Evolution book


#1

I’m looking for a good book on evolution written by a Catholic scientist. Can someone point me to one?

Also, what exactly is “intellegent design?” Is it just another way of saying creationism? Because I know alot of Catholics are even against “intellegent design.”


#2

Finding Darwin’s God by Kenneth Miller :thumbsup:

Absolutely highly recommended.
SEE LINKS IN MY SIGNATURE! :slight_smile:


#3

The suggestions that follow are not by Catholic “scientists” (with the exception of Dr. Rizzi), but are scientists in their own right:

I have not read this book, but I have been to a presentation (by himself) of the material in his book and also a smaller level conference at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, where he addressed other physical/theological issues:
The Science Before Science: A Guide to Thinking in the 21st Century. Dr. Anthony Rizzi

Though I haven’t read this book either, I have read some of what Cardinal Schonborn has to say about evolution/creation, and I definitely think that he has an amazing grasp on the situation.
Chance or Purpose? Christoph Cardinal Schonborn

I have read this book and I highly recommend Fr. Clarke’s dealings with evolution (which he deals with head on at some length, but is only a part of this work) and his attempts to integrate it with Christianity:
The One and the Many. Fr. Norris Clarke, S.J.

Finally, I recommend to you this book, another which I have not read, but I am eager to get. I highly recommend any of Fr. Schall’s works:
The Order of Things. Fr. James Schall, S.J.

Also, what exactly is “intellegent design?” Is it just another way of saying creationism? Because I know alot of Catholics are even against “intellegent design.”

I will probably rely on others to answer this in a better fashion, but, it depends on who’s talking about it, as many people have very different ideas of what intelligent design is about. I cannot say for certain that there is a completely unified vision of what intelligent design is (the same can be said for evolution) among those who stand behind it.

So, to answer the second question: to some yes, and to others no.

I think you could say that there are those who hold creation happened in 7 days and those who hold creation took a much longer time than 7 days (but still believe in a Creator, i.e., Someone Who from nothing said “let it be.”), but the common thread is that there is Someone Who created it. I think the “how” part is probably the point of contention between those whose field of specialty this is.

Strict evolutionists on the other hand generally attempt to assert that there is no God and that creation can be explained by the processes of evolution, natural selection, etc.


#4

Intelligent Design (ID) is two things.
[list]*]ID1: the belief that the universe was created/designed by an intelligent entity.
*]ID2: the assertion that certain parts of living organisms could not have evolved but were designed by an Intelligent Designer.[/list]
ID1 is a belief held by all theists - God created the universe. Any theist scientist will hold ID1.

ID2 was constructed by the Discovery Institute as a way to try to get creationism taught in American public schools. It basically replaces the word “God” with “Intelligent Designer” in an attempt to make creationism look sciency rather than religious. It arose after the failure of “Scientific Creationism” to force its way into American science classes. ID2 is far more controversial and it is opposed by many believers in ID1.

What I have called “ID2” is sometimes called IDC - Intelligent Design Creationism or DI-ID - Discovery Institute Intelligent Design.

Be careful not to confuse the two meanings of “Intelligent Design”.

rossum


For Darwinists - "Today I Saw An Airplane: A Bedtime Story For Evolutionists"
#5

ID1 is also written into the text of Vatican Council I, so it is dogma:

“The same Holy mother Church holds and teaches that God, the source and end of all things, can be known with certainty from the consideration of created things, by the natural power of human reason….” (Vatican I, Session 3, chapter 2, “On Revelation” paragraph 1, and canons 1-5 on “God the Creator of all things” cf. Romans 1:19-20; and Wisdom chapter 13).

ewtn.com/library/COUNCILS/V1.HTM

Phil P


For Darwinists - "Today I Saw An Airplane: A Bedtime Story For Evolutionists"
#6

Does the dogma imply creation and design? Does that wording leave for the possibility that God created ex nihilo and as part of that creation, created a process, evolution and abiogenesisis, that went on to design life, e.g. a spider may not consciously appreciate the design of its web but is the tool for its design and its designer?


