Evolution vs. Darwinism


#1

Evolution vs. Darwinism, A Catholic Opinion.

Definitions from the Catholic Encyclopedia, The New Advent:

EVOLUTION:

“There is, in fact, no evidence whatever for the common genetic descent of all plants and animals from a single primitive organism. Hence the greater number of botanists and zoologists regard a polygenetic (polyphyletic) evolution as much more acceptable than a monogenetic (monophyletic). At present, however, it is impossible to decide how many independent genetic series must be assumed in the animal and vegetable kingdoms. This is the gist of the theory of evolution as a scientific hypothesis. **It is in perfect agreement with the Christian conception of the universe, for Scripture does not tell us in what form the present species of plants and of animals were originally created by God. **As early as 1877 Knabenbauer stated ‘that there is no objection, so far as faith is concerned, to assuming the descent of all plant and animal species from a few types.’ (Stimmen aus Maria Laach, XIII, p. 72)”

DARWINISM:

“Darwinism and the theory of Evolution are by no means equivalent conceptions. The theory of evolution was propounded before Charles Darwin’s time, by Lamarck (1809) and Geoffrey de Saint-Hilaire. Darwin, in 1859, gave it new form by endeavoring to explain the origin of species by means of natural selection.”

“The Darwinian theory of selection is Darwinism - adhering to the narrower, and accurate, sense of th eword. As a theory, it is scientifically inadequite, since it does not account for the origin of attributes fitted to the purpose, which must be referred back to the interior, original causes of evolution.”

"Haeckel, with other materialists, has enlarged this selection theory of Darwin’s into a philosophical world-idea, by attempting to account for the whole evolution of the cosmos by the means of the chance survival of the fittest."

Darwinism then, “frequently stands, in popular usage, for the theory of evolution in general. This use of the word rests on an evident confusion of ideas, and must therefore be set aside.”

THEREFORE, “In our opinion the principle of ‘Mendelian segregation’ together with Darwin’s natural selection and the moulding influences of the environment, will probably be some of the chief constituents of future evolutionary theories.”

The Catholic Church is against Darwinism, but is not threatened by the theory of evolution.

Any comments?


#2

Hello to evolution thread #236,754,192,682,817

I would suggest very few call evolution “Darwinism” these days except detractors. For example: Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by Dembski. And here’s how to be an anti-Darwinian.

If you wanna get technical, “Darwinism” is descent with modification by natural selection. Darwin contributed the mechanism, so I guess that’s Darwinism, but no scientist calls it that. An exception might be philosopher Michael Ruse “Darwinism Defended.” The Catholic Encyclopedia you quoted got it right.

Most call it simply evolution or biological evolution or evolutionary biology. And No, modern biology is not opposed to the Catholic faith, one can accept Darwinism or “natural selection” and be Catholic. Examples are Kenneth Miller (full or “orthodox Darwinist” and author of Finding Darwin’s God) and Michael Behe (partial Darwinist, he accepts “common descent” and says natural selection “explains many things” in his book Darwin’s Black Box, page 5).

Phil P


#3

[quote=Kevin Walker]Evolution vs. Darwinism, A Catholic Opinion.

Definitions from the Catholic Encyclopedia, The New Advent:

EVOLUTION:

"There is, in fact, no evidence whatever for the common genetic descent of all plants and animals from a single primitive organism.
Any comments?
[/quote]

Much thanks. The folks at the Catholic encylopedia got it right.


#4

[quote=Kevin Walker]Evolution vs. Darwinism, A Catholic Opinion.

THEREFORE, “In our opinion the principle of ‘Mendelian segregation’ **together with Darwin’s natural selection **and the moulding influences of the environment, will probably be some of the chief constituents of future evolutionary theories.”

The Catholic Church is against Darwinism, but is not threatened by the theory of evolution.

Any comments?
[/quote]

but don’t you see…our current evolutionary theories (as predicted here) incorporate aspects of Darwinism.

Darwinism is the engine of modern evolutionary theories…can we reject Darwin, but then not be “threatened” by modern evolutionary theories? You’d have to invent a new theory of evolution–one independant of Darwin–that the Church might adhere to, but what would this new hypothetical theory be?


#5

Much of the debate on this has been an intra-Protestant one. Whatever the Catholic commentary, you will notice it is certainly less in quality.

