Keating, Catholic Answers take a swipe at evolution


#1

I posted this before or at least I thought I did and now I cant find it. I hope this isnt duplicated . In a This Rock edition 1994 July/August quick questions

Q: In light of all the evidence proving evolution, to be a faithful Catholic does one have to believe that there was an original couple called Adam and Eve?

A: It is prohibited to believe that there were multiple first parents, many sets of Adams and Eves. This position is called polygenism. It is a teaching of the Catholic Church that there was one set of parents, and it was they who committed an offense against God, and that offense has had lasting effects for mankind. This is the doctrine of original sin, the sin that occurred at the origin of the human race. C. S. Lewis argued that the existence of original sin is perhaps one of the most obvious facts of human life, even to non-believers.

Those who hold that there were multiple sets of first parents go against the teaching of the magisterium on the doctrine of original sin. In fact, there are even logical difficulties in accounting for original sin if that calamitous falling can’t be traced to a single man, Adam.

In an encyclical issued in 1950 Pope Pius XII stated, “When there is a question of another conjectural opinion, namely, of polygenism so-called, then the sons of the Church in no way enjoy such freedom. For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds either that after Adam there existed men on this earth who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all, or that Adam signifies some kind of multiple first parents; for it is by no means apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the sources of revealed truth and the acts of the magisterium of the Church teaches about original sin, which proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam, and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own” (Humani Generis 37).

Concerning your presupposition about “all the evidence proving evolution,” understand that the theory of evolution is not only not proven, but many scholars are abandoning it as at odds with scientific findings. To learn about problems with the theory of evolution, you might read Darwin on Trial by Philip E. Johnson and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton.


#2

“Concerning your presupposition about “all the evidence proving evolution,” understand that the theory of evolution is not only not proven, but many scholars are abandoning it as at odds with scientific findings. To learn about problems with the theory of evolution, you might read Darwin on Trial by Philip E. Johnson and Evolution: A Theory in Crisis by Michael Denton.”

Have “Darwin on Trial,” read it three times. Once held it as very good. Now after actually learning about evolution from scientists, and not lawyers, Philip Johnson’s book is quite ridiculous. Like many creationists and intellegent designers, he neither understands evolution, and disrespectfully attacks Darwin.

I suppose also the earth is flat.


#3

“then the sons of the Church in no way enjoy such freedom. For the faithful in Christ cannot accept this view, which holds either that after Adam there existed men on this earth who did not receive their origin by natural generation from him, the first parent of all, or that Adam signifies some kind of multiple first parents; for it is by no means apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with what the sources of revealed truth and the acts of the magisterium of the Church teaches about original sin, which proceeds from a sin truly committed by one Adam, and which is transmitted to all by generation, and exists in each one as his own”

Another example of too many rules and regulations. What if there comes a day, when we’re able to prove that human beings did not all descend from one set of original humans? Are people going to abandon the Church then, because Catholics are not allowed to believe otherwise? I see no harm in believing otherwise.


#4

Pope Pius X in Pascendi Dominici Gregis, remarks how the theory of biological evolution has infected theological studies:

“First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must in fact change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution. To the laws of evolution everything is subject - dogma, Church worship, the books that we receive as sacred, even faith itself…”


#5

It might also be noted that Michael Denton is now an evolutionist.

It 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.
Michael Denton, Nature’s Destiny ppg xvii-xviii

As IDer Phillip Johnson admitted, the Dover trial was a “train wreck” for ID. IDer Michael Behe admitted under oath that ID is science in the same sense that astrology is science. Numerous IDers were found to have equated ID with religion. As the movement begins to fall apart, more and more people are leaving. It’s pretty much the creationists, again, with nothing but a new name to show for it.


#6

Well maybe for you and him, in all respect, but it poses no threat for me. God shines brighter by it I think.


#7

I think I’ll go with Saint Pope Pius X, scripture, the Church Fathers, Pius XII etc.


#8

Latern VI says God created EACH CREATURE OUT OF NOTHING!!!

