Miracles & Modern Science

Fr. Thomas Davenport, OP

Angelicum Thomistic Institute

In arguments for harmony between Faith and Science, miracles are often seen as a sticking point, even an embarrassment. On the surface, they are examples of the very “magical” thinking that non-religious thinkers reject out of hand. In this talk, I will take a closer look at this apparent point of conflict and argue that, while there is no room for miracles in a materialistic view of the world, a healthy understanding of science helps to improve our understanding of miracles, and a healthy understanding of miracles helps improve our understanding of science.

Fr. Thomas Davenport, O.P. is an American Dominican, physicist, and philosopher. Before joining the Dominican Order, he studied physics at the California Institute of Technology before going on to earn his doctorate in physics from Stanford University studying theoretical particle physics. The focus of his scientific research was writing and testing simulations for high energy particle colliders like the LHC at CERN. After joining the Dominicans in 2010, he studied philosophy and theology in preparation for his ordination to the priesthood in 2017. In addition, he earned a Licentiate in Philosophy from the Catholic University of America, focusing on the philosophy of science and natural philosophy. In 2020 he joined the faculty of philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, where he teaches philosophy of nature and epistemology – while working on his second PhD – this time in philosophy. He is a frequent speaker on topics related to the intersection of faith and science and a contributor to a number of projects in this area including, the Thomistic Evolution project, the Aquinas 101 – Faith and Science series, and the annual Thomistic Philosophy and Natural Science Symposium hosted by the Thomistic Institute in Washington, DC. In addition, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Society of Catholic Scientists.