Evolution and Creation: What to Teach Students?


#1

What should a Catholic biology teach in a Catholic high school about creation and evolution?


#2

Evolution does not pose a problem for Catholics. As Catholics can believe in Evolution…however not atheistic evolution. I see no problem with explaining the theory along with what The Church teaches.

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. Pope Pius XII declared that “the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions . . . take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God” (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36). So whether the human body was specially created or developed, we are required to hold as a matter of Catholic faith that the human soul is specially created; it did not evolve, and it is not inherited from our parents, as our bodies are.

While the Church permits belief in either special creation or developmental creation on certain questions, it in no circumstances permits belief in atheistic evolution.

catholic.com/library/Adam_Eve_and_Evolution.asp

As for Creation

Catholics are at liberty to believe that creation took a few days or a much longer period, according to how they see the evidence, and subject to any future judgment of the Church (Pius XII’s 1950 encyclical Humani Generis 36–37). They need not be hostile to modern cosmology. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “[M]any scientific studies . . . have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life forms, and the appearance of man. These studies invite us to even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator” (CCC 283). Still, science has its limits (CCC 284, 2293–4). The following quotations from the Fathers show how widely divergent early Christian views were.

catholic.com/library/Creation_and_Genesis.asp

I also love what Pope benedict has to say about Genesis and Creation
popebenedictxvifanclub.com/blog/2006/09/pope-benedict-xvi-roundup.html


#3

I suggest you start by reading Humani Generis. And also, Cardinal Schoenborn’s Chance or Purpose.

The idea of “evolution” is not incompatible with the faith. What is incompatible is the Darwinian *ideology *attached to evolution that teaches these things could only happen by chance.

Science can tell us what, it cannot tell us how or why.

Additionally, if you aren’t familiar with the book Icons of Evolution I would suggest you read it.


#4

Check out the Super Trailer.
expelledthemovie.com/video.php


#5

In science class, teach science.

In religion class, teach Catholicism.

Easy, since “I don’t know” is a perfectly reasonable response in both science and theology. If conflicts are perceived, then just send them into a good library (or two, or more) to study the histories of the Church and of science and their ideas. By the ends of their senior years, I hope they will have a better appreciation of both. Ignorance, of both, is the enemy.


#6

Additionally, if you aren’t familiar with the book Icons of Evolution I would suggest you read it.

Interesting title. It contains the doctrines of the Unification Church, written by a minister of that denomination. Jonathan Wells wrote that he had a “mission from Father” to “destroy evolution.”

“Father” is the Rev. Myung Son Moon, who considers himself the elder brother of Jesus.

In the book, wells assails the study of industrial melanism in moths, citing a study by Majerus. He said the study shows that moths don’t rest on tree trunks. However, Majuris’s study showed exactly that, and Majerus said so.
talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/images/majerus_table6_1.gif

Dr Wells’ who gives the impression in his response
that he has read my book, obviously has not. If he had, he would have seen that in Tables 6.1 and 6.2 I myself have recorded 168 peppered moths on tree trunks or at trunk/branch joins. If Dr Wells wishes his views to be taken seriously, he should ensure that his research is thorough.

thechristadelphians.org/forums/lofiversion/index.php/t11025.html


#7

Here’s what I do… (for whatever it’s worth)

I usually have one of the theology teachers guest lecture for a lesson early in the unit. He does a great job introducing how Catholicism and evolution are not mutually exclusive. Besides the fact that he’s a disgustingly dynamic teacher so they listen, I always think it helps to hear it from the “horse’s mouth” so to speak that I’m not making stuff up and that scientists don’t have to be the stereotypical atheist.

Then, I emphasize that I as a Catholic believe that God’s hand was directly involved in creation at 2 points - # 1: when “protocells” became true living cells and # 2: when “non-human hominid” became human. In other words, God is the “missing link”. I also emphasize that neither of these events have ever been replicated in the lab. (in contrast to something like the Miller-Urey lightening spark into organic materials for instance)

An essay question on the test asks the students to explain why it is so difficult for to look at a fossil and determine if they’re human or not. The answer is that most of our “human-ness” is non-measureable. In other words, I can’t look at a set of bones and know if it had a soul, could love, could laugh etc. All of those other things we look at - ie. walking upright, opposable thumb, size of brain aren’t unique to us as humans and therefore aren’t what make us human.

Hope this helps.

Kris


#8

that evolution is pretty irrefutable scientifically, and that it is most likely the way God chose to bring about the world we know today.


#9

Evolution is not compatible with the Bible. Evolution is a naturalistic explanation for life on Earth, nothing more. It is not science.

Science gives us the ability to land a man on the moon. Science enables us to build aircraft that can fly for the US to Europe. Sicence is based on observable truth. Evolution is a speculation to explain a belief system: that life came about naturally. That is NOT science.

