Hugh Owen on Creation and War

When I was growing up, I was taught that the world started with an explosion. But even as a child I thought: Okay. But where did the stuff that exploded come from? Who put it there? What made it explode? The ultimate question is: Why is there something rather than nothing? We all know this is a question that science cannot answer. 

I recently recorded one of my favorite episodes on the Catholics Against Militarism podcast.

My guest was Hugh Owen, founder of the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation. He will be teaching a class on “Six Day Creation” at Teach to the Text starting June 4. We began by discussing creation and evolution. This led naturally to discussions of:

Galileo and Copernicus
The relationship of theology to science
Our Lady of Fatima
The “errors of Russia”
The Scofield Bible
and Christian Zionism.

I never thought the issue of creation could be connected to so many modern day issues! Just ten years ago, I would have dismissed a guy like Hugh as a cooky fundamentalist, but I think that the work he is doing at the Kolbe Center is incredibly important and will quickly gain steam. Why?

Because there is a crisis of faith in “The Science,” and for good reason. Apparently, now, they no longer teach the Big Bang theory. “The Science” has found too many things that contradict it. Scientific theories come and go. But some scientific theories ossify into dogma, and persist though they are never satisfactorily proven, and no matter the evidence that is found against them. Why?

What you learn when you look into subjects that are considered taboo in the scientific community (such as Geocentrism, which was the topic of another recent class at Teach to the Text) is that science is not purely objective. As most LRC readers are probably well aware: “The Science” is prone to “shaping” by human prejudices, beliefs, egos and ideologies. Rarely does it strive to present all the facts. The big lies of “The Science” are lies of omission, as we saw in 2020; if scientific dogma can only prevail through the use of censorship, bribery, and threats, you have to start asking some questions. In the event opposing data is somehow allowed to come out and be discussed, such as with the forced release of the Pfizer papers, the average person is usually not reading those papers, or the reports of the investigative journalists who are; everyone has moved on. So despite new data coming to light that would force people to revise their beliefs, their “impression” of “The Science,” which gets conflated with truth, remains the same. But it has now become a story, and one people just believe in, with a belief that is akin to faith, divorced from the facts and evidence that have come to light.

Riddle me this. Those people: the ones that have the colorful signs in their yard saying things like “Science is Real,” are usually the same people who would scoff at and casually dismiss Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth. Why? Is architecture and engineering not based on natural science — and math? When I Google “Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth” with not a single misspelling, it does not pop up on the first page of Google, and after 30 seconds of scrolling, I still can’t find it. When I search for it on Duck Duck Go, the official site is the first thing that pops up. Why?

In the last magisterial document on evolution, Humani Generis (1950), Pope Pius XII asked Catholics not to believe evolution, not to teach evolution, not to oppose evolution, but to examine the evidence for and against the evolutionary hypothesis in light of the content of the deposit of faith. As Hugh Owen puts it: “The problem is that the Pope was not obeyed. There has never been a really thorough, open and honest debate within the Catholic community between those who defend the traditional teaching of the Church on creation and those who are proposing this kind of hybrid of creation and evolution….which is the consensus view in Catholic academia today.”

I am interested in the relationship between faith and science, and in the prevalent idea that they are somehow opposed, opposites on a spectrum. I remember learning about natural selection in school, but I also learned that the “link” between monkeys and humans hadn’t been found. Yet, when people think of evolution, including me, they see in their minds a popular image: a silhouette of a monkey turning into a caveman turning into a modern man carrying a gun, a briefcase, or a recycling bin, depending on their ideology. This image has become cemented in the popular imagination, regardless of its relationship with the actual facts and evidence.

The average person, which includes me, doesn’t investigate these things much. We take it on faith that someone, somewhere, has looked into it, that there is some kind of consensus that “everyone” pretty much agrees on. This is The Science, which (we tend to assume) is honestly presented to us by the people who are hellbent on having the power to shape our perceptions of reality. There is a lot of faith involved in all of this! That’s why I am glad there are people like Hugh Owen who actually do look into it for themselves and seek to present, as fairly and objectively as possible, all evidence (insofar as it is possible) for and against certain theories. And there is nothing wrong with doing so “in light of the content of the deposit of faith.” Because as more and more people are beginning to see, it is not possible to remove faith from the equation. It’s just a matter of selecting, consciously or unconsciously, faith in what.

In Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates is in jail explaining to his friends his process of intellectual disillusionment. He is talking about Anaxagoras, a natural philosopher (early scientist). Socrates talks of how he expected Anaxagoras to satisfactorily explain the causes of things. Socrates says:

“Oh, what a wonderful hope! How high I soared, how low I fell! When as I went on reading I saw the man using mind not at all: and stating no valid causes of the arrangement of all things, but giving airs and ethers and waters as such causes, and many other strange things.”

This reminds me a bit of my thoughts as a child when I heard about the Big Bang! Socrates goes on to say that he wanted to avoid becoming like the natural philosophers, comparing them to people who stare at the eclipse: “I feared that I might wholly blind my soul by staring at practical [natural] things.” Socrates is not saying that science (natural philosophy) is bad. What I think Socrates is saying is that there is something higher that natural things must be examined in light of. And if you lose sight of that, you lose sight. Hugh Owen puts it this way: Theology is a science, and she is the queen of the sciences.

Perhaps when Catholics stop going with the “airs and ethers” of popular scientific consensus and instead examine the evidence for and against the evolutionary hypothesis, in light of the content of the deposit of faith, we’ll find that we end up right back where we began.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.” Genesis 1

Go here to register for “Six Day Creation” with Hugh Owen, in which we’ll be reading I Have Spoken to You from Heaven: A Catholic Defense of Creation in Six Days. 

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