Who can be credited with the foundation of modern science? Atheistic or theistic civilizations?
Catholic scientists, both religious and lay, have led scientific discovery in many fields. From ancient times, Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals and the Church remains the single largest private provider of medical care and research facilities in the world. Following the Fall of Rome, monasteries and convents remained bastions of scholarship in Western Europe and clergymen were the leading scholars of the age – studying nature, mathematics, and the motion of the stars (largely for religious purposes). During the Middle Ages, the Church founded Europe's first universities, producing scholars like Robert Grosseteste, Albert the Great, Roger Bacon, and Thomas Aquinas, who helped establish the scientific method.
During this period, the Church was also a great patron of engineering for the construction of elaborate cathedrals. Since the Renaissance, Catholic scientists have been credited as fathers of a diverse range of scientific fields: Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) pioneered heliocentrism, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829) prefigured the theory of evolutionwith Lamarckism, Friar Gregor Mendel (1822-1884) pioneered genetics, and Fr Georges Lemaître (1894-1966) proposed the Big Bang cosmological model. The Jesuits have been particularly active, notably in astronomy. Church patronage of sciences continues through institutions like the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (a successor to the Accademia dei Lincei of 1603) and Vatican Observatory (a successor to the Gregorian Observatory of 1580).