John Henry Newman on evolution and man’s origin

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“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, Letter to E.B. Pusey (The Oratory, 5 June 1870)

Stanley L. Jaki – Science as a Pathway to God

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Stanley L. Jaki was born in 1924 in Györ, Hungary. He entered the Benedictine Order in 1942. After completing his undergraduate training in philosophy, theology and RoadofScience200mathematics in 1947, he went to the Pontifical Institute of San Anselmo, Rome, where he received a doctorate in theology in December 1950. In 1948 he was ordained a priest. Dr. Jaki held the STD in systematic theology, Istituto Pontificio di S. Anselmo (Rome, 1950), a PhD in physics from Fordham University (1957), and several honorary doctorates. Dr. Jaki gave the Gifford Lectures at the University of Edinburgh in 1974-75 and 1975-76. The lectures were published as The Road of Science and the Ways of God. In 1987, he was awarded  the Templeton Prize for furthering understanding of science and religion. Jaki authored more than two dozen books on the relation between modern science and orthodox Christianity.

From 1951, Dr. Jaki taught systematic theology at the School of Theology of St Vincent College, Latrobe, Pennsylvania. During this time, he attended in the same college courses in American history, literature, mathematics and sciences to secure American recognition of his undergraduate training done in Hungary. He received his BS from St Vincent College in 1954. The same year, he began doctoral research in physics in the Graduate School of Fordham University, New York, under the mentorship of the late Dr. Victor F. Hess, the discoverer of cosmic rays and a Nobel-laureate. Dr. Jaki’s thesis was published in the June 1958 issue of Journal of Geophysical Research under the title, “A Study of the Distribution of Radon, Thoron, and Their Decay Products Above and Below the Ground.” Between 1958 and 1960 he did research in the history and philosophy of physics at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley. From 1960 to 1962 he was Visiting Fellow in the Program for the History and Philosophy of Science at Princeton University. From 1962 to 1965 he wrote the important work, The Relevance of Physics (University of Chicago Press, 1966). From 1975 to his death, he was Distinguished University Professor at Seton Hall University, in South Orange, New Jersey. He held doctorates in theology and in physics and was a leading contributor to the philosophy of science and the history of science, particularly to their relationship to Christianity.

He was among the first to claim that Gödel’s incompleteness theorem is relevant for theories of everything (TOE) in theoretical physics. Gödel’s theorem states that any theory that includes certain basic facts of number theory and is computably enumerable will be either incomplete or inconsistent. Since any ‘theory of everything’ must be consistent, it also must be incomplete.

He died on 7 April 2009 in Madrid, Spain following a heart attack. He was in Spain visiting friends, on his way back to the United States after delivering lectures in Rome on Faith and Science at the Pontificio Ateneo Regina Apostolorum.

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Sources: Griffolds Lectures,  Wikipedia

Further recommended reading:

John J. Mulloy, Fr. Stanley L. Jaki on Science as a Pathway to God

John Beaumont, Does science disprove God? A great philosopher-priest showed that it couldn’t 

Stacy A Trasancos, Fr. Stanley Jaki’s Definition of Science 

 

Georges Lemaitre on Physics and Providence

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Georges LeMaitre on Physics Chance Providence

 

« Physics does not exclude Providence. Nothing happens without its order or permission, even if this gentle action is not miraculous. Evolution, whether of the universe or of the living world, could be made at random by quantum leaps or mutations. Nevertheless, this chance has, from a superior point of view, been directed towards a goal. For us Christians, it was oriented towards the appearance of life. In what was done, there was life, intelligence and life was light in man and finally in humanity by the incarnation of the Man-God: the true light that illuminated our darkness.

Chance does not exclude Providence. Perhaps chance provides the strokes mysteriously actuated by Providence. »

Georges Lemaitre, 1966

 

« La physique n’exclut pas la providence. Rien n’arrive sans son ordre ou sa permission, même si cette action suave n’a rien de miraculeux. L’évolution, que ce soit celle de l’univers ou du monde vivant, a pu se faire au hasard des sauts quantiques ou des mutations. Néanmoins, ce hasard a pu d’un point de vue supérieur être orienté vers un but. Pour nous chrétien, il a été orienté vers l’apparition de la vie. En ce qui a été fait, il y avait de la vie, de l’intelligence et la vie était lumière chez l’homme et enfin dans l’humanité par l’incarnation de l’Homme-Dieu : la vraie lumière qui a illuminé nos ténèbres.

