Tuesday, July 22, 2014

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Catholic Education Daily

 

Why Science Needs Catholicism

Professor Dominique Lambert, described as an expert in theoretical physics and the philosophy of science at the University of Namur (Belgium), argues for the intersection of faith and science in an interview for Zenit:

[S]cience is producing many questions - rational and coherent questions - which are beyond the scope of its own methods. For example, the question of the ultimate foundation of existence, the meaning and history of existence – life, values, questions of a metaphysical and ethical nature - these are in fact produced by scientific activity but cannot be solved within the borders of scientific method.

...[With the Christian faith] you can shed some light on scientific findings. You can discover that many questions of a foundational value of meaning can receive some kind of intelligibility coming from this source of intelligibility. If you start from point of view of a believer, then you can get some coherent answer, with an increase in intelligibility – and this point of view respects science completely, because you don’t modify science, you don’t try to extract from science that which is not science. You respect the autonomy of science, but you shed some light on it, [giving] an answer and an increase in intelligibility, and this is important. It’s not straightforward because we can, for example, adopt a religious position but one which will decrease the intelligibility of the world. But, in fact, we can prove that Christian belief is not like this. The Catholic tradition, for example, can shed some light and provide some elements as answers to fundamental questions, completely respecting the autonomy of science while at the same time increasing the intelligibility of science.

Lambert points out two problems to be avoided:

I would also like to emphasise that, regarding the relationship between science and faith, it is important to avoid two kinds of problems: those coming from concordism [and] discordism. We need to avoid them and instead need some kind of articulation. In fact, in the Catholics tradition we have this quest for articulation because we have the nice tradition of fides et ratiointellectus quaerens fidem [seeking to understand faith], and fides quaerens intellectum [faith seeking understanding]. And the First Vatican Council condemned rationalism – that is, reason alone without faith, but also fideism, faith without reason, and it’s very nice to realise that in the Catholic tradition we have such a dynamic articulation between fides et ratio. I think this tradition proffers absolute respect but without breaking the autonomy of science and theology.

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