By Dr. Jeff Mirus
In 2005, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn touched off a firestorm in a New York Times opinion piece which raised significant concerns about the relationship among science, reason and faith. That intervention was not as successful as it might have been because of the Cardinal’s assessment of the idea of “randomness” in science. Returning to the subject in the April 2007 issue of First Things, Cardinal Schönborn makes what I believe is a far more successful presentation.
Most sound Catholic commentators over the past two hundred years have argued strenuously that there can be no intrinsic quarrel between faith and reason, or between religion and science. The chief problems have arisen because many scientists mistakenly believe—on the basis of unrecognized philosophical preconceptions—either that a mechanistic knowledge of nature is the only kind of knowledge possible, or that an explanation of how things work in a mechanical sense somehow eliminates the idea of teleology (that is, a consideration of nature’s design and purpose).
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