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Of Mice and Men – Pondering the Strange Loss of Faith in an Age of Science

May 2, 2018 5 Comments

One of the more perplexing claims of the growing number of agnostics and atheists among us is that there is no evidence of an intelligent creator of the universe. Clearly, the created universe manifests intelligibility and order from the farthest reaches of outer space down to our small planet and further down into the “inner space” of cells, atoms, and molecules. Science affirms the existence of a creator by uncovering the inner order and intelligibility of created things. Strangely, though, this age of science seems to be fostering an increasing denial of that evidence.

Indeed, creation is a veritable symphony of billions of notes working together in an extraordinary harmony that seems to shout, “I was composed and carefully thought out; my master composer is also the great conductor of my symphony, so painstakingly laid out.”

That the created world is intelligible is the very basis of the sciences. The world manifests meaning that we can discover and it moves along in predictable ways; it does not randomly change from one thing to the next from one moment to the next. Because there is order and intelligibility, a scientist can predict, propose, and test theories, and can replicate results. Without order and intelligibility there could be no scientific method.

Yet many of these same scientists who use this scientific method deny the very Intelligence who provides the intelligibility that their science presumes. If the created world is intelligible, then clearly an intelligence imposed this intelligibility upon it. That the created world manifests order demonstrates that someone so ordered it.

If all of this intricate order had happened just by accident at one moment in time, it would then require something to maintain that order and keep it from breaking down the very next instant into something completely different—yet this does not happen. Reality does not suddenly and randomly mutate into something else. It follows predictable laws; changes are orderly and exhibit continuity with what went before. Order is present not just at one point in time; rather, it is sustained over time and becomes demonstrably more organized as complex life forms develop. Clearly, creation tends toward a certain end in an orderly and progressive way.

That there is order and intelligibility to the created world is demonstrably true and denying this would seem to be the reaction of a madman. The universe shouts out, “I was planned and carefully executed; I have been intricately designed by an intelligent cause moving me in an intelligible direction!”

I would understand if physical scientists were to say that they are not equipped to opine on who or what this intelligence is. Indeed, the physical sciences are not equipped to measure the metaphysical. For so many scientists to claim the ability to deny that there is an intelligence (whom we believers call God) is for them to step outside of their field of expertise—unreasonably so.

The claim that there is no God is not a scientific one; it is philosophical in nature. Those who maintain that there is only the physical and not the metaphysical are actually making a metaphysical claim. They refute their own assertion in the very act of declaring it! The contention that physical science wholly explains all of reality is not one that can be demonstrated scientifically. The claim is proven false the very moment it is declared.

Many will say that there is no evidence of God’s existence because He cannot be seen under a microscope or through a telescope. But of course God is not a physical being; He does not register on our scales. He cannot be physically measured any more than can justice, mercy, beauty, or any other metaphysical concept. None of these can be seen with the tools of physical science—but they are no less real.

Yes, there is a great deal of evidence of a creator. The entire created world is steeped in intelligibility and order. There is a magnificent interplay between material, efficient, formal, and final causality. By its intelligibility, the created world shouts of the intelligence that made it so. By its order, it sings of the one who so ordered it.

Existence itself provides the answer to the questions: “Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is there anything at all?” The only reasonable answer that can come back from the existing cosmos is this: “I was caused!” Something cannot cause itself any more than you and I can cause ourselves. We, and the entire cosmos, were caused by someone other than ourselves and outside of ourselves. The cosmos says, “Someone outside of me caused me. That is why I exist. That is why anything exists at all.”

We moderns have become obtuse and inwardly focused. If anything, we should be more convinced than ever that God exists, as our sciences have revealed such incredible complexity and intricate order in every layer and at every level of creation. We should be singing of the incredible wisdom of the Creator who has so perfectly ordered every level of His creation. Sadly, though, just the opposite seems to be happening: agnosticism and atheism are growing.

Far too many scientists, who should know better (for there would not be science at all without the intelligibility built into creation), make unfounded denials of God, a pronouncement that is clearly outside their field of expertise. And because so many of us idolize the sciences, we give great weight to the claims of scientists, even when those claims are nonscientific.

Contemplating this tragic turn of events brings to mind a parable told by Venerable Fulton Sheen many decades ago:

Those who refuse to unify the cosmos in terms of Pure Intelligence but content themselves with secondary causes may be likened to an all-wise mouse living in a grand piano who … explained the music by the play of hammers on the strings, the action of which could be seen in his own narrow little world. Scientists catch the tune, but miss the player (Old Errors and New Labels, Fulton J. Sheen 1931, p. 27).

Yes, we have become mousy in our thinking. We prefer to live inside the piano and explain the music of the spheres only internally, never thinking of the great artist outside, who gives and causes the magnificent, understandable, beautiful, and intricate melody we hear.

Sadly, the great debate over the existence of God seems only to grow, even as the evidence of intelligibility, order, and design increases. It is a great debate of mice and men.

Are you a mouse or are you a man?

In this video, hear the song of the cosmos:

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Comments (5)

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  1. John says:

    Great article, Monsignor.

