This is, without a doubt, the best science-faith interview I've read this year


(Brad Kramer) #1

See, I can do clickbait too!

But seriously, though…you need to read this: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Item/5122/scientist_theologian_mother.aspx.

Some highlights:

Stop expecting science to fix your doubt. Root out your heart and mind; acknowledge your fears. Pray about them. Unless you have practiced such prudence, you are not ready to understand science in the light of faith. It is kind of like the woman who has deep down, unadmitted doubts about her husband. Instead of addressing them honestly, she analyzes his every act for affirmation to fill the void of uncertainty. Even if much of the time she is convinced he loves her, her peace is threatened. Science is a love affair with Creation, and therefore a love affair with Christ. Love Christ with your whole self. Then you might find that something like bond angles in a water molecule will evoke tears of joy. Few people can imagine how emotional a walk in the woods is for me.

And:

Gregor Mendel? Well, suffice it to say that had he feared evolution he would not have studied pea plants. Whatever happens in nature, happens. Go figure it out. God made our home for us, and it is filled with treasures at the atomic scale.

And:

Good arguments only get so far. People need to “see” how we live a life of faith. I remember wanting what the Catholics had, that confidence, vision, that united past, present, and future. When I watched people live the faith, I started to think that perhaps I would be okay if I tried it too. I tend to think a smile and an encouraging word do far more to evangelize an atheist than gallons of ink spilt in logical argument. Trust me, a scientist is up to her eyeballs in logic. We thirst for more.

And:

In this day and age, scientific literacy is necessary for evangelization. We live in a moment in history when science is advancing at a faster rate than ever before, faster than ethicists can keep up. We have to get out ahead. We have to peer down the road and predict what is coming so we are ready. For example, scientists are way past questioning whether evolution happens or not; it does, and they are searching for other factors that explain and cause evolution. As a result, they are trying to guide human evolution based on a false idea that there is no soul. When Christians seem stuck at discrediting evolution because they fear it disproves Creation, they are actually being anti-science.

And:

I do not know why Intelligent Design theorists focus on certain aspects of nature, deemed by them as intelligently designed, to the exclusion of the whole of nature. Goodness, the periodic table is intelligently designed! It is the language of matter and energy. Before I converted, I had not heard of Intelligent Design theory. Imagine my consternation upon scaling the intellectual mountain of Catholicism, only to arrive there and hear fellow Christians trying to convince atheists to believe in God by picking and choosing what they think God designed intelligently. I wish they would join me in trying to show people how to see all of nature in the light of faith.

This is breathtakingly good stuff. Reminds me of how much I admire and appreciate the Catholic tradition, at its best. Also, her book looks great. On my “must-read” list.


(Casper Hesp) #2

That’s a courageous thing to say in evangelical circles ;)…


#3

I have a review copy of her new book, “Particles of Faith.” Will be reading it after I finish “The Madhouse Effect.”


(Brad Kramer) #4

Let me know what you think. I’ll be asking for a review copy too.


(Brad Kramer) #5

Depends on which evangelical circles you travel in. I studied under a Catholic philosophy professor (Peter Kreeft) and many of my brightest evangelical friends have converted to Catholicism. I’ve learned to hold my tradition a little looser as a result.

This is definitely a separate discussion altogether, but I actually think evangelicals (in general) are less anti-Catholic than they were a generation ago.


(Brad Kramer) #6

Here’s another great interview with her: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/catholicbookblogger/2016/10/17/cbb-interview-with-stacy-trasancos/. @beaglelady

She’s like the Catholic @Christy Hemphill. It’s actually kind of freaky.


(Neal Heires) #7

Thanks for sharing this link.

I thought her answer on quantum indeterminacy below might have been answered differently. Wouldn’t this principle only be valid for us if we operate outside of God’s will? Would not God who can foresee the future and all future possibilities use the science of this principle to observe and create His reality and thus guide us on the His path? Wouldn’t this explain how God’s will is done?


CWR: The role of chance in certain scientific theories—quantum indeterminacy or random genetic mutations—would seem to be incompatible with an ordered universe created and held in existence by a Creator. How could these two ideas be reconciled?

Dr. Trasancos: We reconcile those ideas all the time. Did you ever see a tree stump and think it was not moving? It is moving a lot at the molecular level as it decomposes. Yet we cannot predict exactly when it will completely decompose. Do we conclude that the tree stump is not created by God? Or take a rain shower. Even if you could draw out a square meter and analyze how drops of rain fall on it for 20 years, you would never be able to walk out in a rain shower and predict exactly where the next raindrop will hit in that small space. The movements of the individual raindrops are totally random to us, indeterminate. Do we still believe water follows created laws of physics? Even down to the atoms? Of course we do. As for evolution, we see a single step of evolution every time we see a baby. We believe God creates children even though we do not know all that goes on at the molecular level as a person grows. So what? We do not know what happens at the molecular level for every detail of evolution either.

Quantum indeterminacy is happening right now in our every breath and heartbeat, in our entire environment. However quantum physicists interpret the quantum realm and whatever biologists discover about evolution, we simply never stop believing God holds everything in existence. As Fr. Jaki often said, in a universe where every last particle and force is governed by created laws of physics, there is no absolute randomness or chance. It is just that we do not understand it all.

People then ask, “How can we wave our hand in the air whenever we want?” It is because we have free will, granted by God. Our power to move matter is limited though. We cannot flap our arms and fly or ungrow children, but we can change the course of a great many atoms with every choice. Physical laws accommodate our free will. Free will does not flow from physics; that is backwards. I explain more about what I term the “System of Wills” in the book. It has helped me sort out every faith and science question.


(Jo Helen Cox) #8

Most people do not comprehend this truth. Actually our understanding of randomness is distorted. If the laws of nature exist, then true randomness does not.

Random events cannot be predicted by natural laws. That allows for spontaneous generation and magic to exist.

Chaos theory was introduced to supersede those concepts. The apparent randomness of an event is caused by our limitations in following the complex movement adequately. However, the laws of nature are adhered to predictably and we still can make generalized predictions on the overall movement of the event.

God is with every atom in the universe and all the space in-between. He has no trouble knowing the course of movement throughout time. If He wants to change the course, than He does so by using the natural laws of nature. We have that same ability, yet it is limited by our understanding and tools.


(Jo Helen Cox) #9

This is such a good thing! And it generally goes both ways. There is only one church. We need to stop fighting each other and clean out the religious junk we all carry around.


(Neal Heires) #10

I agree with you that there is no apparent randomness with God who can see past, present, and future. Quantum indeterminacy only demonstrates that we as mere mortals experience this apparent randomness.


(Neal Heires) #11

Unless we are linked to the Mind of God.


(Brad Kramer) #12

@beaglelady I’m editing my interview with Stacy as I write this. We’ll probably have it up next week. Don’t miss it; her responses are amazing.


(George Brooks) #13

I read with much interest the various ways of saying this:

“Here’s a stocking-stuffer for you: The birth of Christ was integral to the birth of science as we now know it.
That, in a nutshell, is the thesis which Fr. Stanley Jaki (1924-2009, pronounced “YAH-kee”) sought to demonstrate in dozens of academically sterling publications over as many years.”

But I have not been able to find the key paragraph that explains how this is meant or intended.

Is there some help out there for grasping this assertion?

George


(Brad Kramer) #14

If you read Stacy Trasancos’s book (see my recent interview with her), she goes into a lot more detail about Fr. Jaki’s ideas.