Science, a Worthy Christian Vocation

"For some, the wonder may be that a monk contributed anything at all to science. Don't people in monasteries spend all their time praying, singing, and fighting off dirty thoughts? Not so the friars of the St. Thomas Monastery in Brno, the Czech Republic." Gregory Mendel, the father of genetics, entered the monastery in 1843, uneducated but intelligent. The abbott recognized his intelligence and sent him to the University of Vienna. When he returned to the monastery, he engaged in the rigorous intellectual life there. "St. Thomas was a vibrant center of science and culture. Its friars taught and researched in philosophy, mathematics, mineralogy, and botany. The library housed many scientific works."

Mendel subjected the basic observations of how attributes are inherited to scientific and mathematical rigor. He studied one trait at a time in his pea plant experiments, describing how dominant and recessive genes work. He is part of a legacy of scientists who believed God created an orderly world that we could study and know.

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Melinda Penner

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