Here’s a great video from EESA about the Big Bang (artistically depicted) and what the Hubble Space Telescope shows
“What!—another book about science and the Catholic Church; who needs it?”
That was the question I asked myself as I thought about writing this webbook. A year or so ago I had published an ebook about science and Catholic teaching; “Science versus the Church—‘Truth Cannot Contradict Truth’”. I wrote it to demonstrate that there was no conflict between what science truly told us about the world and Catholic teaching. A few months after that, a very fine book (hard-copy) “Particles of Faith” by Stacey Trasancos came out, with the same goal and theme. And some 14 years ago, a classic work by Stephen Barr, “Modern Physics and Ancient Faith” had appeared, to mention just a few titles.
Well, here was the problem: I had taught several adult education courses on science and Catholic teaching for the Diocese of Harrisburg and had given talks locally about the subject. A great difficulty in this enterprise was that some students, adults, lacked the basic scientific knowledge needed to engage meaningfully with the proponents of “scientism” (the atheology that says science explains everything we need to know about the world); and I didn’t have the skill to impart these basics in the limited course time available. This lack was not only a concern for me, but is general, according to this headline in the U.S. Catholic, “Should Catholics get an F in science?”
So, my remedy: a book that proposes to give a background in the basic sciences, on a qualitative, pictorial level, to students that will enable them to understand, and when necessary, refute, arguments given by those who proclaim that science explains everything.
I’ve made every effort to avoid complex mathematics and have tried to give explanations that are pictorial, qualitative and down to earth. According to beta-readings of chapters by my wife (who’s a math-phobe), former students, and privileged viewers of my blog, this effort has been successful.
I’ve tried to relate specific areas of Catholic teaching with the appropriate science basics, as shown in the Table of contents. Finally I have tried to show how science, by its very nature, is limited in what it can tell us about the world. It has achieved much to enrich us materially, but as that great philosopher-physicist, Fr. Stanley Jaki, put it so eloquently,
“To answer the question ‘To be, or not to be?’ we cannot turn to a science textbook.”
The mechanics of accessing material are non-traditional. On the menu hit a given button to access a particular essay and you will be linked to that on a separate page. The essays stand independently; you don’t need to read them in a particular order, although I do think reading about “Ways of Knowing” and “The Catholic Church–Midwife to Science” does provide a good foundation for later material.
There are also ways in which you comment on each essay and last, (perhaps, most important?), a way you can help defray the cost of this web-book–for hosting fees and licenses–by contributing.
Thanks, enjoy, learn.