Friday, July 16, 2010


I'm taking a class on Religion and Science at University of Dallas. While doing some research for my paper, I ran across this cool little article on Wikipedia: List of Roman Catholic scientist-clerics. The bulk of the article is just an alphabetical list of these scientist-clerics with short descriptions of what they did. The article begins with an introduction, from which this is an excerpt.
Many great scientists throughout history have also been Roman Catholic clerics (or can it be said that many Roman Catholic clerics were also scientists), including many of the most prominent scientists in history. These include such illustrious names as Nicolaus Copernicus, Gregor Mendel, Albertus Magnus, Roger Bacon, Pierre Gassendi, Roger Joseph Boscovich, Marin Mersenne, Francesco Maria Grimaldi, Nicole Oresme, Jean Buridan, Robert Grosseteste, Christopher Clavius, Nicolas Steno, Athanasius Kircher, Giovanni Battista Riccioli, William of Ockham, and many others. Hundreds of others have made important contributions to science from the Middle Ages through the present day. These scientist-clerics should give pause to all those who consider science and religion to be incompatible.
Some of you may ask, "what is a cleric?" It's just a word for a member of the clergy. In the Catholic Church, many of them are priests, but there can be monks or friars who are not ordained who are considered clerics. Also deacons are clerics as well as members of what were known in the Middle Ages as minor orders. For example, Copernicus took minor orders, but never became a priest.

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