Are 'faith' and 'reason' friends or foes?

By Tom Quiner


Charles Darwin

“It all comes down to science vs. faith.”

This comment from a Quiner’s Diner reader accurately captures the times. But it shouldn’t.
Some fundamentalist adherents of various religions hold faith-based beliefs which fly in the face of science.
By the same token, some atheists and scientists hold beliefs they claim are based on science even when they fly in the face of science, religion, and philosophy.
That’s why I like the Catholic Church. The Church believes that faith and reason are allies in our pursuit of understanding nature and our lives. In other words, it all does not come down to science vs. faith, but rather the fusion of the two. In fact, it was the Church that invented the Scientific Method.
Sadly, scientists have become increasingly unreliable in conveying scientific truth. The mantra for science down through history had a Reaganesque feel to it: “trust, but verify.” And yet science is increasingly faith-based.
Take climate change: we’re told the debate is over, that climate change is a scientific fact, despite the fact that there is no shortage of respected scientists who disagree.
Or take Darwinism. PBS ran a documentary in 2001 called “Evolution.” A PBS spokespersons proclaimed:

“… all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world.”

Their smug assertion mirrors the same smugness used by acolytes of climate change today. And yet top scientists from schools like  Yale, Rutgers, Cornell, Duke, Michigan, Wisconsin, Princeton, Berkeley lashed back in disagreement, taking out a 2-page ad in a magazine with the headline, “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.”
Their skepticism toward Darwinism took guts to profess publicly, since evolution is a sacrament in much of academia. But Darwin himself knew there were holes in his theory, as explained by Jonathan Wells, PHD, PHD and Senior Fellow with the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington:

” Darwin knew the fossil record failed to support his tree [of life].  His theory predicts a long history of gradual divergence from a common ancestor, with the differences slowly becoming bigger and bigger until you get the major differences we have now. The fossil evidence, even in his day, showed the opposite: the rapid appearance of phylum-level differences in what’s called the ‘Cambrian explosion.’ “

Dr. Wells characterizes this explosion as a “biological Big Bang” when life developed much too quickly to square with Darwin’s theory.
I point out all of this to simply acknowledge that “all known scientific evidence” does not necessarily support Darwinism.
Last year, the left-of-center magazine, The Economist, ran an interesting essay titled, “How science goes wrong.”  Their premise is that the scientific community is doing “too much trusting and not enough verifying”:

“Too many of the findings that fill the academic ether are the result of shoddy experiments or poor analysis (see article). A rule of thumb among biotechnology venture-capitalists is that half of published research cannot be replicated. Even that may be optimistic. Last year researchers at one biotech firm, Amgen, found they could reproduce just six of 53 “landmark” studies in cancer research. Earlier, a group at Bayer, a drug company, managed to repeat just a quarter of 67 similarly important papers. A leading computer scientist frets that three-quarters of papers in his subfield are bunk. In 2000-10 roughly 80,000 patients took part in clinical trials based on research that was later retracted because of mistakes or improprieties.”

Here’s the point: a lot of people put blind faith in science, when a lot of the science being touted these days isn’t all that scientific. Let’s call it “faith-based” science. It’s almost as if a group has an outcome they’re trying to prove by coming up with reasonable data, even if it takes mistakes or “improprieties” to make it all fit together.
What about faith? Isn’t Christianity a whole bunch of wishful thinking by a few Jewish dreamers a few thousand years ago? No, not at all. Our human reason alone can make a compelling case for Christ. An interesting example: ten of Jesus’ disciples died for their faith.
Think about it.
These men claimed to have seen the risen Christ, including Thomas, the doctor (and famous doubter) who insisted on seeing Christ’s wounds before he’d believe in the Resurrection.
These men claimed to have witnessed miracles.
These men claimed to have seen Jesus ascend into heaven.
If, in fact, it was all a lie, why would they continue telling such a dangerous tale. It could get you killed. And in fact, it DID get them killed.
Would you die for a lie?
A few men will die for something they believe in, but no one dies for a lie.
Interesting, isn’t it? For us Catholics, faith and reason are good friends.

1 Comment

  1. Charlene on April 5, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    It’s sad that despite the simplicity of the gospel, many are still blinded to it. It is our duty to pray fervently for them.