Does Darwin’s theory of evolution contradict Catholicsm?
My Catholic, Conservative Science teacher put it very clear to me in High School:
Science and our Faith do not contradict each other.
Our Church is very supportive of Science, through the Pope Calling on us to fight Climate Change and supporting other Scientific Efforts.
This section of the CCC may be helpful, but does not specifically mention Evolution (I think)
Thanks I will take a look at it
I think science does not contradict Catholic belief. if i understand it correctly Adam is a hebrew word meaning humankind so how man’s evolution came about is something no one really knows for sure other than theories based on what so far has been found. For me its not important how God created but that God did create.
Do you have a specific reason to think that it does?
Anyway, “Catholic Answers” has some writings concerning it, for example:
Perhaps some of them will prove useful?
Thanks I will read these. The reason why I asked is because my stepdad is an atheist and when we fight about the authenticity of Genesis he brings up evolution. So I just needed to ask.
Yes, it does. First, all humans alive today have literally two parents. They committed Original Sin and all of us descended from them. That is why Christ was born. To show us how to live and to tell us how to gain eternal life.
“37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”
Source: Humani Generis
Catholism does not support a strict 6 day interpretation. We are mute on the method of creation however.
Joe – there is no such thing as an Atheist. Please consider asking your dad three questions:
- Do you know everything there is to know in the Universe?
- Do you know HALF of all there is to know in the Universe?
- Could God exist in the half you do not know?
#1 can only be answered “no”. #2 can only be answered “no”. Therefore, #3 can only be “yes”.
If one does not know at least HALF of the Universe, then yes of course God could be over there; and now your Dad is no longer an Atheist, but is an AGNOSTIC.
Question #4 — So now you’re an Agnostic, a doubter; right? (The only possible answer is “yes”.)
Last question #5: “Are you and HONEST doubter, or a DISHONEST doubter?”
Your Dad will ask, “what do you mean?”
"An honest doubter does not know if there is a God, but wants to know; a DISHONEST doubter does not know, but does not want to know. Which are you?
Every last (former) Atheist at this point, can only say: “…uhhhhmmmm”
Darwinian evolution is incompatible with basic common sense and proper scientific reasoning, but to answer your question: it is also incompatible with Catholic teaching.
Ask yourself this: does it make sense that a creature with half-formed, useless, but still energy consuming organs will be “more fit” for survival than the creature without? And given a random sampling of fossils, why have we not found a single one of these mid-point creatures with half-lungs or almost-legs? So then the slow gradual speciation process is debunked by common sense and lack of evidence.
So we are then left with a sudden change process, whereby the lizard is born from the fish egg, and the bird from the lizard. Doesn’t that seem a little far-fetched? Why have we never seen somethint like that? And metaphysically it is impossible, for a thing can only beget that which it already possess.
Evolution is a trick bag full of specious reasoning and appeals to aurhority and very little in the way of observational data. Despite what some over-eager Christians might claim, Intelligent Design only puts a band-aid over the gaping wounds in the dying theory and brings up a whole viper’s nest of theological issues when it is applied with anything other than superficial reasoning.
Stick with Genesis and Six-Day. (At the very least, until we get a better theory than “evolution”)
Now back to your question – does Darwinian Evolution contradict Catholicism? YES. Catholicism (just like any Christian belief, including Protestantism), is based on “God creating the heavens and the Earth.” The whole point of Evolution is to deny the existence of God.
Here are some of the MANY problems with Evolution – by definition, Evolution began with one organism, then grew by a tree-like progression into all life. But there is no evidence of a SINGLE TREE – pre-Cambrian strata are void of life, then comes the “Cambrian Explosion” – sudden appearance of MULTIPLE trees, simultaneously. This better reflects a creative event, not slow continuous progression from one point.
But prior to this, that “one point” – all Evolutionists cherish an experiment performed by Stanley Miller (under direction of Harold Urey), in which he filled a flask with water, methane, ethane, amonia, nitrogen, and no free oxygen. Theorizing there was LIGHTNING, he ran a high-voltage arc for several days. He then found AMINO ACIDS in his “primordial soup”, the newspapers proclaiming, “SCIENTISTS CREATE LIFE IN THE LABORATORY!”
