Evolution: Need book recommendation for family member

RE: Evolution article from the “Original Catholic Encyclopedia”


My brother in law is a cafeteria catholic that believes in Evolution and Big Bang theory. He is an “INTELECTUAL” is there a book that can meet him at his point of view and explain the Catholics stance and bring him back “HOME TO ROME” any help you can give would be great. Thank you and God bless you all for the GREAT WORK you are all doing.

I do not discount the “Big Bang Theory”. I am not sold on the idea either. The Catholic Church does not say you cannot believe in this as long as you understand that God was the start of this. I believe in Genesis but not word for word. I take the book serious but not literal.

reasons.org/about-us/our-beliefs Look around at this link.

With luck, you may find Philip Johnson’s “Defeating Darwinism By Opening Minds”. It is a brilliant primer. If every school kid could read this, evolutionists would be laughingstiocks to the majority. Another tome, “Darwin’s Black Box”, by Michael Behe, is extremely technical and at times over my head, but he also explains his position extremely well at times for the lay person. One gets his points, if not every nuance.
About the Big Bang, I myself am agnostic about the question. I don’t know how old the universe is, but since God existed forever in the past, it’s a moot question for me. The point for your relation to know is that there is NO evidence for chance mutations, first, in the formation of a cell from non-life, and second, for those alleged “simple” cells mutating successfully millions of times to become the creatures we witness today. Good luck. This hoax of macro-evolution underlies much of the hopelessness we see in society, I believe. :slight_smile:

"Darwin’s Angel: An Angelic Repost to the God Delusion"
by George Cornwell americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10493

Some online articles from America, the Catholic Weekly with “evolution” in search:


There are more stars in our universe than grains of sand on all the shores of oceans of this planet earth. Try to grasp that, just one of the many startling findings of astronomers. More down to earth, an astronomer at an observatory in South Africa tells local politicians: “If tensions in troubled areas risk escalating into violence, do not send in the troops, send in astronomers.” An awareness of our infinitesimal place in this incredible universe, the scientist believes, might relativize our struggles and possibly help us to live together in peace. Although the potential of astronomy to contribute to world peace is one possible fruit, this is not the main focus of Unesco’s Year of Astronomy, whose motto is “The Universe—Yours to Discover.”

Why this year? The year 2009 is the 400th anniversary of Galileo Galilei’s first observations with the telescope, which led to the discovery of the four moons of Jupiter. His observations helped demonstrate that the earth is not the center of the universe. Yet 24 years later, Vatican authorities put Galileo under house arrest because of these views and forbade him to publish. How times change! Sixteen years ago Pope John Paul II rehabilitated Galileo. In announcing the Catholic Church’s participation in the Year of Astronomy, Pope Benedict praised Galileo, calling him a man of faith who “saw nature as a book written by God.” Echoing the thought of St. Bonaventure and Galileo, the pope explained that God has given us two books to read: “the book of Sacred Scripture and the book of nature.” The church is joining in this year with special events sponsored by the Vatican Museum, the Vatican Observatory and the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Why should Catholics join the celebration? A more accurate understanding of our universe should lead to a deeper appreciation of the God who Christians believe created the heavens and the earth, and of Jesus Christ who is “the firstborn of all creation” (Col 1:15). Here are a few recent discoveries of astronomers to help us situate ourselves. The universe is approximately 13.7 billion years old. We know that beyond the few thousand stars (suns) visible to the naked eye, there are more than 100 billion galaxies, each with perhaps 100 billion stars of immense variety. We have discovered quasars that emit the light of a trillion suns and stars that are 40 million times brighter than our sun. While gazing on the second nearest star, we see it as it was 4.2 years ago. That is how long it took the light to travel to our planet. We can also see light that left another star 2.5 million years ago. Most recently we are finding planets orbiting many of the stars in our galaxy. The planet Jupiter, we see now, has not four but 64 moons. Most “shooting stars” (meteors), it may be a surprise to learn, are bits of dirt or dust the size of a grain of rice that delight our sight as they burst into our atmosphere 60 miles above us.

