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Why the Supposed Conflict Between Science and Religion is Tragic Nonsense

Bishop Robert Barron

April 6, 2022


Friends, in a very real sense, the modern physical sciences came from religion. The great founders of science—Kepler, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Descartes, etc.—were, without exception, trained in ecclesially sponsored schools and universities. It was under the aegis of the church that they took in their physics, their astronomy, and their mathematics. More specifically, they learned in those institutions two essentially theological truths necessary for the emergence of the experimental sciences—namely, that the universe is not God and that the universe, in every nook and cranny, is marked by intelligibility. If nature were divine—as indeed it is considered to be in many religions, philosophies, and mysticisms—then it could never be an apt subject for observation, analysis, and experimentation. And if nature were simply chaotic, void of form, it would never yield up the harmonies and patterned intelligibilities that scientists readily seek. When these two truths, which are both a function of the doctrine of creation, obtain, the sciences can get underway.

I might especially urge Catholic scientists today to talk to young people about this issue. Tell them why the supposed warfare between religion and science is in fact a delusion, and even more importantly, show them how you have reconciled them in your own life. We simply cannot allow this silly justification for disaffiliation to stand.