Scientists reflect on their faith (XII)

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‘In a word, dinosaurs were the jewels of God’s creation.
By no means failures, they graced the planet for 160 million years.
Like all of His Creation, they gave Him praise. God loved dinosaurs.’ [1]

Peter Dodson was born on 20 August 1946 – happy birthday!

An accomplished paleontologist and a committed Catholic, Dodson is a professor of vertebrate paleontology and veterinary anatomy at the University of Pennsylvania and an expert on dinosaurs.

He describes the confrontation with materialistic scienticism in words that some of us may relate to in some way or the other:

‘I grew up in a Catholic household, attended Catholic high school and Catholic university. At Yale during my Ph.D. program my friends were for the most part Catholic. To be candid, I led a sheltered existence and was never seriously challenged in my faith. I never went through a period of doubt.

‘My bubble was burst in 1988 when I attended a seminar at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia. The topic was “The Evolution of Human Morality” and the speaker was the late Will Provine, an evolutionary biologist and evangelical atheist from Cornell University. His message was that we should face up to the consequences of what evolutionary biology teaches: “There is no God; there is no soul; there is no life after death; there is no such thing as free will. A scientist who professes to believe in God is a hypocrite. You MUST check your brains at the back of the church. Not more than a handful of evolutionary biologists believe in God.”

As I sensed the tacit or vocal approval of this message by the assembled scientists, I slouched deep into my seat, feeling most decidedly alone. I had never before heard such a crude expression of scientific naturalism, the gratuitous philosophy of materialism that science does not require. I of course knew that there are atheists in science but nobody before had tried to tell me I could not believe. [2]

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William Buckland: Geology not contrary to revealed religion

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William Buckland DD, FRS was born on 12 March 1784. He was an English theologian who became Dean of Westminster. He was also a geologist and palaeontologist. He wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus.

“Geology has shared the fate of other infant sciences, in being for a while considered hostile to revealed religion; so like them, when fully understood, it will be found a potent and consistent auxiliary to it, exalting our conviction of the Power, and Wisdom, and Goodness of the Creator.

Geology and Mineralogy Considered with Reference to Natural Theology (1836), Vol. 1, 9.