[Science] is an immensely good thing… but there exist also pathological forms of science that deprive man of all honor, when scientific capabilities are put at the service of power.
Values in a Time of Upheaval 26
Reflection – So I’m following up here on yesterday’s post, on Marxism and its ongoing presence in our world today in the form of a rejection of any existing order in creation in favor of whatever the most powerful person or group decree.Here we see that the ideology of science is precisely that. Not the practice of science—to simply learn the principles by which the physical universe and living creatures operate is nothing but good. Indeed, there is an implicit giving of honor and glory to God in the scientific method—we take in the wisdom of the Creator by studying the detailed workings of his creation.
It is when the discoveries of science are put into practice by the powerful of the world without regard to the ethical demands of human dignity and freedom that we see the pathological form of science Ratzinger describes here. To harness the power of stem cells to treat and even cure hitherto devastating illnesses such as diabetes or Parkinson’s, or even to cure spinal cord injuries is manifestly a good thing.
To kill embryonic human beings so as to harvest those stem cells is not.
To refuse to acknowledge that scientific research and practice must be done according to the larger realities of our humanity, its nature, dignity and rights, is essentially to make such research devoid of any particular meaning and value. After all, why cure Parkinson’s? Because human beings suffer greatly from it, right? But if human life is worthless and meaningless, which the destruction of embryonic human beings entails, then why does that matter?
Science unmoored from morality becomes simply power—no more meaningful really than the crocodile’s jaws or the grizzly bear’s claws. A blunt or sharp object (as the case may be) to get whatever we want right now, but no more significant that that.
Only when we live in the fullness of our humanity, which means the fullness of our responsibility for one another in truth and in love, does science and any other manifestation of human powers and skills take on a meaningful mien.
And this is what the Church has to offer humanity and its ‘secular’ fields of knowledge: that which alone makes knowledge something worth possessing and conducive to a beautiful form of human life.