Evolution Intelligent Design

Signs of the Catholic Church Coming Out Against Neo-Darwinism and for ID

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Cardinal Schönborn’s oped today in the NYTimes is one of the first signs that the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI is going to be repudiating neo-Darwinism and supporting ID. Schönborn is both a close personal friend of the pope and philosophically on the same page with him. See also Mike Behe’s comments about this oped (go here).

5 Replies to “Signs of the Catholic Church Coming Out Against Neo-Darwinism and for ID

  1. 1
    PhilVaz says:

    The Cardinal’s statement may cause some confusion. The statement last summer from the International Theological Commission, endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger has this:

    “In freely willing to create and conserve the universe, God wills to activate and to sustain in act all those secondary causes whose activity contributes to the unfolding of the natural order which he intends to produce. Through the activity of natural causes, God causes to arise those conditions required for the emergence and support of living organisms, and, furthermore, for their reproduction and differentiation. Although there is scientific debate about the degree of purposiveness or design operative and empirically observable in these developments, they have de facto favored the emergence and flourishing of life. Catholic theologians can see in such reasoning support for the affirmation entailed by faith in divine creation and divine providence. In the providential design of creation, the triune God intended not only to make a place for human beings in the universe but also, and ultimately, to make room for them in his own trinitarian life. Furthermore, operating as real, though secondary causes, human beings contribute to the reshaping and transformation of the universe.” (paragraph 68, “Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God”)

    I.E. God as Creator works through natural, secondary causes. God of course is the primary cause, the “cause of causes.”

    Next —

    “A growing body of scientific critics of neo-Darwinism point to evidence of design (e.g., biological structures that exhibit specified complexity) that, in their view, cannot be explained in terms of a purely contingent process and that neo-Darwinians have ignored or misinterpreted. The nub of this currently lively disagreement involves scientific observation and generalization concerning whether the available data support inferences of design or chance, and cannot be settled by theology. But it is important to note that, according to the Catholic understanding of divine causality, true contingency in the created order is not incompatible with a purposeful divine providence. Divine causality and created causality radically differ in kind and not only in degree. Thus, even the outcome of a truly contingent natural process can nonetheless fall within God’s providential plan for creation.” (“Human Persons Created in the Image of God”, document published July 2004, paragraph 69)

    I.E. A truly natural process can fall within God’s plan for creation.

    Furthermore, macroevolution or common descent is called “virtually certain” in paragraph 63, along with the universe at approx 15 billion years old, the earth at 4.5 billion, and “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”, etc.

    If Cardinal Schonborn’s main point is that Catholics cannot hold to metaphysical naturalism, that God is not behind the evolution of life, well of course. If he is saying that “design” is scientifically detectable (rather than taken by faith, which I understand as the theistic evolution position), that’s another issue and yeah he seems to be aligning himself with the “Intelligent Design” (ID) camp. I don’t want to argue with the Cardinal, but let ID make its case to the scientific community, as biological evolution has done and been accepted for the past 150 years.

    Phil P

  2. 2
    PhilVaz says:

    The International Theological Commission statement (July 2004) can be found here

    http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/p80.htm

    Or at the Vatican’s own site here

    http://www.vatican.va/roman_cu.....ip_en.html

    I don’t think Cardinal Schonborn is repudiating all the points found in paragraphs 62-70 in particular, in a document endorsed by Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI). Or else we have some serious contradictions between these statements.

    Phil P

  3. 3

    […] It will be interesting to see what Dembski and co will do with this. Remember, Dembski states that “Cardinal Schönborn’s oped today in the NYTimes is one of the first signs that the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI is going to be repudiating neo-Darwinism and supporting ID” (7/7/05). […]

  4. 4

    […] of course, but his choice of language is curious and evokes his friend Cardinal Schonborn’s comments that so shocked the New York Times eight years […]

  5. 5

    […] of course, but his choice of language is curious and evokes his friend Cardinal Schonborn’s comments that so shocked the New York Times eight years […]

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