What we know today as the “natural sciences” are largely collections of definitions and discoveries that have been gathered since the advent of the “scientific method” in the 1600s. We must distinguish these studies from the study of the natural world that is pursued in classical Natural Philosophy. In the CLAA, we desire the knowledge of the traditional, philosophical teaching, but also recognize the practical value of the knowledge of the modern natural sciences.
Since the scientific method requires the endless investigation of the natural world, and since the quality of research varies among men we call “scientists”, it is inevitable that our experimental knowledge of the natural world will constantly be changing–and often from right to wrong. It makes no sense, then, for schools to try to keep up with the latest information, for this would require a ridiculous pursuit of omniscience. What is needed by Christian students is a useful knowledge of the established elements of the natural sciences for a good, general education.
We must also heed the warnings of the Church, as both Pope Leo XIII and Pius X have warned us of the danger that exists when modern mathematics and science courses are allowed to crowd loftier subjects out from the Christian school curriculum. We cannot allow students to neglect Catechism, Sacred Scripture, Grammar, Reasoning, Rhetoric, History and Philosophy for too much study in Math and Natural Sciences. There must be a healthy balance, and that is the aim of the CLAA’s Natural Science courses.
Over the next few years, we will be offering efficient–that’s a key word for us–courses in the natural sciences that include the following:
- Geography, and
We must also allow for the critical study of these subjects as they develop from many unexamined statements or hypotheses that may be found to conflict with what we read in Sacred Scripture or in the teachings of the Church. A truly “Christian” science curriculum doesn’t need to water these studies down to overly-simplified Sunday School lessons. We need to learn the established facts, while discussing the controversial issues that arise.
If you have any questions about the study of the Natural Sciences in the CLAA, please contact us.