Thomistic evolutionists maintain that Aquinas’s philosophy/theology is incompatible with the modern theory of intelligent design (ID). At the same time they say it can be reconciled with neo-Darwinism. This may seem odd even for a non-Christian. There may be different reasons why Thomistic evolutionists chose to counter ID: Some may be ignorant of it, some may fear “the scientific community” and “the scientific consensus.” Still others may actually believe that arguments for ID somehow threaten the old Thomistic arguments for God’s existence known as the Five Ways. However, Thomistic evolutionists have never worked out any consistent opinion on intelligent design. They employ many different arguments, even mutually contradictory ones, which they borrow from either the atheistic evolutionary arsenal or the theistic one, or even from the “young earthers.” Thus we hear that ID is reductive, that it excludes Aquinas’ Fifth Way, that it affirms a “god of the gaps,” that it is not scientific, that it is non-Christian, or that it is mechanistic. A thorough response to no less than sixteen arguments gathered from Thomistic anti-ID literature is to be found in the book Aquinas and Evolution. Here we will present just three of them along with the responses (see below). But first we need to explain what ID is. More.
Thomism, derived from the work of Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century, is the most rigorous and systematic understanding of the natural world ever put forth. It is, of course, a theological and ethical system as well, but its metaphysics, which derive from Aristotle, were the basis for the scientific enlightenment and remain the (implicit) basis for much of modern science, especially in quantum physics. More.
Speaking as a Catholic, I (O’Leary for News) think it an ongoing scandal that the Catholic view of life, as developed by Aquinas, has been associated by some philosophers with the idea that nature shows no actual evidence of design. That would be foreign to any point of view likely to have much traction before nihilism took hold a couple of centuries back and certainly cannot have been Aquinas’s view.
See also: Catholic Darwinist Ken Miller claims increasing information in life forms is easy
Atheist philosopher has some questions for anti-ID Catholic biochemist (and recent Darwin prize recipient) Ken Miller