Here are several problems:
His flask contained no oxygen, oxygen would poison the solution and prevent amino acids; nowhere in the geological stack do we have evidence of NO FREE OXYGEN.
The amino acids produced were very simple, nowhere near Human base proteins of adenine, cytosine, thymine, and guanine.
The amino acids produced were in EQUAL quantities of right-handed isomers and left-handed; all life uses only left-handed.
The “experiment” was OPEN, it had a circulation system (non-naturally occurring!) An open experiment is not an experiment, it is THEATRICS!
The circulation system had an AMINO ACID TRAP, placed to carefully catch and protect any amino acids; the trap is non-naturally-occurring, and without the trap the destruct rate was BILLIONS to ONE – no amino acids would have been produced!
So the experiment was a complete fraud. But let’s pretend it was legitimate – let’s say we have a pool of “primordial ooze” (soup). Ask any Evolutionists “how did only left-handed molecules pull themselves out of solution, and form themselves into living, replicating life?”
Human DNA exists in 23 chromosome pairs, 46 with sequences of A C T and G of three billion segments each. Three billion, times forty six. But let’s pretend we can have a living organism with only ten units – and we’ll be unimaginably generous and give the probability of simultaneous occurrence of each protein, once chance in a thousand. Therefore for all ten to get together, the probability is 1 times 10 to the thirtieth power.
No way that’s ever going to happen. But they believe it DID — and now understand it happened TWICE in literally the same geological instant, because also formed are “mitochondria”.
Now. DNA does not function without being contained in a CELL, but cellular walls are created by DNA. So how did it start?
Somehow a cell figured out how to create itself, and nearby a mitochondria also solved the “cellular wall hurdle”. Then THIRD thing happened, perhaps a rock fell and GASHED the poor struggling cell, and some mitochondria got inside, and both discovered they could live symbiotically together, better than separate!
Do you begin to see the ABSURDITY? The probability of only a TEN-UNIT chain forming, is zero. The probability of forty six chains, of three billion each, is much, much, MUCH worse. Then it had to happen a second time for mitochondria, then a chance accident to combine them! Evolutionists have NO theory of how it began, no model, nothing – they just BELIEVE. Something that is accepted “on belief”, is a FAITH – it is a pure religion! And it takes BILLIONS and BILLIONS of times more faith to believe in “spontaneous generation”, than to believe an extra-dimensional physicist/engineer/biologist (God!) did it!
So that’s where your Dad is; clinging onto the GREATEST RELIGION of ALL TIME, which does not fit the facts, so that he can reject GOD and the Bible’s account, when God’s Biblical story is sooooo much more credible!
Be very careful discussing this with your Dad; you have to be completely respectful, else you’ll make him mad and close him to the discussion. But these facts are absolute, and the facts themselves can cause anger. Be respectful, kind, and very very patient.
…and we will gladly lift you and him in prayer!
Which takes more faith – believing that we are accidents of cosmic chemical reactions, with no purpose or meaning?
Or recognizing in the evidence that we are created beings, put together by a very very smart designer, Who has a purpose for us?
One paradigm is hopeless and depressing, and does not fit the evidence.
The other, is FULL of hope, fits all of the facts, and teaches that each of us has a destiny!
“I know the plans I have for you (declares the Lord God), for prosperity and not adversity, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will come to Me and pray to Me, and I will hear you; you will seek Me and you will FIND Me, when you search with all your heart! I will be found by you!!!”
Wow, that is actually some very good points. Thank you. He calls himself an atheist so that’s why I called him that. But you changed my mind.
I never looked at evolution that way but now I see why there is something wrong with it
I read your post thinking that my mind would receive something akin to enlightenment. But i found None.
Can you please explain why macro evolution contradicts Catholic Dogma?
Very, excellent post! Well done!
