Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Pinterest Connect on Google Plus Connect on LinkedIn Connect on YouTube

The Mindless Flapping Leaf: At The Integrated Catholic Life

May 18, AD 2014 14 Comments


This article is also my Catholic Free Press column this week (print only), and the generous editors, Deacon Mike Bickerstaff and Randy Hain, published it online at The Integrated Catholic Life.

Every springtime when the leaves reappear, I remember something profound I once said. I was a doctoral candidate at Penn State University, and our research group was dining outside on pizza and Corona® at our Friday afternoon spot. I wondered aloud, “Do you think people know how dumb we really are?” Off-the-record, of course.

One of our projects was to artificially simulate photosynthesis. The contrast between what we could do and what the average mindless flapping leaf could do troubled me deeply when I allowed myself to think about it.

Read the rest.

Hello, and thank you for reading. I am a wife, mother of seven, and joyful convert to Catholicism. I write from my tiny office in a 100-year-old restored Adirondack mountain lodge. Read more about me here, with pictures. Find me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. "Like" my Facebook page Science Was Born of Christianity to follow updates about my book. God bless you!

If you enjoyed this essay, subscribe below to receive all my essays by email.

Thank you for supporting me!

  • WHB

    I just commented at Catholic Free Press. This article should be read by every high school science teacher and handed out to every high school senior before heading the chaos of American Higher Education where most of the damage is done to their Faith by great fools of materialism. Thank you Stacy. Once again you have nailed the Thesis to the Wall, but unlike the dissenters, this is The Wall of the True Faith. A blessed Fifth Sunday of Easter to you.

    • Bill S

      I am becoming increasingly perplexed at how educated people attribute the wonders of Nature to the Catholic God, with all the extraneous things that are said about him that have nothing to do with Nature. Why does everyone say that there has to be an intelligence behind all this (I agree) AND that intelligence is the god of a chosen people as described by an inerrant bible and an infallible Church. Sorry. I just don’t see the connection and I don’t know why people go through extremes to make one where it doesn’t exist.

      • VelikaBuna

        Try living the life of faith with honesty and you will find out. Allow God in and you can see the reality of God. Trying to fit God into some human rationalizing will never get you there. God is much more than we can comprehend, on our own. Language is inadequate tool in reality to understand the things of God. So my advice is, live it and you will know.

        • Bill S

          I have lived a life of faith. It felt really good at times. But I came to learn that there is more to the truth about life than people want to know. They get a concept of God in their heads and they structure their life around it. Eventually, it becomes real to them. That doesn’t make it really real. It just makes it real to them. That’s fine. More power to them.

    • VelikaBuna

      It is great zombification process, where kids are so eager to learn and please their masters. They don’t have any time to reflect on what they are taught, nor would this be tolerated. It is utmost and complete trust of authority. I am not saying learning is bad in any way, even when you learn wrong things as long as one is presented with all the plausible explanations. What we have instead is education taken over by a select materialist mindset chaired by the prominent media friendly atheists, and they are damaging children’s faith by teaching atheism.

      We live in a sad world where instead of the knowledge leading to faith as it should through correct reasoning, we are being dumbed down and closed off to faith. Nobody who passed through higher education mill was left unscathed, and this is a fairly new phenomena. There is nothing further form the truth than pure materialism yet this is the modern standard of knowledge. Some strange fog has descended on humanity and they live in a daze and think like zombies.

  • Bill S


    It is not difficult to understand that modern science owes its very existence to western civilization’s acceptance of the Judeo-Christian God. It seems as though you will spend the rest of your life promoting this idea, as Fr. Jaki did. We get it. I think it is important that you keep doing that in order to dispel the modern day perception of the chasm between Faith and Science that seems to be widening at an alarming rate.

    But your whole philosophy begs the question as to how much more we have learned since the days of Bacon, Newton, Farraday, etc. I agree that this universe is not in a state of chaos and there is a beautiful order to it. It’s been popularly referred to as the “Cosmos” from the Greek word for that order which is the opposite of “Chaos”.

    The Gospel of John calls it the “Word” or the “Logos” based on Greek philosophy. So, suppose we look at the beginning of that Gospel as an introduction to Christianity. How far can we get through that book before we start running into claims that defy the laws of nature and the whole purpose of there being an order to creation? How is it that everything follows the laws of nature until the first “miracle”? Why is it necessary that water be magically turned into wine? This introduction to Christianity hits its first detour and from then on becomes irrelevant. We don’t need miracles in order for us to understand how we should live (which should be the only true purpose of a religion).

    Can you give any logical answer for why the laws of nature, which we rely on to never be violated, should be defied by anyone at any time? I don’t think they ever have been or ever will be. Every scientist should know that.

    • Stacy Trasancos

      Bill, only God can work miracles, who is perfect eternal love and knowledge. If He chooses to work a miracle, it is for the purpose of our salvation. Miracles are beyond science.

      • Bill S

        There are things beyond science, yes. But what makes you think they are not also beyond religion?

        Do you think the men who wrote the Torah had some sort of insight that we now lack?

        Do you think Paul, Mark, Matthew, Luke and John could really tell us something about life that scientists have yet to discover?

        I look at faith as something like this. Suppose there was an area of land believed to have great healing powers. Suppose that we believe, like Lourdes for example, that people who went to this place received healing powers. It would make sense to build a hospital there and hire the best doctors and nurses to work there. Many people would go there and be cured of all kinds of ailments. They could attribute it to the skills of the doctors and nurses, the healing powers of the land or a little of both. Then suppose an elder came along and told everyone that the land with the healing powers were more than a mile away from the hospital and that the land on which the hospital was built had no special significance. Would you not still go to the hospital if you were sick? Of course you would.

        Suppose there really is no God and Jesus did not really die for our sins, rise from the dead and ascend into heaven. Nonetheless, great things have been done in his name. Is the Church not a great institution anyway? Think about it.

    • Ben @ 2CM

      “Can you give any logical answer for why the laws of nature, which we rely on to never be violated, should be defied by anyone at any time?”
      If you catch a ball and keep it from hitting the ground, are you defying the laws of nature, or just using your will and power as a cause to an effect? Now imagine an infinite will with infinite power.

      • Bill S

        Are you trying to say that by catching the ball and keeping it from hitting the ground, I can defy gravity? That’s what it seems like you are trying to say. Huh?

        The laws of nature are so constant and reliable that you can determine what is false just be seeing if it breaks one of the laws.

        • Ben @ 2CM

          “Are you trying to say that by catching the ball and keeping it from hitting the ground, I can defy gravity?” I think you misunderstand. I would say it is not defying gravity, but rather overriding it (with respect to the ball) via your own power. How much more could God do the same?

          • Bill S

            Oh. I can see that. Believing in a god who can override the laws of nature is a matter of faith. My faith is in the laws of nature and that they cannot be violated (they can be overcome such as in launching a rocket out of the earth’s gravitational field but not violated. There is a difference) and not in anyone who can suspend those laws.

  • VelikaBuna
  • VelikaBuna

    Good example of modern academia….