Memoria Press, the classical, Christian, curriculum producer, has released a summer issue of their magazine, dedicated to science and science education in the classical education tradition. There are a number of thoughtful essays, but I’ll just start with this one from Christopher Blum:
The first face of modern science, the calm countenance of pious learning, is the face worn by the vast majority of those who study nature today: stargazers, birdwatchers, homeschooling mothers, all children, many armchair philosophers and some professional ones, and a surprising number of field and laboratory scientists. They have learned from Galileo that the moon is made of rocks, from William Harvey that the blood circulates, from Joseph Lister that they ought to wash their hands, and from many scientists many other truths besides. They are comfortable with the periodic table, unafraid of what the geological record may reveal, and even pay a respectful if somewhat quizzical regard to the mysteries of quantum physics. And many of them regularly worship Nature’s God.
The second face of modern science is similarly widespread, and seems to hold what T. S. Eliot once called “all the most valuable advertising space,” enjoying bully pulpits in academia and the media, from which it trumpets in dreary monotony the dirge of chance and necessity, of the land beyond freedom and dignity, and of the universe without a cause.
What do men of faith require in order to find in that first science the great good of truths lasting and significant? What can men of faith do to offer some measure of composure and peace to those now wearing the anguished and angry faces of that second science?
Such questions admit of no brief and easy answers. Yet the essays in this issue do speak to them and together offer a way forward. But what these essays hold in common is two-fold: a determination to use with great care the words that we employ to formulate our claims about nature, and a confidence that nature’s deep and beautiful order points the way back to its Creator. These two qualities do not themselves offer all that we seek, but they are the essential starting points for inquiry.
Gaelic Storm, the Irish band, wonders why there are no Irish astronauts:
Of course, as a Notre Dame alumnus I am compelled to point out that there are, at least, “Fighting Irish” astronauts.
“Why remain Catholic?” Elizabeth Scalia asks. I have only one answer: because it is true. I realize that this may seem flippant, but all reasons for being Catholic, or not, ought to reduce finally to simply this. There is no reason at all to be Catholic if you think that it is false. There is no reason not to be Catholic if you think that it is true. Of course the more complicated question is, “But why do you think that it is true?” And that question, I acknowledge, can be worthy of much more discussion. I only wish to urge that, if your reason for being or not being Catholic does not finally resolve itself upon the question of Truth, you are missing the point. No emotional or political purpose can make up for adhering to a falsehood, and no aesthetic or moral purpose can make up for rejecting the true manifestation of God’s Church in the world.
“The ability not to yield to despair when confronted with the fact of death, as well as with the prospect of the catastrophic end of temporal history, is a matter of great practical concern to us all. Even in the midst of catastrophe, a person who possesses this ability remains capable of affirmation, which in turn makes it possible for him to engage in activity on the historical plane: to engage, in other words, in “political” activity—activity directed toward the realization of justice—as well as artistic activity, whose purpose it is to praise the creation. As Erik Peterson has stated, the mouth of the martyr does not utter a word against God’s Creation. Despite everything which befalls him and despite how the world of man must “really” look to him, he still persists in saying: The Creation is good, very good!”
Josef Pieper, “The Art of Not Yielding to Despair” Problems of Modern Faith