Lateran VI says: Firmly we believe and we confess simply that the true God is one alone, eternal, immense, and unchangeable, incomprehensible, omnipotent and ineffable, Father and Son and Holy Spirit: indeed three Persons but one essence, substance, or nature entirely simple. The Father from no one, the Son from the Father only, and the Holy Spirit equally from both; without beginning, always, and without end; the Father generating, the Son being born, and the Holy Spirit proceeding; consubstantial and coequal and omnipotent and coeternal; one beginning of all, creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal; who by His own omnipotent power at once from the beginning of time created each creature from nothing, spiritual, and corporal, namely, angelic and mundane, and finally the human, constituted as it were, alike of the spirit and the body. For the devil and other demons were created by God good in nature, but they themselves through themselves have become wicked. But man sinned at the suggestion of the devil.

The Council of Cologne stated (a provincial council, but approved and praised by Pius IX)

In 1860, the Council of Cologne condemned the idea of human evolution in very straightforward words: "Our first parents were formed immediately by God. Therefore we declare that…those who…assert…man…emerged from spontaneous continuous change of imperfect nature to the more perfect, is clearly opposed to Sacred Scripture and to the Faith.”

In 1441, the Council of Florence stated in its decrees: “God…is the creator of all things visible and invisible, who, when he wished, out of his goodness created all creatures, spiritual as well as corporal; good, indeed…since they were from nothing…”

Vatican Council I says: If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, as regards their whole substance, have been produced by God from nothing, or, shall have said that God created not by a volition free of all necessity, but as necessarily as He necessarily loves Himself, or, shall have denied that the world was created to the glory of God: let him be anathema.

The new catechism talks about how the literal sense, of scripture, should be adhered to unless there is a good reason not to.

Accordingly, the 1994 Catholic Catechism, in quoting St. Thomas Aquinas from the Summa Theologica, says in paragraph 116:

“The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and… ‘all other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.’”


#9

Among prominent present Catholic apologists or writers, the way I see it:

Keating: Anti-Evolution, but Old Earth (and various articles)
Akin: Pro-Evolution or not a problem with evolution
Steve Wood: Anti-Evolution, Pro-ID (see his catalog)
Pat Madrid: Has had anti-evolution articles in Envoy in the past
Tim Staples: Anti-Evolution (mp3), old program (1996) might have changed his mind since then
Amy Welborn: Anti-Evolution (see especially her “Prove It! God” book)
Mark Shea: Pro-Evolution with some reservations
Steve Ray: Anti-Evolution (mixes up macro/micro definitions)
Fr. Mitch Pacwa: Pro-Evolution with a couple ** reservations** (mp3’s) :smiley:
Fr. Benedict Groeschel: Pro-Evolution (mp3)
Scott Hahn: unknown, but see his Genesis commentary in A Father Who Keeps His Promises
John Martignoni: unknown (someone can tell me who is more familiar with him)

But the current Pope has said:

“Instead of this [the seven or ‘six days’ of Genesis] we now face measurements that transcend all comprehension. Today we hear of the Big Bang, which happened billions of years ago and with which the universe began its expansion – an expansion that continues to occur without interruption. And it was not in neat succession that the stars were hung and the green of the fields created; it was rather in complex ways and over vast periods of time that the earth and the universe were constructed as we now know them.” (In the Beginning… by Cardinal Ratzinger)

“All of this is well and good, one might say, but is it not ultimately disproved by our scientific knowledge of how the human being evolved from the animal kingdom? Now, more reflective spirits have long been aware that there is no either-or here. We cannot say: creation or evolution, inasmuch as these two things respond to two different realities. The story of the dust of the earth and the breath of God, which we just heard, does not in fact explain how human persons come to be but rather what they are. It explains their inmost origin and casts light on the project that they are. And, vice versa, the theory of evolution seeks to understand and describe biological developments. But in so doing it cannot explain where the ‘project’ of human persons comes from, nor their inner origin, nor their particular nature. To that extent we are faced here with two complementary – rather than mutually exclusive – realities. But let us look a little closer, because here, too, the progress of thought in the last two decades helps us to grasp anew the inner unity of creation and evolution and of faith and reason.” (In the Beginning… by Cardinal Ratzinger)

