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Published on January 17, 2008

Author: Donato

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Faith and Reason -- Are they compatible? Answer: It depends!:  Faith and Reason -- Are they compatible? Answer: It depends! Galileo and The Scientific Revolution:  Galileo and The Scientific Revolution Subplot: The relationship of Faith and Reason Sub-subplot: The modern analogy of Deep Time/Evolution vs. Creationism In Galileo’s Time 400 years ago:  In Galileo’s Time 400 years ago They were definitely incompatible! Caused by flawed views of both Faith and Reason One definition of Theology is Fide quaerens intellectum:  One definition of Theology is Fide quaerens intellectum Which translates: “Faith seeking understanding” I think this applies aptly to the Galileo story Another false understanding of Faith and Reason – IMHO ;-):  Another false understanding of Faith and Reason – IMHO ;-) Faith is believing what you know ain’t so - Mark Twain And this kind of idea exists today among the “evangelical” Atheists:  And this kind of idea exists today among the “evangelical” Atheists E.g., Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion In Galileo’s time, the incompatibility of Faith and Reason was caused by…:  In Galileo’s time, the incompatibility of Faith and Reason was caused by… Faith in overly literal “prooftexting” of certain Scripture verses and the infallibility of Church tradition Reason according to the old Aristotelian (or “Peripatetic”) system Creation versus Creationism :  Creation versus Creationism Cores 5 & 6 will cover this Different categories of knowledge:  Different categories of knowledge Creation: There is a Creator! (Who and Why) For Christians, the “Why” is manifest in the Incarnation when the Creator becomes Creature and relates to us... John 1:1-14 Creationism: The details of How creation occurs According to a “literal” reading of a religious text or tradition, whatever that may be… For some Christians, this means a six 24-hour day creation according to a particular reading of Genesis 1:1- 2:4a And “particular” is very important to any discussion! The Atheist acknowledges that only one category of knowledge exists – namely – Nature! The Believer --- Christian or otherwise says that this is an incomplete view of reality This conflict became evident with the advent of Scientific Method:  This conflict became evident with the advent of Scientific Method Dr. Jennifer Coy’s lecture mentioned Scientific Method with its systematic observation and testing of results. (Hopefully) Cores 5&6 will expand upon this!  Arguably, Galileo was the first scientist in the modern sense of the word. Observations of Nature just kept getting in the way of traditional ideas. Important questions Did these new ideas eliminate the need for Faith and God? Is atheism the more “enlightened” view? Some Wisdom from the Past…:  Some Wisdom from the Past… St. Thomas Aquinas from Summa Theologica (1273):  St. Thomas Aquinas from Summa Theologica (1273) "In discussing questions of this kind two rules are to be observed, as Augustine teaches. The first is, to hold to the truth of Scripture without wavering. The second is that since Holy Scripture can be explained in a multiplicity of senses, one should adhere to a particular explanation only in such measure as to be ready to abandon it if it be proved with certainty to be false, lest Holy Scripture be exposed to the ridicule of unbelievers, and obstacles be placed to their believing." Compare these quotes::  Compare these quotes: “The Peripatetics, as the followers of Aristotle were called, could not accept the view that the new star was located among the fixed stars. They believed that the celestial region was perfect and immutable. They said that since the star was new it could not be in the immutable celestial region, so it must be in the terrestrial region, closer to Earth than the moon, and Galileo must be wrong.” – Text, p. 44. And this from a modern creationist organization…:  And this from a modern creationist organization… “No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.” - Answers in Genesis Statement of Faith, Section D6 Both of these statements are antithetical to scientific method:  Both of these statements are antithetical to scientific method They are examples of Morton’s Demon The “demon” choose to select only the data that agrees with its preconceived notions and rejects the rest What is the Philosophy of Science?:  What is the Philosophy of Science? Page 72: “But I do not feel obliged to believe that that same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended to forgo their use and by some other means to give us knowledge which we