came from the emerging use of Aristotle for philosophy and his methods of observation, etc. and the Catholic truth of transubstantiation, because it fascinated medieval scholars with the understanding of substances and the way things worked underneath their appearances.

Very interesting indeed! May God bless you and always show us the greatness of His Creation! :slight_smile:

I would be very curious to hear if you could find some statement of faith from Dr. Gregorio Chil and Naranjo, a Catholic who did some early work on evolution.

Some starting points:

rinconesdelatlantico.com/num3/13_chil.html

elmuseocanario.com/images/documentospdf/revistaelmuseo/Revistas/2001.pdf

Hi!

Here’s a link to some info in English:

On the initiative of a group of intellectuals led by Dr Gregorio Chil y Naranjo, the Canarian Museum was founded in 1879 with the aim of encouraging the cultural and scientific development of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (elmuseocanario.com/index.php/en/the-museum/history

)

…I tried several links but there’s nothing more (basically same info in Spanish).

Maran atha!

Angel

I suggest running the Spanish pages through google translate. Finding detailed info on this guy isn’t the easiest, it would probably require ImmaC to do some serious research in an academic library, since cursory google searches have a hard time finding anything more than summaries.

My personal favorite is: Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître

He was a priest who first proposed the “Big Bang Theory”. Now, the term “Big Bang” was intended to make fun of the Christian for supposing that the universe had a beginning. This term was introduced by Fred Hoyle who wanted to stick with the status quo - the static “always existing” universe.

The Wiki: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georges_Lema%C3%AEtre

When Einstein was introduced to the idea, he reportedly told Georges that, “it suggests too much the (theological) idea of creation.” Link Reference

Hi!

…isn’t that always the case?

…if it sounds Catholic (religious) it must be wrong…

Interestingly enough, Scriptures Reveal that God Spoke (“Let there be light”) and we had energy causing the origin of the Universe… which, to my estimation, brings the laws of motion (Newton) into full play–a static universe lacks such observable rules (the Hubble telescope has proven that the Universe is still expanding–this at least puts to rest the theories of a decaying/dead/folding upon itself universe).

Maran atha!

Angel

Yes, some were priests.
And some were bishops.
This web page links to many articles that would help with your research.

Science and Western Civilization’s
Debt to Catholic Church

John
.

Love all of the links that everyone is posting! Hopefully we can have more discussions of this nature on CAF. :slight_smile:

And if I’m not mistaken, it’s expanding at an increasing rate! I think Lemaitre proposed that too. Again, I’m not certain.

Have you tried the website for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences? They might have some interesting material for you.

rossum

Seeing God in Nature

I found two quotes below from the following scientists that might help you.

Stephen M. Barr is a theoretical particle physicist at the Bartol Research Institute of the University of Delaware.
Physicist Richard Feynman and
Physicist Hermann Weyl, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century.

But first let me set some context in its relevance for today.In this past month, on the cover of a popular magazine was a young boy dressed as a girl who is quoted as saying, “Now, I do not have to pretend.”

And so many are led to push through Gender Identity program.

Clearly, the boy on the cover is only pretending to be a girl. He is pretending that what he feels changes his biology.
Freedom To Dissent ???

While an artist is free to create an imaginary world, neither the scientist nor the theologian is free to dissent from the data (or revelation) which is given.

Here is a great analogy by Stephen M. Barr, Ph.D., in his article Retelling the Story of Science. He states:“In responding to these misconceptions, I would like to begin with the notion of intellectual freedom. The great physicist Richard Feynman once observed that the freedom of the scientist is quite different from that of the artist or writer. The artist is free to imagine anything he pleases. **The imagination of the scientist, however, is chained to experimental facts. **The theories he dreams up must conform to what is already known from observation, and must be abandoned, no matter how rationally coherent, beautiful, or compelling they seem, if they are contradicted by new experimental facts. To put it in religious language, the scientist is answerable to a very stern and peremptory magisterium, the magisterium of Nature herself.

