Foundation For Science
Many in our culture today claim, or worse just assume, that the Catholic
Church stood in the way of scientific development.
The book Da Vinci Code is just one example of this. In an
interview on ABC Dan Brown, the author, states that Leonardo lived in a time when
science was synonymous with heresy. While this false
characterization is a common misconception among many an objective examination shows that it
was God’s Divine Revelation through His Church that made possible the
scientific revolution and the discoveries of which we enjoy today.
Good Bible exegesis is not only compatible with
science it also has helped lay the foundation from which science was
able to grow. There have been examples of the Bible being
misinterpreted in such ways that some where slow to accept certain
scientific discoveries. However, the converse is also true.
There have been
examples of bad science which has led some to discriminated against the
Also, see sidebar articles on the Galileo case, which was an aberration to the norm.
Also see the
Flat Earth Myth at this web site
which explains how modern academia created their own fictionalized
history in an attempt to discredit the previous generations and those of
Dr. Anthony Rizzi states that science grew out of Catholic Europe.
Although Aristotle, for example, made
significant discoveries, his classical Greek culture was unable to
maintain and nurture further development. The perspectives of the
pagan culture in which he lived had certain draw backs. If the world was controlled
by the whim of combative, immature, and impulsive pagan gods then there
would be no real laws of nature to discover.
When the Jesuits went to China they were amazed
at the Asians lack of progress in their understanding of the world.
Some Muslims did make some progress in their discoveries, however it
must be remembered that these people had been Christian centuries
earlier before Mohammed came along in 6th century. And so,
they had been influenced by the Christian perception of the world.
It was the Christian understanding that the
world was both good and intelligible to us that laid the foundation for
science to both take root and for this society to pass onto successive
generations the discoveries that were made.
Another unique aspect of the a Judaic-Christian
culture was the concept that time had a beginning. While the
pagans viewed time as strictly cyclical, Western Europe informed by
Divine Revelation viewed time as having a beginning and an end. The
understanding that space-time-matter had been created by a Divine Law
Giver has extremely positive ramifications.
Pagan cultures, on the other hand, created a view of the world that
inhibited scientific advancement. The Pagans did not view the world as rational. They
viewed things as being controlled by many gods and magical powers. They
did not view the world as something that was governed by natural laws that
could be discovered.
Hinduism, for example, which views every part of
being part of the one god does not lend itself to scientific
experimentation. For example, if that chair or table is god it may not
want me to experiment on it.
Whereas, the Divine Revelation of the
Judaic-Christian culture, specifically that which was made manifest
the Catholic Church, did give rise to scientific thinking and progress.
The world and all the physical things in it are created by a Father
God. Physical objects are created outside of God Himself and are bound
the Natural Law he made to govern them.
There were some great scientific minds that
sprang up in other cultures, such as the ancient Greek, Roman, and
Egyptian cultures to name a few, and there were some great minds in
Islam as well who worked individually or in small groups. However, these
societies did not have the
culture to absorb and pass on those advancements to their successive
generations the same way that Christian Europe could - whose culture had
been greatly influenced by God’s Divine Revelation.
In the first few centuries it was illegal to be
a Christian. Once it was legalized, and the Church was able to fight off the invasions of the
Visigoths, Vandals, and other Barbarians and was able to establish peace
they were able to establish a Catholic culture.
And so, this culture was able to start the university system
around 1200 AD and was able to effectively pass on
what was learned to successive generations.
Some of the most important universities were
founded by the Popes. They are located in Rome, Pisa, Ferrara, Toulouse,
Valladolid, Heidelberg, Cologne, and Erfurt. Many of the other
universities which are likewise quite old were begun by the combined
efforts of both Popes and princes. They are the Universities of Coimbra, Florence, Prague, Vienna, Cracow, Alcalá,
Upsala, Louvain, Leipzig, Rostock, and Tübingen, not to mention many
St. Albert the Great, (circa 1200-80) was even called by that title,
“Great,” in his own lifetime and was later given the title of Universal
Doctor. Albert was one of the greatest intellectuals of
the Medieval times. He had encyclopedic type knowledge of biology,
chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geography. One of his treatises
proved that the earth was spherical in shape. He is also noted for his important
contributions in botany and zoology. He also wrote extensively
about logic, metaphysics, and mathematics, as well as, of course, about the Bible, and theology.
One of his most prestigious students was an Italian Dominican named
Thomas Aquinas, who became the most famous theologian in the high Middle
Ages. In addition to his religious accomplishments he also made
significant scientific contributions as well. He is noted for
contributions to the study of scientific methodology. Influenced by
Albert, he saw physics as a discipline prior to metaphysics, and even
necessary for the latter’s foundation.
