Catholics and Evolution


#1

I’ve read about this subject, and I know the church’s say on it, but what about you all? Do you think that a God driven evolution is plausible for genesis? Or do you reject it entirely, and embrace the more “creationist” viewpoint that evolution is total bunk?


#2

I am a PhD student. I couldn’t do a lot of my research if I didn’t believe in evolution. For instance we believe that the important residues in a protein tend to be conserved through evolution whilst the less important filling-in type residues tend to change. If we couldn’t make these types of observations our ability to do biochemistry would be seriously compromised.


#3

The Church fairly says that evolution is a good theory (not total fact) for the beginning of the world. It is totally compatible with faith, imho.


#4

that’s how I feel! It’s funny though, at my school everyone is fundamentalist, and it almost feels like you can’t be a christian and accept evolution and other science


#5

Thats the way my family is, they flat out reject evolution and many other things that are mainstream science. I personally put all my stock in it, but my family…yikes. They’re Southern Baptist fundies* and they really scare me sometimes.

*is that term okay to use here? its used a lot on atheist forums I frequent but I’m not sure if its offensive or not to religious folk. I hope its not offensive…


#6

Boy, I’d love to be a fly on the wall, on holidays!:eek:


#7

I have to be honest, it’s probably not the best word to use. That and I think the rules say you shouldn’t just because it offends some.

anyway, yeah I know. I feel like evoution and creation aren’t mutually exclusive. I’ve been studying it alot lately. The bible isn’t s cience textbook, but the order of creation follows with what evolution says things happened! It’s rather remarkable how well they line up actually.

I just don’t know why fundamentalists especially feel that way, and they have to attack and fight science on it. They kind of make a bad name for themselves sometimes.


#8

For my part, evolution, and most modern science makes a rather compelling case for the origin of the Universe, the Earth and humans. We need to be careful in looking at this though. In the case of the Universe, and in the case of life on Earth, science tells us how they developed from their starting point, they don’t tell us how the starting point got there. They also can’t explain the soul which is created directly by God and did not evolve.


Bill


#9

I totally agree, I am taking a class at school an astronomy, and scientists have to admit that they really don’t know anything about anything, it’s all just guesswork. Take for instance light as both photons (mass) AND waves (no mass). It’s totally crazy. I liken it to the mystery of the trinity LOL


#10

If that’s how God chose to create the world, and us in it, then why does anybody think that’s a problem? It (including the mechanisms involved) is a beautiful bit of creation by the Creator, no doubt about it.

People who think that evolution eliminates God don’t understand that God isn’t bound by the rules He created. There is no such thing as a random mutation to God - He will have known of (if not been the direct cause of) each and every mutation from before the world began. There is no problem whatever in imagining that God set up the initial conditions of the universe 15 billion years ago to ensure, among all the other things, that you would have blue eyes and I would be left-handed.

The assumption that evolution eliminates God just comes from not understanding what omniscience and omnipotence really entails.


#11

The problem comes in when many Catholic school kids now don’t believe that Adam and Eve were real people anymore.

My wife teaches for one of the largest diocese in Florida as a Catholic HS teacher. She is in constant conflict with her students because they insist that Adam and Eve are stories because humans evolved. She asks where they learn this, they tell her the Religion Dept.

I believe the Catholic Church has been sending mixed messages and the Catholic kids are learning that they cannot trust the first book of the Bible. They are losing faith in HUGE numbers because of the RCC’s mixed message.

These kids are entering HS as Catholics and leaving as agniostics or atheists. They even admit as much.

This is reaping great damage to the Body of Christ, IMV.


#12

The reason they do that is because they subscribe to a literalistic understanding of the Bible. They will not admit that the Genesis account is more poetry than science because they think that seeing it as a poetic account instead of a blow by blow one negates their faith.

