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“The Pontifical Academy of Evolutionists”

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Here’s a quote from THE CHRISTIAN ORDER going back more than a decade:

The Pontifical Academy of Evolutionists

Despite being widely accepted even at the highest level in the Church, there has never been any authoritative teaching approving of evolution. Hence the reaction of the worldwide media to the Pope’s message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on October 25th 1996. The ambiguous phrase that evolution is “more than just a theory” was greeted with glee by the materialistic press as an official admission of the collapse, under the weight of scientific research, of the Church’s traditional beliefs in Adam and Eve and any literal sense of Genesis.(37) Yet by no stretch of wishful thinking can the Pope’s message, arguably not even written by him personally, be considered a Magisterial teaching, still less an infallible new dogma of faith, overturning previous doctrine.

If John Paul II is unaware of the contemporary crisis in the credibility of evolution, this could be related to the fact that his 80 scientific advisors in the Academy are all evolutionists, including Fr. Stanley Jaki and the atheist cosmologist Stephen Hawking. This bias must severely limit the competence of the Academy to fulfil the stated intentions of Pope Pius IX, on its foundation in 1936, “… who wished to surround himself with a select group of scholars, relying on them to inform the Holy See in complete freedom about developments in scientific research and thereby to assist him in his reflections.”(38) In his 1996 Message, John Paul reminded the Academy that the Magisterium has already made pronouncements on these matters, and cites the encyclical “Humani Generis” in which Pope Pius XII: “considered the doctrine of ‘evolutionism’ a serious hypothesis, worthy of investigation and in-depth study equal to that of the opposing hypothesis.” A comparison with the text shows that the Message paraphrases the encyclical in a subtle but misleading way and omits its explicit warning that the evolution of man must not be treated as certain fact.(39) It is also difficult to believe that “the opposing hypothesis,” which remains unnamed but is presumably Special Creation, can have been given “equal investigation and in-depth study” by the Pontifical Academy if there is not one expert on Creation Science included among its members! A prudent Catholic cannot regard such pronouncements, especially in the contemporary post-Vatican II context, as of sufficient weight to overturn two millenia of Scripture, Tradition and Magisterial teachings.

QUESTIONS: Why are all 80 members of the PAS evolutionists? Is the PAS self-selecting? How much say does the Holy Father have in the selection of members? How many of these members are themselves Catholic? How many are theologically sound (i.e., can say the creeds without smirking)?

Comments
NSM (#87): " Evolution and Darwinism are not synonyms." I just obtained controlling interest in a bridge in Brooklyn, looks like a cash cow, email me if you want in. RayR. Martinez
March 30, 2009
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Riddick (#95): Each must be convinced in his own mind about what? That Jesus is his Lord? Yes, of course. I was not suggesting that an ecclesiastical authority saves anyone. But we aren't talking about salvation here. We are talking about the correct interpretation of the doctrine of Creation, and whether it can be made compatible with some version or other of evolutionary theory. That judgment involves the study of evolutionary theory, and it involves the study of difficult Biblical passages, and of the history of the doctrine of Creation, and it requires understanding of Trinitarian doctrine, the imago dei, etc., etc. It is not a matter for the private speculations of autodidactic internet hobbyists who rest arguments on capricious, offbeat interpretations of one or two "pet" passages in Genesis, and misunderstand Darwinian theory based on some popular summary. It requires learning, study, reasoning, judgment, care, and spiritual wisdom. That is why the Vatican, before issuing statements on such subjects, does years of background study. Remember also that the Holy Spirit does not speak only through the Bible. It speaks also through the Church, which it descended upon at Pentecost. So the Bible itself indicates that the Bible is not the sole link between God and the Christian believer. The Church itself -- understood not as buildings or bishops or regulations, but as the people of God living under collective inspiration -- is an equally important link. And the Church was serving that mediating function before the books of the New Testament were even written, let alone canonized. The doctrine of "sola scriptura" is thus a historically incorrect description of the faith of the earliest Christian Church. So yes, basic faith belongs to the individual Christian; but theological doctrine, especially on difficult matters where whole regions of the faith interconnect in complex ways that must be got "right", cannot be left to the individual fancies of someone who is convinced that the Holy Spirit speaks only to himself or herself. At times the individual judgment (again, not regarding the core of faith itself, but regarding the intellectual formulation of faith) must be submitted to the decision of the Church. That is why Teilhard de Chardin was disciplined by the Roman Church. And if Ken Miller, a lay Catholic, were a theologian with teaching privileges in a Catholic seminary, rather than just a cell biologist with an interest in theology, he, too, might well come under the scrutiny of the Church for some of his speculative remarks about evolution and creation. If a lay Catholic makes some speculative errors, the Church can overlook it; but if someone with theological teaching responsibilities makes claims about the faith which are highly questionable, the Church must surely investigate. T.Timaeus
March 25, 2009
