Creationist Catholic 2007


#1

A little satirical story to illustrate a point:

I went to my local Religion Store to pick up a few things.

“Excuse me, Miss. Do you have any Catholicism?”

“Sure,” she said, while handing me a box. A box filled with words in large type: “New! Improved Catholicism! Now with More Science!”

“Excuse me, Miss,” I said. “Can I get the box over there?”

“You mean the one all the way back there?”

“Yes.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yes.”

She switched on her microphone and said, “Fundie alert on Aisle 3.”

Immediately, I was surrounded by two large security guards. “Sir, do you really intend to buy that?”

“Yes. Yes, I do. Is there a problem?”

“Well, technically, you are allowed to buy the 1950s version of Catholicism, but we can’t be too careful.”

“Careful about what?”

“Well, I’m going to ask you some questions and I’m warning you, if you answer no to any of them, you’re facing lifelong ridicule.”

“OK. Go ahead.”

“Do you believe in the Big Bang, Theory of Evolution, birds used to be dinosaurs, global warming and the end of peak oil?”

“No,” I said, wondering what would happen next.

I paid for my box and asked one of the security guards a question. “Are you a Christian?”

“Yes sir, I am.”

“Do you believe an actual, physical Jesus Christ lived and died so that sins would be forgiven?”

“Yes, but technically, that’s a theological question.”

“OK. So when you pray at night, who are praying to?”

“To God, of course.”

“Is He real then? The living, as in actually living, God?”

“Sure, but technically, that’s a theological question.”

“Right. So when you die and face Him at the judgement day, will you be talking with a real person or a theological concept?”

“Huh. I guess I’ll be talking to a real person.”

God bless,
Ed


#2

Science << “Do you believe in the Big Bang, Theory of Evolution, birds used to be dinosaurs, global warming and the end of peak oil?” >>

Fundy << “No,” I said, wondering what would happen next. >>

Catholic Fundy Alert responded to by Cardinal Schonborn:

"Now there is another misunderstanding that is constantly found in the ongoing discussion, and I have to deal with it right here at the beginning. I refer to what is called ‘creationism.’ Nowadays the belief in a creator is automatically run together with ‘creationism.’ But in fact to believe in a creator is not the same as trying to understand the six days of creation literally, as six chronological days, and as trying to prove scientifically, with whatever means available, that the earth is 6000 years old. These attempts of certain Christians at taking the Bible absolutely literally, as if it made chronological and scientific statements – I have met defenders of this position who honestly strive to find scientific arguments for it – is called ‘fundamentalism.’ Or more exactly, within American Protestantism this view of the Christian faith originally called itself fundamentalism. Starting from the belief that the Bible is inspired by God, so that every word in it is immediately inspired by Him, the six days of creation are taken in a strict literal way. It is understandable that in the United States many people, using not only kinds of polemics but lawsuits as well, vehemently resist the teaching of creationism in the schools…

“The Catholic position on this is clear. St. Thomas says that ‘one should not try to defend the Christian faith with arguments that are so patently opposed to reason that the faith is made to look ridiculous.’ It is simply nonsense to say that the world is only 6000 years old. To try to prove this scientifically is what St. Thomas calls provoking the irrisio infidelium, the scorn of the unbelievers. It is not right to use such false arguments and to expose the faith to the scorn of unbelievers. This should suffice on the subject of ‘creationism’ and ‘fundamentalism’ for the entire remainder of this catechesis; what we want to say about it should be so clear that we do not have to return to the subject.” (Cardinal Schonborn, Cat Lecture 11/13/2005)

more Cardinal Schonborn next post…

Phil P


#3

Cardinal Schonborn to EdWest, you are falling into Catholic Fundyism once again:

“…Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge…I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above (from Julian Huxley, Will Provine, Peter Atkins), it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one’s territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life. And thus as natural scientists we are constantly and inevitably bringing in questions reflecting worldviews…I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” (Cardinal Schonborn, Cat Lecture 10/2/2005)

In his 2007 book Chance or Purpose?, see his section “Man – A Part of Nature” (page 113ff) –

“It is one of the marvelous aspects of our earthly life that as men we are related to all other creatures. We share with them the same laws of matter, the same building blocks of life. We have no other sphere of life than that of all other living beings. We are all together in this ‘Noah’s ark’ of a planet.” (page 116-117)