I am tired of hearing that evolution is compatable with the Catholic Church. Today, the leadership of the Catholic Church seems more interested in being politically correct than theologically accurate. I see belief in evolution is symptomatic of a loss of faith. Evoultion came out of the worldview of the Enlightment. This worldview (Modernism) was condemned by Popes a century ago.


#10

What is the concern with evolution in Catholic High School? Is the concern once a student learns evolution they become imune to the power of the Holy Spirit?

I’m sure if they are not taught evolution they will sumarily dismiss all of their other classes. They will know they are being lied to.

Assume they are taught creationism - Which story would be taught? There are two. In the first man is created last. In the second man is created first. The bible contradicts itself.


#11

sorry, this post made me laugh. :smiley:


#12

Yikes!

talkorigins.org/faqs/wells/

Don
+T+


#13

" the LORD God formed man out of the clay of the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life, and so man became a living being." Genesis 2:7

I think this describes evolution as the means by which God formed humans out of the matter of His Creation.

Evolution only describes the details of the how God created humans. Too many people on both sides of the debate want to make evolution into much more than it is. It is this additional stuff that causes the controversy.


#14

All science can do is to use observable, natural phenomena. Evolution is perfectly good science.

Science gives us the ability to land a man on the moon. Science enables us to build aircraft that can fly for the US to Europe. Sicence is based on observable truth. Evolution is a speculation to explain a belief system: that life came about naturally. That is NOT science.

Science is based on observable evidence. Truth is what is sought after. Evolution is a successful theory that helps to explain physical evidence from biology, paleontology, genetics, astronomy, chemistry, physics, etcetcetc… as they relate to the diversity of life that we see on our planet.

I am tired of hearing that evolution is compatable with the Catholic Church. Today, the leadership of the Catholic Church seems more interested in being politically correct than theologically accurate. I see belief in evolution is symptomatic of a loss of faith. Evoultion came out of the worldview of the Enlightment. This worldview (Modernism) was condemned by Popes a century ago.

I am tired of hearing that fact that I am not independently wealthy, but my fatigue does not make it any less true. :wink:

Abu, there are plenty of people that attempt to make the case from science to support their own personal philosophy ( a la Dawkins, Harris and Dennett for the atheist camp). I’m with you on rejecting those arguments.


#15

I previously posted what is below on another thread. This might be useful to review. Essentially, belief in certain forms of evolution is compatible with Church teaching, and other forms of evolution are not compatible with Church teaching. So one needs to be specific about which theory of evolution one is talking about. I hope this post doesn’t open another can of worms…that’s not my intent :slight_smile:

Post from the other thread follows:

The US Catholic Catechism for Adults is a document created by the Church specifically for the purpose of instruction of Catholics.

Quote directly from the US Catholic Catechism for Adults - page 60 (2007):

      Quote:
                "Christian faith does not require the acceptance of any particular theory of evolution, nor does it forbid it, provided that the particular theory is not strictly materialistic and does not deny what is essential to the spiritual essence of the human person, namely that God creates each human soul directly to share immortal life with him."

This quite clearly states that:

  1. Catholics are free to reject any and all forms of evolution.
  2. Catholics are forbidden to accept theories of evolution which are strictly materialistic, etc. (as described above).
  3. Catholics may accept forms of evolution which are not forbidden, as above.

#16

I remember my biology teacher in high school specifically stressing that the human soul did not evolve, which seems like an important point. (She must have done a good job, seeing as I still remember that 8 years later :slight_smile: )

John Paul II said, "Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man."
ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP961022.HTM
I found this speech on evolution to be pretty enlightening.


#17

I found this speech on evolution to be pretty enlightening.[SIGN]***[FONT=“Georgia”][size=]THANK YOU!***[/SIGN]
We can all learn from that.[/FONT][/size]


#18

Here’s the thing. “Theories of evolution” have absolutely nothing to say about the “spirit.” Science, properly speaking, is simply not equipped to pronounce upon non-material entities and effects. Now, the person articulating the theory of evolution may step outside the limits of evolutionary theory and state a personal opinion about the spirit, but this is not an element of the theory itself. Thus, there is no “theory of evolution” which addresses “the spirit”; only the individual explicating the theory can do that.

Blessings,

Don
+T+


#19

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m a creationist.

My view is that you should teach the kids all the different views along with the pros and cons of each view. Keep in mind that the study of origins does not really fall in the pervue of science. Science can only show us what might or might not happen. It is unable to show us what actually did happen. That is a mattter for history. Teach the kids the data and how it can be viewed from different perspectives which can, in turn, lead to different conclusions.

You need to be aware, however, that there are some views that are contradictory to Catholic doctrine and are, therefore, unacceptable. The one that comes to mind is polygenesis which is contrary to our belief in original sin. It’s alright to tell the kids about that bas long asd it is explained that it is false.

Gary


#20

Do you really thinkl that the ancient Jews were so stupid that they would not see it if there was a contradiction? It’s pretty clear that the account in Gen 2 is expanding on the portion of Gen 1 that deals with the creation of man.

Gary


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