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----riddick: "Wow. My heart goes out to you, Timaeus. Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Each must be convinced in his own mind. The Gospel saves, not some ecclesiastical authority." Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would guide his Church and the apostles in the one truth. He did not promise that the Holy Spirit would guide all others to a hundred alternative truths. There are at least 50 different interpretations of the words, "This is my body." Tell me which one is correct and how you know it.StephenB
March 25, 2009
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Timaeus #89: "The very Protestant principle to which R. Martinez appealed — the right of the individual believer to go over the head of Church authorities (such as the Pope) and read the Scripture for himself or herself — is precisely what has given Christians the freedom to embrace and propagate the forms of theistic evolution which R. Martinez despises. If Scripture is the only authority, and if it is the right of every Christian to interpret Scripture individually, then there is no ecclesiastical basis for ruling that Teilhard de Chardin is wrong and R. Martinez is right." Wow. My heart goes out to you, Timaeus. Jesus has promised that the Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth. Each must be convinced in his own mind. The Gospel saves, not some ecclesiastical authority.riddick
March 25, 2009
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----First, Jerry Coyne is a well-known evolutionary biologist at U. Chicago. The Vatican Astronomer Observatory head was Fr. George Coyne. You are correct. I misplaced the two names, though I am aware of the difference. ----Second, Fr. Coyne wasn’t fired. At 73 years of age, he had been asking his superiors to find a new director. That is one version of it. I heard another. As one report put it, "Fr. Coyne was writing against Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, a principal author of the Catholic catechism, who said that an "unplanned process of random variation and natural selection," both important parts of evolutionary thinking, are incompatible with Catholic belief in God's ordering and guiding of creation." I don't think that his release was a coincidence, and neither do a lot of other people. In any case, you are using demographic details to avoid the larger point. Benedict XVI is no Christian Darwinist and the Christian Darwinists clearly do not like that. Like their fellow atheist Darwinists, they don't take well to intellectual debates, as is clear from their presumptuous snubbing of the intelligent design community. Considering the fact that they would probably have outnumbered their adversaries ten to one or even a hundred to one, it was a manifestly cowardly act.StephenB
March 25, 2009
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StephenB, First, Jerry Coyne is a well-known evolutionary biologist at U. Chicago. The Vatican Astronomer Observatory head was Fr. George Coyne. Second, Fr. Coyne wasn't fired. At 73 years of age, he had been asking his superiors to find a new director and they finally did just that. Where did you read about the "shockwaves"? -DU-utidjian
March 25, 2009
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Hazel, unlike many internet entities, I think Google actually uses a capital G in their name. :)Upright BiPed
March 25, 2009
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Uh, Jerry Coyne and father George Coyne are entirely different people. I suggest a little googling.hazel
March 25, 2009
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StephenB, first, you're confusing Jerry Coyne and George Coyne. Different people. Father George Coyne, who is in his seventies, asked to be replaced. Read about it in the link.David Kellogg
March 25, 2009
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Timeaus: I agree with your assessment. It appears that this Pope has already begun to detach himself from his advisors and their dubious orientation to the problem of evolution. It was he, after all, who coined the phrase "the intelligent project," declared that Darwinism has not been proven, and fired Jerry Coyne, radical Darwinist and Vatican astronomer, all of which sent shock waves throughout the Catholic TE academy. I think he understands the importance of this issue, and I wouldn't be surprised if he weighs in on it again in a year or two.StephenB
March 25, 2009
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StephenB (#88): As usual, I agree with you. I was going to post very similar remarks about Catholicism, but now they are redundant. This theological discussion can be brought back around to a UD concern, i.e., the subject of theistic evolutionism. There is a certain irony here. The very Protestant principle to which R. Martinez appealed -- the right of the individual believer to go over the head of Church authorities (such as the Pope) and read the Scripture for himself or herself -- is precisely what has given Christians the freedom to embrace and propagate the forms of theistic evolution which R. Martinez despises. If Scripture is the only authority, and if it is the right of every Christian to interpret Scripture individually, then there is no ecclesiastical basis for ruling that Teilhard de Chardin is wrong and R. Martinez is right. But if the Church itself possesses an authority equal to that of Scripture (since the Church also was inspired by Christ), then the Church can rule on the propriety of evolutionary interpretations of creation doctrine, and rule out all those interpretations which conflict with the core assertions of the faith received by the Apostles. I am not making an argument that the teaching of the Roman Church on evolution is correct, and that the teaching of any particular Protestant church on evolution is false; rather, I am making an argument that no Church, Catholic or Protestant, can take "sola scriptura" 100% literally. Without an authoritative Church, "sola scriptura" is a paper tiger that can enforce nothing, and in fact is a recipe for an anarchy of private interpretations, on evolution and on every other theological topic. Luther and Calvin did not, in practice, take "sola scriptura" 100% literally; they framed