#7

God could easily have designed the universe so that life would self-assemble. He set the rules and He set the starting conditions.

If I can set the rules of the game, and I can arrange the deck of cards how I want then I can get any outcome I chose. Anyone for rossumPoker? :slight_smile:

rossum


#8

It should be noted that Cardinal Schoenborn is not a scientist. He is a philosopher and a theologian, and his book on evolution contains some fundamental misunderstandings of the theory.

He has, for example, conflated theories and hypotheses, asserted that neoDarwinism denies divine providence, and other things. Here’s a review by a Catholic scientist:

**But the Cardinal is wrong in asserting that the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution is inherently atheistic. Neo-Darwinism, he tells us, is an ideology proposing that an “unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection” gave rise to all life on earth, including our own species. To be sure, many evolutionists have made such assertions in their popular writings on the “meaning” on evolutionary theory. But are such assertions truly part of evolution as it is understood by the “mainstream biologists” of which the Cardinal speaks?

Not at all. Consider these words from George Gaylord Simpson, widely recognized as one of the principal architects of the neo-Darwinian synthesis: “The process [of evolution] is wholly natural in its operation. This natural process achieves the aspect of purpose without the intervention of a purposer; and it has produced a vast plan without the concurrent action of a planner. It may be that the initiation of the process and the physical laws under which it functions had a purpose and that this mechanistic way of achieving a plan is the instrument of a Planner - of this still deeper problem the scientist, as scientist, cannot speak.”**
beliefnet.com/story/171/story_17123_1.html

Some here may remember a quote-mined version of this presented here, in which the second half was deleted to make it look as though Simpson was endorsing atheism.

Since it has now been revealed that the Discovery Institute had briefed the Cardinal, and had prompted him to write about the subject, it appears that he was led, by such careful editing of the truth, into making some foolish assertions about evolutionary theory denying God’s providence.

But this is the danger one faces when walking into unfamiliar territory.


#9

It is a basic concept of Christianity. To say that the world was not designed by God is as good as being a deist. It is not Christianity. Christianity says that everything in the world is according to Gods will. It is not just some random occurence.


#10

To say that the world was not designed by God is as good as being a deist.

No, to assert that the word was designed was to accept the premise of deism. It denies the Creator, and demotes Him to a mere “designer.” It is, as Vatican Astronomer Jerry Coyne points out, disrespectful to God.

God does not figure out things. I understand why IDers want to reduce God to that level; if they do, they hope to disguise Him sufficiently to sneak Him into public schools. But it remains a terrible insult to Him.

Christianity says that everything in the world is according to Gods will.

That is not ID. ID says that the “designer” likely isn’t perfect or even very competent. ID leader Phillip Johnson says that it could be space aliens. Is that what you believe? Really?


#11

No. I am simply saying that the idea that the world is simply the product of pure chance is not acceptable to Christianity. Every religious person believes that God designed the world. This does not mean that He was only a designer. This simply means that it is Gods plan whether it happened by evolution or not.


#12

No. I am simply saying that the idea that the world is simply the product of pure chance is not acceptable to Christianity.

That’s good. Science doesn’t say it’s the product of pure chance.

Every religious person believes that God designed the world.

Catholics believe He created the world. God, being omnipotent has no need to figure things out. Hence He does not need to “design.” Lesser beings must, because they are not omnipotent.

This does not mean that He was only a designer.

It means He wasn’t a designer at all. ID says He was; one of the founders of ID, Phillip Johnson, suggests that He was a space alien.

This simply means that it is Gods plan whether it happened by evolution or not.

IDers avoid giving Him credit for creation, because they want to get their religious ideas in public school. If they give their god er, “the designer” the attributes of the real God, they know the plan will fail. So they suggest a lesser being such as “space aliens.”


#13

Barbarian, there you go again.

