40 Catholic Myths–The Church and Science

I began this series as a positive reflection about the mistaken ideas that some people have about the Church.  Sadly, some of the people who spread these myths are actually very virulent in their attacks.  Sadly one of the places where these people like to show themselves is on the Holy Father’s twitter page.  Pope Benedict has taken a bold step in putting himself on the Internet where he’s open to the attacks of those who have a deep hatred for him and his church.
In the wake of his announcement that he’s going to retire, the haters seem to have turned up the rhetoric even more.  For example, here’s what someone called “No to fairies” posted the other day.

@jaygrimaldo you support a man in a dress as opposed to knowledgable scientists? #interesting

Today we’ll look at the Church’s position on science.

Yes, the Church did centure Galileo in the 17th century, but not for his scientific work.  Galileo proposed a theory that the earth revolved around the sun, though he wasn’t the first to do so.  Where he got into trouble with the Church was in presenting his theory as fact and in ridiculing Pope Paul V.  The Pope was highly offended and Galileo was placed “under arrest”.  He was imprisoned in his own home where he had ” a servant and every possible convenience.”  (The Galileo Controversy)  By the way, Galileo’s work was flawed.  The Church was right in insisting that it be called a theory.

Another so-called conflict between the Church and science is on the topic of creation.  I’m not sure how the haters got this one so wrong.  The Church does not insist that we believe the Genesis account of creation literally.  In fact, many of our protestant brothers and sisters do insist that the Bible be taken word-for-word on this subject, the Catholic Church doesn’t.  The theory of evolution is just one possible explanation.  Like Galileo’s theory, it’s a possibility, not proven fact.

Other possibilities are that since God exists outside of time, the seven days of the creation story could have actually been millions of earth years.  Or, God being God, He could have created the universe and made it to appear to have taken millions of years.  After all, we humans can’t begin to think the way God thinks or to understand how he works.

Evolutionists tell us that man evolved from lower life forms.  In other words, the apes, who seem so much like us, are our ancient ancestors.  What I wonder is couldn’t God have created man and then thought it would be cute to have a lower man-like creature?  He could have made it appear that the apes came first, but after all, He is God.  He can do whatever He wants.

One final note, the Catholic Church invented the university system.  Through the centuries the Church has spent untold millions of dollars supporting scientific research both at universities and at Catholic hospitals. God gave us the intelligence and the will to achieve great things.   Even Catholic hospitals that aren’t un the business of research still use the latest techniques and technologies to heal thousands of people every day.  To say that the Church is opposed to science is nonsense.

Addendum:  My son the scientist posted this yesterday on facebook:

“The details differ, but the essential elements in the astronomical and biblical accounts of Genesis are the same…This is an exceedingly strange development, unexpected by all but the theologians. They have always believed the word of the Bible. But we scientists did not expect to find evidence for an abrupt beginning because we have had, until recently, such extraordinary success in tracing the chain of cause and effect backward in time…At this moment it seems as though science will never be able to raise the curtain on the mystery of creation. For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” – Robert Zastrow, one-time director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
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