Science…Is Where I Found God
By Kitty McGahey | June 25, 2019
Guest blogger and member of our St. Philip’s church family, Kitty McGahey shares her thoughts on Faith and Science in the first installment of our blog series “Discovering How Faith and Science Work Together”.
What do you love about science?
What do I love about science? That it is an analytical approach to understanding the world around and within us. Science is a systematic, formalized, study of the physical/natural world. There are many ways to study the natural world, the key to science is the “systematic” part: the scientific method. There are rules for what is and is not science and those rules standardize the process. An experiment conducted in Frisco, Texas can be repeated in Tokyo, Japan by people who speak different languages, using different equipment, even with different pre-conceived notions as to the outcome. Science standardizes the process such that each team will achieve the same result.
God gives each of us gifts. He blessed me with analytical skills and not many “people” skills. I can see patterns in what might appear to others as disparate pieces of data. I can spot a small bird hidden in the branches of a tree or a ladybug crawling on a sidewalk but can appear oblivious to the social cues, body language, and facial nuances of the people around me because I just do not perceive them. It is not for want of trying, it is that God did not wire my brain in that way. So, what I love about science is that it is comfortable and familiar to me. It makes sense. I am at home here. We all possess natural curiosity. Science satisfies my natural curiosity.
How do you integrate your faith with your scientific pursuits?
I will begin this answer by answering the question you did not ask above: Why do I love science? I love science because that is where I found God. Science is the systematic study of the natural world and God created the natural world. Therefore, science is the systematic study of God. Now, there may be some who say the error in that logic is that they do not believe God created the natural world, therefore science is not the study of God. But, I will maintain, it does not matter if God created the world or it just spontaneously came into existence and is driven by nothing but happy coincidences, science is still the systematic study of that existence. The interesting thing is that the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy (the amount of disorder in a system—the universe is a system) is always increasing. Which (without going into detailed mathematical proofs) “basically” rules out the level of complexity we observe in the natural world happening as a series of happy coincidences.
As I studied advanced mathematics and began to observe the repetitious patterns found throughout our natural world, as I studied particle physics and the mystical existence of particle/wave duality, as I studied the phenomena we call the photosynthesis cycle that allows life on this plant to exist, as I studied the intricate coding that is DNA, I saw over and over again the fingerprints of a creator. I met God in a glory that I had yet to find in a Bible or in a church pew. I was overcome with an awe and wonder that cannot be described. To me, science is a form of worship.
Why does this matter to the answer to your question? “Integrating” my faith into my scientific pursuits is like integrating my eyesight or my sense of touch. There is no integration of my faith; my faith is a state of existence, a sense, a perception. More importantly, I do not believe faith and science must be consciously integrated because they are, in effect, one in the same, as I described above. Science is science, regardless of what you believe: you do not have to believe there is a God for science to prove there is. Faith is faith, regardless of what science can prove. Science cannot prove that Christ was born of a virgin. But, that only means it is not amenable to the scientific method, it does not mean it isn’t true.
Kitty has a B.S. in Physics from Purdue University, where her focus was high-energy particles, and a J.D. from SMU Dedman School of Law, graduating Order of the Coif. Following her undergraduate, she was a research physicist for a number of years with the late Dr. Robert Bussard, a devout Roman Catholic, investigating his fusion concept of electrostatic confinement of non-neutral plasma; alternative energy research funded by DARPA. Immediately prior to becoming an attorney, she was in the software industry where she has been employed in every aspect of development—design, engineering, sales, marketing, support, implementation, consulting—and has run her own line of business. She currently owns a technology startup developing intelligent services targeting the legal industry and is writing a book with/about her daughter. Kitty and her husband, Mike, along with her children, Evan and Lauren, joined St. Philip’s when they moved to Frisco in 2003. The angel statue in the prayer garden is dedicated to Lauren’s memory.