04 September 2011

Is the Church against science?

It is - sadly - often claimed today by some of a certain mindset that the Church stands against reason and science and opposes scientific discovery.  The truth of the matter is quite the opposite.

Simply consider the following list of Catholics (with their scientific fields) compiled by A Reluctant Sinner, most of whom were priests:

Roger Bacon (founder of the modern scientific method); Robert Grosseteste (father of scientific experimentation); Basil Valentine (father of modern chemistry); Nicolaus Copernicus (proponent of heliocentrism); Giovanni Battista Riccioli (leading astronomer and the first person to measure the rate of acceleration of a freely falling body); Athanasius Kircher (father of Egyptology, first man to view microbes, and founder of modern geography); Václav Prokop Diviš, Giuseppe Toaldo and Luigi Galvini (discoverers of various types of electricity); Jean Mabillon (founder of palaeography); Marin Mersenne (father of acoustics); René Just Haüy (founder of chrystallography); Jean-Antoine Nollet (who discovered the phenomenon of osmosis in natural membranes); Louis Pasteur (genius of mirco-biology); Francesco Lana de Terzi (father of aeronautics and proponent of what later became known as Braille); Jean Baptiste Carnoy (founder of cytology); Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (world famous palaeontologist and discoverer of Peking Man - even if his theology was suspect); Gregor Mendel (father of genetics - pictured, left); and Georges Lemaître (proposer of the Big Bang theory - pictured top and below).

Very few people who hold to the theory of The Big Bang not about the man who first theorized about it: Monsignor Georges Lemaitre.  That's right: a Catholic priest is the founder of the Big Bang theory (which he called the hypothesis of the primeval atom).

Why is it that we hear so little about this great scientific mind?  A Reluctant Sinner suggests:

It seems that the modern world is uncomfortable with the fact a Belgian Catholic priest was also one of its greatest astronomers, mathematicians and physicists. Fr Georges Lemaître, who taught at the Catholic University of Louvain, is a massive stumbling block to those who suffer from the delusion that science and religious faith cannot (or should not) be compatible.

Curiously enough, when he proposed this hypothesis of the primeval atom, the secularist scientists of the time ridiculed Msgr. Lemaitre for what was then considered a ridiculous idea.

Go and read more.

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