As I pointed out no more than 2 hours ago on this forum in another thread, and a dozen or so time in the past, “Design” can be a verb, as in a process. Or it can be a noun, as in a “final product”, or as a plan that has been implemented. Engineers know what I’m talking about here, as does most everybody but apparently Barbarian. Intelligent Design looks for evidence of design (the noun) in the universe.

As one example, the human body (take the soul out of the picture for the moment) is a great design. Even at smaller levels, the circulatory system is a great design. Each individual cell is a great design. All the gears “mesh properly” so to speak because it’s a good design. There is no talk here of a design still happening but we can still talk about “the design.” If it has 2 parts or more, there needs to be “a design” (as in a plan) to make it work properly. I purposely excluded the soul here because since it has only a single part it strictly speaking does not have a design, nor can it evolve.

But even at the level of a verb - God continues to interact in the world. To deny this is to deny the existence of miracles.

You have a real bizarre view of ID based on bigotry and hate.

In Chance or Purpose, Cardinal Schoenborn says: From page 165 (my bold & underline):

"The aggressive way in which many oppose the group of American scientists who are devoting themselves to investigating ‘intelligent design’ does not have much to do with science. One may criticize their methodological approach. **Yet the question as to the origins of the obvious ‘intelligent design’ in living things is an entirely legitimate one; **indeed it is a question bound up with man and his human reason."
It seems that the author of the CCC, Schoenborn, doesn’t have a problem with looking for design. But he does have a problem with aggression towards those who investigate ID. Which is you, Barbarian.

Your aggressiveness leads you invent these absurd theological suppositions such as “God is too competent” to design something. By that logic, he wouldn’t have used nature either, he just would have said the word, and poof, there’s a fully formed universe. By your logic, 6 day creationism is even more likely because that would show God’s power and glory even more than winding up the evolution clock and waiting for 14 billion years for man to emerge. You keep saying “let God be God”, but then decide what God is to do, go ahead and create, God, but don’t get into that design stuff. It’s not godlike.

Read a good ID book, please.

Barbarian, you also mentioned Vatican Astronomer Jerry Coyne. Assuming you meant former Vatican Astronmer George Coyne here’s what Schoenborn says about him: “It is not only unnecessary, however, but contrary to reason , to view this grandiose path of life up to man as being an exclusively random process. When an astronomer, who is also a priest and theologian, even has the presumption to say that God himself could not know for certain that man would be the product of evolution, then nonsense has taken over completely.” The footnote associated with this paragraph reads "For example, Fr. George V. Coyne, S.J. in Der Spiegel…"
Why would you endorse someone who believes that evolution is an entirely random process? Or that God could not know the result of his own work?

And as an aside to the original poster, The Science before Science is a good book. As is Schoenborn’s book Chance or Purpose. Both touch on ID but are not specifically dedicated to that subject.


#14

Barbarian, you’ve got this backwards. It is Richard Dawkins, another rabid anti-ID personality and a Darwinist (as well as an atheist), who claims that it could have been space aliens.

From this link:

Dawkins, understandably is nervous about this film, among other reasons because Ben Stein has him on camera acknowledging that life on Earth may, indeed, have been intelligently designed, but that it had to have been accomplished by space aliens! This is hilarious, of course, because Dawkins is death on intelligent design. But it turns out that that view applies only if it includes the possibility that the designer might be God.


#15

That is correct.


#16

Barbarian observes:
It means He wasn’t a designer at all. ID says He was; one of the founders of ID, Phillip Johnson, suggests that He was a space alien.

IDers avoid giving Him credit for creation, because they want to get their religious ideas in public school. If they give their god er, “the designer” the attributes of the real God, they know the plan will fail. So they suggest a lesser being such as “space aliens.”

Barbarian, you’ve got this backwards. It is Richard Dawkins, another rabid anti-ID personality and a Darwinist (as well as an atheist), who claims that it could have been space aliens.

Well, lets’s take a look…

Article on Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle:

“It certainly could be God, a supernatural creature, but in principle it could be space aliens of high intelligence who did the designing,” he says.

sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2002/04/21/IN214026.DTL

So you’ve got it backwards. He said it. Do you think he’s lying?


