Seniors discuss science and faith with Brown University professor
The de Csepel Theater came to life last Thursday morning during a discussion about just that—the evolution of life—thanks to a Skype presentation and question and answer session with renowned biologist, author and Brown University professor Dr. Ken Miller. Senior Seminar students heard from Dr. Miller on the relationship between science and faith in an attempt to answer the question: how can people of faith reconcile themselves to non-biblical ideas like the Big Bang and evolution?
Upper School English department chair Dr. Bill Mottolese reflected on the presentation saying, “Dr. Miller's work on evolution and God speaks to the difficult questions that we explore in Senior Seminar. A big part of Senior Seminar is thinking about how science and religion are not mutually exclusive of each other -- that faith and reason go together.”
Dr. Miller unpacked for students how Pope Francis’ recent comments on the Big Bang were not revolutionary but rather perfectly in line with the Big Bang founder Fr. Georges Lemaitre’s original philosophy. When Fr. Lemaitre, a professor of physics in Belgium, developed the Big Bang theory, he did so while acknowledging his faith. He believed that the people of faith should expect to encounter errors of scientific fact in the Bible when writers discussed events they could not have witnessed. He argued that if none of the writers of the Bible were present at the time of creation, people of faith should read stories of creation as interpretations and not scientific fact.
Students had the opportunity to ask Dr. Miller a wide variety of questions from how to interpret genetic screening and selection of traits both scientifically and morally as a Christian and how to teach evolution in public schools if evolution is closely tied to religion.
“What makes Dr. Miller so legitimate is that he is a serious scientist who has defended teaching evolution in several court cases yet is a practicing Catholic himself,” Dr. Mottolese noted. “He sees no conflict between faith and reason."