“Matter, the elements, of which our body is made up, originated in the tremendous nuclear fusion processes within the stars…astrophysicist Marco Bersanelli adds: 'we are in the literal sense “children of the stars” '…To acknowledge this is in no way humiliating. Being part of the universe is nothing to be ashamed of…It is likewise no humiliation when it becomes clear that man’s entry on the stage of the earth entails a long story. The long road of ‘hominization’ is the subject of intensive research…Is there a common line of descent? Are there several ‘origins’? And above all, from what chronological point can we talk about ‘man’? Can there be a gradual transition from animal to man? If man, homo sapiens, developed from ‘hominids’, man-like species, then how did hominids become men?” (page 117,118)

“The Pope [Pius XII] emphasizes here [in Humani Generis] that the notion that the human body has its origin in material that already exists and is living does not stand in contradiction to the faith. The human soul, on the other hand, cannot be a product of evolution. Nor is it ‘produced’ by the parents. It is directly created by God. This doctrine of the Church represents the concrete application of the biblical teaching about the special creation of man, alone of all living things, ‘after the image and likeness of God’ (cf. Gen 1:26)…[refers to Gen 2:7]…He [man] is associated with all other living things through his earthly origin, but only on account of the soul that God ‘breathed into him’ is he a man. This accords him his distinctive dignity as well as his unique responsibility, which exalts him above all other living things and at the same time makes him their shepherd.” (page 123)

See also the CA Live show broadcast today! :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P


#4

Thank you for the quotes, Phil. This issue is not a settled matter. See this article:

timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article1645453.ece

Pope Benedict: “The pope [John Paul] had his reasons for saying this. But it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory.”

You will note the reference to Cardinal Paul Poupard and the firing of Father George Coyne. The article continues to note Pope Benedict is sending mixed signals about evolution.

So, the matter is not closed. It’s not a done deal for evolution.

God bless,
Ed


#5

Oh, and let’s not forget the comments Cardinal Schoenborn made in the New York Times a few years ago:

nytimes.com/2005/07/13/national/13pope.html

God bless,
Ed


#6

But I thought he corrected some of those thoughts. Or, at the very least, a redaction of some sorts seems to have been given since this article first appeared if I recall correctly.


#7

EdWest << So, the matter is not closed. It’s not a done deal for evolution. >>

As noted in the 4.5 billion other creation-evolution threads in here, macroevolution is considered a fact by the scientific community, a large community that includes many Catholics, Christians, and many other religious and non-religious people, based solely upon the scientific evidence.

Cardinal Schonborn did write that NY Times Op-Ed, but then clarified he was making a philosophical critique, not a scientific one. I have shown from his 2007 book Chance or Purpose? where he clearly believes we homo sapiens evolved, not only from previous early life on earth, but from “star stuff” – we are children of the stars. He therefore accepts all the science of both cosmological and biological evolution about our physical origins.

I’ve listed these books in the past, have you read any of them yet? Stop wasting so much time in here on this topic, and get a few good books :smiley:

In The Beginning… by Ratzinger / Pope Benedict
Finding Darwin’s God by Ken Miller
Perspectives on an Evolving Creation by Keith Miller
Coming to Peace with Science by Darrel Falk
The Language of God by Francis Collins

All are decent representatives of the theistic evolution position I am coming from.

Phil P


#8

“Stop wasting so much time…”?

Honestly, Phil. I don’t write this stuff because I’m bored or lazy.

God bless,
Ed


#9

I agree that it’s not a scientifically proven theory-- but I also think the inference of the data gives a very strong credence to its possibility too.

In other words, that things evolve there is no doubt. But, even admitting this, I think we must at least consider the facts as interpretted that all life could have indeed been related to single organisms from long ago. I think this is what Pope Benedict XVI is alluding to when he says one the one hand that “it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism” and, on the other hand that “it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled.” :slight_smile:

Me personally, I simply admit my own ignorance on this topic and fully admit, like the Pope himself did, that we simply don’t know if this is how it happened with 100% certainty-- but that it is virtually certain that this does appear to be the way that God has speciated life on earth.

I will admit that there are many here who do not seem to have the Pope’s humility on this topic. For some, the Pope’s words which say “it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled” have somehow been translated into an arrogant position of “See! The Pope agrees with me-- so shut up already!”

Me personally, I cannot stand that type of discussion, especially when people blather on with endless questions designed to elicit a negative response from the start.