#17

Your aggressiveness leads you invent these absurd theological suppositions such as “God is too competent” to design something.

You seem to find it offensive that God is competent enough to not design. (of course, you made up the position that He’s “too competent to design”) Your increasingly aggressive and shrill accusations are probably not a good idea. It might, for a time, feel good to vent, but then you have to live with the impression you make on everyone who reads it.

By that logic, he wouldn’t have used nature either, he just would have said the word, and poof, there’s a fully formed universe.

I am impressed that you can speak for God. He could indeed have “poofed” the universe into being, if He so chose, but the evidence shows He did not.

By your logic, 6 day creationism is even more likely because that would show God’s power and glory even more than winding up the evolution clock and waiting for 14 billion years for man to emerge.

It would probably do you better to come up with a better argument to support your beliefs, than to make up foolish claims and attribute them to me.

You keep saying “let God be God”,

That annoys you? It annoys most IDers. I think I know why.

Read a good ID book, please.

I did. Here’s what it said:

**I]t is important to emphasize at the outset that the argument presented here is entirely consistent with the basic naturalistic assumption of modern science–that the cosmos is a seamless unity which can be comprehended in its entirety by human reason and in which all phenomena, including life and evolution and the origin of man, are ultimately explicable in terms of natural processes. This is an assumption which is entirely opposed to that of the so-called “special creationist school.” According to special creationism, living organisms are not natural forms, whose origin and design were built into the laws of nature from the beginning, but rather contingent forms analogous in essence to human artifacts, the result of a series of supernatural acts, involving God’s direct intervention in the course of nature, each of which involved the suspension of natural law. Contrary to the creationist position, the whole argument presented here is critically dependent on the presumption of the unbroken continuity of the organic world–that is, on the reality of organic evolution and on the presumption that all living organisms on earth are natural forms in the profoundest sense of the word, no less natural than salt crystals, atoms, waterfalls, or galaxies.

In large measure, therefore, the teleological argument presented here and the special creationist worldview are mutually exclusive accounts of the world. In the last analysis, evidence for one is evidence against the other. Put simply, the more convincing is the evidence for believing that the world is prefabricated to the end of life, that the design is built into the laws of nature, the less credible becomes the special creationist worldview.**
IDer Michael Denton, in “Nature’s Destiny”

It seems Denton has found most of ID wanting, and has concluded that science was right, after all. That is a good thing.

Barbarian, you also mentioned Vatican Astronomer Jerry Coyne. Assuming you meant former Vatican Astronmer George Coyne here’s what Schoenborn says about him:
"It is not only unnecessary, however, but contrary to reason , to view this grandiose path of life up to man as being an exclusively random process.

Um, that’s not what Coyne wrote. Are you sure Schoenborn was writing about him? Not likely.

Why would you endorse someone who believes that evolution is an entirely random process?

He doesn’t. He’s a Darwinist. And, as you’ve learned, Darwin’s great discovery was that it wasn’t random.

Or that God could not know the result of his own work?

I would trust Schoenborn on matters of faith and morals, even though he is profoundly in error on many things in science. Likewise, I’d trust Coyne in science, even if he was in error on some things in theology.

I think this has become so emotional for you, it is truly bordering on hatred and bigotry. If you cannot discuss it calmly, you might consider taking a break.


#18

(Barbarian points out that it’s an insult to God to demote Him to a mere designer)

Barbarian, there you go again.

Yep. If you want to believe in an imperfect God, feel free. Not me.

As I pointed out no more than 2 hours ago on this forum in another thread, and a dozen or so time in the past, “Design” can be a verb, as in a process. Or it can be a noun, as in a “final product”, or as a plan that has been implemented.

If you want to get people to believe you, fiddling with semantics isn’t going to do it.

Engineers know what I’m talking about here, as does most everybody but apparently Barbarian. Intelligent Design looks for evidence of design (the noun) in the universe.

Heh, we all know why they do it. You see, if they say “designer” and “design”, they hope to sneak God into the public schools. But it’s still a terrible insult to Him, the more so, because they want to involve Him in that dishonesty.

