An Adult Education Course for the Diocese of Harrisburg, September-October, 2009


This course is to serve as an apologetic against scientific materialism, to show that Faith and Reason "are the two wings" that carry us to knowledge of God, and that there is no conflict between what science tells us and Catholic dogma. Science will not prove the existence of God, nor can it prove that God does not exist.




Ways of Knowing (Aquinas and Augustine)

Limits of Scientific Knowledge (why scientific materialism and atheism fall short)

The Galileo Affair.

The Church and Science Today

COSMOLOGY.."IN THE BEGINNING"... (Lectures 2 and 3)

The Dogma: Creation ex nihilo

Cosmological Models and their Evidence:

The Anthropic Principle: A Universe Finely-Tuned for Man (Lecture 3) 

EVOLUTION..."LET US MAKE MAN IN OUR IMAGE"...(Lectures 3 and 4)  

The Dogma/Doctrine: Monogenesis, one man/one woman

Evolutionary Models and their Evidence:


Consciousness and Intelligence  (Lectures 4 and 5)

The Dogma: God endows man with a soul

Can Computers Think?

Quantum Mysteries and the Mind (Lecture 5) 


Miracles  (Lecture 5)

Evidence for Miracles

Chaos & Complexity

SCHEDULE (Fall, 2009)

27th Sept., Lecture 1; 4th Oct., Lecture 2; 11th Oct., Lecture 3; 18th Oct., Lecture 4; 25th Oct., Lecture 4.

7-9 pm, St. Hubert Meeting Room (2nd floor), St. Joseph Church, Danville.



"I cannot see that lectures can do so much good as reading the books from which the lectures are taken." Samuel Johnson, as quoted in Boswell's Life of Johnson..

"*" means particularly useful or interesting.

David Z. Albert, Quantum Mechanics and Experience : an attempt by a philosopher to relate quantum mechanics and the mind .

*Michael J. Behe, Darwin's Black Box; a convincing argument for Intelligent Design based on biochemical systems (but rebuttals have been made--see "Finding Darwin's God" below); The Edge of Evolution  ; additional arguments for intelligent design as fine-tuning.

*Stephen M. Barr, Modern Physics and Ancient Faith ; text for the course--an exposition of the most fundamental ideas in cosmology and quantum mechanics, and how they are consistent with a belief in God.

*Francis Collins, The Language of God*, by the Director of the Human Genome Project, on why DNA is a message from God, and his own personal voyage to belief.

Alfred Driessen and Antoine Suarez (eds.), Mathematical Undecidability, Quantum Nonlocality and the Question of the Existence of God; difficult and profound articles about what Godel's Theorem and quantum non-locality say about the existence of God--amaze your friends and confound your enemies by quoting the title.

*William Dembski (ed), 1) Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design; 2) Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design; articles about various aspects making the case for Intelligent Design.

Thomas Dubay, S.M., The Evidential Power of Beauty--Science and Theology Meet; preaching to the choir.

*Patrick Glynn, God, the Evidence; The Reconciliation of Faith and Reason in a Postsecular World; thorough and complete exposition of what the works of God show.

Banesh Hoffman, The Strange Story of the Quantum; an old, but good book for explaining qualitatively basic aspects of quantum mechanics--"Quantum Mechanics for Dunces"--by a biographer of Einstein.

Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers; discusses how the "Big Bang" affect the religious beliefs of physicists and astronomers.

Paul Johnson, The Quest for God; reflections on a personal journey from atheism to belief, which touches incidentally on the unique role of man, and God as Creator.

John Leslie, Universes; a philosopher makes the case for many universes and/or a Divine Creator, to be specifically fit for carbon-based life

*C.S. Lewis, Miracles;how to argue for the truth of miracles in culture that only takes the "scientific method" as the route to truth. (see also the apologetics for Christianity: The Problem of Evil and Mere Christianity.

Michael Lockwood, Mind, Brain and the Quantum:  the Compound I;  a philosopher attempts to relate the mind/body problem (consciousness) to quantum mechanics.

*Kenneth R. Miller, Finding Darwin's God , a rebuttal to Michael Behe's biochemical arguments for Intelligent Design and a case for compatibility of being a Catholic and believing in Darwin.

Nancey Murphy, Theology in the Age of Scientific Reasoning; a Protestant theologian uses Lakatos network theory of how science works to justify theology as a science.

*Dean L. Overman, A Case against Accident and Self-Organization;*

Roger Penrose, 1) The Emperor's New Mind: Concerning Computers, Minds and the Laws of Physics; 2) Shadows of the Mind; 3) The Large, the Small, and the Human Mind;* Arguments against Artificial Intelligence and for quantum mechanics (in a new form) as consciousness.

*John Polkinghorne, 1) Belief in God in an Age of Science;* 2) Quarks, Chaos & Christianity; 3) Questions to Science and Religion*;

*Joseph, Cardinal Ratzinger, In the Beginning: A Catholic Understanding of the Story of Creation and the Fall, basically a theological study, with some references to modern scientific theories;

Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers*. A clear, non-mathematical explanation of why the values of six fundamental parameters are critical in determining the kind of universe we live in, and why these values must be finely tuned.

*Bruce Rosenblum and Henry Kuttner, Quantum Enigma; an easy to read discussion of quantum mechanics and its possible relation to consciousness--the authors are not afraid to consider implications for a belief in God.

Robert John Russell et al (eds, Proceedings of Vatican sponsored symposia), 1) Physics, Philosophy and Theology: A Common Quest for Understanding; 2) Quantum Cosmology and the Laws of Nature--Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action; 3) Chaos and Complexity--Scientific Perspectives on Divine Action.

*Keith Ward, God, Chance and Necessity , Pascal's Fire: Scientific Faith and Religious Understanding . Strong and convincing philosophical arguments that scientific materialism and atheism fall short.

WEB-BASED (just a sampling)

Science and Faith: Catholic Perspectives:

Vatican Observatory

Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences:

Discovery Institute; Center for the Renewal of Science & Culture:

ITEST: Institute for Theology Encounter with Science and Technology: