I struggled with how to phrase this question, how to explain it and how to write it without sounding like one of those rabid New Athiests.
I hear Catholics very often insisting there can be no conflict between science and faith, be it because they are complimentary or because they have their own spheres of knowledge to which the other cannot or should not delve into. On the surface this sounds reasonable, and it came as a rather pleasant surprise when one looks towards the fundamentalist literalist sola scriptura churches.
However,there are instances of teaching, Dogma in fact in some cases relating to the creation story where science either has disproven it ot there is overwhelming evidence pointing towards it being incorrect.
I’m not talking so much about a literal reading of portions of the bible the Catholic Church reads as an allegory here; for instance Catholics are bound to believe to my knowledge that Adam and Eve were a literal couple and that death entered the world as a consequence of Adam’s sin.
There’s two problems with this, apoptosis (pre programmed cell death) is necessary to sustain organic multi-cellular life, so death had to have existed prior to the fall (We can also assume Adam was not nor was he created to be a vegan due to the formation of our canine teeth and reliance upon meat for a great deal of nutrition so some creatures would have had to die to provide that for him).
There is also increasing amounts evidence from geneticists claiming that while it is possible to trace back human DNA to a source the two individuals traced so far, “Adam” and “Mitochondrial Eve” lived a few hundred (possibly even thousand) years apart and themselves appear to have developed from a wider group.
Homosexuality seems to be another big one these days, aside from the occasional “quack” if I can be blunt modern medical academia and psychology are almost entirely unanimous in stating that Homosexual impulses are entirely natural and are in no way disordered. Leaving the morality of it aside, rather science has defined it as a “feature” of every species and perfectly normal while the Church continues to insist it is unnatural and an unintended consequence of human actions (Sin).
It’s probably not the best example but it’s the more recent one I’ve come across. How as Catholics do you reconcile things like this? Is “there is no conflict between science and faith” more an ideal than a reality? Because when we look back into history there are several episodes like this, Galileo’s proof that the Ptolemaic Geocentric understanding of the universe being incorrect easily being the most famous but not the only one.
When I read Leo XIII’s statements about there being no conflict between the two, it seems to be…Well…Incorrect. The Church has consistently through history and even today denies obvious realities. Any thoughts?