Professor presents on scientific literacy and mainstream biases

By Alice Wu
Staff Writer

Franciscan University professor and researcher Stephen Sammut presented on the links between biology and behavior and why scientific literacy is important for Catholics to navigate the modern world on March 8 at 3 p.m. 

Sammut, who holds a doctorate in neuroscience, stressed the interrelatedness of hormones, physiology and psychology and how they all work together in the healthy individual. 

Sammut said that this holistic view of medicine “reflects the Catholic Church’s view of the human person as an integrated whole.” 

The researcher explained that in this paradigm, all pathology arises when there is an imbalance between parts, such as the upper and lower portions of the brain. Proper treatment for a psychological condition then aims to restore the balance and return the individual to their natural state.  

By contrast, Sammut explained that “contemporary mainstream psychiatry does not give due attention to harmonious relationships between bodily systems and this leads to reckless, ideologically-motivated decision-making.” 

Sammut argued that the mainstream psychology is publishing research with “subpar methodology to support its own conclusions and suppressing research that goes against the mainstream narrative in order to support a viewpoint that gender and sexuality are socially constructed when, in fact, properly done science reflects the truth of Catholic teachings on gender and sexuality.” 

“It benefits Catholics to have some understanding of biology in order to be better-equipped against the arguments of the psychiatric mainstream and social progressivism,” said Sammut. 

Sammut cited as an example of said recklessness the phenomenon of prescribing puberty blockers for children that is currently supported by many major health organizations.  

“It is absurd to believe that one could delay puberty artificially to after its normal window without also permanently affecting the brain because the brain is an organ that, like other organ systems, requires the hormones associated with puberty to develop properly in adolescence,” said Sammut. 

Sammut recounted that a study he worked on about abortion pill reversal was unable to be published in mainstream papers because of an insistence that such a thing is not possible, despite his demonstration within the paper that it was.  

According to Sammut, these are “clear examples of medical organizations lacking integrity and prioritizing politics over sound research.” 

While Sammut is Catholic, the researcher claimed that he does not necessarily need to invoke Catholicism to defend his views as a scientist; rather, he merely has to state the facts. 

Sammut said he believes that any Catholics with a passing familiarity with psychology are “too eager to take the scientific consensus at face value and attempt to reconcile the secular doctrine and ‘Catholicize’ it rather than challenge it.” 

Sammut ended the talk with his hopes that students use the knowledge acquired from his discussion to think critically about scientific research.