Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Gregor Mendel: Friar, Scientist, and Abbot

Gregor Johann Mendel, Czech-German Augustinian friar and scientist, was born on this date in 1822. If he was alive today: he'd be really, really, old.

There's a pretty good biography of him on Wikipedia. It seems that he did his genetics research, recorded what he'd found, and went on being an Augustinian friar. Eventually he served as abbot - and that's another topic.

'As is Well Known' isn't Necessarily So

I suppose a rip-roaring tale of conspiracy, cover-up, and maybe even Elvis impersonators, could be told about the [expletive] Catholic Church suppressing Mendel's work because, 'as is well known,' Christians hate science.

Which makes the Pontifical Academy of Sciences a trifle hard to explain: but I've noticed that mere facts don't get in the way of a really good conspiracy theory.

Now: Some Dull, Dusty, Old Facts

Like I said, Mendel recorded what he'd discovered about peas and bees: and moved on.

A few decades later, someone else did pretty much the same thing, noticed that some friar had worked on the same questions earlier, and Gregor Mendel's name wound up in science textbooks: as well as less high-profile histories of Augustinian friars, Germany, and Czechoslovakia. Which doesn't exist any more. Czechoslovakia, that is. It's called Czech Republic and Slovakia now. More topics.

Isn't Faith Contrary to Reason?

I've run into the occasional bunch of believers who seem determined to demonstrate that religious folks aren't playing with a full deck. And I'm all-too-well familiar with the lot who go ballistic at the mention of evolution.

Which is part of the reason I converted to Catholicism. Yet more topics.

Bottom line, " is not opposed to reason." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 35)

Which sounds reasonable to me.

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What's That Doing in a Nice Catholic Blog?

From time to time, a service that I use will display links to - odd - services and retailers.

I block a few of the more obvious dubious advertisers.

For example: psychic anything, numerology, mediums, and related practices are on the no-no list for Catholics. It has to do with the Church's stand on divination. I try to block those ads.

Sometime regrettable advertisements get through, anyway.

Bottom line? What that service displays reflects the local culture's norms, - not Catholic teaching.