The thing to see is that their worldview – even if they are Catholic – would not allow them to get it right.
If they did, they could hardly get the words published in a respectable paper. Remember that when you renew your subscription: The constrained language of current media reporting does not usually permit these people to tell us a straight story. On anything.
Here, Jay Richards at Discovery Institute, himself a Catholic, comments on the reaction to the Pope saying, at Easter,
It is not the case that in the expanding universe, at a late stage, in some tiny corner of the cosmos, there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationality within creation, or to bring rationality into it.
Flam describes this as “taking a swipe at science.” But Pope Benedict is quite clearly denying a certain proposition of materialism, namely, the idea that human beings are a mere happenstance that evolved without plan or purpose. Flam is confusing science with scientific materialism. One can affirm the former but reject the latter. The Pope, because he is Catholic, does exactly that.
The skinny: Just as Christians die when the Pope talks about Islamist extremism, Christian academics get silenced when he talks about design. So he does it in terms too smart for the pop media, which is always looking for an atheist to surrender to.
I know from considerable experience that religion is a subject on which journalists are typically proud to be ignorant. It’s a badge of merit. They only pretend to care about getting it right; to actually care would require intellectual resources beyond their capacity. Put anther way: Practical atheism makes you stupid.
Richards comments on the elderly physicist trotted out to demonstrate that randomness can mean design.”
Then we get Stephen Barr offering his private definition of “chance.”
It is possible to believe simultaneously in a world that is shaped by chance and one following a divine plan. “God is in charge and there’s a lot of accident,” said Barr, also a Catholic. “It’s all part of a plan. . . . God may have known where every molecule was going to move.”
Well, that sure clears it up. The problem with Barr’s claim is that one of the connotations of an event that happens by chance is that it is not following someone’s plan, divine or otherwise. Moreover, Barr tells us that there may even be exhaustive divine foreknowledge of every event in cosmic history. If so, then everything that happens would be part of God’s purposeful providence.
And not chance. But if Barr didn’t talk in soothing way that makes no sense, he wouldn’t be interviewed by Dimwit for The Dweeb. The key to impressing a religion writer is to sound elegant and harmless and say nothing that Richard Dawkins wouldn’t – once we subtract the confusing rhetoric and aimless fluff.