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This is the same evolution curriculum that secular schools teach. At the same time, Catholic parents whose children are in public schools should ensure that their children are also receiving appropriate catechesis at home and in the parish on God as Creator. Students should be able to leave their biology classes, and their courses in religious instruction, with an integrated understanding of the means God chose to make us who we are.

Gregor Mendel was an Austrian scientist and Augustinian friar who began experimenting with peas around Observing the processes of pollination at his monastery in what is now the Czech Republic , Mendel studied and developed theories pertaining to the field of science now called genetics. The paper was not widely read nor understood, and soon after its publication Mendel was elected Abbott of his Monastery.

Bjelic, Dusan I.

He continued experimenting with bees but his work went unrecognised until various scientists resurrected his theories around , after his death. The Brno Monastery was a center of scholarship, with an extensive library and a tradition of scientific research. Where Charles Darwin 's theories suggested a mechanism for improvement of species over generations, Mendel's observations provided explanation for how a new species itself could emerge.

Though Darwin and Mendel never collaborated, they were aware of each other's work Darwin read a paper by Wilhelm Olbers Focke which extensively referenced Mendel. Bill Bryson wrote that "without realizing it, Darwin and Mendel laid the groundwork for all of life sciences in the twentieth century. Darwin saw that all living things are connected, that ultimately they trace their ancestry to a single, common source; Mendel's work provided the mechanism to explain how that could happen.

Haldane and others brought together the principles of Mendelian inheritance with Darwinian principles of evolution to form the field of genetics known as Modern evolutionary synthesis. The idea became established theory only decades later with the discovery of cosmic background radiation by American scientists.

In ancient times, the church supported medical research as an aid to Christian charity. The Church supported the development of modern science and scientific research by founding Europe's first universities in the Middle Ages. Historian Lawrence M. Principe writes that "it is clear from the historical record that the Catholic church has been probably the largest single and longest-term patron of science in history, that many contributors to the Scientific Revolution were themselves Catholic, and that several Catholic institutions and perspectives were key influences upon the rise of modern science.

Heilbronn in his book The Sun in the Church: Cathedrals as Solar Observatories writes that "the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial aid and support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, than any other, and, probably, all other, institutions. Scientific support continues through the present day. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences was founded in by Pope Pius XI, with the aim of promoting the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences and the study of related epistemological problems.

The academy holds a membership roster of the most respected names in 20th century science, many of them Nobel laureates. Also worth noting is the Vatican Observatory , which is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See. In his encyclical Fides et Ratio , Pope John Paul II wrote that "faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth. In the first few centuries of the Church, the Church Fathers appropriated the best of Greek philosophy in defense of the faith.

This appropriation culminated in the 13th century writings of Thomas Aquinas , whose synthesis of faith and reason has influenced Catholic thought for eight centuries. Because of this synthesis, it should be no surprise that many historians of science trace the foundations of modern science to the 13th century.


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The Church has, since ancient times, been heavily involved in the study and provision of medicine. Early Christians were noted for tending the sick and infirm, and priests were often also physicians. Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals after the end of the persecution of the early church. Notable contributors to the medical sciences of those early centuries include Tertullian born A.

Isidore of Seville d. Benedict of Nursia emphasised medicine as an aid to the provision of hospitality. Monasteries of this era were diligent in the study of medicine. Other than theological works, Hildegard also wrote Physica, a text on the natural sciences, as well as Causae et Curae.

Hildegard of Bingen was well known for her healing powers that involved practical application of tinctures, herbs, and precious stones. Charlemagne decreed that each monastery and cathedral chapter establish a school and in these schools medicine was commonly taught. At one such school Pope Sylvester II taught medicine. Clergy were active at the School of Salerno , the oldest medical school in Western Europe. Among the important churchmen to teach there were Alpuhans , later —85 Archbishop of Salerno, and the influential Constantine of Carthage , a monk who produced superior translations of Hippocrates and investigated Arab literature.

In Catholic Spain amidst the early Reconquista , Archbishop Raimund founded an institution for translations, which employed a number of Jewish translators to communicate the works of Arabian medicine. Influenced by the rediscovery of Aristotelean thought, churchmen like the Dominican Albert Magnus and the Franciscan Roger Bacon made significant advances in the observation of nature. Through the devastating Bubonic Plague , the Franciscans were notable for tending the sick. The apparent impotence of medical knowledge against the disease prompted critical examination.