As one example, the human body (take the soul out of the picture for the moment) is a great design.

I was an ergonomist for years. I spent most of my time, finding ways around the suboptimal structure of the human body. It’s evolved from quadrupedal forms, and so the lower back is prone to fail, because there’s inadequate structure to take the extra force. And because the spinal nerves are stuck between bone and connective tissue, a herniated disk will compress them, and cause pain, weakness and disability. There’s a lot more. Would you like to learn more?

But even at the level of a verb - God continues to interact in the world.

Tapdancing isn’t going to help. “Interact” is not a synomym for “design.”

To deny this is to deny the existence of miracles.

Catholics are not supposed to invent new miracles to explain holes in their philosophies. God does miracles, not because He must, but to teach us something. And no, He doesn’t have to “design” miracles, either.

You have a real bizarre view of ID based on bigotry and hate.

In fact, if you’re honest with yourself, you’ll admit that what galls you is that I’ve described ID precisely. This isn’t new; it’s what the Dover trial brought out in the open. It’s what IDers say to each other, when they think no one is listening. It’s what the Wedge Document (inadvertently leaked) says.

The aggressive way in which many oppose the group of American scientists who are devoting themselves to investigating ‘intelligent design’ does not have much to do with science.

In a sense, he’s right. It has most do to with the disrespect it shows to God. But it also has to do with the fact that it pretends to be science, while its adherents secretly admit it’s to advance their religious notions.

One may criticize their methodological approach. Yet the question as to the origins of the obvious ‘intelligent design’ in living things is an entirely legitimate one; indeed it is a question bound up with man and his human reason."

And it is, as St. Paul said. But not by science, which is unable to do that (as Pope Benedict XVI said; science can’t intrude on the supernatural) If they just admitted that they are proslytizing a religion, it would be OK. It’s not OK to pretend it’s science. Of course, it is wrong to demote God to designer. I wish he wouldn’t do it.

But he does have a problem with aggression towards those who investigate ID.

He also conflated “hypothesis” and “theory”, and seems to have the impression that the Modern Synthesis (some call it “neoDarwinism”) rejects divine Providence.

We should be somewhat patient with him. He isn’t a scientist, and has a few misconceptions about science.

continued…


#19

I am no expert when it comes to scientific evolution, nor in most other matters in our large universe, but I do have to say that I find the above statement philosophically problematic.

How exactly do the lesser beings “design”? If the statement is to be taken prima facie, as I believe that it was intended, I would have to reply that lesser beings (that is, anything that is not God) do not have the ability to “design” in the context which has been posted above. It simply is not in their (nor our) capacity to direct ourselves in this manner (this is, of course, not related to the rational ability for thinking and willing [which still doesn’t give us the ability to make these decisions]) - i.e., we’re not in control of what we are. We (all created things) are what we were created by God, and in the many and various genera and species, there is not the ability in any of us to say (with any realized effect), “OK, I’m going to need to grow blue whiskers in order to deal with my balance problems when I’m walking on the high wire.” I think that this is an area of the material world that just simply isn’t in our control, and, consequently, I would add that it is not an off-the-wall thought (IMO) that God directs the “evolution” of created things (if, indeed, this is how things take place). If this is not the case, then what directs it? I think you would have to (as do atheistic evolution theories) submit that it’s just a random process, which, in the end, would fall into disorder, which is obviously not the case considering the precision and intricacies of created things (as noted by a previous poster).

So, in the end, I think my response is, if God didn’t design it, then who did? I think that its problematic to assert that God just threw a bunch of (themselves random at this juncture) particles together and said, “Oh wow, look at that; look what I did and didn’t even mean to. How interesting.” Not to mention the effects that such a philosophy would hold as regards the meaning of the universe, the meaning of man, and his salvation by the same God who intentionally created him.