“There is a clear analogy between the limitations on the scientist and those on the theologian. The scientist must submit his mind to the data of experiment, the theologian must submit his to the data of revelation. The word “data” means “the things that are given.” … But accepting the data must come before progress in understanding. That is why the words of St. Augustine apply, in a way, to the scientist as much as to the theologian: credo ut intelligam, ‘I believe in order that I may understand.’ ”
On EWTN the Bishop of Stockholm, Anders Arborelius, mentioned how hard it is for the youth today to follow the Gospel on account of society’s promotion of materialism and hedonism.

In Stephen M. Barr, Ph.D., article on **Design of the Universe **he quotes
Physicist Hermann Weyl, one of the great mathematicians of the twentieth century. He commented some time ago that in terms of morality it is hard to understand God’s ways because we see as through a veil, whereas, a scientist can much more clearly see the beauty of God’s ways in nature. Here is how he said it:
“Many people think that modern science is far removed from God. I find, on the contrary, that it is much more difficult today for the knowing person to approach God from history, from the spiritual side of the world, and from morals; for there we encounter the suffering and evil in the world, which it is difficult to bring into harmony with an all-merciful and almighty God. In this domain we have evidently not yet succeeded in raising the veil with which our human nature covers the essence of things. But in our knowledge of physical nature we have penetrated so far that we can obtain a vision of the flawless harmony which is conformity with sublime reason.”
Full article links are below.

Continued:

Also consider :
Benedict XVI’s Address to Catholic Educators
“Freedom Is Not an Opting out, it Is an Opting In”
“… It is important therefore to recall that the truths of faith and of reason never contradict one another
(cf. First Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith Dei Filius, IV: DS 3017; St. Augustine, Contra Academicos, III, 20, 43)….

Drawing upon divine wisdom, she sheds light on the foundation of human morality and ethics, and reminds all groups in society that it is not praxis that creates truth but truth that should serve as the basis of praxis. Far from undermining the tolerance of legitimate diversity, such a contribution illuminates the very truth which makes consensus attainable, and helps to keep public debate rational, honest and accountable. Similarly the Church never tires of upholding the essential moral categories of right and wrong, without which hope could only wither, giving way to cold pragmatic calculations of utility which render the person little more than a pawn on some ideological chess-board. …
academic freedom …

This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom.** Divergence from this vision weakens Catholic identity and, far from advancing freedom, inevitably leads to confusion, whether moral, intellectual or spiritual.**

You can find Dr. Barr’s articles at

Science and Western Civilization’s : Debt to Catholic Church : Section Stephen Barr

**God Bless,

John**

Hi, John!

Excellent quotes!

…sadly, I find that scholars and theologians have forgotten what “Revelation” truly means… it seems that they are blinded by a true quest for entitlement and adulation (not all, mind you… just those progressives that continue to hold their opinions as the culmination of truth).

Maran atha!

Angel

Study of the laws of physics, which are as immutable as the God Who created them, has almost always had appeal to those of faith. There was little need to write about one’s faith in those earlier times, as it was a baseline, a foundation, a default. It simply defined who one was. Only with the advent of secularism and militant atheism has the need to defend the faith arisen. Only since the advent of those two belief systems has the canard of opposition between faith and science arisen.

Hi, PO!

Excellent observation!

Maran atha!

Angel

Today there is a new post affirming the positive relationship between science (as we call it today - perhaps natural philosophy was the term then) and the medieval Catholic church:

Carl Sagan and the Myth of the Medieval Gap

And, for contemporary Catholic scientists:

catholicscientists.org

Ive sometimes wondered why in our modern times, the church seems to agree with the scientific world on just about everything, where as in the past, the 2 entities were almost at each others throats over a variety of topics.

I tend to think if the scientific world was proven wrong or at least inaccurate in the past, its highly likely, in the future, many things considered to be science fact today, will eventually be proven to be wrong/ inaccurate.

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