Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Hell freezes over: I agree with the Pope!
The story details Pope Benedict's determination to publish the proceedings of a weekend seminar on evolution. In what must be a sad example of my prejudices on any given issue of social import that I take an interest in the news, I fully expected this seminar to validate the King James creation account. Nothing could be further from the truth! Check out some of these quotes from the story:
The minutes, to be issued later this year, will show how Catholic theologians see no contradiction between their belief in divine creation and the scientific theory of evolution, they said after the annual closed-door meeting ended on Sunday.Which can only mean one of two things. The Pope doesn't understand evolution, or he isn't hide bound to the literal interpretation of creationism as laid forth by the "Judeo/Christian" biblical account. Turns out the answer to this conundrum is the 2nd option:
Unlike creationists who oppose the theory of evolution, the Catholic Church does not read literally the Biblical account of God creating the world in six days.It also turns out that I wasn't the only interested party who thought that the Pope would take this chance to issue directives supporting the so called intelligent design theory of creation:
Advance media speculation had said the debate might shift Vatican policy to embrace "intelligent design," which claims to prove scientifically that life could not have simply evolved, or the "creationist" view that God created the world in six days.So far so good. Now if there is going to be a difference betwixt the Pope and I on this issue, it would have to be in what science has to say about how all this got started. That is after all what this comes down to when all is said and done. It is my humble opinoin that what should be taught in science class is the science and the religious viewpoint ought to be taught in religious/philosophy class and never the twain shall meet. Well it turns out there really is no difference at all between my opinion and the Vatican on this:
"It wasn't that at all," Father Joseph Fessio S.J., provost of Ave Maria University in Florida, told Reuters.
"He said this meeting could be an impulse to revive the discussion between theologians and evolutionists," said Father Stephan Horn,Well let the evangelicals chew on that for a bit! Quite simply there could not be a better mix offered of religion and science in discussion of the controversy. Quite simply there is philosophy, and then there is science. The only trouble I would have going forward would be to have the Vatican now declare that philosophy ought to be taught in science class. Coming from the Pope, one would expect a certain amount of spiritual guidance on the subject, but they very carefully deliniate the science from the philosophy.
"He's been concerned for a long time, and especially now that he is pope, about fostering a discussion between faith and reason," Horn said by telephone from Rome.
Benedict and Schoenborn have said several times over the past year that intelligence in the form of God's will played a part in creation and that neo-Darwinists who deny God any role are drawing an ideological conclusion not proven by the theory.
They say they use philosophical reasoning to conclude that God created the world, not arguments which intelligent design supporters claim can be proven scientifically.
"There's a controversy in the United States because there is a lack of awareness of a thing called philosophy," said Fessio, whose Ignatius Press publishes Benedict's books in English.
"Evangelicals and creationists generally lack it and Catholics have it," he said.
"When you look at the world and see what appears to be order and design, the conclusion that there is a designer is not a scientific conclusion, it's a philosophical one."
They do make the point that teaching evolution as simply a Godless process is a philosophy of it's own. By and large however, the point of evolution is not to disprove God. The science can not and does not claim to speak to that particular issue at all, because it is intrinsically philosophical. Science is what it is, and it is not a tool that is often used to prove or disprove God. Unless you are an evangelical zealot trying to push your view in science class that is.
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