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  • ID VS SCIENCE- ROUND TWO

    Filed at 7:27 am under by dcobranchi

    Score this one for ID. An influential Catholic cardinal has come out with a statement that Catholicism and an acceptance of Darwinian evolution are incompatible.

    “Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense – an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection – is not.”

    10 Responses to “ID VS SCIENCE- ROUND TWO”


    Comment by
    speedwell
    July 9th, 2005
    at 11:28 am

    I’ll see you a cardinal and raise you a pope… the then Cardinal Ratzinger presided over a task force called the International Theological Commission, which produced an official document (“Communion and Stewardship”) containing this:

    “…it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation. According to St. Thomas Aquinas: “The effect of divine providence is not only that things should happen somehow, but that they should happen either by necessity or by contingency. Therefore, whatsoever divine providence ordains to happen infallibly and of necessity happens infallibly and of necessity; and that happens from contingency, which the divine providence conceives to happen from contingency” (Summa theologiae, I, 22,4 ad 1).”

    I’ve always said, and will always say, and can demonstrate, that evolution and Christianity do not and cannot disprove each other.


    Comment by
    sharon d.
    July 9th, 2005
    at 11:31 am

    The key is the words “unplanned, unguided.” Catholics have always been permitted to agree with the findings of scientists regarding evolution, but not with the metaphysical claim that there is no telos, or end (determined by God), to natural selection. Catholics must only believe that (a) however life arose, it was intended by God; and (b) the creation of the human soul involved direct divine intervention (a claim that scientists aren’t particularly interested in).

    This doesn’t necessarily imply what ID’ers seem to mean by “intelligent design”; and in fact, one of the more annoying things about the ID movement is it defines itself so nebulously that lots of Catholics think they agree with ID, when in fact it doesn’t mean what they think it means.

    Finally, this isn’t some recent Catholic teaching (lots of sources seem to think Pope John Paul II’s statements regarding evolution are some change of course); my daughter’s 1949 catechism has two pages on evolution, and is explicit that Catholics are free to believe in evolution, with the above caveats.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    July 9th, 2005
    at 11:45 am

    OK, for the kids in the room… Cardinal Ratzinger, now pope, basically is saying here that God set up evolution to naturally work the way it does without need of his further intervention. This is not unlike saying that God made the universe so that it contained a law of gravity, so that every time you drop something, it falls down automatically, without any need of God personally stepping in and hauling it down with his divine hand. That’s what the document means by “contingency” and “a truly contingent natural process” and “created causality.”

    Think of it like this: God’s “biology machine” works a certain way and produces the intended result without God having to reach in and personally “spin every gear and push each electron down the wires.” For exceptions, I recommend you read C.S. Lewis’s excellent book “Miracles.”

    This is not like the doctrine of free will, where God created people with a free will so that they can do stuff on their own. That’s a different thing altogether. That DOES deal with intelligence, ours and God’s.

    The Catholic paper I mention here does NOT rule out the chemicals-to-people (or octopi, which are more complicated and farther along, evolutionarily speaking, than we are) sort of evolution theory that modern scientists have derived from the available evidence.

    Um, I’m an atheist (ex-Christian) and I kind of feel funny explaining this theological stuff to you all, so I’m going to shut up now. 🙂


    Comment by
    speedwell
    July 9th, 2005
    at 11:47 am

    ok, sharon d. and I crossposted. Yeah, sharon, I agree.


    Comment by
    sharon d.
    July 9th, 2005
    at 11:50 am

    Hi, Speedwell … I wasn’t disagreeing with you (in fact you put it much more elegantly than I did); just happened to post at the same time as you. Don’t feel funny explaining Aquinas; I don’t think HE&OS is a majority-Christian blog (I could be wrong), and certainly not majority-Catholic.


    Comment by
    sharon d.
    July 9th, 2005
    at 12:30 pm

    …and I crossposted again…

    Anyway, Catholics and atheists agree: evolution isn’t a problem for us papists.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    July 9th, 2005
    at 6:12 pm

    Eh… the “Communion and Stewardship” document does, in fact, say that evolution is a problem for Catholics, because it just encourages we horrible impious atheists to be horrible and impious and all, and to be the usual terribly, terribly bad influences on you believers. (heh) What it’s not a problem for, apparently, is Catholicism itself.


    Comment by
    sharon d.
    July 9th, 2005
    at 10:46 pm

    First, what I meant by “not a problem for Catholics” is what we were both (I thought) saying in our initial posts; that Catholics can affirm evolution and natural selection as the means God chose to bring about his ends.

    But second, I don’t see anywhere in “Communion and Stewardship” that the ITC was saying anything like “evolution is bad because it encourages atheism.” It does say that certain views of the universe and of the human person, thought to be necessarily implied by evolution, led some to conclude (wrongly) that atheism was an inescapable result of a scientific worldview. That some people have in fact drawn that mistaken conclusion–both atheists and Christians–seems like a simple historical fact.

    Nor do I see the ITC saying that atheists are a bad influence on Catholics; lucky for me, since I’m married to one.


    Comment by
    speedwell
    July 10th, 2005
    at 4:04 am

    Thanks, Sharon, I am wrong and you are right. I let my frustration with ID and with how atheists are treated in this country run away with me again. I appreciate the correction.


    Comment by
    sharon d.
    July 10th, 2005
    at 10:12 am

    No need to apologize. Much sympathy with the frustration. My dh & I went to the same Texas public schools, where all one learned about Catholicism was that the Pope sold indulgences (the only time the Catholic Church was mentioned); atheism wasn’t mentioned at all, naturally, which gave one a somewhat skewed view of the Enlightenment, especially on the French side, but never mind; and our science teacher just skipped the chapter on evolution altogether out of (justified) fear. All this made it easy to decide to homeschool, so that Voltaire, St. Francis, and inconvenient archeological findings need not be pushed under the desk.