Where Honest Scientists Trace Their Roots
By Edward Pentin
ROME, APRIL 29, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Without the Christian faith, there would be no modern science as we know it today.
That was the groundbreaking assertion made by Benedictine Father Stanley Jaki, a Hungarian-born physicist and theologian, who died last year aged 84.
A man of deep faith, lucid intelligence and great creativity according to those who knew him, Father Jaki’s expertise in science and theology led him to become one of the Church’s greatest thinkers, especially regarding the relationship between science and religion.
According to Father Paul Haffner, a professor of theology at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum university in Rome, Father Jaki’s biggest contribution to modern science was the discovery that it “arose under the influence of a medieval Christian culture.” Before then, such a claim was strongly opposed by those who thought science was born out of the Enlightenment.
“They thought the Middle Ages were a dark ages, but in fact we know historically that’s not true,” explained Father Haffner, himself a prolific author who has written "Creation and Scientific Creativity," a theological study of Jaki’s thought. He cited great scientists of the medieval Church, in particular Jean Buridan, the 14th century French priest who sowed the seeds of the Copernican revolution (Copernicus was also a priest, a fact often overlooked in the Galileo controversy).