Catholicism, Science And Education

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A review of the literary work, "American Catholicism's Science Crisis and the Albertus Magnus Guild, 193-1969," by Ronald A. Binzley.

Dianne Loomis
UB Science Curricula: Current Approaches

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Catholicism, Science And Education

  1. 1. Catholicism, Science and education<br />Dianne Schofield-Loomis<br />Science Curricula: Current Approaches<br />Spring 2010<br />
  2. 2. The relationship between the American Catholic Church to the sciences has frequently been misunderstood.<br />
  3. 3. There is a common misconception that there must be a divide between religion and science…that scientists cannot be religious and the religious cannot be scientists.<br />
  4. 4. While it may appear that science and religion have little in common, there has historically been much activity between them. <br />- Catholicism and science are “absolutely incompatible”<br />John William Draper<br />1898<br />
  5. 5. In fact, the Catholic Church has made substantial contributions to science. “J.L. Heilbron, for instance, maintains in his book, The Sun in the Church (1999) that the Roman Catholic Church gave more financial and social support to the study of astronomy for over six centuries, from the recovery of ancient learning during the late Middle Ages into the Enlightenment, then any other, and, probably, all other institutions.” (Binzley 697)<br />
  6. 6. However, by the 20th century, “it was no longer enough to sing the historical praises of the Church…<br />
  7. 7. …to point out the help which the Popes gave to science in the 13th century by funding the most important universities…<br />
  8. 8. …or the fact that “some of the most important scientists of the 19 century were Catholics, including Pasteur, one of the most prominent chemists and biologists of his time, and an obedient son of the Church.” (Binzley 704)<br />Louis Pasteur<br />Chemist, Biologist, Catholic<br />1822 - 1895 <br />
  9. 9. During the early part of the 20th century, American education was undergoing powerful changes and student enrollment in the study of the sciences soared.<br />Founded in 1789, Georgetown University in Washington DC is the oldest Catholic University in America.<br />
  10. 10. Catholic institutions of higher learning, however, were still teaching a curriculum based on a European model that focused on a primarily classical-humanist education. <br />
  11. 11. These modern changes forced Catholic education to “acknowledge the need to conform their schools to the emerging standard of American collegiate education,” while maintaining their traditionally accepted Catholic foundation.<br />
  12. 12. “Most leaders of Catholic education had come to regard neo-scholastic philosophy, otherwise known as Thomism, as the key instrument for infusing modern educational institutions with an explicit Catholic rationale.” (Binzley 700)<br />
  13. 13. Named for St. Thomas Aquinas, “Thomism was the notion that there exists an objective and intelligible reality to which all persons have access through the use of reason and intuition.” (Binzley 701)<br />
  14. 14. In 1928 the Catholic Round Table of Science was founded. <br />
  15. 15. However, by the end of World War II, the Round Table ultimately disbanded with an overall lack of success. <br />
  16. 16. Catholic scientists wished to re-establish a national organization focused on the advancement of science.<br />
  17. 17. The Rev. Patrick Henry Yancey, S.J., chairman of the biology department at Spring Hill College, a small Jesuit college in Mobile, Alabama, and a recent appointee of President Truman’s to the newly founded National Science Board led the establishment of a new organization, the Albertus Magnus Guild. <br />
  18. 18. The Guild’s purpose was to “improve Catholics’ scientific performance and to refute the widely held notion among non-Catholic Americans that Catholicism was inherently hostile to science.” (Binzley 695) <br />
  19. 19. “By affirming both the human mind’s capacity to acquire objective truth and the rational basis of Christian faith,” the Guild attempted to promote research collaboration, increased interaction and scientific activity amongst Catholic scientists, and assistance in uniting the perceived rift between science and religion. (Binzley 701)<br />
  20. 20. The Great Debate encompassed a period of severe intellectual turmoil within the Catholic Church of America.<br />
  21. 21. Philosophy of Nature<br />Ontological context of <br />scientific findings<br />Modern science based <br />on empirical data<br />Many Thomists couldn’t accept or grasp the rapidly growing distinction of scientific ideas that were emerging. <br />
  22. 22. Controversial areas of scientific research demanded Catholic action in the form of research programs and public policies consistent with Catholic morals and values.<br />
  23. 23. The majority of the Guild’s membership, however, consisted primarily of members of Catholic higher education, lacking in modern research knowledge. It thus began to lose it’s appeal to Catholics living and working in secular society. <br />The AMG leadership at the 1962 annual meeting. Pictured from left to right are Hugh Taylor (guild president from 1953 to 1960); Patrick Yancey; John Wright, Bishop of Pittsburgh (guild honorary president from 1959 to 1969); Frederick Rossini, Dean of the College of Science at Notre Dame University (guild president from 1960 to 1965); and Lawrence Baldinger, Associate Dean of the College of Science at Notre Dame University (Editor of the Bulletin from 1961 to 1965).<br />
  24. 24. Walter J. Ong“Knowledge does not consist of a static system that can simply be passed on from one generation to the next.” (Binzley 720)<br />
  25. 25. Ong argued that “American Catholics have a duty to be more receptive to modern thought – to learn about, facilitate, and consider the significance (of the sciences) for Catholic theology and philosophy.” (Binzley 720)<br />
  26. 26. This ultimately led to an American Catholic educational institution very similar to non-Catholic systems. <br />
  27. 27. In 1969 the Rev. Patrick Henry Yancey and the Albertus Magnus Guild died together, yet not without leaving a lasting impression on Catholicism, science, and American education.<br />
  28. 28. Science departments in Catholic universities were improving ~ <br />~ Catholic participation in the sciences had noticeably increased.<br />
  29. 29. The Rev. Patrick Henry Yancey and the Albertus Magnus Guild maintained the belief that “religion should have no bearing on the practice of science in the laboratory – that in this sense there was no Catholic science – rather Catholic philosophy that should provide a guide for placing moral limits on the work of Catholic scientists.” ( Binzley 723)<br />
  30. 30. “The development of Catholic science education and the relationship between the American Catholic Church and the sciences” can be viewed through these efforts of Yancey and the Albertus Magnus Guild. (Binzley 722)<br />
  31. 31. Sources"A Biblical Portrayal of Healing." ShutterStock.com. Web. 27 Mar 2010. "Albertus Magnus." GAIA Community. Web. 27 Mar 2010. "Array of French Popes." Travelpod. Web. 27 Mar 2010. Binzley, Ronald A. "American Catholocism's Science Crisis and the Albertus Magnus Guild, 1953-1969." Isis. 98. (2007): 695-723. Print. "Dolly the Sheep." The Age. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Fordham University." Guests of a Guest. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "John William Draper." Chemistry.About. Web. 27 Mar 2010. Kurtz, Paul, ed. Science and Religion Are They Compatible?. 1st ed. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003. Print. "Louis Pasteur." Garden of Praise. Web. 27 Mar 2010. "Rev Patrick Yancey." TimotheosPrologizes. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Oldest Catholic Univesity." DowntownDCHotel. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Pope Benedict XVI." Top News. Web. 27 Mar 2010."Science and Society." Physics Today. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Science Class." Bishop Challoner.org. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Stem Cells." MyPortfolio.usc.edu. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "St. Thomas." HolbytiaWorldpress. Web. 28 Mar 2010. “Stop Abortion..." StoptheACLU.com. Web. 28 Mar 2010. "Thinker." MSPMentor. Web. 28 Mar 2010. <br />

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