Aquinas and Modern Science

A New Synthesis of Faith and Reason

Gerard M. Verschuuren

Foreword by Joseph W. Koterski, S.J.

We live in a paradoxical time. Science enables us to know more and more, but it seems to be about less and less: we reach into outer space but understand less about our inner space; we create intricate machineries to direct our lives but cannot control ourselves; we see more trees but no longer the forest. Is there a remedy for these dichotomies? Yes, philosophy, which can bring coherence where fragmentation looms, opening vistas no telescope or microscope can ever reach—and especially the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, because for more than seven centuries it has been a beacon of surety in times of uncertainty, confusion, and tribulation.

Thomas’s 13th-century world was in many ways as turbulent as ours, confronted with an influx of new ideas, rife with dubious philosophies not so different from the skepticism, secularism, and relativism that saturates ours. He understood both the fascination of his contemporaries with new discoveries and the confusions they often brought. No wonder then that his philosophy has been lauded by modern thinkers such as Albert Einstein, David Bohm, Werner Heisenberg, John Searle, and Alasdair MacIntyre—to name but a few.

The mission of Aquinas and Modern Science: A New Synthesis of Faith and Reason is precisely to invite you on a tour through the richness of Thomas’s philosophy in its encounter with the sciences as we know them today. Let his time-tested principles continue to serve as an anchor of intelligibility in a sea of confusing claims.

Praise for Aquinas and Modern Science

“Gerard Verschuuren illustrates the perennial value of Aquinas in the quest for an understanding of the nature of scientific explanation. He offers a clear exposition of the first principles of thought and being, as identified and defended in the work of Aquinas.”

— JUDE P. DOUGHERTY, Dean Emeritus of the Department of Philosophy, Catholic University of America

“Verschuuren has written an informative, thought-provoking, witty, and irresistibly readable brief for the continuing relevance of Aristotelian-Thomistic philosophy to modern science. He is at home in both worlds, and can explain them clearly to those who are not.”

— STEPHEN M. BARR, Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Director of the Bartol Research Institute, Researcher in theoretical particle physics, University of Delaware

“I am impressed by the author’s knowledge of science and insights into its perfect compatibility with Thomas’s commonsense principles, as well as his ability to translate the technical abstractions of both philosophy and science into the language and thought processes of intelligent laymen.”

— PETER KREEFT, Professor of Philosophy, Boston College

“Gerard Verschuuren here provides a thoughtful account of how the philosophical vision of Aquinas can help us better see the unity of reality, while also appreciating the wide range of scientific disciplines that study reality in its diversity. The book includes a discussion of such technical issues as the indeterminacy problem in microphysics and the concept of randomness in evolutionary biology. For each issue Verschuuren brings to bear the resources of Thomistic philosophical method, clearly explained.”

— JOSEPH W. KOTERSKI, S.J., Associate Professor of Philosophy, Fordham University

“This book is a comprehensive introduction—for students and laypersons alike—to the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, as well as a treasure trove of insightful integrations with contemporary scientific thinking. Even more importantly, the author provides a clear example of what any current Thomist should be trying to do—talk to one’s contemporaries.”

— JOHN F.X. KNASAS, Professor of Philosophy, Center for Thomistic Studies, University of St. Thomas

About the Author

Gerard M. Verschuuren

Gerard M. Verschuuren

Gerard M. Verschuuren is a human geneticist who also earned a doctorate in the philosophy of science. Now semi-retired, he spends most of his time as a writer, speaker, and consultant on the interface of science and religion, creation and evolution, faith and reason. His most recent books include What Makes You Tick?: A New Paradigm for Neuroscience (Solas Press, 2012), The Destiny of the Universe: In Pursuit of the Great Unknown (Paragon House, 2014), and Life’s Journey: A Guide from Conception to Natural Death (Angelico Press, 2015).