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

Francis Bacon – Father of Experimental Science

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2014-11-11 bacon francis

Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St. Alban, QC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626), was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, jurist, orator, essayist, and author. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England. After his death, he remained extremely influential through his works, especially as philosophical advocate and practitioner of the scientific method during the scientific revolution.

Bacon has been called the creator of empiricism. His works established and popularised inductive methodologies for scientific inquiry, often called the Baconian method, or simply the scientific method. His demand for a planned procedure of investigating all things natural marked a new turn in the rhetorical and theoretical framework for science, much of which still surrounds conceptions of proper methodology today.

Bacon was knighted in 1603 (being the first scientist to receive a knighthood), and created Baron Verulam in 1618 and Viscount St. Alban in 1621.

Bacon’s ideas were influential in the 1630s and 1650s among scholars, in particular Sir Thomas Browne, who in his encyclopaedia Pseudodoxia Epidemica (1646–72) frequently adheres to a Baconian approach to his scientific enquiries. During the Restoration, Bacon was commonly invoked as a guiding spirit of the Royal Society founded under Charles II in 1660. During the 18th-century French Enlightenment, Bacon’s non-metaphysical approach to science became more influential than the dualism of his French contemporary René Descartes, and was associated with criticism of the ancien regime. In 1733 Voltaire “introduced him as the “father” of the scientific method” to a French audience, an understanding which had become widespread by 1750. In the 19th century his emphasis on induction was revived and developed by William Whewell, among others.

Bacon is also considered because of his introduction of science in England to be the philosophical influence behind the dawning of the Industrial age. In his works, Bacon stated “the explanation of which things, and of the true relation between the nature of things and the nature of the mind, is as the strewing and decoration of the bridal chamber of the mind and the universe, out of which marriage let us hope there may spring helps to man, and a line and race of inventions that may in some degree subdue and overcome the necessities and miseries of humanity” meaning he hoped that through the understanding of mechanics using the Scientific Method, society will create more mechanical inventions that will to an extent solve the problems of Man. This changed the course of science in history, from a experimental state, as it was found in medieval ages, to an experimental and inventive state – that would have eventually led to the mechanical inventions that made possible the Industrial Revolutions of the following centuries.

He also wrote a long treatise on Medicine, History of Life and Death, with natural and experimental observations for the prolongation of life.

Is God a Puppet Master?

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In an Interview, Brother Guy Consolmagno SJ, was asked about the following quote attributed to him:

“Religion needs science to keep it away from superstition and keep it close to reality, to protect it from creationism, which at the end of the day is a kind of paganism — it’s turning God into a nature god.”

He answers:

“I suspect I never said those words quite that way. But it’s close enough to my beliefs that I’m not going to fight it. And I’ve realized that, properly spoken, there’s some truth to it. The idea is this: If you’re making God the direct cause of everything — trees grow because God made them grow; lightning strikes because God made it strike — you’re turning God into Jupiter or any other god of the pagan pantheon, where people said things occurred because the gods caused them to happen. One breakthrough in Christian theology, going back to Thomas Aquinas and Augustine, was recognizing the difference between primary and secondary cause. This theological point is really important to science. The simplest explanation is that God made the laws of physics and has chosen to follow them. So nature has a certain amount of freedom within it; humans certainly have free will. We’re not puppets, controlled every moment by this omnipotent puppet God.

Astronomer

Br. Guy Consolmagno SJ

Guy Consolmagno holds two degrees in earth and planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he wears a clerical collar—proof, he says, that “it’s possible to be a fanatic and a nerd at the same time.” He entered the Jesuit order in 1991 and was assigned to the Vatican Observatory in 1993. He serves as curator of the Vatican’s meteorite collection in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, the Pope’s summer home; his office is above the Pope’s bedroom. There, he measures the densities and porosities of meteorites and studies the origins of asteroids, dwarf planets, and objects orbiting the sun beyond Neptune. He even has an asteroid named after him: 4597 Consolmagno. [1]

In a brandnew article, one of my friends writes:

 “God is neither in competition with the causality of nature, nor is his causality in the same plane as that of nature, the way quarks and bosons operate in the plane of fundamental particles. For the Thomist there is a crucial distinction to be made between primary and secondary causality, and it is both ignorance and denial of this distinction that has contributed to talk of God as a ‘scientific hypothesis’ — a favorite catchphrase of both New Atheists and Intelligent Design theorists — and, a fortiori, to blurring the line between Creator and creature by conceiving of God as a being among other beings, one ‘hypothesis’ among many others.”

Read it all on Analogia Entis. [2]

[1] Source: http://scicom.ucsc.edu/publications/QandA/2008/consolmagno.html

[2] God and The Integrity of Nature: Primary and Secondary Causality, on the blog Analogia Entis

Pope John Paul II on Creation Continua and Providence

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creator iconOn 07 May 1986, Pope John Paul II, during one of his Wednesday General Audiences dedicated to the theme of Divine Providence within creation, affirmed: “By creating, God called into being from nothing all that began to exist outside himself. But God’s creative act does not end here. What comes forth from nothing would return to nothing if it were left to itself and not conserved in being by the Creator. Having created the cosmos, God continues to create it, by maintaining it in existence. Conservation is a continuous creation (conservatio est continua creatio).

Here is the complete text from Pope John II:

Divine Providence Continues to Care for Creation

Today we continue the catechesis on divine Providence. By creating, God called into being from nothing all that began to exist outside himself. But God’s creative act does not end here. What comes forth from nothing would return to nothing if it were left to itself and not conserved in being by the Creator. Having created the cosmos, God continues to create it, by maintaining it in existence. Conservation is a continuous creation (conservatio est continua creatio).

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Pope Francis – we are “protectors” of creation: 19 March 2013

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On 19 March 2013, a few days after his election, Pope Francis said at the inauguration of the petrine ministry mass:

“The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone. It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us. It means respecting each of God’s creatures andrespecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about. It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents. It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness. In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!

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