“While there is little consensus among scientists about how the origin of this first microscopic life is to be explained, there is general agreement among them that the first organism dwelt on this planet about 3.5-4 billion years ago. Since it has been demonstrated that all living organisms on earth are genetically related, it is virtually certain that all living organisms have descended from this first organism. Converging evidence from many studies in the physical and biological sciences furnishes mounting support for some theory of evolution to account for the development and diversification of life on earth, while controversy continues over the pace and mechanisms of evolution. While the story of human origins is complex and subject to revision, physical anthropology and molecular biology combine to make a convincing case for the origin of the human species in Africa about 150,000 years ago in a humanoid population of common genetic lineage. However it is to be explained, the decisive factor in human origins was a continually increasing brain size, culminating in that of homo sapiens. With the development of the human brain, the nature and rate of evolution were permanently altered: with the introduction of the uniquely human factors of consciousness, intentionality, freedom and creativity, biological evolution was recast as social and cultural evolution.” (Communion and Stewardship, section 63)

“Every individual human being as well as the whole human community are created in the image of God. In its original unity – of which Adam is the symbol – the human race is made in the image of the divine Trinity.” (Communion and Stewardship, section 43)

And Cardinal Schonborn:

“When in 1859 Darwin’s famous book The Origin of Species appeared, the basic message was indeed that he had found a mechanism that portrays a self-acting (selbsttätig) development, without the need of a Creator. As he said himself, his concern was to find a theory which, for the development of the species from lower to higher, did not require increasingly perfective creative acts but rather relied exclusively on coincidental variations and the ‘survival of the fittest.’ Here was thus the notion that we have found a means for dispensing with individual acts of creation. With this, his major work, Darwin undoubtedly scored a brilliant coup, and it remains a great oeuvre [work] in the history of ideas. With an astounding gift for observation, enormous diligence, and mental prowess, he succeeded in producing one of that history’s most influential works. He could already see in advance that his research would create many areas of endeavor. Today one can truly say that the ‘evolution’ paradigm has become, so to speak, a ‘master key,’ extending itself within many fields of knowledge.

“I see no difficulty in joining belief in the Creator with the theory of evolution, but under the prerequisite that the borders of scientific theory are maintained. In the citations given above [from Will Provine, Peter Atkins, Sir Julian Huxley], it is unequivocally the case that such have been violated. When science adheres to its own method, it cannot come into conflict with faith. But perhaps one finds it difficult to stay within one’s territory, for we are, after all, not simply scientists but also human beings, with feelings, who struggle with faith, human beings, who seek the meaning of life. And thus as natural scientists we are constantly and inevitably bringing in questions reflecting worldviews…I am thankful for the immense work of the natural sciences. Their furthering of our knowledge boggles the mind. They do not restrict faith in the creation; they strengthen me in my belief in the Creator and in how wisely and wonderfully He has made all things.” (Cat Lec for 2 Oct 2005, and re-translated for Chance or Purpose, see also “Man – A Part of Nature” pages 113ff)

Seems pro-evolution enough for me, with a little bit of ID tossed in (see the latter sections of In the Beginning… and Schonborn’s original NY Times editorial, which he has backed off a bit in his book).

Phil P


#10

Adam and Eve were the first two people with a human soul. We cannot tell from a fossil whether or not that organism had a soul. We cannot tell just from DNA whether or not an organism has a soul. Hence Biology in general, and evolution in particular can tell us nothing about whether or not a given fossil individual had a soul.

If the Catholic Church is well advised, and generally I think that it is, it will not take up a dogmatic position against evolution. Its current position allows acceptance of evolution (with the monogenism caveat you refer to). By declaring evolution to be against Catholic belief it moves all the evidence for evolution from the “religiously neutral evidence” category to the “evidence against Catholicism” category. Having lost every argument it has had with science in the material arena I think that the Church is sensible enough not to take such an unwise step. That would only get it into another unwinnable fight in the material arena, where science holds all of the cards. I think that the Church will be wise enough to stick to theology.

