March 29, 2019

The Faith of a Jesuit Chemist: Reflections on the Relationship between Religion and Science

Event Details

Date & Time

Friday, Mar 29, 2019 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM


Chemistry & Biochemistry


Wolff Auditorium, Jepson Center

Event Type & Tags

  • Academics

About This Event

The philosopher Jose Ortega y Gassett (1883-1955) observed that “Scientific truth is characterized by its precision and the certainty of its predictions. But science achieves these admirable qualities at the cost of remaining on the level of secondary concerns, leaving ultimate and decisive questions untouched.” In other words, a scientific view of reality offers reliable and exact answers to many important questions, but is incomplete. Science simply cannot answer ultimate questions about value and meaning and purpose such as Leibniz’s query, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” Instead such ultimate and decisive questions belong to the domain of faith and the methodologies of religious study.


This presentation by Seattle University's Fr. Eric Watson, S.J. will investigate and evaluate four key models for envisioning the ways in which science and faith interact historically and today, and from this survey, will propose that a model of ‘complementarity’ offers the most helpful and accurate description of their relationship for believers and non-believers alike. In conclusion, Fr. Watson will offer some personal reflections on important ways in which science and religion relate within his life as a Jesuit priest and chemistry professor.