The Savior of Science or
The Origin of Science and the Science of its Origins,
by Stanley L. Jaki.
Also, as an overview of religion in
Western Civilization, Progress and Religion,
by Christopher Dawson.
As to the intelligibility of the world, see
City of God by Augustine and
Introduction to St. Thomas Aquinas, Anton C. Pegis, Ed.
“Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large
St. Augustine, The City of God, Book IV, Chap. 5
More on Debunking the Da Vinci Code:
MARY MORAL ISSUES
HOME - DEFENDING
Fr. Georges Lemaitre and Albert Einstein
Fr. Georges Lemaitre, a Catholic priest, was the
first scientist to propose what we now call the Big Bang Theory. At
first, Albert Einstein told him, "Your calculations are correct, but
your grasp of physics is abominable." Later, after
Fr. Georges Lemaitre gave a seminar on his new theory Einstein stood
up applauded, and said, “This is the most beautiful and satisfactory
explanation of creation to which I have ever listened.”
'A Day Without Yesterday'
Dr. Anthony Rizzi
physicist with degrees from MIT (B.S., phys.) and Princeton
(PhD, phys.) and he solved an 80 year old problem in Einstein’s
theory of General Relativity called Angular Momentum. He is the
“The Science Before Science.”
John F. McCarthy
Catholicism and Science
by Rodney Stark, professor of sociology at
the University of Washington. This piece
is excerpted from a longer piece,
“False Conflict: Christianity Is Not Only
Compatible with Science—It Created It,”
Professor Stark has a good way of getting to the
point. He says,
“The progress achieved during the ‘Dark
Ages’ was not merely technological.
Medieval Europe excelled in philosophy
and science. The term
‘Scientific Revolution’ is in many ways
as misleading as ‘Dark Ages.’ Both were
coined to discredit the medieval Church.
The notion of a ‘Scientific Revolution’
has been used to claim that science
suddenly burst forth when a weakened
Christianity could no longer prevent it,
and as the recovery of classical learning made it possible.
Both claims are as false as those concerning Columbus and
the flat earth.
“The ‘Enlightenment’ was conceived
initially as a propaganda ploy by
atheists attempting to claim credit
for the rise of science.”
The Catholic Church and Western Civilization
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr
A Scientific Mind
We have all heard about the Church’s alleged hostility toward science.
What most people fail to realize is that historians of science have
spent the past half-century drastically revising this conventional
wisdom, arguing that the Church’s role in the development of Western
science was far more salutary than previously thought. ...
• How many people realize that the
father of geology was a Catholic priest, Fr. Nicholas Steno?
• Or that the
father of Egyptology was Fr. Athanasius Kircher?
• Or that Fr.
Giambattista Riccioli was the first person to measure the rate of
acceleration of a freely falling body?
• Or that to
this day 35 craters on the moon are named after Jesuit astronomers and
• Or that
beginning in the seventeenth century the Jesuits took Western science
all over the world, even to such far-off places as India and China?
• Or that the
Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, which was constructed to be one of
the most precise solar observatories in the world, was used by Catholic
astronomer Giovanni Cassini to confirm Johannes Kepler’s suggestion that
planetary orbits were elliptical rather than circular?
Hundreds of little-known facts like these are just waiting to be
Articles by Thomas E. Woods, Jr
None So Blind: How Secularists Ignore the Value of Religion
“We Were the Ones Who Created Europe”:
How the Monks Saved Civilization
Get his book
The Catholic Church and Western Civilization
by Thomas E. Woods, Jr
Retelling the Story of Science
This is an excellent and insightful article by Professor Stephen M. Barr who did
his graduate work at Princeton University. He examines the
prejudices by many in the world of science against the faith and how
modern science actually vindicates the reasonableness of faith.
Modern Physics & Ancient Faith I:
The Design of the Universe
By Stephen Barr
The Church in History
The Christian roots of modern science
The Biblical Basis of Western Science
by Father Stanley L. Jaki
This article explains the limitations of science, how to understand
Genesis, how the Bible and Catholic scientists laid the ground work for
Newton, and how to make palatable the Good News to our culture
especially those in the field of science and evolution.
An Absentee God?
By Dinesh D'Souza
Myth 2: Religion Does More Harm Than Good
By Father Thomas D. Williams, LC
Catholic Priest Scientists
Faith and Reason by IOANNES PAULUS PP. II (JP2)
The Galileo case is a complicated one and an
aberration to the norm in the relationship between science and religion.
How Galileo Brought His Troubles With The Church On Himself
This Rock Magazine
by Anne W Carroll
Church Supports Science