We know now that the universe is expanding, and with it our notion and appreciation of the power of God must also expand. (Deus semper major—God is always greater—is a traditional saying of Christian theologians.) Our hope is that schools and parishes, teachers and preachers, might pick up the year’s theme, “The Universe—Yours to Discover.” One recent survey found that more Americans believe in the biblical six days of creation than in the magnificent scenario set before us by scientists. Close to a majority do not believe in evolution and are therefore most likely unaware of the true size, shape and history of our incredible universe. How many Christians realize that if the history of the universe were reduced to one year of 365 days, then Jesus Christ would have become flesh at 23:59:58—that is, two seconds before midnight on Dec. 31?

In addition to learning more about our universe, we hope that many will take time to go outdoors on a clear evening, find a spot without too much light pollution and grow in appreciation of our awesome universe and of the loving God who created the heavens and the earth. Indeed, the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J., urges us: “Look at the stars! Look, look up at the skies! O look at all the fire-folk sitting in the air!” St. Ignatius Loyola wrote of himself in his memoirs almost a century before Galileo that “it was his greatest consolation to gaze upon the heavens and the stars, which he often did, and for long stretches at a time, because when doing so, he felt within himself a powerful urge to be serving our Lord.” If the Year of Astronomy leads some of us to overcome violence, as the South African astronomer hopes, or to engage in service, as St. Ignatius experienced, or simply to appreciate our universe, as Hopkins urges, it will have achieved much.


America’s 100th Anniversary!

Is that why you think he’s a cafeteria catholic, is is there something more going on?

…explain to him the “Catholics stance” on what? Evolution and the Big Bang? There’s very little to explain.
Both theories are more or less perfectly reconcilable with the Catholic faith.

P.S. – your “evolution” article from OCE is nearly an entire century out of date.

Before Galileo, some Jesuit astronomers postulated what Galileo stated. Galileo also stated that the Bible was wrong because it talked about a sunrise and sunset. He in essence made a theological assertion, not a scientific one. Making a theological statement is what got him in trouble.

Here is a good one.




I am a Catholic and believe in evolution and the Big Bang theory. There is nothing in the Creed that makes those things conflict.

The Big Bang Theory was first posited by a Belgian astronomer who is considered the father of modern cosmology. He also was a Catholic priest named Monsignor Georges LaMaitre.

The Church has since the late 1800s been at ease with evolution.

God is creator and I accept His creation. As for the rest, Genesis is not a physics or biology text book. I personally find the fundamentalist protestant fixation on young Earth and intelligent design to be triesome and frankkly an insult to God.

Qoting from Hilaire Belloc’s Book “Survivals and New Arrivals:”


On the Biblical attack:

Today it is but the weakest of the Survivals, and its rapid disappearance was due to the advancement of learning.

It had already sunk into Literalism: the idea that the English text of the Hebrew scriptures, as published under James I 300 years ago, gave an exact historical and scientific description of all therein contained.

The Literalist believed that Jonah was swallowed by a right Greenland whale, and that our first parents lived a precisely calculable number of years ago, and in Mesopotamia. He believed that Noah collected in the ark all the very numerous divisions of the beetle tribe. He believed, because the Hebrew word JOM was printed in his Koran, “day,” that therefore the phases of creation were exactly six in number and each of exactly twenty-four hours. He believed that man began as a bit of mud, handled, fashioned with fingers and then blown upon.

These beliefs were not adventitious to his religion, they were his religion; and when they became untenable (principally through the advance of geology) his religion disappeared.