Nonetheless, looking past this, the Pope does appear to be affirming that evolution is the most likely candidate for the origins of humanity-- so long as one believes that God has guided it and it is not a random process.

Indeed, Darwin himself (or perhaps Malthus?) seems to have thought of evolution as like an invisible hand guiding the speciation of life. I don’t think it’s too much of a variation away from the idea of God’s invisible hand sustaining and guiding the means by which life speciated either.

You will note the reference to Cardinal Paul Poupard and the firing of Father George Coyne. The article continues to note Pope Benedict is sending mixed signals about evolution.

I must caution that Coyne’s departure seems to have been more related to his bought with illness rather than any digression from the Pope’s thoughts on the matter. Perhaps, instead of casting innuendo on his departure, we would be better served to pray for Father Coyne’s speedy recovery. :slight_smile:

So, the matter is not closed. It’s not a done deal for evolution.

God bless,
Ed

Believe me, I understand your concerns about evolution Ed.

But what if one day if does become a done deal, as in verified beyond all reasonable doubt that human life shares a common ancestor with chimps for example?

Would this be detrimental to our faith?

Me personally, I don’t think it would. I’m quite confident of this belief to be fair.


#10

Couple of things to remember:

  1. No theory in science is proven. Science does not “prove” anything at all. It merely gathers enough evidence to provide a high degree of confidence in a hypothesis. At that point, it is considered a theory, which is as solid as it gets in science.

“Proof” (i.e. logical certainty) is not part of the process. Such a thing is possible only when we get to set the rules.

  1. I don’t think anyone says “shut up” to those who don’t accept the Pope’s opinion on common descent. That merely shows that common descent is completely compatible with the Church’s teachings.

It doesn’t mean you can’t still believe in creationism, if you want to.


#11

That’s interesting. 600 years ago the same community (maybe under a different name) thought the same thing about geocentrism!

So why is the opinion of a large community of learned men valid today, but invalid 600 years ago? What makes today’s opinions so different that you would bet your Church on it?

Funny, 600 years ago, the Church sided with the learned men, today it has not made such a statement (though some unofficially do have that opinion, obviously).

Is it because we “evolved” since then? :wink:


#12

Barbarian, do you see anyone responding to your last post in the Intelligent Design, most scientific thread?

You finally make good points above. But there’s a couple of things mirrored within your two points noted above that are also related to the question of the distinction between ignorance and and indifference too.

  1. I don’t know.

  2. I don’t care.

You are welcome to my ignore list Barbarian.

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. :slight_smile:


#13

I’ve now read the Language of God several times and have been impressed with it-- even if the sanctity of life seemed to biologically fall apart near some parts of his discussion.

Next on my list is In The Beginning…, which I’ll be reading very soon.

Oddly enough, I have to admit that I’ve stayed away from Miller’s books, primarilly because, by virtues of reports from other who read his books, he seems to invoke the “Great Deceiver” arguments and other similar concepts which I find abhorrent to the Catholic faith. Then again, Collins seems to lean in this direction too-- and discusses Miller’s concepts in doing so.

Does Pope Benedict XVI use these kinds of arguments when discussing the creation-evolution controversy? If so, perhaps I am wrong then. But I am curious if he actually uses these kind of discussions in his book In The Beginning…


#14

I really suggest Catholics go online and read the full text of Humani Generis and get the Church’s thoughts. Though written in 1950, it addresses many of the same issues I’m seeing brought up here and elsewhere - a desire for novelty, and a lack of interest in what the deposit of faith contains and a lack of reverence and humility before the Teaching Authority of the Church.

On another note, but related, I’m a moderator on another forum and the self-identified atheists are just repeating what I’ve already mentioned here once before: “We’re very smart now, religion was invented by men (or, our genes actually), we don’t need it anymore. So just stay in your buildings and leave us alone.”

But even that thought is not new, The Marxists sought to remove religion from schools but darn it, how to convince grandparents and other old people from passing it on to their grandkids, nephews, nieces…? The State would be the purpose of life and death.

God bless,
Ed


#15

That’s not fair Ed. There are many people who believe that God used evolution to speciate life on earth-- like I do. Their faith is no weaker than other’s faith is either.

I understand you concern, but you can’t just associate me or anyone who believes God used evolution to speciate life on earth with the Marxist Regimes.

