About the Site

The SecondSightblogdotnet is a mutual exploration into the reconciliation between science and faith.

Over the centuries there have been tussles between scientific discoveries and the teaching of the Catholic Church. Sometimes this is because scientists have got ahead of themselves; sometimes it is because the Church has clung too long to traditional understandings, and failed to discriminate between the essentials and the inessentials.

But truth is indivisible, and scientific fact and the truths of faith are ultimately reconcilable – although we may not always understand how.

Today this reconciliation has never been more important. Materialists often chide us for what they regard as mere superstition, and claim that we are trying to influence society with our unproved beliefs.

And so the Secondsightblogdotnet (formerly Second Sight Blog) was born.

The raw material is based on my fortnightly Science and Faith column in The Catholic Herald. And I add to that other relevant articles and thoughts, which I hope you will find stimulating.

But the value of the blog lies mainly with you. Contribute your comments generously. You may well want to disagree with some of my views. Tell me so. I may want to disagree with some of yours. Perhaps you can offer different or additional angles. May be you are an expert in a particular field, scientific, theological or philosophical, and have facts we need to hear. It will be a learning process for all of us, not least for me.
Quentin

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5 Responses to About the Site

  1. David Bingham says:

    Reference the Catholic Herald 29th april 2011; How is Jesus present?
    I find the issue of the Real Presence is helped by modern technology. Our TV’s – our mobile phones – are all about presence; – both audible & visible – and even inter-active. One person’s “presence” can be multiplied thousands of times according the number of TVs switched on. True, not actual physical bodily presence, but in all other respects, very much a personal presence. If technology can produce these forms of presence, transcending distance; then we should not have too much difficulty in accepting the “divine technology” – not circumscribed by time or space – of the Eucharistic presence; which is not so much a matter of Christ being summoned down to the Eucharistic altar, as the Eucharistic species of bread and wine being drawn up to Christ to manifest the guarantee of His personal presence. Heresy????

    • Brendan O'Leary says:

      David, There is a real danger in accepting ” divine technology ” as a kind of cop-out to the real thing. After we are talking about the Real Prescence which after all demands our real prescence. This virtual prescence is a poor substitute for community worship – where we eat and are given life and where we cannot eat, for whatever reason, we are joined spiritually, where ” two or three are joined together “to this lifesaving spiritual sacrificial act. I would not conclude that you are a heretic, but like General Absolution it is not to be encouraged for Christ- centred humanity.

  2. Major thankies for the blog. Really Great.

  3. Bonsai says:

    I like the premise of this blog. I am an analyst– but I consider myself a philosopher (by major and thinking style) as well as a Christian fairly young in my faith. I will be following you! I write some on Christianity and how it fits with “Lean” business practices.

  4. Adam Cro-Magnon says:

    That relationship between science and religion – is it not unlike that one where philosophy became the desired handmaiden to theology: science through some pious hope of ‘would-that-it-could-be-so’ is enlisted/appropriated /incorporated into a religious vision.

    I honestly wish at times that it could be so but I fear that the relationship is most problematic indeed. Science and religion operate with differing ethics of cognition and a delineation of the features of their respective discourses may well bring one to the dismal realisation of this problematic.

    Science is characterised primarily by a method of enquiry. It does not specialise in substantive findings but merely champions a method of knowing, a particular epistemology, grounded in a mixture of empiricism and mechanism, wherein there is an a priori exclusion of anything pertaining to some other world when it comes to wanting to understand what is going on in this one. The findings of science are only ever provisional…valid until such a time as future evidence dismantles a current theory with something better.

    In contrast religion makes substantive claims which are never, never held on a provisional basis (i.e. only as good etc., until future evidence comes along to counter the claims.) Who would buy into them if that were the case? Where Christianity is concerned this knowing is grounded in revelation and the handing down of a sacred tradition. It is a sort of instant knowledge, packaged and presented, ready ad delivered to the consumer. Here religion makes an a priori inclusion of some other world when it coms to understanding this one. But it cannot tell us about this one or does so only through the rearview mirror of some other world – where purpose and meaning matter so much. Here knowledge is instant and revealed. Not so with science where it is a matter of piecemeal and slow gathering of knowledge over centuries

    Science disenchants the world; it separates fact from value (ideologies, secular and religious, do the opposite). Its history shows it to be a way of knowing which rips into, savages and ravages religious claims/other cultures or rather puts forth explanations which may make religious claims redundant or questionable. For example, take the Indonesian littoral were Imams were ready to castigate human frailty and failings, immorality for occasioning a Tsunami. Apparently, tectonic plates were being used by the Almighty to effect a certain, nasty, condign outcome. Which is the better explanation – can we entertain both or do we latch onto one as being more satisfying: punishment from the hand of an Almighty or mere practical cause and effect without the need for a relationship to some other world to understand it all. Take Aids! Was it divine punishment for immorality. Moreover can we thwart the Almighty by developing cures against punishing ills? Thinking like this makes me wonder how religions ofttimes tread a difficult path between theodicy and idiocy.

    Science disenchants, endorses no particular secular or religious vision of the world. It is cold, offers no consolation, purpose or meaning – that is not its function. Not a few have been those seeking to enlist science to their cause (Hitler’s Germany, Communist Russia – it is as if the scientific way of knowing cannot be left alone but must be brought in to validate enterprises and visions. But what when science interrogates, invalidates?

    Do we live in a world or perhaps a wood where paths diverge one must be indeed not taken? A frosty outcome, no doubt. One leads to meaning, purpose, consolation and comfort; the other, a cold, old place.

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