Human Nature: Catholic Thought and the Sciences/Introduction

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The Second Vatican Council defined the Church's understanding of the relationship between science and doctrine this way: "...if methodical investigation within every branch of learning is carried out in a genuinely scientific manner and in accord with moral norms, it never truly conflicts with faith, for earthly matters and the concerns of faith derive from the same God" (Gaudium et Spes, #36) However, it is easier said than done to avoid improper conflicts between science and faith. Especially in scientific studies of human nature, whether in biology, psychology, anthropology, history, sociology, or economics, there are many areas of tension between scientific research and doctrinal propositions. We will bring together the scientific research and statements of doctrine that relate to them and put them in discussion with each other.

The focus is intended to be scholarly research in the sciences and theology:

  • All content should be grounded in scholarly research, with claims backed by citations of peer-reviewed journals whenever possible. Citations of standard reference works are ideal (e.g. the Catechism or the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics). Non-mainstream science or theology are open for discussion, of course, but they should be identified as such.
  • Although the topics here may be directly relevant to current events, the topics should be discussed in themselves in a way that will be intelligible to someone reading the book 10 years in the future, with references to current events as illustrative rather than the primary topic.

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