Faith and Science

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth—in a word, to know himself—so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.  –Blessed John Paul II, Fides et Ratio

Faith and science do not oppose to each other, they compliment each other. I’ve never fully understood why someone would negate years of scientific study and insurmountable evidence to cling to a past hypothesis that has been proven incorrect. The Flat Earth Society is a great example of clinging to such a hypothesis.  And no, that is not a joke.

Perhaps the biggest problem is when people confuse the Bible for a history, science, or biology textbook. It is none of those things. The Bible is the story of salvation and the truths that are needed in order to achieve it. The Bible is not one book but it is a collection of books, a library if you will. There are books of poetry and prose that are meant to be read allegorically and then there are books that are more biographical in nature that are to be taken more literally. Oftentimes within the same book we find both allegory and literal passages.

The creation story found at the beginning of Genesis is a great example of allegory. It isn’t a literal explanation in how God created everything. Always at the forefront of the faith and science issue is the question of young Earth versus old Earth. Was all of creation created in six literal days or billions of years? The overwhelming evidence points to billions of years. Does that somehow negate that a higher being created the cosmos? I don’t think so.

Here’s a great article on what the Church’s views on the age of the cosmos as well as evolution.

Humans are extremely curious and we are always trying to understand our surroundings. Science is the conduit by which we learn about the world around us. For me, science is another way to have an encounter with our creator. It’s not something big and scary, but it is extremely complex, magical, and awe-inspiring.  At the top of this post I quoted soon to be Saint Pope John Paul II from his encyclical on Faith and Reason.  It is an excellent starting point for anyone who has questions concerning faith’s role in science and vice versa.

Throughout history there have been many Catholic scientists that have increased our knowledge of the world around us.  Here is but a tiny list of such scientists:

  • Georgius Agricola – founder of geology.
  • Nicolas Steno – Catholic convert who would go on to be a Bishop played a crucial role in the development of modern geology, and contributed to the study of paleontology.
  • Roger Joseph Boscovich, S.J. – a Jesuit who is famous for his atomic theory, given as a clear, precisely formulated system utilizing principles of Newtonian mechanics. He also gave many important contributions to astronomy, including the first geometric procedure for determining the equator of a rotating planet from three observations of a surface feature and for computing the orbit of a planet from three observations of its position.
  • Maria Gaetana Agnesi – She was a linguist and mathematician, and is credited with writing the first book on both differential and intregal calculus.
  • Gregor Mendel – an Augustinian friar who is the father of genetics.
  • Georges Lemaître – a priest, astronomer, and professor of physics who is also the father of the Big Bang Theory.

The Church has always embraced scientific endeavor.  Yes, there have been times when the Church doubted certain scientific discoveries, but the same is said within the scientific community when something new comes about.  In the world of archaeology there is a debate over when the America’s was settled, and if you are on the “wrong” side (ie-Pre-Clovis) of the debate you might have your reputation tarnished at best and career over at worst.*  Just as there is debate within the scientific community the Church also enters into the debate from time to time because she too has a love of science.

* Hopefully the debate isn’t as fierce as it was ten years ago while I was at university.  I don’t know because since that time I’ve been busy either a) trying to save money so I could attend Grad school or b) putting that dream on hold and raising a family.

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7 Quick Takes (Vol 2)

— 1 —

Knee rehab update:  The range of motion in my knee is almost back to normal; the pt said that they consider “normal” to be around 140°-145°.  While moving my leg on my own I’m at 118°.  Now I just have to work on getting my strength back up so I can start going to Zumba again.

— 2 —

So this happened:

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My camera doesn’t pick up purple very well so imagine the colour is a vibrant purple.  It took a few days to get used to it, but I have been enjoying it.  It’s fun to add a bit of colour now and then.

— 3 —

Last week I said that I was going to read  Lumen Fidei this past week.  So I have a bit of a confession.  I haven’t finished reading it, but I am in the process of reading it.  Granted I would be a lot further if I had printed it off before this morning.  So far I’ve read the first chapter and it is definitely something everyone should read.  I’ll share a few of my favourite quotes from it after I’ve digested what I’ve read.