I think, however, that one factor is often omitted from the present day discussion, which I am reminded of with the posting from the Catholic Encyclopedia from a hudnred years ago.

I ususally raise this in defense of William Jennings Bryan, who I think is an interesting historical figure, but that is neither here nor there.

We have a term today of “social Darwinism.” I assume most readers here recognize what that means. It should be recalled that at teh height of the Darwinism debates of the late 19th/early 20th century, no such term was common. The reason being is that at the time, there was no distinction made between social Darwinism and biological Darwinism. Both defenders and opponenets of Darwinism saw this as a seemless whole. And opposition to the crudeness of what we now call social Darwinism was as much part of the evangelical Protestant opposition to Darwinism as any other aspect (and as much part of the Darwinists claims).

In fact, the separation of “social Darwinism” from the rest of Darwinist theories had a lot to do with the calming down of Catholic and moderate Protestant reservations of Darwinism.

My points (and yes, I do have a point somewhere…let me see… on yes…) is that wwe should not be too harsh on the critics of evolution in the past or present nor assume that Darwin was correct on every theory.


#6

Dear Phil,

I’m sorry but I have to ask you this, are you a Protestant?

The Catholic Church has made itself very clear as to its position on Evolution. And the Catholic Church itself does use the term ‘Darwinism’ to distinguish that heresy from evolution which the Church seems to be comfortable. There really needs to be no further discussion or debate for a Catholic on the evolution question. Why do you couch your arguments in Protestant viewpoints towards evolution when the issue has been settled in the eyes of the Vatican?

Thanks! This isn’t a jab or anything, I’m just curious as to your view towards evolution?

[quote=PhilVaz]Hello to evolution thread #236,754,192,682,817

I would suggest very few call evolution “Darwinism” these days except detractors. For example: Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by Dembski. And here’s how to be an anti-Darwinian.

If you wanna get technical, “Darwinism” is descent with modification by natural selection. Darwin contributed the mechanism, so I guess that’s Darwinism, but no scientist calls it that. An exception might be philosopher Michael Ruse “Darwinism Defended.” The Catholic Encyclopedia you quoted got it right.

Most call it simply evolution or biological evolution or evolutionary biology. And No, modern biology is not opposed to the Catholic faith, one can accept Darwinism or “natural selection” and be Catholic. Examples are Kenneth Miller (full or “orthodox Darwinist” and author of Finding Darwin’s God) and Michael Behe (partial Darwinist, he accepts “common descent” and says natural selection “explains many things” in his book Darwin’s Black Box, page 5).

Phil P
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#7

[quote=PhilVaz]Hello to evolution thread #236,754,192,682,817

I would suggest very few call evolution “Darwinism” these days except detractors. For example: Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing edited by Dembski. And here’s how to be an anti-Darwinian.

If you wanna get technical, “Darwinism” is descent with modification by natural selection. Darwin contributed the mechanism, so I guess that’s Darwinism, but no scientist calls it that. An exception might be philosopher Michael Ruse “Darwinism Defended.” The Catholic Encyclopedia you quoted got it right.

Most call it simply evolution or biological evolution or evolutionary biology. And No, modern biology is not opposed to the Catholic faith, one can accept Darwinism or “natural selection” and be Catholic. Examples are Kenneth Miller (full or “orthodox Darwinist” and author of Finding Darwin’s God) and Michael Behe (partial Darwinist, he accepts “common descent” and says natural selection “explains many things” in his book Darwin’s Black Box, page 5).

Phil P
[/quote]

If you carefully read the New Advent article on Evolution for Catholics, the Catholic church embraces evolution but rejects ‘Darwinism’, Darwinism not being evolution but what the materialists make as a philosophy of the evolution of all the cosmos. So as a Catholic you should know that Darwinism and Evolution are not interchangeable.


#8

Kevin << There really needs to be no further discussion or debate for a Catholic on the evolution question. Why do you couch your arguments in Protestant viewpoints towards evolution when the issue has been settled in the eyes of the Vatican? >>

Settled when? Pius XII said evolution is okay to be studied, and John Paul II said evolution is probably true, along with the Catechism 159, 283-284 which says evolution is probably true.

Darwinism is simply “descent with modification by natural selection.” And that’s the way most scientists understand evolution as well. Descent with modification is “common descent” also called macroevolution, with natural selection being the mechanism. This says nothing for or against the existence of God as Creator, or God intervening in nature, either to create or to perform other miracles, but the God interventions would not be science and cannot be detected by science. That’s my position and the position of most biologists today I would think, whether they be Catholic, Christian, atheist, or agnostic.

