Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Science validating Creation

Teaching RCIA recently, I had the opportunity to present a "God the Father" session. Copied below is one of my tools for addressing belief in God and the Science position:

"Fathers of Science

By Matthew E. Bunson

On March 12, 2008, the John Templeton Foundation made the announcement of the winner of its annual Templeton Prize, which honors achievements engaging the great questions of life and the universe. The $1.6 million prize for 2008 went to Michal Heller, a Polish cosmologist and professor in the faculty of philosophy at the Pontifical Academy of Theology in Cracow, Poland. What makes Heller additionally remarkable is that he is a Catholic priest.

The 72-year-old plans to spend the prize money to establish a research institute-named in honor of Nicholas Copernicus-that will seek to reconcile science and theology. Fr. Heller said:

If we ask about the cause of the universe we should ask about the cause of mathematical laws. By doing so we are back in the great blueprint of God's thinking about the universe; the question on ultimate causality: Why is there something rather than nothing? When asking this question, we are not asking about a cause like all other causes. We are asking about the root of all possible causes. Science is but a collective effort of the human mind to read the mind of God from question marks out of which we and the world around us seem to be made.

As a priest-scientist, Fr. Heller is not unique. Rather, he stands in a long and great tradition of learned priests who were both scientists and men of faith. Some are well-known to history, such as Roger Bacon, the 13th-century Franciscan who stressed the concept of "laws of nature" and contributed to the development of mechanics, geography, and especially optics. Others are obscure. All, however, left a lasting legacy on their eras in learning, science, mathematics, and practical progress.

Above all, the priest-scientists offer a powerful lesson to Catholic apologists: There is no reason to stand mute when the name Galileo is wielded like a cudgel and the Church is savaged as an enemy of human progress. Apologists and well-read Catholics can point to these priest-scientists and declare forcefully what Fr. Georges LemaƮtre-discoverer of the "Big Bang"-robustly proclaimed in 1933: "There is no conflict between religion and science." What follows is a survey of a few of the many priests and scientists who have bettered our world over the centuries. The list does not pretend to be exhaustive, and the deeper issues that underlie the long-perceived conflict between science and religion, evolution, and cosmology-so much in the modern cultural dispute-will be examined in future articles in This Rock."
(This Rock Vol 19, No.7)