No conflict between faith and science for Professor Leo
Prof Leo Tan speaking at the ‘My Journey’ series of talks on Feb 16.
He does not see any contradiction between his Catholic faith and his work in science.
Rather, Prof Leo Tan finds that the “heart of man precedes the discovery of facts by science”, that man imagines all the possibilities and science seeks to find the answers to explain it.
The former director of the Singapore Science Centre, who is an educator and marine biologist, was speaking at a series of talks organised by the Catholic Business Network titled “My Journey”.
About 75 people attended the event held on Feb 16 at the indoor sports hall of St Joseph’s Institution.
The aim of these talks is to help Catholic business professionals understand how their faith can help shape workplace practices.
Prof Leo, who is in his 70s, shared that his interest in science led him to discover inspiration in the thought and writings of Fr Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, a French Jesuit palaeontologist who contemplated the evolutionary nature of the cosmos and his own deep faith during his work in the backlands of China.
Prof Leo shared an example of how he put his faith into practice in the workplace. He remembered writing notes to his colleagues, especially on festive occasions, reviewing where they were in their work and how well they were doing.
“And always,” he smilingly added, “at the end [of it], I would add something which is biblically inspired, about sharing and caring.”
One question posed by an audience member was how, as a scientist, Prof Leo reconciled his faith in scripture with the theories of evolution and Darwinism.
“God is omnipotent,” Prof Leo replied. “What is stopping Him from creating the universe and then at the right moment, when it was perfect, to put the soul into [mankind]?”
He noted that God could not be explained in scientific terms, in reply to another question.
Prof Leo is the current director of special projects at the science faculty at the National University of Singapore (NUS). In 2016, he was one of four people who were awarded the prestigious Meritorious Service Medal at the National Day Awards.
CBN will be organising various events including its forthcoming Lenten retreat in March and the bi-annual Christ@Work conference in November as well the continuation of its “My Journey” talks.
More information can be found at www.cbn.sg