can attain by them. He would not require us to deny sense and reason in physical matters which are set before our eyes and minds by direct experience or necessary demonstrations.” - Galileo Basically, this means that observations of nature through our senses and instruments can be trusted:  Basically, this means that observations of nature through our senses and instruments can be trusted This philosophy is foundational to the Scientific Method Galileo referred to the “Book of Nature” Or what I like to call the “Other Book of Creation” This is a typical attitude of believers of any faith who also accept the body of knowledge of science to explain the “how” of creation. Galileo was also a man of Faith:  Galileo was also a man of Faith Page 71: “I think in the first place that it is very pious to say and prudent to affirm that the holy Bible can never speak untruth – whenever its true meaning is understood. But I believe nobody will deny that it is often very abstruse, and may say things which are quite different from what its bare words signify.” – Galileo Note: This statement is very similar to what a modern Christian “theistic evolutionist” such as Francis Collins would say! The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief “Scripture teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” – The Starry Messenger, 1610:  “Scripture teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.” – The Starry Messenger, 1610 Are Faith and Reason completely separate areas with no overlap? Cores 5&6 explore this - Look for the NOMA concept The Ancient Greeks strove for perfection:  The Ancient Greeks strove for perfection What are the “perfect” geometrical figures? Lines and Circles! Recall high school geometry class? The Ancients Combined Two Ideals: Perfection of the Heavens and Importance of Earth (Geocentrism):  Stars and Planets including (Sun and Moon) go in circular orbits around Earth on crystal spheres The Ancients Combined Two Ideals: Perfection of the Heavens and Importance of Earth (Geocentrism) One problem with model: Retrograde Motion of Mars:  One problem with model: Retrograde Motion of Mars This is what we saw looking at Mars in 1995 Note at one point it seems to go backwards Ptolemy also saw this in 100 A.D. and had to modify the model… JAN 95:  JAN 95 MAR 95:  MAR 95 MAY 95:  MAY 95 JUL 95:  JUL 95 SEP 95:  SEP 95 NOV 95:  NOV 95 JAN 96:  JAN 96 MAR 96:  MAR 96 MAY 96:  MAY 96 Ptolemy’s Model – “Epicycles” Still keeps SS Earth-centered and circular orbits:  Ptolemy’s Model – “Epicycles” Still keeps SS Earth-centered and circular orbits NICOLAUS COPERNICUS - 1543:  NICOLAUS COPERNICUS - 1543 Said the hypothesis of the Sun at the center is a simpler explanation of the data Simplicity is also part of the philosophy of science New insight - he stated that perceived motion is relative - What appears to us as motions of the Sun arise not from its motion but from the motion of Earth. The Copernican system is what Galileo found support for (not proof of!) with his wonderfully systematic observations of the heavens The Copernican System:  The Copernican System The Copernican System and its Flaws:  The Copernican System and its Flaws Galileo’s observations contradicted Ptolemy’s system and supported (not proved!) the Copernican system But this system was also not completely correct! Copernicus’ system also assumed circular orbits (old ideas die hard!) and added epicycles like Ptolemy did Galileo ignored the writings of Johannes Kepler, who determined a more correct system: elliptical orbits Galileo also was incorrect on the cause of tides – pg. 82 Before we look at evidence for Copernicus’ System, let’s see Galileo’s use of Scientific Method against the Peripatetics (Aristotle):  Before we look at evidence for Copernicus’ System, let’s see Galileo’s use of Scientific Method against the Peripatetics (Aristotle) Galileo disproved Aristotle’s physics in the area of falling bodies by a test (Scientific Method!) Aristotle believed that objects of different weight would fall at different rates he also believed that the rate of fall and the ability to float would depend on shape, which is actually correct! The story about how Galileo dropped objects of different weights off the Leaning Tower of Pisa may be apocryphal What Galileo did do for sure was to experiment with pendulums:  What Galileo did do for sure was to experiment with pendulums The period of the swing was the same for cork and lead bobs – this is the same result as the Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment t=√(2L/g):  The period of the swing was the same for cork and lead bobs – this is the same result as the Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment