“If you talk to a scientist [and ask] why they have a particular idea or hypothesis, they often say things such as: ‘It was an inspiration.’ When, at the heart of it, [the scientific method] is supposed to be a hyper-rational process,” Öberg said. Instead, “You’re basically calling on the Holy Spirit,” she said, laughing.
The rationality and order that scientists observe in the universe — and which make scientific inquiry of all kinds possible — point to a Creator that is the source of all rational thought, she continued.
“The scientific project relies on there being order and intelligibility in the universe, which is not something that science can prove that there is. It’s something that it assumes there to be,” Öberg said.
Moreover, she said, “if all we are are sort of animals that are evolved to survive and procreate, there’s no reason that that should come with a reason that’s finely attuned to finding truth.” The fact that humans are rational and seek after a high power points to our souls being “patterned on God himself.”
The intelligibility of the universe, as scientists continue to uncover, “shows the incredible generosity of the Creator in sharing his causal powers with creation again in a way that I think would have been impossible to imagine in the pre-scientific world.”
The inaugural Wonder Conference, which took place at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, was billed as an “opportunity to engage with theologians and other experts on important issues at the intersection of the Catholic faith and secular culture.” The conference, which was funded in part by a grant from the Templeton Foundation, featured talks from both religious scholars and scientists, as well as from Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, the founder and face of Word on Fire.
“A perceived incompatibility between faith and science has led to a rise in the number of religiously unaffiliated. This perception runs counter to the experience of the Catholic tradition, which conveys the beautiful harmony between faith and science,” the website for the conference says.
Jonah McKeown is a staff writer and podcast producer for Catholic News Agency. He holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has worked as a writer, as a producer for public radio, and as a videographer. He is based in St. Louis.