Pope em. Benedict XVI on Creation

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PB16 on creation 2013-02-06

On 06 February 2013, Pope Benedict XVI dedicated one of his last audiences to the topic of creation:

“But our question today is: in the age of science and technology, does it still make sense to speak of creation? How should we understand the Genesis narratives? The Bible is not intended as a natural science manual; its intention instead is to teach us the authentic and profound truth of things. The fundamental truth that the Genesis stories reveal to us is that the world is not a collection of contrasting forces, but has its origin and its stability in the Logos, in God’s eternal Reason, who continues to sustain the universe. There is a plan for the world that arises from this Reason, from the creating Spirit. Believing that such a reality is behind all this, illuminates every aspect of life and gives us the courage to face the adventure of life with confidence and hope.”

You can read the whole text here.

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Kepler’s third law of planetary motion

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On 8 March 1618, Johannes Kepler, in his work Mysterium Cosmographicum (in the 2nd edition, 1621), indicated today’s date as the date that marks the discovery of the third law of planetary motion. In his own words:

“Found the true intervals of the orbs, thanks to the observations of Tycho Brahe, after many continuous work sessions (Latin: “plurimi temporis labore continuo”). Finally found the genuine proportions of the periodic cycles of the planets in terms of the dimensions of their orbits . . . . If you were to ask me, it was March 8, 1618. However, the calculations gave me unfruitful results, and therefore I rejected them as false. In the end, taking up the endeavor again on May 15, light overcame darkness in my mind (Latin: novo capto impetu expugnavit mentis meae tenebras). The convergence between the observations of Tycho Brahe over seventeen years and my own elucidations were such that at the beginning I thought I had been dreaming and had engaged in circular reasoning. But it is absolutely true and accurate that the relation between the periods of any given two planets is in exact proportion to the power of 3/2 of the two distances” (Lib. V, cap. III).

In mathematical terms, if P₁ and P₂ are the periods of revolution around the sun of any two planets, and a₁ and a₂ are the larger axes of their orbits, the law finds that the ratio of the squares of the periods (P₁)² / (P₂)² is equal to the ratio of the cubes of the axes (a₁)³ / (a₂)³.

Source: www.inters.org, 08 March

Kepler Mysterium cosmographicum

Johannes Kepler, Mysterium Cosmographicum, (1596), diagram of the planetary spheres

 

Pope Francis: Finding truth and joy in research

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On 11 June 2016, Pope Francis said to the summer course participants at the Vatican Observatory:

“God’s creation, and our own place in it, is shared by men and women of very diverse cultural and religious backgrounds. All of us dwell under the same sky. All of us are moved by the beauty revealed in the cosmos and reflected in the study of the heavenly bodies and substances. In this sense, we are united by the desire to discover the truth about how this marvellous universe operates; and in this, we draw ever closer to the Creator.

He also mentioned hardship and joy that we can find in  the daily work as scientists:

“Dear brothers and sisters, scientific research demands great commitment, yet can sometimes prove lengthy and tiresome.  At the same time, it can, and should be, a source of deep joy.  I pray that you will be able to cultivate that interior joy and allow it to inspire your work.  Share it with your friends, your families and your nations, as well as with the international community of scientists with whom you work.  May you always find joy in your research and share the fruit of your studies with humility and fraternity.”

2016-06-11 P Francis

read more here: Radio Vatican: Pope Francis speaks to participants of Vatican Observatory summer course

John Henry Newman on evolution and man’s origin

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2014-07-12 newman origin of man

“Does Scripture contradict [Darwin’s] theory?—was Adam not immediately taken from the dust of the earth? ‘All are of dust’ —Eccles 3:20 — yet we never were dust — we are from fathers. Why may not the same be the case with Adam? … I don’t know why Adam needs be immediately out of dust — Formavit Deus hominem de limo terrae [God formed man from the dust of the earth]—i.e. out of what really was dust and mud in nature, before He made it what it was, living.”

— John Henry Newman (1801–1890), English Cardinal and theologian.
Letter to Edward Bouverie Pusey (1800–1882), Birmingham Oratory (5 June 1870).

Source:
— Letters and Diaries of John Henry Newman: The Vatican Council. January 1870-December 1871. Ed. Charles Stephen Dessain. (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1961), 138.

Mary Ellen Boole’s Letter to Charles Darwin

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mary-everest-boole

 

Mary Everest Boole, a committed Christian,  wrote to Darwin seeking clarification that his theory might be compatible with her religious faith on 13 December 1866:

Dear Sir
Will you excuse my venturing to ask you a question to which no one’s answer but your own would be quite satisfactory to me.
Do you consider the holding of your Theory of Natural Selection, in its fullest & most unreserved sense, to be inconsistent,—I do not say with any particular scheme of Theological doctrine,—but with the following belief, viz:
That knowledge is given to man by the direct Inspiration of the Spirit of God.
That God is a personal and Infinitely good Being.
That the effect of the action of the Spirit of God on the brain of man is especially a moral effect.
And that each individual man has, within certain limits, a power of choice as to how far he will yield to his hereditary animal impulses, and how far he will rather follow the guidance of the Spirit Who is educating him into a power of resisting those impulses in obedience to moral motives.
The reason why I ask you is this. My own impression has always been,—not only that your theory was quite compatible with the faith to which I have just tried to give expression,—but that your books afforded me a clue which would guide me in applying that faith to the solution of certain complicated psychological problems which it was of practical importance to me, as a mother, to solve. I felt that you had supplied one of the missing links,—not to say the missing link,—between the facts of Science & the promises of religion. Every year’s experience tends to deepen in me that impression.
But I have lately read remarks, on the probable bearing of your theory on religious & moral questions, which have perplexed & pained me sorely. I know that the persons who make such remarks must be cleverer & wiser than myself. I cannot feel sure that they are mistaken unless you will tell me so. And I think,—I cannot know for certain, but I think,—that, if I were an author, I would rather that the humblest student of my works should apply to me directly in a difficulty than that she should puzzle too long over adverse & probably mistaken or thoughtless criticisms.
At the same time I feel that you have a perfect right to refuse to answer such questions as I have asked you. Science must take her path & Theology hers, and they will meet when & where & how God pleases, & you are in no sense responsible for it, if the meeting-point should be still very far off. If I receive no answer to this letter, I shall infer nothing from your silence except that you felt I had no right to make such inquiries of a stranger.
I remain
Dear Sir
Yours truly
Mary Boole

Charles Darwin answered the next Day:

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EVOLVE – UNROLL a SCROLL

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On 31 October 2008, Pope em. Benedict XVI said in his Address to Members of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on the occasion of their Plenary Assembly:

To “evolve ” literally means “to unroll a scroll” ,that is, to read a book. The imagery of nature as a book has its roots in Christianity and has been held dear by many scientists. Galileo saw nature as a book whose author is God in the same way that Scripture has God as its author. It is a book whose history, whose evolution, whose “writing” and meaning, we “read” according to the different approaches of the sciences, while all the time presupposing the foundational presence of the author who has wished to reveal himself therein. This image also helps us to understand that the world, far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a cosmos.

The whole address can be found at inters.org.

Einstein, the 5th Solvay Conference and God

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randomnessFrom the 24th to 29th October 1927, the fifth Solvay Conference took place in Brussels. Perhaps the most famous science conference in history. Seventeen of the 29 attendees were or became Nobel Prize winners. It is also famously remembered for it was at this conference that Einstein, who liked to invent catchy phrases, uttered his, “God does not play dice” . Bohr replied, “Einstein, stop telling God what to do“.

source: Pat’s Blog: On this day in Math – October 24