Medical scientists came to divide among anti- Galenists , anti-Arabists, and positive Hippocratics. In Renaissance Italy, the Popes were often patrons of the study of anatomy, and Catholic artists such as Michelangelo advanced knowledge of the field through such studies as sketching cadavers to improve his portraits of the crucifixion. The Jesuit order, created during the Reformation, contributed a number of distinguished medical scientists. In the field of bacteriology it was the Jesuit Athanasius Kircher who first proposed that living beings enter and exist in the blood. In the development of ophthalmology , Christoph Scheiner made important advances in relation to refraction of light and the retinal image.

In modern times, the Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care in the world. Catholic religious have been responsible for founding and running networks of hospitals across the world where medical research continues to be advanced. Jesuits were leaders of the Counter-Reformation, who have contributed a great many distinguished scientists and institutions of learning, right up to the present.

The role of some of its members like Robert Bellarmine, in the Counter-Reformation period and in defense of Papal teaching, show the constraints under which they operated. However, recent scholarship in the history of science has focused on the substantial contributions of Jesuit scientists over the centuries.

Historian Jonathan Wright discussed the breadth of Jesuit involvement in the sciences in his history of the order:. They theorized about the circulation of the blood independently of Harvey , the theoretical possibility of flight, the way the moon effected the tides, and the wave-like nature of light. Star maps of the southern hemisphere, symbolic logic, flood-control measures on the Po and Adige rivers, introducing plus and minus signs into Italian mathematics — all were typical Jesuit achievements, and scientists as influential as Fermat, Huygens, Leibniz, and Newton were not alone in counting Jesuits among their most prized correspondents.

The Jesuits made significant contributions to scientific knowledge in China. Under the Qing Dynasty, the Jesuits' knowledge of observational astronomy and spherical trigonometry was welcomed by the imperial court. The Manchus who conquered the Ming Dynasty also welcomed the Jesuit scientists and employed their help due to their expert knowledge of mathematical astronomy, which aided the ruling class in predicting celestial events, thus, displaying that this dynasty retained the Mandate of Heaven.

In addition to reinforcing the Mandate of Heaven, the Jesuits separated two fields of science that were thought by the Chinese to be the same, cosmology and cosmography. By doing so, they were able to avoid being restricted by the Book of Changes. The Jesuits' astronomical measurements were also more accurate than their Chinese counterparts.

This factor, combined with the fact that the Jesuits also sympathized with the need of the Qing Dynasty to replace the old Ming calendar with a better one of their own enabled the Jesuits to make a significant impact on the Chinese Imperial Court. Father Matteo Ricci served on jury charged with filling high ranking positions in the imperial court, Father Johann Schall was made president of the mathematics court of the Qing dynasty and contributed significantly to the reformation of China's calendar, Father Ferdinand Verbiest contributed to China's understanding of its geography and helped them define their border with Russia.

Matteo Ricci was one of the most influential Jesuits that was sent to China. Matteo had been educated in math and science at the Collegio Romano with Christopher Clavius and also in Portugal at the University of Coimbra. Matteo went to China in , where he resided in the city of Macau. He would then move to Beijing in , where he hoped that the Ming would employ him and his order to correct their calendar. Ricci would also spread Euclidian Geometry to China by helping translate his works while using books prepared by Christopher Clavius.

Theory and Observation in Science

Ricci hoped to do this by earning the favor of the court and educated literati elites. In this, Ricci was successful.

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He was able to convert other Chinese scholars to Catholicism who would then subsequently help him spread both Christianity and more accurate astrological measurements. In one case, Ricci, along with Xu Guangqi and Li Zhizhao, both of whom he had converted, would translate both Euclid and Ptolemy's works into Chinese in These three would also go on to translate works from both Nicolaus Copernicus and Tycho Brahe. By doing this, they were able to introduce, however slightly new ideas into the Chinese astronomical system. Although the Ming court never took his work seriously while he was still alive, one of Ricci's converts, Xu Guangqi would later be called upon as a high-ranking member of the Ministry of Rites and he would go on to reform the Chinese astronomical system.

Schall, along with many other Jesuits quickly adapted to the regime change and offered his services to the new Qing Emperor. The new Emperor accepted Schall's offer, and this could bring in a new age of Jesuit acceptance in China that contrasted with the Ming dynasty's indifference to Matteo Ricci's efforts. The acceptance of Jesuit help would go on to have drastic consequences, as the former Chinese and Muslim members of the Astrocaldendrical Bureau who were replaced by the Jesuits would join the anti-Jesuit faction in the court and seek to purge their influence.

