NICEVILLE — The Rev. Michael Dowd is on a mission to reconcile science and religion.
“Who would let a first-century dentist fill our children’s teeth?” Dowd asked Tuesday. “But we’re letting first-century theologians fill our children’s head every day.”
A self-proclaimed evolutionary evangelist, Dowd recently released “Thank God for Evolution!”, which states that understanding evolution can actually enhance faith.
Hey Ahimsa! Might wanna call in on this CA Live show. But ya gotta call quick!
Talk to Cardinal Schonborn About Evolution!
Rev. Michael Dowd: Religious zealotry that slides into violent action now threatens a whole new threshold of danger for the simple reason that exceedingly destructive weapons are now small enough to conceal and within the realm of possibility for motivated individuals and groups to obtain. For this reason, anything that bridges faith and reason and helps reconcile opposing religious viewpoints surely restores hope. Moreover, in chaotic and uncertain times, like now, when things seem to be getting better and better, and worse and worse, faster and faster, anything that provides practical guidance for moving into a just and thriving future, personally and collectively, restores hope too.
On a more personal level, a sacred evolutionary worldview restores hope because it offers a deeper, truer understanding of human nature than non-evolutionary approaches possibly can. It’s no longer a mystery why we (and our loved ones) are tempted by the things that we’re tempted by, why we struggle with the things we do, and why staying in integrity for any length of time typically requires growing in humility, authenticity, responsibility, and serving a larger purpose, with the support of others. Understanding the religious implications of evolutionary brain science and* evolutionary psychology* is truly empowering. Evolutionary spirituality, which is informed by these disciplines, offers lasting freedom from troublesome habits and addictive thoughts and behaviors. And it does so not by rejecting earlier ways of speaking about ‘our inherited proclivities,’ or ‘our unchosen nature,’ (such as ‘original sin’) but by validating such traditional language and reinterpreting ancient insights in light of what has been, and is still being, revealed through the empirical sciences.
Understanding what I like to call ‘our brain’s creation story’ not only offers a sure path to freedom around some of our most persistent and challenging personal issues; it also clarifies why our most intimate and important relationships—with partner or spouse, parents, children, friends, work associates, and colleagues—are the way they are. And it reveals how virtually any of these can be made whole no matter what problems or difficulties may have existed in the past.
Finally, from a collective perspective, without an evolutionary worldview it is simply impossible to understand our world, appreciate religious differences, or know with confidence how to proceed as a species. With deep-time eyes, however, the question of how we can move into a healthy future together becomes practically a no-brainer.
Evolution is the way, brought to you by empirical science. Just take this simple formula and you will be transformed! Into what?
A bag of chemicals whose primary purpose is to reproduce? Or, a post-human, cybernetic device that is programmed?
If by evolution macro-evolution is meant then thanking God for it is not coherant with the Church’s magisterial teaching.
The Fourth Lateran Council (1215) doctrine on ex nihilo creation teaches that in the beginning all things, visible and invisible, were created in their whole substance by God alone out of nothing.
God…creator of all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal;… 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.
In canon 5 of Vatican I (1869-70) the words « whole substance » (i.e. both as to matter as well as to form) were used adding further confirmation of the incompatibility between the dogma and the theory of one kind evolving into another. Each thing was, as the doctrine quite clearly says, created in the beginning, in its whole substance, out of nothing:
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 - let him be anathema (canon 5).
Peter - how is macro evolution incompatible with the dogma that God created everything from nothing? The Church has spoken on this issue several times since 1870. Catholics are free to believe in or reject macro-evolution, but macro-evolution is compatible with Catholic teaching. There are approximatly one gazillion threads on this issue.
I sincerely believe humanity’s ultimate goal is to transform ourselves into the latter. I am conscientious regarding my health now as I want to live to see that epoch of eudaemonia free from the suffering that is acquainted with Homo sapiens.
You used the word “programmed”, I will retort. Are cybernetic humans programmed? Are Homo sapiens programmed? Unfortunately, some our software is not conducive to altruism and this causes much conflict in the world. Also, our genes are programs and some programs are rather undesirable. One example that I could think of extemporaneously is ApoE4. This allele associated with the mental decadence of many people.
The triumph of humanity is the ability to outwit some of these programs. I am not advocating eugenics in this thread as a means to accomplish this, but one example of humans outwitting their programs without eugenics are HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors whose as the excessive activity of the aforementioned enzyme puts people at risk of dying from a heart attack.