It has receded with startling rapidity. Nations of the Catholic culture could never understand how such a religion came to be held. It was a bewilderment to them. When the immensely ancient doctrine of growth (or evolution) and the connection of living organisms with past forms was newly emphasized by Buffon and Lamarck, opinion in France was not disturbed; and it was hopelessly puzzling to men of Catholic tradition to find a Catholic priest’s original discovery of man’s antiquity (at Torquay, in the cave called “Kent’s Hole”) severely censured by the Protestant world. Still more were they puzzled by the fierce battle which raged against the further development of Buffon and Lamarck s main thesis under the hands of careful and patient observers such as Darwin and Wallace.

So violent was the quarrel that the main point was missed. Evolution in general—mere growth—became the Accursed Thing. The only essential point, its causes, the underlying truth of Lamarck’s theory, and the falsity of Darwin’s and Wallace’s, were not considered. What had to be defended blindly was the bald truth of certain printed English sentences dating from 1610.

All this I say was Greek to the man of Catholic culture. He could not understand it at all. But we, living in a Protestant society, know well enough what it was and the general collapse that has followed. For, with the defeat of Literalism, Bibliolatry went by the board; and the Biblical attack on the Faith, a standby for centuries, has dwindled to insignificance.

To put the thing in epigram (and therefore, of course, quite insufficiently), they are certain that we are animals which have risen. They have not met the idea that we may be a sort of angel who fell.

Now I submit that if men of this eminence take the Literalists thus seriously—one solemnly arguing with them, another not understanding that there has been any other kind of believer—there must be trace of life in Literalism still.

There are, of course, innumerable other instances. You can hardly find an article in any newspaper discussion on religion—save the very few by Catholics, which are occasionally admitted as a favor—but takes it for granted that advance in physical science has shaken something which the writer calls “religion.” He can only mean the religion of the Bible Christian. For in what way could Physical Science affect the Catholic Church?

You can hardly get an allusion to the evolutionist writers (in this country it is always Darwin) without the same idea cropping up: “The Conflict of Science with Religion.” But with what religion can Science conflict save Bibliolatry? On every side the recent presence of that strange worship—and even its present lingering—is taken for granted.

It is then a true “Survival,” though I grant that it is on the point of death.

Before I leave it I would like to suggest a doubt to the reader concerning it. The Biblical attack on the Church has failed because Bibliolatry has been destroyed by extended geological and historical knowledge. It is dying and will soon be dead. But will it “stay dead”?

The good fortunes of stupidity are incalculable. One can never tell what sudden resurrections ignorance and fatuity may not have. Most of us, asked to make a guess, would say that in fifty years no odd Literalist could still be found crawling upon the earth. Do not be too sure. Our children may live to see a revival of the type in some strange land. Or it may come later. These aberrations have great power. We might, if we came back to life 300 years hence, find whole societies in some distant place indulging in human sacrifice, massacring prisoners of war, prohibiting all communications on Saturdays, persecuting science, and performing I know not what other antics in the name of James I’s Old Testament—especially if James I’s Old Testament should have become by that time (as it probably would have become by that time) a Hierarchic book preserved in a dead language, known only to the learned few.

Nihil Obstat: Arthur J. Scanlan
Censor Librorum
Imprimatur: Patrick Cardinal Hayes
Archbishop of New York
June 25, 1929

I believe in evolution in the sense that God guided the material world in its development-- over billions of years. He shepherded all the atoms along until there was life and he grew us from that life. And at one specific day in history, a day that could be marked on an ancient calendar, he gave us our human nature. How do you see it?

 I believe that evolution and Christianity are incompatable. There has never been anything proved showing that one creature can evolve into another. It is pure speculation. ALL prominent evolutionists humor Christians who believe in both creation and evollution. Did God create the universe, and then sit by in amazement while all these gazillions of positive mutations took place? Ask any naturalist if God was necessary to direct the process, and the answer will be negative. Like it or not, the message our kids are receiving is that human life is a grand accident. We wonder why so many choose to act out of accordance with God's law. Why not, when "scientists" tell them that they are their own gods?
 One question to ponder: How did muscles, bones and tendons evolve, considering the fact that all three must necessarily exist *at the same time* for any of them to be worth a whit to an organism? :confused: I think that macro-evolution is nothing but a grand, pernicious hoax.