their interpretations of Scripture, just as Rome did, within a Church context; but it was their radical slogan, not their conservative practice, which governed much of the subsequent history of Protestantism. The result is 2000+ Protestant denominations, each prone to further subdivision in the event of some new quarrel over the meaning of Scripture. In addition, we now have thousands of "freelance" theologians, each flooding the internet with his or her private interpretation of the Bible, and generally unwilling to submit that interpretation to even the slightest correction or modification. It is this very unwillingness of "sola scriptura" Christians to submit their interpretations to the authority of the Church -- any Church -- that guarantees the long life of the liberal heresies that R. Martinez inveighs against. It is precisely the fact that Rome understands this point that gives me hope that leadership on the evolution question will continue to come from Rome. I think the current Pope is a strong individual, and trained deeply enough in theology to fully understand that he has the right, and even the duty, to set aside the advice of even a hundred Darwinist advisors, if that is what Christian teaching demands. Thus, while I do not underrate the danger indicated by William Dembski on this thread, I trust that this Pope will come through in the end, making it clear to the rulers of the age that even "consensus science" cannot dictate the contents of the Christian religion. T.Timaeus
March 25, 2009
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I have probably tried the patience of administers by providing an abbreviated rational defense for Catholicism, but I gather they understand that I was responding to anti-Catholic screeds that needed to be answered. That is very broad minded of them, since most of them are non-Catholic. Normally, I don’t do things that way, preferring to emphasize what we ID advocates hold in common both scientifically, philosophically, and theologically (which is almost everything). Even at that, I am starting to feel as if I am abusing my posting privileges by presenting these points. Perhaps, I should call a moratorium on my own responses after this explanation. Cannuckian Yankee ----"The “universeal magisterium” notion (as far as it is equal to the Catholic leadership) is not biblical. You know it’s funny how scripture is used conveniently as an authority for this idea (but scripture is not the only authority?).” The Church’s teaching authority is confirmed in Scripture. I am prepared to cite numerous passages to confirm that point. Why is it funny to use Scripture as evidence for those Christians who will accept nothing else? In any case, the Gospel was presented in oral form decades before it was committed to Scripture and people were being saved on its strength. Sacred Oral Tradition (not the traditions of men) and the Scriptures present the same Gospel, except the each is interdependent with the other. The Scriptures make this very point, declaring its harmony with Sacred Tradition. -----“The only universal magisterium is Christ himself directly above all. Scritpure gives no indication of a papacy. None whatsoever. In fact, Scripture apparently condemns any kind of heirarchy apart from the original apostles.” That is true. Christ is the head of his church. We agree on that. On the other hand, Christ established a singular head of the Church to act in his name and arranged for apostolic succession so his teachings would not be corrupted over time. The reason for that should be clear. He didn’t want his followers to embrace ten-thousand different interpretations of the one, true, Gospel. -----“C] Sola Scriptura’s scriptural basis: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV)” You are confusing “necessary” with “sufficient.” Good diet is necessary and "useful" for health, but it is not sufficient. Similarly, the Scriptures are necessary for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training, but they are not sufficient. That is precisely what Scripture says about itself, which I alluded to in the many passages appealing to both oral and written traditions that you seem to have ignored. -----“The reason - and the only reason I am so opposed to the idea of the heirarchy (majesterium) in the Catholic Church is due to the fact that it leaves all other Christians out of the picture, which is contrary to John 3:16. Anybody can call upon Christ for salvation - not just Catholics. I don’t think Jesus had the Roman Catholic Church in mind as His universal Church - rather, the universal fellowship of all believers, who call on his name. I have to believe this, because this is what Scripture apart from human tradition, says is true. This is why I don’t completely count all Catholics out either (as some Protestants do). If Christ’s authority is what was meant by the divine magesterium, then I would agree with B as well. The true spirit of Christ’s word is never corrupted. Human traditions, on the other hand can and often are corrupted. Isn’t it the confusion over what we must do to be saved that causes all the fuss? Is it really enough to simply call on Christ for salvation? As a Christian you say yes; as a Christian, I say no. Were we meant to be in dispute over that matter? Which authority, if not a Church which was designed to define these matters, is to act as the final moral arbiter and bring us together in unity? It can’t be the Scriptures, because we both agree on its authority and disagree about the meaning of certain critical passages. When James says that “faith without works is dead,” and that we are “NOT saved by faith alone,” I take him literally and seriously. I gather that you do not. In any case, someone must speak as the final authority, and that someone must speak in the name of Christ. You speak of a universal fellowship of believers, but there is no such thing as unity without leadership.StephenB
March 25, 2009
