Dr Isis, a physiologist at a major research university, blogs under that assumed name at Science Blogs, where Christian believers are usually treat with ridicule. In a post this week, however, Dr Isis "came out" as a Catholic and tries to explain how she sees no conflict between her faith and her work as a scientist:
But, it was Ewan's comment that most intrigued me -- the question of whether it is possible to adhere to an organized religion and still value analytical science. In addition, how does one discuss the intersection of the two without being offensive. The answer is, I plain ole don't know because I have never seen science and faith as being exclusive. There is a big difference between Catholicism and evangelical Christianity, especially when it comes to things like evolution. As a scientist I conduct research the same way everyone else does (or, so I assume), guided by the scientific method. I attempt to interpret my data using my current knowledge of physiology, and I don't think I have ever turned to I Thessalonians for information on endothelial-mediated vasodilation. Besides, everyone knows that all of the hot cardiovascular stuff is in I Corinthians.
I simply don't see my science guided by my faith, except in as much as my life is guided by my faith. I believe it is terrible hubris to say that there must be a God because there are things that I cannot understand or that appear mystical. On the other hand, I think it is an equal display of hubris to contend that, because I can take a physiological phenomenon and apply a mathematical construct to it, there must be no God. And thusly, I am perfectly content to spend my days trying to uncover physiological mysteries while being simultaneously content spending Sundays pondering that I may never fully understand the miracle of transsubstantiation.
She does note, however, that her religious beliefs do affect how she does here work:
But, this doesn't mean that my science is not affected daily by my Catholicism. Most specifically, my faith influences how we conduct experiments with human research volunteers. I believe very strongly in the dignity of the human person (for an interesting read, see Paul VI's Dignitatis Humanae and the new instructions on Dignitas Personae. I think my fair atheist friends will be especially interested in Dignitatis Humanae.) and I try to conduct my work in a way that respects the personhood of those we collect data from. This is not to say that I believe that one must be Catholic in order to respect individual autonomy and conduct ethical research. I don't believe that being an atheist provides carte blanche to behave like an ass. However, it would be dishonest for me to claim that my personal motivations do not stem directly from religious principle.
Read it all here. Be sure to read the comments!