“Hopeful Monster” is the only mechanism that can overcome irreducible complexity (as I said above, “which came first – DNA, or cell walls?”). But a lizard being born from a fish egg (hopeful monster) – that is, MANY mutations ALL BENEFICIAL, is completely absurd. The vast majority of mutations are INJURIOUS.
BTW, the Bible does not say how long creation took; “in the beginning God created…” No time is mentioned. But it is likely to have happened quickly. When we landed on the moon, there should have been OCEANS of dust (after billions of years) – there is not, only a few inches. Even the size of the Universe – thought to be 93 billion light years, but only 13.7 billion years old. Matter cannot move faster than light, but obviously it did. Turns out, little pockets of “space-time”, have NO upper limit of velocity! The Alcubierre Space Drive exploits this (the idea from watching an episode of Star Trek, physicist Miguel Alcubierre came up with a “warp bubble”). It is thought that at the instant of expansion, cosmological inflation, the minimum velocity was thirty million, billion, times faster than light.
That means that the whole thing actually could have occurred in almost an instant!
(…and Christians are sighing and saying, “Well duh!”)
What? How does the theory of evolution deny the existence of God? Even if life arose from inanimate matter i fail to see how that would conflict with the idea of a Creator.
Catholic teaching (as I understand it) is based on God being the Creator (and Adam & Eve being real). Evolution is man’s attempt to explain away existence absent God. Because (in the words of a prominent Evolutionist once), “if God exists, then we become responsible to something outside of ourselves, and cannot engage in any twisted perversion we wish.”
And that is exactly what Jesus said in John3 – “those who pursue righteousness come to God; but those who pursue sin avoid the light, lest their evil deeds be exposed…”
That’s it; we are commanded to love God, but many choose to love sin instead…
There are those who try to “straddle the fence”, and embrace “Theistic Evolution”. That still denies “God created man (from the dust) in His image” – which evolutionary step would have been in His image?
There is no evidence for evolution. We see emergence of species, but not emergence of kinds. The entire “evolutionary tree” is connected by missing links, and (as posted above) it’s not ONE tree, but MANY.
Darwin was quoted “if the fossils do not expose a single tree of life evolving, the whole theory would have to be scrapped.”
We have a whole lot more fossil evidence now than he did; and — it does not exhibit a single tree…
God created the universe. The universe is so big and vast it can not be comprehended by anyone. It was created out of nothing by God Himself Why? only God knows the answer to that one. On this planet we call earth man along with all living things came to be but I rather doubt that is or was a random act, that somehow it just came to be without some higher power whom we call God a Supreme Being who existed eternally without beginning or end. So did God create no one knows nor do I think will anyone ever know it is just beyond the comprehension of man. When the creation stories were first told long before it was ever written down, man was trying to understand how he came to be recognizing there was something greater then oneself. Man could see he was different from all other life forms and superior to it having the ability to reason and think. So it would be natural for man to thing he was created separate from other life forms.
I think we all to often think God had to create the way we want it be and so it has to be as it had been written down in Gen. that way exactly with no exceptions. I also think we place to much importance on how God created rather then why did God create in the first place. In a sense would anyone be able to understand how God created and would it be helpful to us if we did know? i doubt it.
In the end God did create us in whatever way or manor he choose to do so but what is more important is why? To me its obvious that God loves so much that it overflows and created to share that love with what He created and that is good enough for me. I will say this much its great to learn and about why we are here.
Darwinian evolution is incompatible with Catholic Dogma because it supposes a man-like creature that was not man but from whence man came.
This eliminates the possibility of Adam as we commonly understand him. It also presupposes the existence of death, disease, corruption, and concupiscense before Original Sin and therefore not as punishment for Original Sin. However, we known from the Apostle that “sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin”
Intelligent Design could argue a non-Darwinian position and suggest different, more miraculous origins of man, but they usually run into their own problems.
A better way for this discussion would be for an Evolutionist Christian to give his or her theory that unites the “science” of evolution with the historical facts of Genesis and then we could discuss the merits of that specific theory.