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Catholic panel tackles faux binary of faith vs science at Scholarship in the Cathedral

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Matthew Tan featured on a panel of experts dissecting the faux binary of faith vs science. PHOTO: Robert Hiini

Faith and science work together in harmony to help us understand reality, according to a panel of experts on 6 September at the second installation of the Scholarship in the Cathedral series of talks, at Chapter Hall, next to St Mary’s Cathedral.

Addressing the topic of “Faith and science in the same universe,” Bishop Richard Umbers ignited the discussion by pointing out that scientism—the belief that the study of the material world can answer all questions about existence—is prevalent in the world today, leading to the assumption that religious faith and science are naturally opposed to each other.

He said this assumption has caused many to marginalise the Catholic Church’s long history of supporting and promoting scientific research. Bishop Umbers invited the speakers to address how Catholics could better integrate the realms of faith and science.

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A lively discussion ensued between panellists Dr Matthew Tan, Adjunct Senior Lecturer in Theology at Notre Dame University and columnist for The Catholic Weekly; Fr Robert Krishnaop, a Dominican priest with a PhD in the Philosophy of Science; newly ordained priest, Fr Sebastian Hew, who holds a PhD in Physics; and Sr Mary Ephrem, a Dominican sister with a Doctorate in Physical Geography.

Audience members were also invited to pose questions to the panel.

At the conclusion of the evening Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP recalled Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI who controversially wrote that only Christianity can do science well because it is the only religion that is both transcendental and incarnational, providing the correct approach to studying the material world.

“Being Christians should make these things so much more exciting, so much more important, so much more worth engaging in, than for anyone else,” Archbishop Fisher said.

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