— 4 —

With Mike back at work and my Mother-in-law back in Florida, this past week has been my first week back to full-time mom status.  And boy was it a tough week.  My knee isn’t back to 100% or even 75%, but my kids don’t get that.  They are your typical rambunctious 3 and 5 year olds who have enough energy to play from sun up to sun down without taking a break.  Yet, I am not able to chase after them. So unless we go to the tiny park at our Church that is fenced in, they are stuck indoors. It’s times like these I wish we had a fenced in back yard.  Also, this has been “let’s test mom” week.  This has to be my least favourite game to play, and they aren’t fans either.  One day they will learn that Mom always wins this game.

— 5 —

The munchkins don’t know this yet, but they are going to get to see Thomas the Tank Engine tomorrow.  My husband set this up months ago and we know that our kids will be excited, well at least the boy will be.

— 6 —

I never thought coming up with seven little snippets a week would be such hard work.  The only little thing I have is this:  I wish I were able to be at San Diego Comic Con!!!   But alas, I am not.  One of these years we will be brave and take the munchkins to Dragon*Con in Hotlanta and introduce them to the awesomeness!  In the meantime I will be over here dreaming up a costume to wear.  **Insert maniacal laugh**

— 7 —

It’s late and I’ve got nothing.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

7 Quick Takes (vol 1)

— 1 —

Welcome to my first ever Quick Takes Friday!!   I’ve decided to start this to help me write more often here, and to improve my writing style.

— 2 —

Yesterday was one month post op.  What a difference a month has made.  I went from feeling as if the surgery was the worst decision ever because of all the pain and lack of motion that I had (not to mention feeling as if I had to re-learn to walk), to feeling really positive about the outcome.  I am in very little pain now; my knee only hurts when I step on it wrong or I’ve been on it too long and it’s tired.  My range of motion is returning and everything is getting easier.  I need to add that I am very thankful for my Mother-in-law spending the past three weeks out here to help me around the house and with the kiddos.

— 3 —

While I am thankful and happy that Grandma came out to visit and help, I’m also happy that she is going back home tomorrow.  It’s always nice when family can come to visit, and while it can be sad to see them leave – it’s also so very nice to have your house back to yourself.  These past three weeks has been extra hard on my daughter because she has had to share her bed with Grandma and because she hasn’t been allowed to watch her two favourite shows — The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and The Aquabats Super Show.  And yes, I let my children watch shows like these.  They are fun and my husband and I enjoy watching shows we actually like with or children.

— 4 —

I have several books lying around that I want to read (many of them I’ve started but put down for one reason or another), and one that I am currently reading. I have enough books to last me for at least the summer, and yet there are so many more out there that I want to purchase and read. This is the curse of being a lover of books.  I’m constantly having to stop myself from heading over to Amazon to purchase another book; I’m constantly saying to myself, “Self, you need to read those other five or so books you have before you purchase another one.”  Having two small children at home really puts a damper on my reading – not to mention blogging.  These two little monsters that I have are my favourite distractions and I’m not upset or disappointed that they are my main distractions.

— 5 —

Unrelated to any other topic here:  I have tried once again to get into the cult sci-fi tv show Firefly once more.  This has been attempt number 5-ish.  All of my fellow nerdy friends are astonished that I have never enjoyed this show, and so every few years I give it another go. So, how did this last attempt go?  Well… I made it through the first two episodes. That’s two more episodes than I have ever finished before (minus the movie; I have watched all of Serenity.).  So now I have a decision.  Push on and potentially be bored through the rest of the series, or push on and watch the rest of the 14 episodes so I can say I did it and maybe, just maybe I’ll decide that it’s okay and not dreadful.

— 6 —

Last Friday (July 5th), Pope Francis published his first encyclical, Lumen Fidei.  Pope Benedict XVI started writing it and Francis finished it.  For those of us who don’t know Latin, Lumen Fidei translates as The Light of Faith.  No, I haven’t read the encyclical, but it is on my very short to read list.  And from all the awesomeness I’ve heard about it you should read it too.  You know what, I’m going to make it my goal to read through it this week.

— 7 —

I’m seriously disappointed in the USCCB and what they are doing to bloggers and others who are trying to spread the Good News, especially during this Year of Faith.  If you haven’t heard I highly recommend you take a time to read Brandon Vogt’s encounter with them.  Granted I do believe he should have asked them first before he converted and offered Lumen Fidei in all the formats he did, but the USCCB should also have seen the value in it.  And it isn’t just Vogt that they have hindered in spreading the Gospel and an understanding of Catholic doctrine.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!