So No, the Catholic Church hasn’t condemned either Darwinism (“natural selection” as the only or primary mechanism) or evolution itself (descent with modification or “common descent”). The question is left open by the Church for science to study and figure out and the Church fully supports modern science (see all the stuff I’ve quoted in the past 4.5 billion posts on this topic).

BTW, Tom of Assisi didn’t read the next sentence in that Encyclopedia:

“Hence the greater number of botanists and zoologists regard a polygenetic (polyphyletic) evolution as much more acceptable than a monogenetic (monophyletic).”

That first sentence is talking about monogenetic vs. polygenetic. It’s not saying evolution itself is not true, nor that there is no good evidence for it.

That’s the problem with TomA, he doesn’t read carefully enough. Try a few good books on evolution, or a couple dozen TalkOrigins articles, and please read carefully. Don’t read like a fundamentalist who accepts Jack Chick or Dave Hunt’s view of Catholicism.

Kevin << Thanks! This isn’t a jab or anything, I’m just curious as to your view towards evolution? >>

You don’t know yet? :smiley:

Descent with modification is true, and natural selection is the major mechanism. Macroevolution is probably true since we have plenty of evidence for that. That’s my position, maintained in here since May 2004. :smiley: And the Catholic Church has no problem with that or with methodological naturalism since that’s how science works and how science is done.

Phil P


#9

But, not evolution by chance.
40% of scientists believe in a God directed evolution. That is 40% of scientists believe in evolution by design, not evolution by chance. In other words, God created the world and created life according to His plan.

Here is the evidence
of my statements by the famous Dr. Behe.

** Michael J. Behe Science Online
July 7, 2000 Scott refers to me as an intelligent design “creationist,” even though I clearly write in my book Darwin’s Black Box (which Scott cites) that I am not a creationist and have no reason to doubt common descent. In fact, my own views fit quite comfortably with the 40% of scientists that Scott acknowledges think “evolution occurred, but was guided by God.” Where I and others run afoul of Scott and the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) is simply in arguing that intelligent design in biology is not invisible, it is empirically detectable. The biological literature is replete with statements like David DeRosier’s in the journal Cell: “More so than other motors, the flagellum resembles a machine designed by a human” (1). Exactly why is it a thought-crime to make the case that such observations may be on to something objectively correct?**
Scott blames “frontier,” “nonhierarchical” religions for the controversy in biology education in the United States. As a member of the decidedly hierarchical, mainstream Roman Catholic Church, I think a better candidate for blame is the policing of orthodoxy by the NCSE and others–abetting lawsuits to suppress discussion of truly open questions and decrying academic advocates of intelligent design for “organiz[ing] conferences” and “writ[ing] op-ed pieces and books.” Among a lot of religious citizens, who aren’t quite the yahoos evolutionists often seem to think they are, such activities raise doubts that the issues are being fairly presented, which might then cause some people to doubt the veracity of scientists in other areas too. Ironically, the activity of Scott and the NCSE might itself be promoting the mistrust of science they deplore.


#10

[quote=Kevin Walker]If you carefully read the New Advent article on Evolution for Catholics, the Catholic church embraces evolution but rejects ‘Darwinism’, Darwinism not being evolution but what the materialists make as a philosophy of the evolution of all the cosmos. So as a Catholic you should know that Darwinism and Evolution are not interchangeable.
[/quote]

I would be a little more cautious about discerning the present position of the Church from an encyclopedia published by a private company in 1907. Notwithstanding the imprimateur and nihil obstat of the same date.


#11

[quote=dcdurel]But, not evolution by chance.
40% of scientists believe in a God directed evolution. That is 40% of scientists believe in evolution by design, not evolution by chance. In other words, God created the world and created life according to His plan.
[/quote]

Just a couple of points.

First, by your statistics, since 40% believe in a God-directed evolution, 60% believe in a Godless evolution. 60% + 40% = 100%. So, according to your logic, all scientists believe in evolution of some sort. Not ID, but evolution. Is that your argument?

Second, where in “natural selection” do you get chance?

