As science changes us, the faith community can remind scientists of the ethics at stake.
“Any major new technology will create a lacuna in social and ethical thought in direct proportion to its novelty,” writes philosopher Bernard Rollin in his book Science and Ethics.
Any new technology raises ethical questions about how to use it.
Law professor Fran Quigley explains why medicine in the United States is so expensive.
Fran Quigley grew up in Indianapolis, the eighth of nine children. Raised Roman Catholic and steeped in the church’s social tradition, he says he grew up knowing medicine as a social good, one that everyone should have access to.
He traveled to Kenya for work before antiretrovirals were widely available for people with HIV and AIDS and met mothers and fathers dying of the disease despite that it is treatable. “Because the medicine was priced too high, the parents simply passed away. Their children were orphaned, and their parents were raising their grandchildren,” he says.
With 10,000 billion billion heavenly bodies in the cosmic ballroom, God has created a grand universe of possibilities.
As a priest and an astronomer, Jesuit Father George Coyne bridges the worlds of faith and science, but he’s quick to acknowledge that they serve two different purposes. “I can’t know if there is a God or if there is not a God by science,” he says.
Eight centuries ago Albert the Great showed how theology and science can walk hand in hand.
I teach graduate students how to teach math and science. On the first day of each semester, I ask, “Who can tell me something about Albertus Magnus, Albert the Great?” Students usually avoid making eye contact.
Though they expect an explanation, instead of answering the original question, I go on to ask them, “Who can tell me something about Galileo Galilei?” Inevitably, the reply relates to Galileo’s controversy with the church. The students seem surprised when I tell them that Galileo’s notebooks mention Albert the Great 23 times.
Theologian Heidi Russell says that science doesn’t always have to shake up our core concept of God as creator.
Heidi Russell has a dream. “I would love to see parishes get a subscription to Scientific American,” she says. “And then have a group that discusses what’s in each issue, reads about what’s happening in science, and then asks, ‘What might science tell us about our faith?’ ”
Russell, who teaches theology at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies, has a special interest in the relationship between science and faith. She speaks as passionately about neuroscience and quantum physics as she does about theology and God.
People look at me funny when I say that the periodic table ought to make one weep for joy. But how can you not be stricken by the precision of God's creation?
I like the word wayfarer. It fits us humans. We are all travelers on the road of life. Me? I take wayfaring seriously. I walk daily for a couple of hours, and this time outside has become as essential as food to me. Last winter I walked a total of 166 miles while listening to Robert Inglis narrate The Lord of the Rings trilogy on my phone. Treebeard came to life while I wandered, not too hastily, among giant pines.
All-girls schools’ obsession with STEM education hurts what they do best.
When I was a junior in high school—a Catholic, all-girls school—I advanced to the regional round of the state science exposition. My parents drove me to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry where I set up my meticulously decorated trifold project board and sat beside it for five hours. The judges came and went, and I gave my spiel. Occasionally a judge would notice I attended an all-girls school, say something like “girl power!” and comment on how my status as female and my apparent science aptitude was encouraging for women everywhere.
Learning about electromagnetic fields gave me new language to understand God.
I came to faith because of magnets.
Fossils remind us that we are one tiny—albeit, important—note in the magnificent song of God’s creation.
On a cold, overcast December day, I found myself taking in with delight the natural world of millions of years ago during a visit to Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Natural History. I had a case of what I call “discernment blues,” though perhaps the official Ignatian term is desolation. There had been several deaths in the community in which I live, my grandmother’s health was declining, and several close friends were leaning on me for emotional support.
Popular opinion says science and religion can't mix, but let's not pull out the dunce cap just yet.
When Heather Camm, a chemistry teacher at an all-girls Catholic high school, began designing a new, year-long course in scientific ethics, she knew she would have to address the one issue that could undercut the rest of her lessons. Before she could get to evolution, reproductive technology, nuclear energy, and the origins of the universe, she would have to discuss Galileo.
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