In the meantime, however, Schall and assistants would continue their work and in , they unveiled their first work.

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They called it a "temporal model calendar". Schall, recognizing the importance of elaborate state rituals in China, offered the calendar to the Emperor in a complex ceremony involving music, parades, and signs of submission like kneeling and kowtowing. After this overwhelming success, however, Schall's legitimacy was quickly put into question by Yang Guangxian, who accused Schall of attempting to undermine the Qing dynasty by fomenting civil unrest. Schall and the Jesuits were also accused of secretly harboring illegal foreigners in their churches spread around China and were also accused of claiming that the Qing rulers relied upon their Western ideas for political legitimacy.

Schall was imprisoned and died while in captivity in at the age of seventy-five. He was posthumously pardoned by Kangxi Emperor upon his ascension to the throne. Ferdinand Verbiest was a Belgian Jesuit who was called upon by the Kangxi Emperor after his ascension to compete in a contest with Muslim astronomers. The contest involved predicting the length of a shadow that would pass over the imperial gnomon, which was a sundial in the Forbidden City. Verbiest won the contest and was subsequently placed at the head of the Astrocalendrical Bureau.

As head of the Burea, Verbiest also shared his position with a Manchu, and this tradition would continue on until the s. Verbiest claimed that the studying of celestial patterns was of great practical importance to the dynasty and that whether the astronomer in question was Muslim, Jesuit or Chinese didn't matter.

He argued that ensuring the observations were impartial and that applying Tycho's ideas to the observations to verify said observations were the two most important factors. Verbiest also claimed that Western ways of measuring data were the most accurate and dismissed the older findings of Chinese astronomers. While these claims did little to convince the Chinese that their old measurements were inaccurate, Verbiest's pushing of spherical trigonometry would go on to have the greatest impact on Chinese astronomy, as they saw it as being connected to when the Mongols brought Islamic astronomy to China during their conquest.

Christopher Clavius was one of the most prolific members of the order. During his life, he made contributions to algebra, geometry, astronomy and cartography. Most notable of his accomplishments was his work on the reform of the Gregorian Calendar. Having taught in the Collegio Romano for 40 years, he had a direct impact on the spread of scientific knowledge within the Jesuit order and, from there, an impact on the scientific knowledge of the places his students would visit in their missionary journeys.

For example, the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci translated Clavius' books into Chinese and shared the knowledge they contained with the people of China during his missionary work there. With the help of Clavius' books, Matteo and his fellow Jesuits were able to spread the West's knowledge of astronomy to China which, in turn, led to China's refinement of its own calendar system. Athanasius Kircher was a Jesuit priest who authored around 44 major works and is regarded by some scholars as the founder of Egyptology due to his study of Egyptian hieroglyphs.

He is believed by many scholars to be the last "renaissance man" in light of his being a polymath and scholar of a wide range of disciplines including music, astronomy, medicine, geography, and more. Despite providing a wealth of knowledge in his books, Kircher did not contribute much in the way of scientific breakthroughs, but he is credited with the invention of the aeolian harp which was a popular instrument the 19th century One of many notable contributions Athanasius made to the world was his book, China Illustrata in which he gives a detailed record of his observations of Chinese culture and geography—including numerous detailed illustrations plants, statues, temples, and mountains in the vast landscapes of China.

Kircher wrote this book based entirely on his study of documents sent back to Rome from his fellow Jesuits in China which led to Kircher being recognized as an expert in China despite having never been there himself. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was a Jesuit priest who took an interest in geology from a young age. After some time as a professor at the Catholic Institute of Paris, Chardin went on an expedition to China where he performed academic work concerning paleontology and geology.

During his travels in China, he played a role in the discovery of the Peking Man's skull. After his research team discovered it, Chardin took part in the examination of the skull and discovered the geological time period during which the Peking Man lived. During his time in China, Pierre was able to continue his research of fossils and expanded the scope of geological knowledge in Asia with the help of his fellow Jesuit, Pierre Leroy, who co-founded the Institute of Geobiology with him in Peking.

Pietro Angelo Secchi became a Jesuit priest in He became a professor of astronomy at the Roman College and eventually founded an observatory where he would further his research in stellar spectroscopy, meteorology, and terrestrial magnetism. His observations and theories laid the foundation for the Harvard classification system of stars as he was the first to survey the spectra of stars and attempt to classify them by their spectral type. Perhaps one of the greatest contributions made by the Jesuits to science is the large network of observatories they founded across the world.