Peace

Tim


#12

[quote=digitonomy]I would be a little more cautious about discerning the present position of the Church from an encyclopedia published by a private company in 1907. Notwithstanding the imprimateur and nihil obstat of the same date.
[/quote]

Yes, thank you for this observation and good advice. That is why I use the on-line version, because it is constantly updated and defines concepts not around yet in 1906.


#13

[quote=PhilVaz]Kevin << There really needs to be no further discussion or debate for a Catholic on the evolution question. Why do you couch your arguments in Protestant viewpoints towards evolution when the issue has been settled in the eyes of the Vatican? >>

Settled when? Pius XII said evolution is okay to be studied, and John Paul II said evolution is probably true, along with the Catechism 159, 283-284 which says evolution is probably true.

Darwinism is simply “descent with modification by natural selection.” And that’s the way most scientists understand evolution as well. Descent with modification is “common descent” also called macroevolution, with natural selection being the mechanism. This says nothing for or against the existence of God as Creator, or God intervening in nature, either to create or to perform other miracles, but the God interventions would not be science and cannot be detected by science. That’s my position and the position of most biologists today I would think, whether they be Catholic, Christian, atheist, or agnostic.

So No, the Catholic Church hasn’t condemned either Darwinism (“natural selection” as the only or primary mechanism) or evolution itself (descent with modification or “common descent”). The question is left open by the Church for science to study and figure out and the Church fully supports modern science (see all the stuff I’ve quoted in the past 4.5 billion posts on this topic).

Hello Phil -

Not to belabour the point too much, but the Catholic church really does condemn ‘Darwinism’ and it embraces ‘Evolution’. The Church really does distinguish the difference between ‘Darwinism’ and ‘Evolution’. The Church uses science not to answer how the Universe was formed, it already knows that, but what direction it is taking since that formation and how science collaborates what is already stated in the Bible.

You seemed to have over-looked that "It [the theory of evolution] is in perfect agreement with the Christian conception of the universe, for Scripture does not tell us in what form the present species of plants and animals were originally created by God." Catholic Encyclopedia

I personally feel that all energy given by a Catholic on this issue should be in denouncing ‘Darwinism’ and not in the support or criticism of the theory of evolution.
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#14

Kevin Walker << I personally feel that all energy given by a Catholic on this issue should be in denouncing ‘Darwinism’ and not in the support or criticism of the theory of evolution. >>

I don’t think we disagree too much here, we might disagree on what we mean by “Darwinism.” I have simply defined it as “descent with modification by natural selection.” Darwin’s major contribution is the mechanism for evolution. You haven’t shown where the Church has specifically condemned this.

If you define Darwinism as “atheism” well of course the Church has condemned that. Or if you define Darwinism as philosophical naturalism or metaphysical naturalism, then yes the Church would condemn that as well, since that amounts to atheism. It’s a philosophical position not a scientific position.

However, Darwinism defined as “descent with modification by natural selection” is not atheism, not is it inherently “atheistic.” It is a scientific position and would simply be neutral on the question of God’s existence. In other words, Darwinism would be “methodological” naturalism. And I think most scientists (including the 40% that DCDurel keeps bringing up) would agree that science is and must remain methodologically natural. These scientists (including most if not all of those 40% that believe in God and evolution) would not agree with intelligent design. They would not agree with a God who creates (from scratch, from nothing) a horse, a cow, a whale, a bird, etc.

These distinctions (methodological vs. metaphysical naturalism) and the 40% figure from the 1997 Nature article are discussed in some detail in the book Darwinism Defeated? The Johnson-Lamoureux Debate on Biological Origins (Regent College, 1999) where Phillip E. Johnson takes a serious beating in this book by an “evolutionary creationist” or theistic evolutionist Denis Lamoureux, who has a Ph.D. in biology and theology. Johnson is a lawyer and simply doesn’t know his biology.

Another new book that explains this “methodological” naturalism position is Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge Univ Press, 2004). I haven’t finished this one, but check the article by John Haught in this book if you ever get it.

It’s true that biologists have gone far beyond Darwin in their understandings of evolution, incorporating many things not known in Darwin’s day, such as genetics, and I don’t pretend to understand all the specifics.

Here is a PDF “Evolution and the Fossil Record” that I think is outstanding for beginners. Kind of a “Fossil Record for Dummies.” It is co-written by the American Geological Institute and The Paleontological Society. I liked it so much I put it on my own site.