There needs to be a more balanced approach to this whole issue-- and I can now so much more sympathize with Pope Benedict XVI’s words regarding how “it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled.”

Indeed, after reading both sides of these debates more carefully, it more distressing than ever that it is indeed no way apparent how such divisions regarding the creation-evolution debate can be reconciled within the Church herself. :frowning:

Nonetheless, even if I cannot grasp how this might come to pass, I can indeed search for answers and I can indeed hope and trust that God will firmly provide the resolution when the time comes-- even if I’m not alive on earth to see that day come. :slight_smile:


#16

ExNil << Does Pope Benedict XVI use these kinds of arguments when discussing the creation-evolution controversy? If so, perhaps I am wrong then. >>

The Pope doesn’t refer to the “appearance of age” or so-called deceiver arguments, and he is more receptive of “intelligent design” kind of arguments. You can read a good portion of his book on my page here.

However, both Ken Miller and Dobzhansky refer to them –

Biologist Kenneth Miller writes:

“In order to defend God against the challenge they see from evolution, they have had to make Him into a schemer, a trickster, even a charlatan. Their version of God is one who intentionally plants misleading clues beneath our feet and in the heavens themselves. Their version of God is one who has filled the universe with so much bogus evidence that the tools of science can give us nothing more than a phony version of reality. In other words, their God has negated science by rigging the universe with fiction and deception. To embrace that God, we must reject science and worship deception itself…One can, of course, imagine a Creator who could have produced all of the illusions that the creationists claim to find in nature. In order to do so, we must simultaneously conclude that science can tell us nothing about nature, and that the Creator to whom many of us pray is inherently deceitful. Such so-called creation science, thoroughly analyzed, corrupts both science and religion, and it deserves a place in the intellectual wastebasket.” (Kenneth Miller, Finding Darwin’s God, page 80)

The Orthodox Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky concurs:

“One can suppose that the Creator saw fit to play deceitful tricks on geologists and biologists. He carefully arranged to have various rocks provided with isotope ratios just right to mislead us into thinking that certain rocks are 2 billion years old, others 2 million, which in fact they are only some 6,000 years old. This kind of pseudo-explanation is not very new. One of the early antievolutionists, P. H. Gosse, published a book entitled Omphalos (‘the Navel’). The gist of this amazing book is that Adam, though he had no mother, was created with a navel, and that fossils were placed by the Creator where we find them now – a deliberate act on His part, to give the appearance of great antiquity and geologic upheaveals. It is easy to see the fatal flaw in all such notions. They are blasphemies, accusing God of absurd deceitfulness. This is as revolting as it is uncalled for…Does the evolutionary doctrine clash with religious faith? It does not. It is a blunder to mistake the Holy Scriptures for elementary textbooks of astronomy, geology, biology, and anthropology. Only if symbols are construed to mean what they are not intended to mean can there arise imaginary, insoluble conflicts. As pointed out above, the blunder leads to blasphemy: the Creator is accused of systematic deceitfulness.” (Dobzhansky, “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution”)

I don’t have any problem with these conclusions. If young-earth creationists believe (a) the universe, stars, and galaxies, etc are real objects (not illusions), (b) the universe/earth is young (below 10,000 years), © God is responsible for all physical objects in this universe/earth (He is Creator), and if (d) what we observe and measure of an ancient universe/earth thru the sciences of geology and astronomy is not real, it is fake, therefore, (e) it seems to make God into the Great Faker, since he is the Creator of this “appearance of age.”

Phil P


#17

Thank you for that link Phil. That was really interesting-- and as I was reading it I really felt myself being drawn into it, almost like looking into a mirror. This isn’t just flattery to the Pope. I really am amazed at how much I found myself having already arrived at conclusions like what he is suggesting and find myself very filial to his written words.

However, both Ken Miller and Dobzhansky refer to them –

Biologist Kenneth Miller writes…

The Orthodox Christian Theodosius Dobzhansky concurs…

Collins seems to be relaying the same message on this too…

Now, having said this, I would like to share something that I strongly agree with from Collins’ theistic evolutionary view…it’s his notes regarding young-earth creationism and the potential for God as the Great Deceiver as espoused within some groups within this school of young-earth thought…

[quote]“Unless one is willing to take the position that God has placed these decapitated AREs (1) in these precise positions to confuse and mislead us, the conclusion of a common ancestor for humans and mice is virtually inescapable. This kind of recent genome data thus presents an overwhelming challenge to those who hold to the idea that all species were created ex nihilo.” (p.136-137).

