Darwinism compatible with Catholicism?


This is just a poll. Please use already existed threads for discussion


[quote=abcdefg]This is just a poll. Please use already existed threads for discussion

Do you mean biological evolution, or social darwinism as you’ve brought up in other threads? The poll title is not very specific.



biological Darwinism as taught in biology class. (origin of life, origin of human, develop of new species, natural selection etc)
There’s no separate social Darwinism I perceive, it’s just treating humans as any other animals. If you don’t agree, never mind. this poll isn’t about that.


Darwinism is descent with modification by natural selection. Since it is science it is compatible with Catholic faith since the Catholic faith has no problem with modern science. Ken Miller is “an orthodox Catholic and an orthodox Darwinist” and I don’t think has been excommunicated yet.

Mike Behe, the Catholic biochemist and “intelligent design” advocate, agrees that natural selection (that is, “Darwinism”) is compatible with Catholicism, I’ve quoted this before:

"Although I think my arguments [on intelligent design] are nothing short of compelling, some other Catholic academics have disagreed with me and have published other views. Brown University biology professor Ken Miller describes himself as ‘an orthodox Catholic and an orthodox Darwinist.’ In his 1999 book ‘Finding Darwin’s God’ Miller defends the standard view that, despite the unexpected complexity uncovered at the molecular level, natural selection is the best explanation for life. While admitting that Darwinian explanations currently don’t exist for many molecular systems, he expresses confidence that explanations will be forthcoming as science progresses.

"Nonetheless, in his book he argues that the universe was indeed designed, using the fine-tuning of cosmological constants as his primary evidence. He also finds scope for God’s action in quantum indeterminacy and argues that miracles can occur, but that science can say nothing about them… [a section on John Haught and “God After Darwin” skipped]…

“The point I’m trying to drive home here by discussing my own work as well as the work of Miller and Haught, is that a very wide range of views about the mechanism of evolution is consistent with Catholic teaching, from the natural selection defended by Miller, to the intelligent design I have proposed, to the animated, information-suffused universe that John Haught sees. Those mechanisms are all proposed by persons who attach the same bottom-line philosophy to their ideas that Pope John Paul described: that ‘it is the God of Israel who acts’ and that ‘it is the one and the same God who establishes and guarantees the intelligibility and reasonableness of the natural order of things upon which scientists confidently depend, and who reveals himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.’ Indeed, the range of possibilities that are available under a Catholic viewpoint is much wider than under a materialistic viewpoint.” (Michael Behe, from “A Catholic Scientist Looks at Darwinism” in Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by William Dembski [2004], page 143-144)

The International Theological Commission under Cardinal Ratzinger has also said:

"In freely willing to create and conserve the universe, God wills to activate and to sustain in act all those secondary causes whose activity contributes to the unfolding of the natural order which he intends to produce. Through the activity of natural causes, God causes to arise those conditions required for the emergence and support of living organisms, and, furthermore, for their reproduction and differentiation…A growing body of scientific critics of neo-Darwinism point to evidence of design (e.g., biological structures that exhibit specified complexity) that, in their view, cannot be explained in terms of a purely contingent process and that neo-Darwinians have ignored or misinterpreted. The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. But 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.” (paragraph 68 and 69)

A truly contingent natural process is what “Darwinism” or “evolution by natural selection” is. I see we are still cranking out the evolution threads in here. :rolleyes:

Phil P


[quote=PhilVaz]Darwinism is descent with modification by natural selection. … A truly contingent natural process is what “Darwinism” or “evolution by natural selection” is.


The more I read, the more I become convinced that there is no fixed definition for “Darwinism”. It is hard to use that term conclusively anymore, because some take it to mean one thing, others to mean another.

The fact is, anything claiming that the soul evolved from matter is incompatible with our Faith.



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