Phil P


#15

Yes, thank you for this observation and good advice. That is why I use the on-line version, because it is constantly updated and defines concepts not around yet in 1906.
[/quote]

Do you have a link? I’m not aware of any online New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia other than the one which has been transcribed verbatim from the century-old publication. Although I will admit that the particular edition they used appears to be from 5-10 years after 1907; the entry on the Vatican Council indicates it was written in 1912.


#16

[quote=digitonomy]Do you have a link? I’m not aware of any online New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia other than the one which has been transcribed verbatim from the century-old publication. Although I will admit that the particular edition they used appears to be from 5-10 years after 1907; the entry on the Vatican Council indicates it was written in 1912.
[/quote]

The link is the New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia); at:

newadvent.org/cathen’12272b.htm

as a quick example, please visit the chronological list of Popes which postdates 1907 by seventy-one years with his eminence Pope John Paul II. The New Advent does get updated occasionally.


#17

[quote=digitonomy]Do you have a link? I’m not aware of any online New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia other than the one which has been transcribed verbatim from the century-old publication. Although I will admit that the particular edition they used appears to be from 5-10 years after 1907; the entry on the Vatican Council indicates it was written in 1912.
[/quote]

The link is the New Advent (Catholic Encyclopedia); at:

newadvent.org/cathen/12272b.htm

as a quick example, please visit the chronological list of Popes which postdates 1907 by seventy-one years with his eminence Pope John Paul II. The New Advent does get updated occasionally.


#18

[quote=PhilVaz]Kevin Walker << I personally feel that all energy given by a Catholic on this issue should be in denouncing ‘Darwinism’ and not in the support or criticism of the theory of evolution. >>

I don’t think we disagree too much here, we might disagree on what we mean by “Darwinism.” I have simply defined it as “descent with modification by natural selection.” Darwin’s major contribution is the mechanism for evolution. You haven’t shown where the Church has specifically condemned this.

Hi Phil,

Again, I am not trying to be a wiseguy or facetious in any manner, but I think the fallacy of your argument lies in the reliance of your own personal definition of ‘Darwinism’ rather than operating around the definition of ‘Darwinism’ provided by the Catholic Church that DARWINISM “…is scientifically inadequate, since it does not account for the origin of attributes fitted to the purposes which must be referred back to the interior, original causes of evolution.” New Advent

Also, that the materialists (Marxists, behaviourists, athiests, non-teleologists, etc.) have expanded the selection theory of Darwinism into a philosophical world idea by claiming that the entire evolution of the cosmos/universe by the means of a mechanistic chance survival of the fittest.

I have not condemned Darwinism as atheistic, the Catholic Church has.

So Phil, if you adhere to this Catholic Church’s definition of ‘Darwinism’, and not your own, then it would strengthen your argument and make it more relevant on a Catholic Answers Forums.
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#19

Kevin << I have not condemned Darwinism as aetheistic, the Catholic Church has. So Phil, if you adhere to this Catholic Church’s definition of ‘Darwinism’, and not your own, then it would strengthen your argument and make it more relevant on a Catholic Answers Forums. >>

Guess what? If what you’re saying is correct, then the New Advent encyclopedia has mis-defined Darwinism. It is simply “descent with modification by natural selection.” That’s it. And Darwin, as I have shown, believed in a Creator. He wasn’t an atheist. I’ll admit that later in life he could be described as agnostic. I can dig up the documentation from Lamoureux since he provides quite a bit on that subject.

Because some people take a scientific theory (Darwinism = descent with modification by natural selection) and turn it into a philosophical or metaphysical doctrine, doesn’t make the science part less scientific. Going back to your first post in the thread, quoting the encyclopedia:

“In our opinion the principle of ‘Mendelian segregation’ together with Darwin’s natural selection and the moulding influences of the environment, will probably be some of the chief constituents of future evolutionary theories.”

Okay, even the Catholic encyclopedia has admitted that there is nothing inherently wrong with Darwin’s theory of natural selection, and that future scientific theories of evolution would incorporate natural selection. And that is indeed what has happened.

Darwin’s precursors and influences
Modern Synthesis of Genetics and Evolution

You really need to read more than just some early 20th century articles on evolution, get some of the books I’ve mentioned in this thread or elsewhere.

And check out TalkOrigins of course, especially this God and Evolution FAQ

Phil P


#20

That’s not Phil’s personal definition of Darwinism. That is what Darwinism is.

Peace

Tim
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