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Catholic scientists find camaraderie when discussing faith, research

WASHINGTON, D.C. – There are few places University of Delaware physicist Stephen Barr would rather be than in a roomful of 100 or so of his science colleagues discussing quantum mechanics without having to confront the oft-perceived divide between science and religion.

Barr, president of the fast-growing Society of Catholic Scientists, was in his element June 9 during the society’s 2018 conference at The Catholic University of America in Washington.

He delivered his talk on observing the behavior of atoms and subatomic particles to an audience of like-minded Catholic scientists from various disciplines who appreciate that their research is helping unravel the Creation’s mysteries.

Barr, 64, has long wanted to see such an opportunity for Catholic scientists to come together to discuss their scientific expertise, network and share their faith.

The conference was the society’s second, the first taking place in Chicago in 2017. More than 100 professional and student scientists gathered to explore “The Human Mind and Physicalism” with nearly a dozen presenters incorporating scientific findings in physics, ecology, free will and the human mind with philosophical perspectives during a weekend of reflection and discovery.

Barr told Catholic News Service he had long suspected there was interest among Catholic scientists for a forum such as the society. It wasn’t until 2016 when the society was founded that he and others learned that the interest is deeper than they could have imagined.

“There are many religious scientists,” Barr said. “The militant atheists you read about are a tiny minority.”

As they have formed the organization, Barr and the society’s board learned that scientists have been so receptive to recruitment pitches for joining because they felt they often were maneuvering in professions where religion and faith values are not always appreciated.

Read more at Crux. 

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