    From my own perspective, it seems that science has largely been politicized into a Darwinist and atheistic worldview. Knowingly or not, most every Catholic schools today teach this worldview to their impressionable students. Most Catholic Universities science departments are centered on a materialist science curriculum, without references to what sacred scripture teaches or what the Catholic Church has traditional held regarding our origins. Without scientific evidence, Catholic science courses teach Darwinist evolution, completely ignoring all historical evidence of spontaneous creation related in Genesis. Time for the Catholic Church to proclaim, anew, the Good News of Genesis. We were created out of love, for a God-given purpose, from the life-giving breath of God.

    • Larry says:

      From “Absolute Relativism” by Chris Stefanick:

      “8 Relativism destroys faith

      It seems that most people today are under the false impression that if something is scientifically verifiable, it is objectively true, whereas everything else is only “subjectively true” (that is, sentiment or opinion).
      Such a belief reduced God from the status of actual living Being to personal sentiment that can legitimately vary from person to person.”

  2. Pedro says:

    To me is sometimes difficult believing because of some animals killing others in order to survive.

  3. George says:

    The universe is both unimaginably complex and inexplicably simple. At an atomic level, electrons, protons, and neutrons do a dance so complex that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle tells us we can never know both the position and momentum of these subatomic particle. And this uncertainty has nothing to do w/ our limitations in our ability to measure.

    And yet simple* rules and formulas explain so much of the universe:
    – if you double the time you let an object fall, the distance will go up four fold; if you triple the time, the distance will go up 9 times; quadruple, 16 times. How is it possible that this elegant relationship exists?
    – E=mc2. How is it possible that energy and mass can be converted to each other, and by exactly the speed of light squared?
    – Euler’s formula says e to the power of i x pi = -1. How is it possible that three seemingly unrelated irrational or imaginary numbers (the natural log constant (irrational), the circumference to diameter ratio of a circle (irrational), and the square root of -1 (imaginary)), magically come together in a simple formula equaling -1?

    And yet so many scientists are quick to say there is no God.

    *’simple’ in the sense that key formulas have only a few elements

  4. Reg Lagrange says:

    Hello Msgr. Pope,

    Thank you for all your spiritual guidance. It has helped us greatly for years. The Lord, the Holy Spirit, has provided us with scientific proof that God exists, and that His Word is Truth. He asks us all to evangelize with this Truth. We can think of no better person than you to help with this effort. Here it is:

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
    Eucharistic Miracle of Lanciano
    † Scientific Proof of the Existence of God †
    and the Truth of His Word

    1. Indicated by the Lord, the Holy Spirit, to be: Ongoing, Living, Scientific Proof of the Incarnation, Crucifixion and Resurrection of the Word of God.
    2. This miracle happened around the year 700. It happened during Mass, just after the consecration of the Bread and Wine, and was immediately recognized by all who gazed upon it and who were stunned to tears and cries of “Mercy”. The Eucharistic Host changed into visible flesh, and the Eucharistic Wine changed into visible blood, which coagulated into five globules of differing size and shape.
    3. This miracle is ongoing today, and can be viewed at the Church of St. Francis in Lanciano, Italy. [It is the first, and by far the most profound, of all Eucharistic miracles.]
    4. This miracle has been scientifically investigated six times (the latest and most extensive being by the World Health Organization in the early 1970’s “lasting 15 months with 500 examinations”*, and updated in 1981). Each successive research project verified the findings of the previous. The major scientifically-verified research conclusions are as follows:
    A. The blood is fresh (“live”) human blood of type AB, the same as that on the Shroud of Turin. [Left unsealed, normal human blood decays in less than an hour, but this blood is still fresh (“alive”) after over 1,000 years.]
    B. Each globule of blood “weighs” exactly the same, even though they all differ in size and shape. Each one “weighs” 15.85g (0.5591oz). All 5 together also weigh15.85g (the same as any one). So do any combination (2,3,or4) of globules weigh 15.85g (the same as any one).
     [This is beyond explanation by scientists, and completely contradicts one of the pillars of modern science: The Law of Conservation of Energy (and Mass/Matter). This is further confirmation that Science is completely incapable of legitimately contradicting Spiritual Reality.]
    C. The flesh is “fresh” (“live”) human flesh of the human heart. Its blood type is also AB. [Left unsealed, normal human flesh decays in less than a week, but this flesh is still fresh (“alive”) after over 1,000 years.]
    D. Both the flesh and the blood were thoroughly tested for “preservatives” and absolutely none were found. The fact that both were left open to the air (not sealed in any way) for centuries, would have guaranteed their decay if they were normal flesh and blood. This preservation as fresh (“live”) specimens up to the present day is a profound statement of the “Existence of God and the Truth of His Word”.
    5. This constitutes the scientific proof of the Word of God which so many seek. [i.e. This has been provided by the Holy Spirit: Scientific Proof of the “Existence of God” and that “His Word is Truth” itself. Every word He speaks is Truth.]

    *Dr. Edoardo Linoli (Chief of Research)

    …….. Now that you know the Truth, don’t keep it to yourself. Tell your family, your friends, your neighbors, your colleagues, and anyone who will listen.

    “God grant you Peace”
    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Thank you, again, for all the help you’ve been to us over the years. RL

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