Between and , 75 observatories were founded by the Jesuits. Though their main focus was astronomy, other fields the observatories were involved in include meteorology, geomagnetism, seismology, and geophysiology. In some countries in Asia and Africa, these observatories were the first scientific institutions they had ever had. In the 21st Century, Jesuits remain prominent in the sciences through institutions like the Vatican Observatory and Georgetown University.

It draws on many of the world's leading scientists, including many Nobel Laureates, to act as advisors to the Popes on scientific issues. The Academy has an international membership which includes British physicist Stephen Hawking , the astronomer royal Martin Rees , and Nobel laureates such as U.

Under the protection of the reigning Pope, the aim of the Academy is to promote the progress of the mathematical, physical, and natural sciences and the study of related epistemological problems.

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Galileo: what really happened?

The Academy has its origins in the Accademia Pontificia dei Nuovi Lincei "Pontifical Academy of the New Lynxes" , founded in and intended as a more closely supervised successor to the Accademia dei Lincei "Academy of Lynxes" established in Rome in by the learned Roman Prince Federico Cesi — who was a young botanist and naturalist, and which claimed Galileo Galilei as a member. The Vatican Observatory Specola Vaticana is an astronomical research and educational institution supported by the Holy See.

Originally based in Rome , it now has headquarters and laboratory at the summer residence of the Pope in Castel Gandolfo , Italy , and an observatory at the Mount Graham International Observatory in the United States. Many distinguished scholars have worked at the Observatory. In , the Templeton Prize was awarded to cosmologist Fr. George Coyne , SJ.

Bjelic, Dusan I.

In his encyclical, Pope Leo XIII wrote that "no real disagreement can exist between the theologian and the scientist provided each keeps within his own limits. If nevertheless there is a disagreement The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts: "Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things of faith derive from the same God. In it, he reviewed the history of Bible study from the time of the Church Fathers to the present, spoke against what he considered to be the errors of the Rationalists and " higher critics ", and outlined principles of scripture study and guidelines for how scripture was to be taught in seminaries.

He also addressed the issues of apparent contradictions between the Bible and physical science , or between one part of scripture and another, and how such apparent contradictions can be resolved. Providentissimus Deus responded to two challenges to biblical authority, both of which rose up during the 19th century. The physical sciences, especially the theory of evolution and geology 's theory of a very old earth , challenged the traditional Biblical account of creation taking place 6, years ago. Pope Leo XIII wrote that true science cannot contradict scripture when it is properly explained, that errors the Church Fathers made do not demonstrate error in Scripture, and that what seems to be proved by science can turn out to be wrong.

The historical-critical method of analyzing scripture questioned the reliability of the Bible. Leo acknowledged the possibility of errors introduced by scribes but forbade the interpretation that only some of scripture is inerrant, while other elements are fallible. Leo condemned the use that certain scholars made of new evidence, clearly referring to Alfred Firmin Loisy and Maurice d'Hulst , although not by name.

At first, both conservatives and liberals found elements in the encyclical to which to appeal. Over the next decade, however, Modernism spread and Providentissimus Deus was increasingly interpreted in a conservative sense. This encyclical was part of an ongoing conflict between Modernists and conservatives. Humani generis is a papal encyclical that Pope Pius XII promulgated on 12 August "concerning some false opinions threatening to undermine the foundations of Catholic Doctrine.


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Evolution and its impact on theology constitute only two out of 44 parts. Description Drawing on the theories of Michel Foucault, Judith Butler, and others who have written on the history of sexuality and the body, Galileo's Pendulum explores how the emergence of the scientific method in the seventeenth century led to a de-emphasis on the body and sexuality. The first half of the book focuses on the historical modeling of the relation between pleasure and knowledge by examining a history of scientific rationality and its relation to the formation of the modern scientist's subjectivity.

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Relying on Foucault's history of sexuality, the author hypothesizes that Galileo's pendulum, as an extension of mathematics and the body, must have been sexualized by schemes of historical representation to the same extent that such schemes were rationalized by Galileo. The second half of the book explores the problems of scientific methodology and attempts to return the body in an explicit way to scientific practice.

Ultimately, Galileo's Pendulum offers a discursive method and praxis for resexualizing the history of Galilean science. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions Other books in this series. Women in Engineering Judith S. Add to basket. Mistaken Identity Leslie Brothers.

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