t=√(2L/g) Galileo and His Telescope:  Galileo and His Telescope Galileo and His Telescope:  Galileo and His Telescope Galileo builds a telescope in 1609 He wasn’t the inventor, but he did improve the design, and he was the first to use it to study the heavens systematically Brought the Cosmos 10-30 times closer and revealed facts that shattered some old ideas… He found craters, mountains, and valleys on the Moon:  He found craters, mountains, and valleys on the Moon But this was really only a small problem for the Old view since the Moon was close to an imperfect Earth, but Galileo found it to be a bit more imperfect than Aristotle would have thought Now the Conflict…:  Now the Conflict… Old idea - Earth does not rotate and no other planet has a moon, and all bodies orbit Earth Copernicus used Math to say Earth does rotate. Galileo found spots on the Sun. They showed the Sun rotated and has “imperfections” Galileo observed that Jupiter rotated --- and had moons (the “Medicean Planets”) Galileo observed that Venus had phases like the Moon and it changed size with its phases, supporting that it orbits the Sun not Earth SUNSPOTS:  SUNSPOTS The Conflict:  The Conflict Old Idea - “Everything In The Universe Orbits Around Earth.” But Galileo found “planets” that go around Jupiter, not Earth The Galilean Moons or “Medicean Planets”:  The Galilean Moons or “Medicean Planets” The Conflict:  The Conflict Old Idea - “Everything In The Universe Orbits Around Earth.” Galileo found that the planet Venus has phases, like our Moon. Phases, by themselves only mean that Venus is between Earth and the Sun, which is consistent with the Old view But, he observed the planet changes size with its phases, and this is only possible with a non-circular orbit. The Phases of Venus:  The Phases of Venus More Conflict - didn’t need a telescope for this one!:  More Conflict - didn’t need a telescope for this one! OLD IDEA - The stars are attached to a giant sphere, in an “immutable celestial region” OBSERVATION that got in the way – in 1604 a new star -- a “Nova” -- appeared in the sky. This is sometimes called “Kepler’s Star”. This new star showed no parallax, meaning that it was a great distance from Earth – it was in the “perfect” stellar region But according to the Peripatetics (Aristotle’s followers) this couldn’t be! The observations must be wrong, not the traditional views…:  The observations must be wrong, not the traditional views… Remember this quote from the text?… Slide63:  “The Peripatetics, as the followers of Aristotle were called, could not accept the view that the new star was located among the fixed stars. They believed that the celestial region was perfect and immutable. They said that since the star was new it could not be in the immutable celestial region, so it must be in the terrestrial region, closer to Earth than the moon, and Galileo must be wrong.” – Text, p. 44. Quotes from some Churchmen: Martin Luther:  Quotes from some Churchmen: Martin Luther "People gave ear to an upstart astrologer to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, sun and the moon... This fool [or fellow] wants to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scriptures tell us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth." - Table Talk (Tischreden) Quotes from some Churchmen: John Calvin:  Quotes from some Churchmen: John Calvin “Those that assert that 'the earth moves and turns'... [are] motivated by a spirit of faultfinding; possessed by the devil, they aim to pervert the order of nature.” – Sermon #8 on First Corinthians "Who will place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?" - Commentary on Genesis Quotes from some Churchmen: Robert Cardinal Bellarmine from Galileo’s Trial:  Quotes from some Churchmen: Robert Cardinal Bellarmine from Galileo’s Trial "To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as the claim that Jesus Christ was not born of a virgin." "His (Galileo’s) pretended discovery vitiates the whole Christian plan of salvation.“ Galileo runs afoul of the Inquisition:  Galileo runs afoul of the Inquisition Publishes three controversial books: Letters on Sunspots, The Assayer, and Dialogue of the Two Greatest Systems in the World Galileo was a man who valued both Faith and Reason, and the culture wasn’t ready for this yet Two big problems for him: He valued both his scientific discoveries (reason) and his Catholic faith, and wasn’t willing to compromise either He had a witty and sarcastic style which irritated his politically powerful opponents, and he seemed a bit naïve to this effect Fact or Theory? Evidence or Proof?:  Fact or Theory? Evidence or Proof? These terms were misunderstood in Galileo’s time and… They’re still