4/19/2017 9:53:00 AM WATCH: Kids say faith and science compatible, but different
Ed Langlois/Catholic Sentinel
Alaina Pitton and Olivia Burtran, sixth graders at Holy Family School in Southeast Portland, demonstrate how water causes channels in soil — the way the Grand Canyon began. They also discussed their ideas on faith and science.
There was deep thinking in March during the annual science fair at Holy Family School in Southeast Portland.
Along with explaining a geologic model of the Grand Canyon or displaying a hose that sucks clothes to the laundry room, the Catholic grade schoolers gamely addressed how faith and science go together.
It was not easy, but the gist is this: Faith and science are compatible and both arrive at truth about life — but from different angles.
“They kind of go together sometimes and then they kind of don’t,” said Hodge Dauler, a fifth grader who invented the vacuum-powered laundry chute. “Because science is thinking about building stuff and faith is more related to God. But you can have faith that you can do this and that.”
Luke Foley, a fifth grader who built an organizer for baseball gear, says confidence plays a part in both religion and inventing. You need to believe something to get started, he explained.
That idea was echoed by classmate Alejandra Garcia. “Faith is kind of like hope and in science experiments, you hope it goes well,” she said, standing before a terrycloth garment bag she designed to dry wet coats.
Ella Lord, a sixth grader working on a Grand Canyon fossil project, echoed thinkers the centuries over when she admitted that there is no way to know if faith and science fit, since they are so different. Her project partner, Bella Pannoni, ventured that the two systems “cross each other in a way, but probably not exactly.”
Alaina Pitton, a sixth grader demonstrating how water creates a canyon, sees no conflict. She used Catholic thought on creation as an example.
“I think that the story of Adam and Eve is a story to describe how God did it and what happened,” Alaina said. “Science is the story that goes along with it — like evolution and what happened so that right now we are here. God didn’t actually take a rib from Adam and make Eve. He did it in another way, but [that story] is a way to explain that he did make man and he did make earth and the animals.”
Sophie Goodell, an eighth grader showing flying rodents called sugar gliders, says faith and science can make sense together if we don’t confuse the different missions. Both, she said, offer truth. “A lot of what’s in the Bible is figurative,” she says, explaining that sometimes that is the deeper truth. “In a lot of that they mean for you to take the morals of it. Take the life lessons like love, kindness and faith.”
David Cass, an eighth grader displaying a gecko with changeable color and detachable tail, said religion explains how we got here and science accompanies it to explain the finer details, “like how we grew arms or how they got longer or how we evolved into having different parts like wisdom teeth and how other animals got adaptations like claws or losing their tails.”
Olivia Burtran, a sixth grader showing erosion patters, summed up the discussion concisely: “Science is what happens and religion is why it happens.”