faith and science

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INTRODUCTION

I came over a book about Galileo and met again the old science faith conflict issue.

Galileo was the first scientist that came in conflict with the Vatican interpretation of the Bible despite being a friend of the bishop Bellarmino who later became pope Urban III.

I wondered why the Vatican changed its mind about Galileo 1992 October 31. This page is dedicated to this issue.

ordThe reason why Galileo was processed and condemned to house arrest until his death 1642 was a text in Joshua were Joshua asked God to stop the sun and moon. But Science has discovered that the book of Joshua  is the oldest record of a eclipse 30 october 1.207 BC ( Source:  www.cam.ac.uk/ )

The Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome,Today leads disf.org and its English version http://inters.org/ sites that discuss faith and science issues.

Another source I will look at, is this Italian book publlished 2017 called in English “the miracle of faith and Science”:

INDEX

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Texts

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The first conflict – Heliocentrism
About Copernicus and Galileo

Joshua 10:12-13 says

12 Joshua then spoke to Yahweh, the day Yahweh delivered the Amorites to the Israelites. In the presence of Israel, Joshua said: Sun, stand still over Gibeon, and, moon, you too, over the Vale of Aijalon!

13 And the sun stood still, and the moon halted, until the people had taken vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of the Just? The sun stood still in the middle of the sky and delayed its setting for almost a whole day.

According to www.cam.ac.uk/, the word for the sun that stood still has the same origin as the babilonic word for eclipse.

Hebrew: way·ya·‘ă·mōḏ  וַיַּעֲמֹ֤ד
English Bible translation: So stood still 

Professor Sir Colin Humphreys interested in relating scientific knowledge to the Bible said : “But going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining. In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining. This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.” (Read more in  www.cam.ac.uk/ )

Science explains the Bible:

Here follows  a translation of a Italian article published in www.meteoweb.eu

According to the study published earlier in the month by the scientific periodical Astronomy and Geophysics and entitled “Solar eclipse of 1207 BCE helps to date pharaohs” , a new interpretation of the passage suggests that the more than mystical event is scientific: a typical annular solar eclipse which makes the sun appear larger than the moon, complete with a luminous crown around the black disk.

Moreover, the authors explain Colin Humphreys and Graeme Waddington , the eclipse would have occurred on October 30, 1,207 BC during the reign of Ramses II , better known as Ramses The Great. A dating that brings together the main experts of Egyptology specialized in the reign of Ramses II.

“The text refers to a solar eclipse,” say the authors of the study. ” Since a solar eclipse occurs only when the moon is between the earth and the sun, the moon is not visible and in this way does not reflect sunlight onto the earth.” If the hypothesis were correct, it would also confirm the hypothesis that the miracle (of science) would have occurred in Gabaon, the current Al Jib, a village 10 kilometers from Jerusalem.

The intuition came with an alternative reading of the facts. According to Colin Humphreys professor of the Department of Materials Sciences and Metallurgy of the University of Cambridge and co-author of the paper, “the modern English translation, which is based on that of 1611, says that the sun and moon stopped. However, starting from the original text we understood that the words had a double interpretation: the stars had stopped shining. In this context, Jewish testimony could be linked to a solar eclipse. “

To support the this there is also the fact that the word that translates to “stop” has the same root as that used in the Babylonian texts to indicate the eclipse. As for the passage of the Jews to Canaan between 1500 and 1050, other evidence is provided by the Stele of di Merenptah or Stele of Israel found in 1896 by Flinders Petrie at the funerary temple of Merenptah in Tebeed.

It is currently kept in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The passage is best known for having ‘framed’ Galileo Galilei, condemning him in 1633 from the Holy Office to the abjuration for his ‘heresies’ linked to his astronomical conceptions contrary to Aristotelian philosophy and the Holy Scriptures. It took 359 years for the Church to rehabilitate and apologize to the father of modern science.

the person who interprets Scripture must understand it correctly.