Then the current Church leaders are heretics. Pope Benedict has acknowledged, based on scientific evidence, that evolution is the tool used by God to create our physical beings. No doubt you are comfortable making that charge against Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II, but I don’t think that I would be so proud to consider myself capable of making such an accusation.
Then this man should be airdropped in the Middle East as soon as possible and explain his ideas to them.
This is nothing more than an attempt at Utopianism, combined with New, Improved Neo-Darwinism.
“You are your genes, trust me.” Take our simple formula which will also cure baldness, athlete’s foot and Global Warming. Contains snake oil thoroughly refined by empirical science.
Docket 68445, State versus Anthony Salerno, six counts of conspiracy to commit murder, one count of racketeeering.
How do you plead?
Counsel for the Defense pleads Not Guilty, your Honor.
Mr. Salerno. Care to comment on that not guilty plea?
Well, ya see your honor. I gots watcha call defective genes what make me a violent man. I can’t help myself.
Mr. Salerno. The jury has found you guilty of all six counts of conspiracy to commit murder and one count of racketeering. In light of your genetic difficulty, I am reducing your punishment from three life sentences to two life sentences, to be served concurrently.
Salerno to attorney: Can’t a guy get away with nuttin in this country no more?
Yes, except for the fact that God imbued each “bag of chemicals” with an immortal soul. That changes the picture considerably.
No, that issue seems to take a back seat to the “you are your genes” philosophy being promoted here. Your genes came to be on their own, they mutated, got smarter, and eventually, or so the story goes, your genes allowed you to become aware of good and evil, at which point, God ( a throwaway concept ) supposedly dropped a soul in.
Nope. For me, God is a living being that was, is and will always be involved in the lives of human beings intimately. There is a being called the devil that tempts us to do wrong. And we are all born with Original Sin.
BTW Father George Lemaitre, father too of the Bing Bang theory, was science advisor to Pius XII.
And his scientific theory also states that the Universe came from a single particle, infinitely small and infinitely dense. Literally EX NIHILO. Similar to Church dogma but over a vastly great time scale. Pius XII supported him. Hubble thought that theory was too christian and died without recongnizing Father Lemaitre was right.
I do not see why Catholic creationists insist in a literal 6 days creation when the Popes long ago have rejected that.
In fact if you read the Genesis in a symbolic, not literal fashion you will see extraordinary insights when compared to the creation histories of other non judeochristian religions.
Gives a whole new meaning to “more Catholic than the Pope”.
But it’s OK if God formed a pile of dust and “dropped a soul in”. Sorry, I just can’t see the essential difference.
For me it’s OK because God did it that way. Just like Christ didn’t take Lazarus to the local Emergency Room but actually raised him from the dead.
Peter - how is macro evolution incompatible with the dogma that God created everything from nothing?
The word “simul” in the Latin text of Lateran IV translates as “simultaneously” or “together at the same time” or “at once”:
Deus…creator omnium visibilium et invisibilium, spiritualium et corporalium: qui sua omnipotenti virtute **simul **ab initio temporis utramque de nihilo condiditcreaturam, spiritualem et corporalem, angelicam videlicet et mundanam: ac deinde humanam, quasi communem ex spiritu et corpore constitutam.
As all things were created together ‘ex nihilo’ at the beginning at the same time in their whole substance (Vatican I) the millions of years necessary for macro-evolution were not available.
All matter was created together at the beginning of time. That does not mean that all species were. I assume you are aware that the Church has taught for many years that macro-evolution does not conflict with the faith, and that you simply disagree with that?
All matter was created together at the beginning of time. That does not mean that all species were.
The opening words of the dogmatic teaching of Lateran IV is that God created:
…all visible and invisible things, of the spiritual and of the corporal
The distinction between invisible things as spiritual and corporal is proof that the dogma is not referring to just “matter”.
I assume you are aware that the Church has taught for many years that macro-evolution does not conflict with the faith
The only official Church teaching on Creation is the infallible defintion of Lateran IV/Vatican I.
What you or I personally agree with is incidental. Because many people disagree with this Magisterial statement due to their belief in ET is a matter between them and their Creator.
With this assertion, please go back to my last post and tell us if you consider Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI heretics for teaching contrary to an infallible teaching of the Church.
I agree that our personal opinions do not control what the Church teaches. And I agree that the Magisterial position of the Church is that God created all things, seen and unseen. But that does not preclude evolution as a creation methodology. This was explained by Pius XII in Humani Generis, and this has been reaffirmed by each Pope since that time.
No offense, but I will take these Popes’ (and especially Benedict XVI’s) discernment on the infallible teaching of Latern IV over yours or anyone’s.