My atheist friend said to me that a Scientist cannot be Catholic, because the Church accepts a lot of things such as: Incorruptile Bodies, Stigmatas of Saints (Padre Pio), Miracles to make saints… All this things were never accepted my science, and they would never be accepted by the scientific community. So, a scientist which is catholic is accepting all this things as true without evidence, he is accepting that Our Lady appeared in Fatima, that saints has some supernatural powers, he accepts the existence of Exorcisms, he is ignoring the scientific proccess and he is accepting as true incredible events without strong evidence. How can a scientist that works with hard skepticism and investigation could accept this things and still be a serious scientist? Isnt it incoherent?
There are a number of scientists right here on CAF. There was a thread going a while back on Catholics who are scientists also and asked people to chime in. Regarding myself, I have my doctorate in physiology and biomechanics. It is partially through learning more and more about the body that I came to believe in God to begin with. The two are not mutually exclusive.
From what I’ve read and learned so for, I don’t think you “have” to believe in Our Lady of Fatima in order to be in line with Catholic teachings. (i.e., it’s not a dogma of the faith).
But I think there are a lot of intellectual or scientific minded people that have no problem at all believing in other miracles. The whole identity behind a miracle is that it is some kind of “happening” that is traced directly to God and by God. Either through a saint, Mary, or some other kind of extraordinary circumstance. Most scientists will be the first to admit that not every single thing in the world or universe is explained away by science.
It is very possible to strike a balance without excluding one for the other.
He said that he could not be in midst of his scientists colleagues and say that he accepts the miracles of the saints, that Padre Pio really have the Christ stigmatas and he made miracles, that Our Lady really showed herself to three childs on Fatima, they would laugh at his face, and that´s one of the reasons he doesnt become a catholic, because if he becomes a catholic, he automatically would have to accept all this stuff, and he has no strong evidences for all this things to make his position valid.
Your friend does not seem to have any idea of what a scientist is…
MOST scientific knowledge comes FROM looking into things that are accepted but have (at the time) no explanation.
Medicine is a prime example. People did not know where disease came from and many just figured it came from God (or from the devil). Scientists (many Catholic by the way) studied and learned and eventually found both cures and preventions for many diseases and infections.
Also - most of what science uncovers is “mechanisms” and not “sources” for things.
So excepting something is not in any way contrary to being Catholic…
Do most scientists believe that the sun is going to come up tomorrow? Yes, and yet there is no proof of this. The belief is an inductive assumption based on previous experience.
Do most biologists believe in the Horizon Problem? Yes, and yet they (mostly) do not have proof of this. The belief is an inductive assumption based upon the authority of cosmologists.
Do most scientists believe that the Enlightenment kicked off in the C18th? Yes, and yet they (mostly) do not have proof of this. The belief is an inductive assumption based upon the authority of historians.
Do most scientists believe lots of things in their own field of specialisation for which they do not have proof? Yes, and those beliefs are inductive assumptions based upon what little data they have and what interpretations of those data seem most coherent to them.
Your friend is just showing his religious prejudice. The topics you mention simply do not come up in the course of scientific endeavors. As a miracle, by its very definition, is something that transcends natural laws, the two topics never come in contact. In fact, science is vital to proving miracles since first one must assume a natural cause and then attempt to prove a natural cause. Only after no natural cause is found can one debate whether the situation is one in which a natural cause *should *be found.
You are just dealing with prejudice, not logic. In fact, his statement is very unscientific.
Your friend sounds like he is an undergraduate in college who believes that a scientist is what is portrayed in science fiction movies of the 1950’s, or on TV.
You can argue all you want, but his mind is made up in advance, that he is smarter than any arguments you can pose, no matter how logical or true they may be.
All you can do is pray for him and his ilk.
Ouch! Evidence of the truth of your statement may be found in the identity of the man who developed the theory of the “big bang” and who convinced none other than Einstein of its plausibility: Jesuit Priest Fr. Georges Lemaître.