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Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

If the Catholic Church is anti-science...?

How do you explain the Catholic belief of theist evolution?

Or the number of Catholic cleric–scientists?

So, are we agreed that the Catholic Church ISN'T anti-science?

7 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Good point.

    The Catholic Church has sponsored and supported science in the discovery of God's creation for hundreds of years.

    One example of this sponsorhsip and support is the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. The Academy and its membership are not influenced by national, political, or religious factors and represent a valuable source of objective scientific information which is made available to the international scientific community. Today the work of the Academy covers six main areas:

    + Fundamental science

    + The science and technology of global questions and issues

    + Science in favor of the problems of the Third World

    + The ethics and politics of science

    + Bioethics

    + Epistemology

    And nine sub-areas:

    + Physics

    + Astronomy

    + Chemistry

    + Earth and environmental sciences

    + Life sciences (botany, agronomy, zoology, genetics, molecular biology, biochemistry, the neurosciences, surgery)

    + Mathematics

    + Applied sciences

    + The philosophy and history of sciences

    Another example is the theory of Evolution: Catholics can believe in the theories of the big bang or evolution or both or neither.

    On August 12, 1950 Pope Pius XII said in his encyclical Humani generis:

    The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.

    Here is the complete encyclical:

    And here is the Address of Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 22, 1996 speaking of the Theory of Evolution:

    At this time, the theories of the big bang and evolution are the most logical scientific explanations. However tomorrow someone may come up with better ideas.

    As long as we believe that God started the whole thing, both the Bible and responsible modern science can live in harmony.

    Science without religion is lame,

    religion without science is blind.

    -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

    + Galileo +

    Neither the Scientific Community nor the Church had a problem with the heliocentric theory of Copernicus or Galileo that said that the sun was the center of the universe. It was when Galileo said it was fact without enough repeatable scientific evidence that he got into trouble.

    By the way, the heliocentric theory that claimed the sun was the center of the universe instead of the Earth, was also incorrect. The sun is the center of the solar system but not the universe.

    In 1741, Pope Benedict XIV granted an imprimatur (an official approval) to the first edition of the Complete Works of Galileo.

    “[Galileo] declared explicitly that the two truths, of faith and of science, can never contradict each other, 'Sacred Scripture and the natural world proceeding equally from the divine Word, the first as dictated by the Holy Spirit, the second as a very faithful executor of the commands of God', as he wrote in his letter to Father Benedetto Castelli on 21 December 1613. The Second Vatican Council says the same thing, even adopting similar language in its teaching: 'Methodical research, in all realms of knowledge, if it respects... moral norms, will never be genuinely opposed to faith: the reality of the world and of faith have their origin in the same God' (Gaudium et Spes, 36). Galileo sensed in his scientific research the presence of the Creator who, stirring in the depths of his spirit, stimulated him, anticipating and assisting his intuitions”: John Paul II, Address to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (10 November 1979): Insegnamenti, II, 2 (1979), 1111-1112. From the Vatican website:

    For more information, see:

    With love in Christ

  • 1 decade ago

    In the recent 300 years, it has compartmentalized its anti-science.

    The RCC now accepts that evolution did indeed happen, but because of some earlier doctrines, they are stuck with the birth control issue.... don't use it, even if it gets you HIV.

    Historically, however, it has done its best to end the exploration of science. Beginning in 415, with the fall of Roman Empire, all the authority was of the Church. And it ended any and all science. All that Greece and Egypt had learned about medicine and science was destroyed. Witches were burned, and those women had their property taken by the church.

    Had the RCC not been so powerful for 1200 years, more than one scientist has said that we would have been on the moon by 900 CE.

    As an example, Galileo was put under house arrest in the 1600's for the rest of his life for claiming the earth was a tiny rock circling the sun, and not the Center of the Universe. Had he been less famous, he'd have been murdered. The RCC forgave him in 1965.

    Even if you are Catholic, read the book The DArk Side of Christian History.

    It is hugely interesting.

    Source(s): History major in college, minors in math, science. Grad courses in rel. studies, Univ of Chicago, Divinity Schoo.
  • Jimmer
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    The Catholic Church used to be far more anti-science than it is now - I think it learned that it can take an intellectual black-eye for things like the Galileo debacle...

    But to claim that abstinence is better than condoms for the spread of AIDS, or that birth control is wrong in a world that will soon be bursting at the seams, or that the whole 'faith' thing in general makes sense in the 21st century is evidence that it is still anti-reason, if not anti-science to a great degree...

    > Jimmer <

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    "So, are we agreed that the Catholic Church ISN'T anti-science?"

    No, we're not.

    The church basically was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, after centuries of persecution, imprisonment, torture, and murder of anyone or anything that dared challenge their dogma. You don't wipe out 1700 years of stupidity by reluctantly admitting that a few facts are, indeed, facts.

    They continue to be "anti-science" where they can. It's a scientific fact (and a very well documented one) that condom use can greatly reduce the spread of AIDS and other STDs. Yet the church adamantly maintains its stance against contraceptives in general and condoms in particular for its members, directly contributing to the deaths of many thousands of people a year.

    There are lots of other examples as well.

    And even in the facts that they "accept," they still irrationally claim "god did it."


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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The catholic church threatened to burn gallileo if he ddint recant after he said the earth went round the sun. This was teh start of their opposition to science and suppression of scientific theory. Only when the evidence becomes wholly overwhelming do they give up on their opposition. They also oppose the use of science ot better the lot of mankind.

  • 1 decade ago

    Nobody is saying it is anti-science.

    Confounding all logic, decency, and humanity; maybe.

    But not anti-science.

  • 1 decade ago

    Thank you =)

    Source(s): Roman Catholic
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