Catholics do not interpret the Bible in a literalistic way. There is a big difference between a literalistic interpretation and a literal one. A literalistic approach says that everything was created in exactly six 24 hour days. The literal interpretation says that God created everything as a preparation to human life, but it doesn’t assume that things were always as they appear today. :slight_smile:


#13

Ok, I would be a little careful here. I doubt your instructor claimed that the scientists don’t know anything about anything. Rather scientists will admit that their theories are the ones that best explain the evidence and make testable predictions but are willing to admit that virtually any theory is subject to revision.

That being said, the dual nature of light is not exactly a Mystery, its just something not exactly explained yet :), in fact its one of the things string theory hopes to resolve. Also, photons don’t have 0 mass, they have 0 rest mass. Its an important distinction.


Bill


#14

It’s funny- I reject the “young earth” theory, because it so obviously flies in the face of science (plus, it makes God out to be a big faker, who makes rocks and whatnot look older than they would be under the YET, which God totally isn’t). But the whole “I decended from something not human” offends me simply on ego grounds…isn’t that odd? Ah, pride, the root of all sin (not that I think non-belief in evolution is a sin, I’m simply commenting on my obvious struggle against pride).

As a homeschooling mom, this is a topic I need to address, though luckily not for a while, since we’re barely done with kindergarten here! :wink:

Cheers,
Cari


#15

I do not “believe in evolution”.

I do accept evolution. I am also a scientist and a Catholic. Incidentally, I am rarely bored.:slight_smile:


#16

I don’t see the problem with this. It simply isn’t possible for the entire human race to have decended from two people. It isn’t possible for those two people to have simply appeared.

Adam and Eve is a story. It’s a true story - in a sense that is greater than science. It reveals fundamental truths about humanity and about sin. Genesis cannot have been intended as a scientific document, although it certainly has been interpreted that way by some.


#17

I have a degree in biology and believe that evolution happened. I also believe it’s entirely possible, and probable, that God used evolution to create humans. The bible doesn’t say HOW God created things. The sola scriptura folks won’t believe it because it’s not in the bible. The laws of chemistry and physics aren’t described in the bible, yet people accept that gravity exists and fire exists.

The problems I find is that people’s egos get in the way, and that people simply DON’T UNDERSTAND what the theory of evolution actually says. Nowhere does it say that humans came from monkeys. And the fact is, humans are so similar to chimpanzees genetically that you can barely tell the difference in the DNA.

Something else that always tends to calm me is the fact that human evolution has effectively ended with what we are now. The laws of evolution as they apply to most species are ineffective as soon as we became sentient and stopped following simple urges and base attractions and allowing our environment to shape us. And human intervention has hindered the further evolution of other creatures, as well as human influence effects the evolution of other creatures in our favor. Which imo, further lends evolution to being used as God’s tool to create humans in the first place.

If anything, the church should be addressing ways to incorporate the two and show folks how exactly evolution compliments God’s word and how it applies to creation. I suspect people’s misconceptions are hurting this reconciliation more than anything.

Finally, evolution led us to discover genetics. Genetics has led us to DNA. DNA is the basis for many of our medical treatments today. From cancer to simple vaccinations, without evolution none of that works. Yet I rarely see someone who doesn’t believe in evolution refusing such treatments from modern medicine. You can’t have it both ways.


#18

The Catholic Church does not send “mixed messages.” The Catholic Church proposes the Truth to the world it is up to individuals to embrace the Truth and that is where you will find the problem.

Peace,
David


#19

Wasn’t there some research that claimed humanity was all decended from a common female ancestor? I seem to remember something about that on a Discovery Channel program (yes, the very people who brought us the “Jesus Tomb” silliness)

I remember a Catholic apologist saying that the Church teaches we have to believe a few things in Genesis as literally true:

  1. God created everything
  2. Humans decended from two original parents
  3. Those original parents (Adam and Eve) did something to bring about humanity’s fall.

Now I’m going to have to search for documentation about both the Church’s stance AND the Discovery Channel thingie :rolleyes:

Cheers,
Cari


#20

And yet isn’t that exactly how evolution via random mutation works? One or two new creatures “simply appear”, and the rest of the population then follows.


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