The Honor Blog
Today is: Apr 10, 2020
Post From: Dec 18, 2019
The Dangers of Mixing Science and Religion
This is an article I have submitted to the Catholic Voice of Omaha. My suspicion is that they will not print it - because it does not comply with the progressive world view.
As a committed, practicing Catholic who also happens to have been trained as a scientist, I tell everyone who will listen that I consider science and Catholic teaching to be perfectly compatible with one another. Both represent a search for the truth, applying that effort in different areas, so in a sense they actually belong together.
However, the fact that they investigate different aspects of the human experience means their relationship must be managed carefully. When it is not, it is possible for terrible damage to be done.
In 1633, an accomplished physicist and astronomer named Galileo Galilei was brought to trial by the Inquisition (the Roman version) under the administration of Pope Urban VIII. His crime was that he promoted a view of the solar system which placed the Sun at the center. That view went against the accepted consensus that the Earth was at the center of the universe. Galileo was convicted of heresy, his books were banned, and he was forced to live the rest of his life in seclusion and exile.
What was his crime? He questioned the beliefs of members of the establishment. In response, they sought to crush him, to silence his questions, and to suppress the evidence supporting his challenges to their beliefs.
Of course we know, now, that Galileo was right, that the Earth does, in fact, orbit the Sun. The actions of Pope Urban VIII and the Roman Inquisition represent one of the most egregious miscarriages of justice in history.
Today, there are growing numbers of scientists and interested observers who are questioning the established consensus on climate change. While large numbers of people believe that human activity is warming the Earth - this is the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis or AGW - many scientists and observers have begun to question the data and methods used to support that belief. Indeed, one group, an international network of more than five hundred scientists, has sent a letter to the United Nations asking it to halt its headlong rush to control carbon emissions (https://clintel.nl/prominent-scientists-warn-un-secretary-general-guterres/).
For my part, I will say this: I have studied the science as carefully as I can. All of the trustworthy measurements I have been able to find indicate that the AGW hypothesis is wrong.
Unfortunately, as was the case in Galileo's time, members of the establishment are seeking to suppress the questioning of their conclusions. They refuse to share their methods and data, they file lawsuits to silence those who question them, and even suggest that military action be used to eliminate dissent. In recent weeks, Pope Francis has proposed the addition of "climate sin" to the Catholic catechism. The parallels between this proposal and the actions of the Inquisition under Pope Urban VIII are startling - and, frankly, alarming.
It is extremely dangerous for the Catholic Church to insert itself into a scientific investigation, because doing so has the effect of declaring one side to be moral and the other side immoral. That has the effect of disrupting the scientific process, which is founded on the principle of questioning beliefs. Ultimately, a declaration like that leads to oppression - the way Galileoís view, though ultimately proven correct, was silenced during his time.
Worth noting is that this would be true even if the AGW hypothesis were to be supported by evidence. However, with things in their current state, the Holy Fatherís proposal has the potential to cause devastating harm both to the scientific conversation and to the credibility of the Church itself. We should all hope and pray that Pope Francis turns away from this course.