Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Is Benedict Anti-Science?

Some Italian professors and students are planning to protest during Pope Benedict's visit to an Italian University because they believe him to be "anti-science". This is an unjust and slanderous accusation against a man who upholds scientific discipline and study. The point is not to actually dialogue with the Pope about science and the interplay it has with faith, but rather they just want to get publicity and make the Church look ignorant and backward. But, truth is confined to science or faith. The two go together. So, what does the Pope think about science? Well, let us allow him to speak for himself. From an interview with him several years ago:
Q: What do you think is the starting point to coordinate the growth of humanity's technical and scientific power with faith and morality?

Cardinal Ratzinger: It is something that must be rediscovered, because the scientific models change; hence, the situation of dialogue between science and faith is faced with new challenges.

An important instrument, for example, is the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, of which I am now also a member and, in fact, a short while ago I participated for the first time in one of it meetings.

To date, it was only an assembly of scientists -- physicists, biologists, etc. Now, philosophers and theologians have also joined. We have seen that dialogue between the sciences and philosophy and theology is difficult, because they are totally different ways of addressing reality, with different methods, etc.

One of these academics -- he was a specialist in human brain research -- said, There are two irreconcilable worlds; on one hand we have the exact sciences for which, in their field, there is no freedom, there are no presence of the spirit and, on the other hand, I realize that I am a man and that I am free.

Therefore, according to him, they are two different worlds -- and we do not have the possibility to reconcile these two perceptions of the world. He himself acknowledged that he believed in the two worlds: in science that denies freedom, and in his experience of being a free man.

However, we cannot live in this way; it would be permanent schizophrenia. In this present situation of acute methodological specialization on the part of both approaches, we must seek the way in which one discovers the rationality of the other, and develop a genuine dialogue.

For the time being, there is no formula. This is why it is extremely important that proponents of the two approaches of human thought meet: the sciences, and philosophy and theology. In this way, they can discover that both are expressions of authentic reason. But they must understand that reality is one and that man is one.

This is why it is very important that in universities and faculties they not be distinct disciplines separated from one another, but in permanent contact, in which we learn to think with others and to find the unity of reality.
Of course these protesting scientists aren't interested in the "genuine dialogue" that the Pope sees. They would rather have a dictatorship of relativism.

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