rossum


#11

rossum << Adam and Eve were the first two people with a human soul. We cannot tell from a fossil whether or not that organism had a soul. We cannot tell just from DNA whether or not an organism has a soul. Hence Biology in general, and evolution in particular can tell us nothing about whether or not a given fossil individual had a soul. >>

Good points as usual. The way we can tell when were the first “human beings with souls” would be three cultural or anthropological criterion:

  1. Man has self-awareness.

  2. Man has language.

  3. Man has religion.

The problem is various theologians/philosophers/scientists would place these at various times. The author of the article I took this from says Neandertals (about 150,000 years ago) may have been the first humans, while Glenn Morton in his (self-published) book Adam, Apes, and Anthropology says Australopithecines (about 2-3 million years ago) were probably the first. Others more like 40,000 - 50,000 years ago (modern homo sapiens). I guess we just don’t know.

Phil P


#12

But Phil they aren’t Church teaching or of the magisterium. They are books or speeches given by the individuals.


#13

Home

Catholic Apologetics International

Pope Benedict XVI Takes Swipe at the Theory of Evolution

by Robert Sungenis

On the morning of Sunday, April 24, 2005, during his Coronation ceremony homily Pope Benedict XVI made a clear indication that he is distancing himself from the theory of evolution. Translated from the Italian, the pope stated:

“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed , each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”

To help get the point across even better, the pope used a play on words. According to Fr. Brian Harrison who knows Italian and heard the pope speak, the words translated in English as “is willed” are the Italian words “é voluto.” The word in Italian for “evolution” is “evoluzione.” Hence, the intended pun was: we are not the product of “evoluzione” but the product of divine “é voluto.”

Moreover, if the pope were not giving an indication about his reservations concerning the theory of evolution, he simply could have said that we are all willed and loved by God, but to preface this with a denunciation of evolution means that the pope wanted to put in opposition the Christian viewpoint of a created universe over against the haphazard world of chance espoused by evolutionary theory.

Those of us who know the pope are not surprised at this sudden turn of events. Members of our Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation met with the then Cardinal Ratzinger in October 2002 and explained to him the scientific evidence against evolution and the scientific evidence for creation, evidence that prior to our visit the Cardinal had not been made aware.

Thank God we have a pope who is willing to take a critical look at the claims of modern science. Please continue to pray for him that God enlightens his mind.

Robert Sungenis
Advisory Board of the Koble Center
4-25-2005

Catholic Apologetics International


#14

Pope Benedict XVI Takes Swipe at the Theory of Evolution


#15

But Roger, he isn’t Church teaching or of the magisterium. It is an article written for his own website by the individual.

Peace

Tim


#16

Pope Benedict XVI

Monod nonetheless finds the possibility for evolution in the fact that in the very propagation of the project there can be mistakes in the act of transmission. Because nature is conservative, these mistakes, once having come into existence, are carried on. Such mistakes can add up, and from the adding up of mistakes something new can arise. **Now an astonishing conclusion follows: It was in this way that the whole world of living creatures, and human beings themselves, came into existence. We are the product of “haphazard mistakes.” [5]

**
What response shall we make to this view? It is the affair of the natural sciences to explain how the tree of life in particular continues to grow and how new branches shoot out from it. This is not a matter for faith. But we must have the audacity to say that the great projects of the living creation are not the products of chance and error. Nor are they the products of a selective process to which divine predicates can be attributed in illogical, unscientific, and even mythic fashion. * The great projects of the living creation point to a creating Reason and show us a creating Intelligence*, and they do so more luminously and radiantly today than ever before. Thus we can say today with a new certitude and joyousness that the human being is indeed a divine project, which only the creating Intelligence was strong and great and audacious enough to conceive of. * Human beings are not a mistake but something willed; they are the fruit of love.* They can disclose in themselves, in the bold project that they are, the language of the creating Intelligence that speaks to them and that moves them to say: Yes, Father, you have willed me.


#17

Roger << But Phil they aren’t Church teaching or of the magisterium. They are books or speeches given by the individuals. >>

Hey nice talking with you on the phone! :smiley:

Keating (or the author of the Catholic Answers tracts) is not the magisterium either, but individuals. Although their tracts have been given the OK (Nihil Obstat, etc). I was presenting what I think are positions of the other prominent Catholic apologists or writers out there (the orthodox, conservative kind at least). Most of them are not scientists of course, it is kind of split among them, with anti-evolution (and the standard well-answered creationist objections) being dominant.