misunderstood today! See Foscarini’s quote on page 74: “I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve around the earth, but the earth around the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should say rather that we have misunderstood these than pronounce to be false which is demonstrated.” (Emphasis mine -RO):  “I say that if a real proof be found that the sun is fixed and does not revolve around the earth, but the earth around the sun, then it will be necessary, very carefully, to proceed to the explanation of the passages of Scripture which appear to be contrary, and we should say rather that we have misunderstood these than pronounce to be false which is demonstrated.” (Emphasis mine -RO) Several issues are eerily similar to what one sees in creationist arguments :  Several issues are eerily similar to what one sees in creationist arguments The confusion of evidence with proof The false distinction of “Operational” and “Origins” science - p. 75: “God’s creation was becoming an object of direct human observation, which could be interpreted without the help of the Scriptures or religion.” Misrepresentation of scientific arguments: See p. 74 for the two accusations submitted to the Inquisition against Galileo, neither of which were his own words. Several issues are eerily similar to what one sees in creationist arguments :  Several issues are eerily similar to what one sees in creationist arguments The “teach the controversy” argument of the modern Intelligent Design Movement smacks a bit of Galileo’s forced disclaimer in Dialogue “The Copernican doctrine is neither true nor conclusive and it would be excessive boldness for anyone to limit and restrict the Divine Power and Wisdom to one particular fancy of his own.” – p. 82 Galileo’s sarcastic wit gets him in trouble:  Galileo’s sarcastic wit gets him in trouble The character who stands for Church authority in Dialogue is named Simplicio (“simpleton”) Simplicio can only admit arguments that come from traditional texts, not from physical evidence Pope Urban VIII may have thought Galileo was referring to him In any case Urban despised Galileo to the end – p. 96 Galileo’s Trial in 1633 – :  Galileo’s Trial in 1633 – “The way in which Galileo reacted to this action (the Inquisition trial) is a proof of his own inner conflict. Had he been less devout a Catholic, he could have refused to go before the Inquisition in Rome… …On the other hand, had he been less convinced of his scientific opinions, he could have given them up and remained at peace with the men representing the Church in his time.” Galileo’s Trial – page 85:  Galileo’s Trial – page 85 Trumped-up charges using possibly false documents Galileo caved after months of “moral torture” and gave a pitiful recantation of his scientific views Galileo’s Trial – Epilogue:  Galileo’s Trial – Epilogue Eppur si muove – “And yet it moves”: Did Galileo say this after his trial? This is an Italian legend from the 18th century, which at least shows popular support for his struggle. Postponed progress in astronomy in Catholic countries for decades Englishman Isaac Newton combined his new theories of gravity with the Kepler model and perfected it a century later Some later Roman Catholic Church doctrine: 1757: Benedict XIV allowed teaching that Earth moves 1893: Leo XIII issues Providentissimus Deus which gives a view of Science and Scripture very similar to Galileo’s Today: The Roman Catholic Church has a very open-minded view of Faith and Reason, more precisely Catholic Faith and Natural Science. A famous statement is John Paul II’s Truth Cannot Contradict Truth. Is their a dilemma for the Modern Christian who also happens to be a scientist?:  Is their a dilemma for the Modern Christian who also happens to be a scientist? Many modern Christian scientists have chosen to accept what Scientific Method tells us about nature as well as broaden and strengthen their view of faith to accommodate it. Here are some parting words from a committed (evangelical) Christian who is also a respected scientist: Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Head of the Human Genome Project:  Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D. Head of the Human Genome Project “I think scientist-believers are the most fortunate. We have the opportunity to explore the natural world at a time in history where mysteries are being revealed almost on a daily basis. We have the opportunity to perceive the unraveling of those mysteries in a special perspective that is an uncovering of God's grandeur. This is a particularly wonderful form of worship.” - Faith and the Human Genome, Paper given to the 2002 ASA convention

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