John Paul II  held a speech 1992, October 3 addressed to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences  “On the Galileo affair” . In his speech we read among others:
 
“8. advances in the historical sciences made it possible to acquire a new understanding of the Bible and of the biblical world . The rationalist context in which these data were most often presented seemed to make them dangerous to the Christian faith. Certain people, in their concern to defend the faith, thought it necessary to reject firmly-based historical conclusions. That was a hasty and unhappy decision. … It is a duty for theologians to keep themselves regularly informed of scientific advances in order to examine, if such be necessary, whether or not there are reasons for taking them into account in their reflection or for introducing changes in their teaching.”
About the reasons for Galileo’s condemnation he writes “The majority of theologians (ed. of Galileis time) did not recognize the formal distinction between Sacred Scripture and its interpretation”
 
About cardinal Bellarmine (ed. friend of Galileo and later pope Urban III) John Paul II wrote should instead have said “…. we don not understand, rather than affirm that what has been demonstrated is false.’
 
I find it interesting that “St. Augustine wrote: ‘If it happens that the authority of Sacred Scripture is set in opposition to clear and certain reasoning, this must mean that the person who interprets Scripture does not understand it correctly.” [St. Augustine, Epist. 143, 7, PL 33, 588]
in 12 we read “The error of the theologians of the time (ed. th time of Galileo), when they maintained the centrality of the earth, was to think that our understanding of the physical world’s structure was, in some way, imposed by the literal sense of Sacred Scripture.”
It is important to remember that the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world, the understanding of which is the competence of human experience and reasoning. There exist two realms of knowledge:
  • one which has its source in Revelation
  • and one which reason can discover by its own power.

 To the lhttp://inters.org/ratzinger-creation-evolutionatter belong especially the experimental sciences and philosophy. The distinction between the two realms of knowledge ought not to be understood as opposition. The two realms are not altogether foreign to each other; they have points of contact.”
Read more in inters.org.

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About the Creation

According to genesis/1-24.htm God created the animals on the “fifth” day.

As the debate about evolution is mainly focused on the evolution of mankind, let us read about God’s plan. he said according to genesis/1-26-28.htm:

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky…. So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. 

genesis/2-7.htm explains how God created man (in Hebrew Adam):

“Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

As John Paul II reminded us in the Galileo dialog (see above) that we must be careful interpreting the sacred texts.

I am especcially interested in the interpretation of “dust” that in Hebrew is written as  ‘ā·p̄ār. The Quran /7/12-22 tells that God created man from “clay” https://quran.com
قَالَ مَا مَنَعَكَ أَلَّا تَسْجُدَ إِذْ أَمَرْتُكَ ۖ قَالَ أَنَا خَيْرٌ مِّنْهُ خَلَقْتَنِي مِن نَّارٍ وَخَلَقْتَهُ مِن طِينٍ – 7:12

When discussing the Bible and Quran creation of man with dust or clay,  I aksed what dust or clay could have been really.

A talented K9 student of mine, answered that clay or dust could be minerals like Sulphur and Magnesium that in fact are created by stars.

I like the Biblic word dust as it makes me think about stardust that we in fact are made of. “Clay” is not bad either even it is not as intuitive as dust. the volcanic ashes that formed thick layers of clay contain stardust too. Read more in www.nhm.ac.uk

About the Creation of Man in  Quran 76:1  we read “Has there come on man a long period of time when he was a thing unremembered?

The Quran text raised in me the question about the time dimensions for humans and God. genesis/2-7.htm does not tell how long human time it took for God to “form a man from the dust of the ground”.

Could it be million of years in human eyes that can be  a blink for God that  is there since billions of years?

Now it is time to look at the Vatican faith – evolution dialog.

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The second conflict – About the theory of evolution

the Vatican faith-evolution dialog

The dialog about evolution and faith in the Vatican has been active ssince 1950 and can be followed reading papal messages. Here are some:

Ratzinger that held just a abstract and intellectual dialog about approaches 1969, John Paul II  opened the door 1985 for a deepened dialog about  faith and the “evolutionary image of the world“.

He said about the evolutionary image of the world today: “the notion of the world differs from the materialistic image of the world, which was disseminated at the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries”

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The human body could derive from pre-existing organic matter.

