Vatican buries the hatchet with Charles Darwin

The Vatican has admitted that Charles Darwin was on the right track when he claimed that Man descended from apes.

A leading official declared yesterday that Darwin’s theory of evolution was compatible with Christian faith, and could even be traced to St Augustine and St Thomas Aquinas. “In fact, what we mean by evolution is the world as created by God,” said Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The Vatican also dealt the final blow to speculation that Pope Benedict XVI might be prepared to endorse the theory of Intelligent Design, whose advocates credit a “higher power” for the complexities of life.

Organisers of a papal-backed conference next month marking the 150th anniversary of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species said that at first it had even been proposed to ban Intelligent Design from the event, as “poor theology and poor science”. Intelligent Design would be discussed at the fringes of the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University, but merely as a “cultural phenomenon”, rather than a scientific or theological issue, organisers said.

Maybe that’s the way Intelligent Design should be addressed in schools, not as anything intellectually credible, but as a mere “cultural phenomenon.” Go Vatican on this one!

Even if there are problems with the evolutionary model, the whole idea of creationism is a slap in the face of science and doesn’t take into account the poetic and complex language of the Old Testament. The fact that Creationism sprung from modern day American fundamentalist groups alone should be a red flag. And if we start to allow these creationists to teach their theories in schools, then you also must allow creation accounts of every other religion, myth, cult, and crackpot.

Its my understanding the Darwin never claimed that man evolved from apes. That theory was by another scientist whom Darwin quoted, but didn’t necessarily accept.

Darwin believed that all species evolve, man not being excluded. His position was that human beings are different today, than they were at their beginning and that the species had to evolve in order to survive. Species that don’t evolve, die out.


Someone once said that the role of science in trying to determine the origin of life is the “how”, while the role of religion is the “why”. I don’t really care about how we got here. I’m more concerned about why we’re here and our responsibility as individuals and as believers in God.

Don’t you love it when liberal media deliberately misinterpret the news? :rolleyes:

What exactly is being “misinterpreted”?

All of this stuff is old news to me. I was taught evolutionary theory in parochial school in the sixties.

The first thing that struck me is the reporter’s ignorance and/or agenda. Darwinism doesn’t say that man descended from apes; it says that man and apes both descend from a common ancestor.

Personally, I think Darwinist evolution is a fairy tale for adults, but if you’re going to reference or quote the stuff, at least quote it correctly.

And Creationism isn’t?!

It takes just as much faith in the idea of a bolt of lightning hitting a mud puddle and “creating” microscopic life, which then “evolves” into donkeys and whales and sheep and puppy dogs and snakes and dung beetles, as it does to believe that a Supreme Being spoke life into existance as it is right now.

So, yes, I think Darwinism is a load of booshwah; however, to paraphrase another poster on this very forum, beware of Darwin, “unless you’re of course Darwinist in your orientation”.

(shrug) It makes no difference to me. There are people who believe the world is flat and the moon is made out of green cheese, too. :shrug:

Me, too. The good sisters simply told us that as long as we believed that, at some point, God “breathed a soul” into the first man, the rest of it wasn’t worth getting our knickers in a twist. My puny little brain will never be able to begin to comprehend God’s methods, but it doesn’t much bother me.

Much younger, but that’s what I learned, too.

Funnily enough, I have ended up with a son-in-law who is an evolutionary biologist (quite Catholic!)

Watch that “much younger” stuff! :wink:

My God, you have NO idea what evolution even means!

This depends what you mean by “intelligent Design”, Modern day Creationists of both the Christian and Jewish theological lines tend to popularily follow the “Seventh Day Creationism” theory. However one can believe in “Intelligent Design” and also believe in “Evolution” being the creative process that was used as the theory of “intelligent Design” is not limited to Seventh day creationism despite some scientists dreaming that it is so they can dismiss it. “Intelligent Design” also incorporates the other popular theory of “Theistic Evolutionism”, the theory that most Catholics, even though they do not recognise the name, would ascribe to. The idea that God created the universe, through the process we have, in our humanity, described as “evolution”.

And yes Darwin’s thoery was that we evolved with Apes, not as “descended” from them. He also believed there was no contradiction between his theory and intelligent design as most reputable scholars of his theory still believe today. He was officially not an Athiest but was more Agnostic. He was also familar with St Thomas Aquinas, using some quotes in “the Origin of the Species”. His theory is not an athiestic theory, because he provided no “reasoning”( or answer to the question “why?”) only “process”(or “what?”).

I never engage in argument with Creationists. If you are bound by your faith to believe in “Bible Alone”, then it follows that you must accept the literal 6 day account of creation with God resting on the 7th. The Creationists believe in one God and they believe that Jesus Christ is His Son. That gives us much more common ground with them than with those who do not believe in God and who wish to prove that life could have come into existence without Him.

Not all evolutionary biologists are men and women of faith. Some actually do use this theory to advance an atheistic point of view. The freedom that we Catholics have comes from the magesterium of the Catholic Church. We are free to explore all possibilities regarding the origin of life, because we know that ultimately all true theories cannot help but lead us to God.

Ahem. The title of the book was On the Origin of Species; it was not “the Species” as is often quoted. This popular misconception is no doubt linked to another: that the book was about the origins of the human species, when in fact it is about the origins of species in general.

You can see a reproduction of the title page of the first edition here:

Ok, thank you for correcting me.

Hello again colliric. I should have added, perhaps, that I was otherwise in agreement with your post. I was not trying to suggest that you were one of the many people who, wittingly or unwittingly, use the subtly altered version of the title to support a distorted interpretation of Darwin.

Well, the Vatican does not speak for me on scientific matters. I can believe what I think is best on the topic of evolution as long as I accept that the soul of man is directly created by God.

The last time the Pope defined any dogma was back in 1950. I don’t see evolutionary theory on his list at the present time. Besides it is science or quasi science and the Pope defines “ex cathedra” only matters of religion.

Personally, I have great difficulty accepting Darwinian evolution based on natural selection and incremental changes taking place over eons of time*. *

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