My thoroughly Catholic, evolutionary biologist son-in-law, who will receive his Ph.D. within the month, would disagree completely with you. As he simply but eloquently puts it, “Evolution is God’s modus operandi”.

Evolution in no way contradicts our Catholic faith, and to insist that it does is disingenuous at best: msnbc.msn.com/id/19956961/

I can’t begin to understand, but I don’t need to, as long as I believe and accept that ALL is the handiwork of God, created by His own methods, in His own time…not ours.

Check this out

Like it or not, the message our kids are receiving is that human life is a grand accident.

Just because that’s what you think is the implication of evolution doesn’t make it so.

Why not, when “scientists” tell them that they are their own gods?

more baseless claims

One question to ponder: How did muscles, bones and tendons evolve, considering the fact that all three must necessarily exist at the same time for any of them to be worth a whit to an organism? :confused:

You’re referring to the common creationist talking point, irreducible complexity. This site offers some nice refutations of this flawed concept.

 "Disingenuous at best"? Hardly. What's the *worst* motivation I could have? You can bet your last dollar that if the evos had one single experimental example where an organism at Point A would necessarily lead to a positive mutaion at Point B, which in turn would lead to increased chance of survival of a species, it would be touted in every biology text. All they have is speculation. Just think, for example, where did the odd mutation that contributed to Harry Houdini's uber-flexibility lead humanity genetically? Nowhere.
 Now, every species has *already-existing* parameters which selective breeding may discover. Witness dogs. But this "micro-evolution" success does not translate into any organism being able to create anything which did not exist previously in its genetic code. An eye, ear, kidney, liver, bone, brain, etc. has never sprung forth randomly through experimentation. We already have the advantage of knowing all the chemicals and parts of a cell neede to produce life, and we still can't replicate one, let alone an entire organ or organism. 
 OK, I know that scientists put up a united front on the issue, and I know that many naturalists are Christians, but when the most prominent spokesman for evolution, Richard Dawkins, admits to Ben Stein that he thinks that life may have started through seeding by aliens, I'm unimpressed. Another said that he believed that crystals begat life! There is ostracism for those scientists who ask too many questions. Call me "disingenuous" if you wish, but I say the emperor has no clothes!  God Bless, Bob :D

Scientists can only professionally comment on matter and motion. Everything else is beyond the scope of their disciplines. Human beings have both feelings and ideas: both of which are non-material. Where did these non-material realities come from? Scientists cannot professionally say because they are neither motion nor matter.

Per the original Post, here are a couple of books that deal with Catholicism and evolutionary biology:

Creation and Evolution Ignatius Press, 2007. Its the published findings from the 2006 conference on Evolution and Creation (note, not creationism or evolutionism; this is an intelligent book that eschews “isms”) that Pope Benedict convened at Castel Gandolfo and participated in. It is a great articulation of scientific theory that points out that evolution deals in no way, shape, or form with the spiritual world, but is rather a scientific theory that explains the mechanisms behind all of the life sciences; those that confuse the two, as the Pope points out, have an agenda of some kind.

Leonardo’s Mountain of Clams and the Diet of Worms by Stephen Jay Gould; Harmony, 1998. This is one of the collections of essays Gould wrote for Natural History magazine, and they deal specifically with the intersection of science and the humanities, two disciplines Gould strove to reconcile in some informative way toward the end of his life. Of particular interest is the essay “Non-Overlapping Magisteria,” which examines the papal bull John Paul II issued about evolution, and how it was a much less ambiguous endorsement than Pius XII’ Humana Generis . Its a collection of great, thoughtful essays by one of our better natural history writers.

I would go so far as to say that “Intelligent Design” is blasphemous.

Why is intelligent design blasphemous? Please state your rationale. Also, I agree that developing a scientific position to support a theological presumption (literal scripture interpretation) is tiresome

You do realize that this is a Protestant web site right? :shrug::confused:

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