A scientist is drawn to the Catholic faith as a result of the deepening of scientific insight? This book details the faith journey of a modern scientist involved in the latest nano technology research. Her deepening scientific insights derived during research lead her to a deeper faith. Such a story, similar to Augustine of Hippo 17 centuries ago, is happening even among scientists today. It is a story not often told in our popular modern media. This books tells the story of a scientist seeking truth being led to a deep and genuine faith. Then she adds to that story to persuade us that faith and science are culturally linked, mutually beneficial and interconnected approaches to truth that together raise the dignity and value of human life.
Any person, trained in science or untrained in science, can read this book and be brought to the realization that the often repeated mantra (in popular media) that science is in opposition to faith is patently untrue. There are real scientists (like the author of this book) who come to see that Christian faith and science as truly complimentary pursuits of the truth. The often assumed popular media assumption that scientists are always led away from religious faith as their expertise in science increases is debunked.
Dr. Trasancos begins with a chronicle of her personal experience. First she moves away from the Christianity as she was raised with as she reaches young adulthood, then her abandonment of her faith by the start of her doctoral studies and then her religious awakening as a research chemist. She comes to recognize Catholicism is fully compatible with science. Her awe and logic reminds one of similar arguments posed by Augustine of Hippo 18 centuries earlier. She comes to recognize that her God is pleased with the scientist's pursuit of truth. She also shares at the end of the book how science can be wrongly used (in the absence of faith) to demean human life.Following the personal experience the book goes on to describe a variety of science principles along the way. She reviews the basics of chemistry. Dr. Trasancos reconciles the scientific origin of man with the Judaeo-Christian biblical account of Adam and Eve. She addresses the always difficult issue (for some) of human evolution. She ponders quantum mechanics and free will. She reasons about Big Bang as proof of a God. Finally she also addresses the controversial question of when does human life begin and how science is needs a fuller understanding to answer that question.
This is a fabulous reference with chapters that neatly segmented, details in an organized way how scientific pursuits can lead to genuine faith and how faith can deepen the understanding of our purpose and why both faith and science lead us to a fuller understanding of truth.
Quotes of Interest:
"What I have to say i snot profound, it is rather simple. It is a plea to fellow Catholics to return to the child like awe and wonder with an unwavering confidence in Christ and his Church when we approach the subject of modern science."
Einstein wrote "in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people."
"...what so much of the discourse about faith and science omits is that conducting scientific research does not instill in a person the broad knowledge traditionally associated with intellectuals. The work is more like grunt work at times. The intellectual aspect is brief and takes a budding scientist from broadly absorbing scientific literature in a specific area of research into narrower and narrower, exceedingly specialized scientific method cycles to hypothesize and test exceedingly specialized scientific method cycles. "
"Scientism is the belief that only knowledge obtained from scientific research is valid, and beliefs deriving from religion should be discounted. It is an extreme or escessive faith in science or scientists."
"The idea hat faith is separated from, or subject to, reason has arisen relatively recently, due mostly to the fast advance of science and to the exaggerated rationalism of certain thinkers."
"But for Christians science is a way of knowing God better through the study of his handiwork. Our faith can light the entire discussion. I have seen both sides, and this is may main message in this book. We have to tell people what science is in the bigger system of reality."
"We need faith and reason equally, but when it comes to science, we must view the universe through a confident lens of faith in the Creator."
"A believer views creation as the handiwork of God, all of it in consistently interacting, as an act of faith."
"Models are used in science to probe the unknown, and mental pictures fill in the rest of the realms we cannot see directly. The models and mental pictures continually need to be updated with the acquisition of new data. Models are like scaffolding that go up before walls, rooms and decor are built around them, necessary frameworks for gaining new knowledge. "
"Catholics are both-and people. We can hold that God created an ordered universe down to the smallest particle, and we can also hold that He created rational creatures with free will."
"if students are not prepared to understand science in the light of faith, they will be left in confusion.....if we leave the question of our existence at materialism's door, we shut out any deeper meaning or purpose."
"In the light of faith, I can look into the chasm and not fear it. I can see that it is too vast fro me or for any other human to ever discover all its mysteries, but I can appreciate that discovering a little more truth is better than not even trying."
"We place ourselves, as any good scientist ought to, as observers seeking to understand (literally 'to stand under') the truth that life exists one it exists. We are observers, not dictators commanding fantasies. The proclamation that life begins at conception is a tautological statement. That truth belongs to anyone who will accept it. As Mother Mary taught us, life is a fiat."
"When we say life begins at conception, we uphold the simplest unity of faith and science."