  • The level of “hands-on” activity by God is a more difficult question, in that He could very well direct the evolution of creatures through the evolutionary process itself (which, if it is the case, He created, for nothing exists without Him) as opposed to the “immediate” activity of “OK, you need new whiskers, so they’ll be there starting 2 generations from now.” That is, being that God creates according to natures and laws which act according to the nature given them by Him (Thomistic “action follows from being”), it could be said that the evolutionary process is one that acts according to laws established by God in guiding His creatures to their natural perfection (since all creatures seek the good [perfection], in this case, evolution’s natural, not willed] good would be the natural perfection of the creature). That is, evolution itself is acting as it was established by God, But I don’t think that it could be said that this is happening as if evolution has its own mind - it cannot be random. If it is random, it is not of God, if it is not of God, it is not.

#20

I am no expert when it comes to scientific evolution, nor in most other matters in our large universe, but I do have to say that I find the above statement philosophically problematic.

Well, let’s talk about it, then.

How exactly do the lesser beings “design”?

Because creatures, unlike God, are not all-knowing, and have to figure things out. Hence we don’t just act, we must first consider and plan. God has no need of this.

If the statement is to be taken prima facie, as I believe that it was intended, I would have to reply that lesser beings (that is, anything that is not God)

No, not anything. “Lesser beings design.” “People play soccer.” Are both true, but neither says “all being design” or “all people play soccer.” Does that help? Keep in mind, humans are not the only creatures that design. Apes and some birds build tools, for example, and we see signs of planning and problem solving in a number of birds and mammals, which cannot be explained as reflexive or instinctive.

We (all created things) are what we were created by God, and in the many and various genera and species, there is not the ability in any of us to say (with any realized effect), “OK, I’m going to need to grow blue whiskers in order to deal with my balance problems when I’m walking on the high wire.”

God did give us (and some other creatures) the ability to design, however.

I would add that it is not an off-the-wall thought (IMO) that God directs the “evolution” of created things (if, indeed, this is how things take place).* If this is not the case, then what directs it?

I notice that there’s a sudden shift from “design” to “direct.”

I think you would have to (as do atheistic evolution theories)

I’m not aware of any “atheistic evolution theories”; there are atheistic evolution beliefs, but a theory is unable to consider the existence of God.

submit that it’s just a random process

Even scientists who are atheists will remind you that evolution is not random.

So, in the end, I think my response is, if God didn’t design it, then who did?

God created it. No one designed it. Remember, our God is omnipotent.

The IDers, I think know this too. They are just trying to disguise God as “the designer” in order to sneak Him into public school. Another insult. He’s already there, and people are freely praying to Him there, so long as the school doesn’t get involved.

I think that its problematic to assert that God just threw a bunch of (themselves random at this juncture) particles together and said, “Oh wow, look at that; look what I did and didn’t even mean to. How interesting.”

Me too. That scenario is a lot closer to design than creation.

The level of “hands-on” activity by God is a more difficult question, in that He could very well direct the evolution of creatures through the evolutionary process itself

You must remember that every tiniest particle and force in the universe is the result of God’s involvement. If He turned His attention away from us, we would not even exist.

…God creates according to natures and laws which act according to the nature given them by Him (Thomistic “action follows from being”), it could be said that the evolutionary process is one that acts according to laws established by God in guiding His creatures to their natural perfection (since all creatures seek the good [perfection], in this case, evolution’s [natural, not willed] good would be the natural perfection of the creature). That is, evolution itself is acting as it was established by God,

All natures laws are God’s actions. We sometimes think of them as self-propelled, but they are just God acting in a consistent and regular way. This allows us to live because it makes the universe consistent and predictable.

But I don’t think that it could be said that this is happening as if evolution has its own mind

Of course. Nature is uncaring, unthinking. It is merely a tool in the hands of God.

it cannot be random.

That was Darwin’s great discovery. Contingency plays a part, but as Pope Benedict says, God can use contingency as easily as anything else. So what appears random to us, does not necessarily mean unpredictable to Him.

If it is random, it is not of God, if it is not of God, it is not.

Quantum events are irreducibly random, and yet they are of God.


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