It is interesting to read John Paul saying “my unforgotten predecessor Pius XII in his 1950 Encyclical Humani generis, had already drawn attention to the fact that the explicatory “evolution” model is not hindered by faith, provided this discussion stays within the context of the method of the natural sciences and of its possible scope.
Pius XII said that  the Church does not forbid evolutionary research and debate by competent scholars in both fields (ed. theology  and anthropology) “in so far as it explores the origin of the human body, which would derive from pre-existing organic matter (Catholic faith binds us maintain that souls have been immediately created by God)”

Pius XII opened already in 1950 for a more diversified/nuanced dialog:

  1. The creation of the human body
  2. and the creation of our souls.

So the Bible and the Catholic Church is not in conflict with the anrhopologists hypothesis that human body could derive from pre-existing organic matter.

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Spiritual and corporeal beings

This was confirmed by John Paul II in his discourse 1986 April 16 about “Spiritual and corporeal beings”:

“Created in the image of God, man is both a corporeal and spiritual being. Bound to the external world, he also transcends it. Besides being a bodily creature, as a spirit he is a person. “

Explaining genesis 2:7 he said “man is distinguished from the entire visible world, and in particular from the animal world. The “breath of life” has made him capable of knowing these beings, of naming them, and of recognizing that he was different from them. The “Yahwist” account does not speak of the “soul… the spirit, which contains the essential foundation of that “image of God,”

it is obvious that humans as “image of God”, God does not have a body but can become a body as with the incarnation of Jesus. It is our soul that is a image of God.

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About man

About the definition of a human being John Paul II said

“Man is a unit. He is one in himself. But this unity contains a duality. Sacred Scripture presents both the unity (the person) and the duality (body and soul). One thinks of the Book of Sirach which says: “The Lord created man out of earth, and turned him back to it again”; and further on: “He forms men’s tongues and eyes and ears, and imparts to them an understanding heart. With wisdom and knowledge he fills them; good and evil he shows them” (Sirach17:1, 5-6).”

read more in inters.org

The latest message about evolution, as I have found, was made October 31 2008 by Benedict XVI (Ratzinger)

In his speech to the Plenary Session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, he held a  discourse about “The imagery of nature as a book” written by God, like Galileo saw it.

As before in 1969, Ratzinger has a philosophical discourse where he in 2008 tries to explain the existence of a Creator. In this effort, he uses among others  Pythagoras definition of cosmos, saying “the world, far from originating out of chaos, resembles an ordered book; it is a cosmos. ” and “It has an inbuilt “mathematics” He concludes the Cosmos issue with “thanks to the natural sciences we have greatly increased our understanding of the uniqueness of humanity’s place in the cosmos.” he supports John Paul II when John Paul 2003 said

“scientific truth, which is itself a participation in divine Truth, can help philosophy and theology to understand ever more fully the human person and God’s Revelation about man,”

Ratzinger concludes with “For this important mutual enrichment in the search for the truth and the benefit of mankind, I am, with the whole Church, profoundly grateful”.”

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The third conflict – neuroscience

The last conflict we are in is between faith and neuroscience.

I wrote about it in www.kinberg.net/wordpress/stellan/2018/08/06/neurotheology/

 I am not so suprised to see that pope Francis has accepted to have his brain analyzed in MRT before and after spiritual readings. We could say that we can make a scan to proove that we are  Christian, Muslims, Buddhist or whatever believer. All kind of believes activate the so called Neuro Spiritual System

 

2. The pleasure area in our limbic system:

The interesting thing with this test was that they used  quotations from the writings of Mormon C.S. Lewis.  He’s sometimes referred to in Mormonism as a 13th apostle. (Source: Ted transcript)

Michael Ferguson then said (Source: Ted transcript):

We randomized these teachings across all of the trials. And we asked the participants to rank how meaningful they were, how strongly they felt the Spirit,”

We randomized these teachings across all of the trials. And we asked the participants to rank how meaningful they were,
how strongly they felt the Spirit,and what we saw was so beautiul from the point of view of cognitive science.
09:02 Believing Mormons consistently ranked the te achings of their own leaders as more meaningful and as more spiritually evocative
than the teachings of out-group authority   though in reality, they were all from the same source. To further explore the way that social we had our participants complete this task twice:
  1. once at the beginning of their study session,
  2. and a second time, following a 30-minute period of prayer, of scripture study and of religious devotion.
 
