Group gives fellowship, discussion board for discussions of faith-science questions | Earthbeat

Washington — Battered by each the lingering results of the COVID-19 pandemic and excessive gasoline costs making journey costly, this yr’s Society of Catholic Scientists convention, held June 3–5 at Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, was an intimate gathering with about 100 attendees.

That did not faze Stephen Barr, professor emeritus of physics on the College of Delaware, who helped discovered the group in 2016 and serves as its president.

The convention has as considered one of its objectives fellowship amongst Catholic scientists, most of them teachers. And it veers firmly away from America’s tradition wars or something even faintly political.

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“Should you’re a devoted believing Catholic, that is all we care about,” Barr advised Catholic Information Service. “We do not wish to be concerned in secular politics or church politics.”

With the theme of environmental stewardship linked to the papal encyclical “Laudato Si’,” audio system mentioned Catholic environmentalism going again to the fourth century, and matters resembling soil conservation, the preservation of tropical forests, the significance of bees and genetic advances used to preserve wild animal populations.

“I’ve discovered it to be an awesome assist really,” mentioned Sr. Damien Savino, a member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Eucharist, who teaches at Aquinas School in Grand Rapids Michigan and has a background in engineering. She delivered a keynote tackle on the theology behind “Laudato Si’.”

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“The entire tenor of the group is extra concerning the convergence of science and the Catholic religion,” she mentioned. “There is a large concord there.”

In her keynote, she hoped to get the convention “excited about the extinction of creation that’s occurring bodily … but additionally concerning the metaphysical trigger within the final two centuries.”

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“They’re enjoyable conferences, they are surely,” she added. “There’s that sense of mentoring youthful scientists (to) assist them really feel protected. Scientists are searching for a technique to combine their religion and science with out having a level in theology.”

With solely six members at its founding, Barr famous that the Society of Catholic Scientists now has greater than 1,250 members in 55 nations.

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However “it isn’t how I believed I would spend my retirement,” he mentioned. Extra accustomed to showing in laboratories and lecture halls, operating the group means administrative duties “which I am not significantly good at.”

The society’s plans for its progress embrace having faculty chapters and an even bigger annual convention.

The broader context of the group, he mentioned, “is the widespread notion that non secular religion and science are incompatible and that only a few scientists are non secular. This false notion has been a serious contributor to a lack of religion amongst younger folks. It has additionally led many non secular scientists and science college students to be quiet about their religion, which reinforces the notion in a form of vicious circle.”

A 2016 survey by the Middle for Utilized Analysis within the Apostolate at Georgetown College indicated that Catholic youths had been discovering the religion incompatible with the science they discovered in highschool and faculty.

Different objectives, Barr mentioned, “are to be a discussion board for critical discussions of faith-science questions from the attitude of people that have a excessive stage of scientific information in addition to a dedication to their Catholic religion and to assist educate the broader public on the relation of science and religion. The Catholic religion tells us to like God and neighbor.”

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