Science will never be a matter for the magisterium, I think we all agree. Although there is cross-over between science and dogma of course (Adam/Eve and original sin). The ITC statement from 2004 is probably the best we have on the whole creation-evolution issue (endorsed by Ratzinger shortly before he became Pope). There is a lot in there about the accepted science, the image of God, “design” and divine providence.

The “we are not some casual or meaningless product of evolution” etc of Pope Benedict is certainly true, but it does not contradict what he has written on the science of evolution (he accepts the science). His position is that God is behind evolution every step, or at least he sees an over-arching intelligence behind all of life, which is a philosophical-theological take on evolution (e.g. see the end of In the Beginning… and the book Creation and Evolution the 2006 conference with the Pope).

Phil P


#18

vatican.va/holy_father/be…051109_en.html

Pope Benedict:

The Lord, through sacred Scripture, awakens the reasoning that is asleep within us and tells us: In the beginning was the creative Word — the Word that created everything, that created this intelligent design that is the universe —and also love.

catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=21156

National Catholic Reporter: Evolving thought – Pope’s writings revealing about his evolution views

…“Micro-evolution” refers to developmental changes within a species, while “macro-evolution” is the transition from one species to another on the basis of mutation and selection. Some critics of evolution concede the former but dispute the latter, and Ratzinger has voiced support for this view.

His comments come in a Nov. 27, 1999, lecture delivered at the Sorbonne titled “The Truth of Christianity,” published in his 2003 book Truth and Tolerance.

“No one will be able to cast serious doubt upon the scientific evidence for micro-evolutionary processes,” he wrote. “R. Junker and S. Scherer, in their ‘critical reader’ on evolution, have this to say: ‘Many examples of such developmental steps [micro-evolutionary processes] are known to us from natural processes of variation and development. The research done on them by evolutionary biologists produced significant knowledge of the adaptive capacity of living systems, which seems marvelous.’… The problem emerges at the point of transition from micro- to macro-evolution, on which point Szathmáry and Maynard Smith, both convinced supporters of an all-embracing theory of evolution, nonetheless declare that: ‘There is no theoretical basis for believing that evolutionary lines become more complex with time; and there is also no empirical evidence that this happens.’ ”

(Ratzinger here refers to the argument, often made by intelligent design theorists, that organic life reveals an “irreducible complexity” that cannot be ascribed to mechanisms of chance.)

The distinction between “micro-” and “macro-evolution” is apparently one Ratzinger began to make in the 1980s, after hearing a series of lectures at the Gustav Siewarth Academy, a small Catholic academy in Germany’s Black Forest. Dominique Tassot, head of a group of European Catholic intellectuals critical of evolutionary theory, told National Catholic Reporter that German Catholic intellectual Alma von Stockhausen has related that Ratzinger concluded macro-evolution is “impossible” based on this experience. Von Stockhausen is the founder of the Gustav Siewarth Academy and a long-time Ratzinger associate.


#19

Yeah, what we get out of all these quotations, mine and the others:

(A) the Pope accepts the standard age of the earth ( 4.5 billion ) and universe ( < 15 billion )

(B) the Pope accepts the standard evolutionary view (that changes occur over time, evolution occurs and that includes us homo sapiens, and all living things have common ancestors is “virtually certain”, there is no conflict between this science and Catholic religion)

© he used to have reservations about some aspects of the science, and he has some “intelligent design” ideas (along the lines of Romans 1:19-20; Wisdom 13; and Vatican Council I, see chapter 2, “On Revelation” paragraph 1, and the canons 1-5 on “God the Creator of all things” etc)

(D) his latest views can be found in Creation and Evolution: A Conference with Pope Benedict XVI (Ignatius, 2008) based on his 2006 meetings with top scientists, theologians, philosophers, etc which I will have to quote shortly :stuck_out_tongue:

Phil P


#20

I will pray for you. As with me, you clearly need it.


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