He later refines these thoughts on pages 176 and 177…

According to this argument, all of the radioactive decay clocks, all the fossils, all of the genome sequences have been intentionally designed so it would look as if the universe was old, even though it was really created less than ten thousand years ago…

He explains Kenneth Miller’s thoughts on why this would entail massive subtefuge, essentially explaing how all the stars in the sky would appears ‘just so’ fashion, even though they represent wholly fictitious objects.

Then he continues as follows…

…This image of God as the ultimate trickster seems to be the ultimate admission of defeat for the Creationist perspective. Would God as the great deceiver be an entity one would want to worship? Is this consistent with everything else we know about God from the Bible, from the Moral Law, and from every other source–namely, that He is loving, logical, and consistent?

In my own opinion, if God is indeed deceiving us in this fashion, then this admission does indeed appear to be some admission of defeat for the Creationist perspective, particularly from any segment of creationists would suggest that God acts in this deceptive manner.
[/quote]

Now, to clarify this further, I will note that I don’t actually believe that God would necessarilly be deceiving if he acted in this way – no more so than God “deceiving us” when he a) turned the deadwood of a staff into a serpent, or b) formed gnats from the sands of Egypt, or c) allowed a bud to shoot forth from deadwood to display his choice for Aaron, or d) creating wine from water at the wedding feast of Cana, or e) the multiplacation of fish and loaves for that matter – all of which did have the “appearance of age”.

My point that I actually do agree with Collins on is that if these things will be admitted into the realm of possible reasons within science, then this would indeed potentially devastate the whole order of scientific inquiry-- which is why I don’t think “miracles” or “creation science” should necessarilly be considered a “scientific explanation”. In short, creation science has **defeated itself **if it claims the miraculous as a scientific explanation and has therefore divorced itself from science by doing so.

continued…


#18

Nonetheless, if you do agree with Miller, Dobzhansky, and Collins on this potential idea of God as the Great Deceiver or Great Faker, then where does that leave us when we are presented with miracles that do indeed have the appearance of age as I’ve cited above?

Even moreso, if you do agree with Miller, Dobzhansky, and Collins on this potential idea of God as the Great Deceiver or Great Faker, then where does this leave us when we claim that God pre-ordained all things from the beginning as Collins suggests on page 205 in his book?

Perhaps most important of all, if what you say is true about the Pope’s stressing of the “intelligent project” aspect of the creation-evolution discussion, then why doesn’t Pope Benedict XVI actually use these same ‘Great Deceiver’ arguments in defense of theistic evolution just as Miller, Dobzhansky, and Collins do?


#19

Now, to clarify this further, I will note that I don’t actually believe that God would necessarilly be deceiving if he acted in this way

If He acted in that way, He would certainly be deceiving, since the vast majority of scientists and other Christians would have been fooled. And He would have been very aware of that, before He did it.

no more so than God “deceiving us” when he a) turned the deadwood of a staff into a serpent, or b) formed gnats from the sands of Egypt, or c) allowed a bud to shoot forth from deadwood to display his choice for Aaron, or d) creating wine from water at the wedding feast of Cana, or e) the multiplacation of fish and loaves for that matter – all of which did have the “appearance of age”.

But note that these were presented by God directly as miracles, not as faked evidence for age. This is why the Church makes a distinction between nature (which is ultimately caused by supernatural power) and miracles which are openly shown as extra-natural in character.


#20

That makes no senes. Maybe the scientists are just misinterpreting the evidence. God has not guaranteed that science is the perfect arbiter of truth nor that scientists are infallible in their interpretations.

I will not speak too much on this topic, but in the case of geocentrism, science is misinterpreting the evidence explicitly because of the philosophical foundations they have laid for the express purpose of interpreting the evidence. Their assumptions lead them to interepret it a certain way, while other equally valid assumptions (which they will not consider for “philosophical reasons”, or in one case out of “modesty”) would lead to other interpretations.

Again, I point out that astronomers in previous ages interpreted what they saw as geocentrism. Was God a “great deceiver” then? What makes today’s astronomers less fallible then yesterday’s such that God owes them clear vision, which was (apparently) denied to yesterday’s? Do you think God is that impressed with the Hubble telescope?:shrug:


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