 10:42What we saw is that after a 30-minute period of personal spiritual practice, our study participants became more generous to the out-group.
10:54 They arranged their teachings as more meaningful
10:56 and reported to feel the Spirit more strongly from them
11:00 than they had at the beginning of the study session.
11:03 There are several possible mechanisms
11:06 that could be driving the behaviors that we observe.
11:08 It’s very likely, for example,
11:10 that principals from the psychology of attachment theory
11:15are participating in this authority bias.
11:18There are also elements of classical conditioning that might be at play here.
11:23 Biologically speaking,
11:25 when dopamine is released through the brain,
11:27 it may be driving an increase in social openness.
11:32 As is most often the case in science,
11:35 the full story likely requires a complex map
11:39 with multiple layers of explanation.
11:44 Religion, in my mind,
11:46 shows a lot of similar features with sex.
11:51 The majority of adults do it,
11:53 they say that it brings meaning and pleasure into their lives,
11:57 and in spite of strident advocates for abstinence only, people are going to do it.
12:05 No matter how many people say, “Never be sexual,” humans will be sexual.
12:11 No matter how many people say, “Never be religious,” humans will be religious.
12:17 These are behaviors that spring from deep evolutionary needs.
12:23 What I advocate is not for science to focus its editorializing on the eradication of religious behavior,
12:30 but rather, like safe sex, on evidence-based best practices for how we can do religion safely and well.
12:48 Imagine a renewed partnership between the seminary and the academy
12:54 to articulate intelligent safe theology.It could do a lot of good in a world that needs it. We live in an exciting day of rapidly accelerating discovery.
 What that means is the formation of radically disruptive ideas. Interdisciplinary and convergent work are exponentially driving the pace of our expanded self-understanding.
13:22 The hope that I would like to convey to you incorporate the best tools of our scientific methods, we may win the capacity to further enlighten our respective cultures
13:37 and to refine our religious traditions in ways that make them more worthy of the divine nature that they claim to represent.
13:46 This is your brain on God.
 
 

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Can a scientist be religious?

How can a scientist believe in supernatural and mystical elements?

http://www.the-brights.net/ is a comunity of people who “have a naturalistic worldview, free of supernatural or mystical elements.

There are things that Science still can not examine as it is not material, can not be numerated and is not measurable.

Can Science explain these questions:

Psychologists analyze these issues but they can not proove their conclusions.

This Ted deals with this issue:

 

I think that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences  with John Paul II are right when they say that we are Spiritual and corporeal beings.

or in other words we are dual,
we have a analytic and a social-empathic thinking or brain activities that are opposing. These activities sometime even suppress each others. They are  like yin and yang. Scientifically speaking, we have two  anti-correlated brain networks.

Dr. Tony Jack gives us in his Ted a good example of how our brain works. We have bi-stable images like this below where we can see either a duck or a rabbit but not both at the same time. This shows how our brain works. We have difficulties to use both networks at the same timeas they suppress each other.

C.P. Snow

I like this thougth:

 

I dont have this problem anymore thanks to Quntum Physics that is demonstrated mathematically and partly also in laboratory.

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Sources

Here are the sources I read most of all:

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conclusion

In my illuministic Genesis I followed the Quranic creation story but had Adams soul b incarnated in a Homo sapiens/Neanderthal hybrid body, perfectly adapted to life on Earth. It looks like i were on the right path writing this Genesis May 2018.

I am happy that that we have the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and that the Church wants to follow the evolutionary research of “the origin of the human body, which would derive from pre-existing organic matter” as Pius XII  wrote 1950.

My reading of the texts above and writing this page, has led me into a new search of understanding: “the human soul” and “the origin of our soul”.

A pluralist agnostic seeker

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