Le hasard n’exclut pas la Providence. Peut-être le hasard fournit-il les touches qu’actionne mystérieusement la Providence. »

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Lemaître, « L’expansion de l’Univers: Réponses à des questions posées par Radio Canada le 15 avril 1966 », Revue des Questions Scientifiques, t. CXXXVIII (5e série, t. XXVIII), avril 1967, n°2, pp. 153-162, version revue et adaptée par O. Godart. In: Dominique Lambert, Georges Lemaître : repères biographiques. Revue des Questions Scientifiques, 2012, 183 (4) : 1-59

 

 

Whitehead on some scientists…

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“Scientists animated by the purpose of proving that they are purposeless constitute an interesting subject for study.”

Alfred North Whitehead, The Function of Reason, Princeton University Press, 1929

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Alfred N. Whitehead (15 February 1861 – 30 December 1947) was an English philosopher, mathematician, and logician co-authored the Principia Mathematica with Bertrand Russell. He elaborated process philosophy, which had a particular influence, especially in the Anglo-Saxon word, on how the relationship between God and nature was conceived, proposing an image of God as a “principle of concrescence” in a continually developing world.  (source: www.inters.org)

Xu “Paul” Guangqi

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Xu “Paul” Guangqi, the scientist. Photo: Jeremy Clarke

Xu “Paul” Guangqi (24 April 1562–08 November 1633) was a Chinese theologian, governor, astronomer, agricultural scientist, and mathematician. A friend of the Jesuit missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci, S.J. (1552–1610), Guangqi is known for having written “Nong Zheng Quan Shu,” an extended scientific treatise on agriculture. He also translated Confucian texts into Latin and co-wrote a Chinese translation and commentary of parts of Euclid’s “Elements” with Fr. Matteo Ricci.

Guangqi is known as one of the “Three Pillars of Chinese Catholicism.” He is currently “Servant of God” in the ongoing canonization cause from the Archdiocese of Shanghai.

In 1596, Xu encountered Catholicism for the first time, but he received baptism only at the end of 1603. He had thus studied and seriously researched this doctrine for a full seven years. He arrived at the conclusion that the Christianity preached by the Western missionaries was not contrary to Confucianism, rather, it only added that which is missing from it. While studying Christian doctrine in depth, he produced a brief written summary:

“To place the service of God in the centre; to concern oneself with the salvation of the soul and the body; to attempt the way of filial piety and charity; to convert from one’s own sins and to aspire to sanctity in order to enter the gates of Heaven; to make penance and the purification of vices the heart of ascetic life; to aspire to paradise as the reward for good deeds; to be aware that eternal damnation will be the inferno for impenitent sinners. All of these teachings are part of a fundamental truth regarding Heaven and humanity. These teachings can render men [sic] more brotherly and sincere, and stimulate to the highest degree their commitment to eradicating evil from their existence. The salvation that comes from the Lord is a great grace: the doctrine concerning the reward for goodness and the punishment for evil is demonstrated in a very clear way, it is capable of touching the deepest part of the heart. This doctrine moves men to fear and the sincere faith that is born from the depth of conscience.” [1]

[1] Jin Luxian, Aloysius (金魯賢). “In Praise of Xu Guangqi 徐光啓.” Trans. Jeremy Clarke. Chinese Heritage Quartery. 23 (2010): pp.1-

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.

Edward Hitchcock and the first “tree of life”

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250px-Edward_HitchcockEdward Hitchcock (24 May 1793 – 27 Feb 1864) was an American geologist and the third President of Amherst College (1845–1854). In 1821 he was ordained as a Congregationalist pastor and served as pastor of the Congregational Church in Conway, Massachusetts, 1821-25. He left the ministry to become Professor of Chemistry and Natural History at Amherst College. He held that post from 1825 to 1845, serving as Professor of Natural Theology and Geology from 1845 until his death in 1864.

He tried to reconcile science and religion, focusing on Geology. His major work in this area was The Religion of Geology and Its Connected Sciences (Boston, 1851). In this book, he explained that vast timespans during which the earth was formed do not contradict the first chapters of Genesis. Continue reading