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@R.Martinez “you are incredibly ignorant, or a slow student or even worse (”but I would rather not consider that”).” In what sense is this not arguing the man? How can calling someone a slow student or wicked (which is what I assume you were implying with the words quoted) be interpreted as anything but an insult? And yet you say: “I argued position, not the man, that was the plain-to-see context.” Not so plain-to-see in my opinion. The rest of your argument is confused. Evolution and Darwinism are not synonyms. This is a debate in which the meaning of words is important, and you have used words carelessly.NSM
March 25, 2009
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A little off subject StephenB: "Back to substance: [A] Authentic Catholicism is not pro-Darwin [B] The Divine component of the Catholic Church (Universal Magisterium) cannot be corrupted; the human component can and has been corrupted many times. [C] “Sola Scripture” is not Biblical.. [D] Christs resurrection is a matter of historical fact." Re: A] authentic Catholicism? How about authentic Christianity altogether? B] The "universeal magisterium" notion (as far as it is equal to the Catholic leadership) is not biblical. You know it's funny how scripture is used conveniently as an authority for this idea (but scripture is not the only authority?). The only universal magisterium is Christ himself directly above all. Scritpure gives no indication of a papacy. None whatsoever. In fact, Scripture apparently condemns any kind of heirarchy apart from the original apostles. C] Sola Scriptura's scriptural basis: "All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NIV) D] Christ's resurrection - historical fact - on that we can agree. We also apparently agree on ID. Thank God for that. The reason - and the only reason I am so opposed to the idea of the heirarchy (majesterium) in the Catholic Church is due to the fact that it leaves all other Christians out of the picture, which is contrary to John 3:16. Anybody can call upon Christ for salvation - not just Catholics. I don't think Jesus had the Roman Catholic Church in mind as His universal Church - rather, the universal fellowship of all believers, who call on his name. I have to believe this, because this is what Scripture apart from human tradition, says is true. This is why I don't completely count all Catholics out either (as some Protestants do). If Christ's authority is what was meant by the divine magesterium, then I would agree with B as well. The true spirit of Christ's word is never corrupted. Human traditions, on the other hand can and often are corrupted.CannuckianYankee
March 24, 2009
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StephenB, Jerry: It sounds as if you are referring to the discussion on my first UD column, 21 June 2008: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/theistic-evolutionists-your-position-is-incoherent-but-we-can-help-you/ Steve Matheson came in at post #50. I will check out the ASA discussions from that time period.Thomas Cudworth
March 24, 2009
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StephenB, I sort of remember the exchange but can't remember the time. I frequently look as the ASA site but do not spend much time there since 80% of what they talk about is religion and I am interested in science. A few are hard core Darwinists in the sense that evolution had to be naturalistic but do not accept the notion that it was completely unguided but make no claims as to how it was. In general they are not very knowledgeable about evolution because they just accept it and do not study it. This hard core seems to be reflexively anti ID. There are apparently a fair number of ID sympathizers there and one commentator said the membership of the organization is more ID friendly than the posters at ASA. Stephen Matheson is very knowledgeable about evolution but I have only read parts of his blog four or five times and actually found it helpful in refuting a Darwinist here who was making a big deal about maize. Matheson seems to emphasize micro evolution examples as they all do and is a good writer but contentious a lot of the time.jerry
March 24, 2009
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----ThomasC: "Could you direct me to: (1) Places on the ASA site where people have responded to you; (2) the special website that you are referring to?" On #1, I refer to reports passed on to me from Jerry, who alerted me about it sometime ago. I didn't follow up to observe it first hand, so I don't know where the comments are. Apparently, they were all angry with me for aggressively challenging the logic of their position during their visit here a year of so ago. On #2, The special website that is reposted from time to time is called "Quintessence of Dust," designed by Steve Matheson, a theistic evolutionist who posts regularly at the ASA. It hasn't been posted for a couple of days, but it will likely come back again. When anyone googles "Uncommon Descent," they will often find it located on the middle of the same page as our website, which is, of course, at the top. It begins with the phrase that goes something like this: "I continue to repost this for all those who, like me, do not read uncommon descent"...... The dialogue that he alludes to happened on a UD post, the title of which I cannot remember. On his specially designed site, he recounts parts of that debate, reporting his comments to me and deleting my comments to him. He then opens it up for others to congratulate him for "dressing me down." Naturally, none are even curious about what I might have said in defense of my own argument, the substance of which was, in my judgment, sufficient to disabuse anyone of the illusion that it was he who prevailed. Indeed, I assume that is why my comments did not appear.StephenB
March 24, 2009
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As far as I can tell my messages are on a delayed status. I am surprised to see my parting shot post (#79). Since it has posted I will at least finish with StephenB. I reserve the right to identify ignorance, subjectivity and corruption when I see it. The identification is attacking position and not the man. StephenB (#80): "I made it clear, and have always made clear, that theistic evolution, as it is understood today, makes no sense. What in the world prompts you to think that I am catering to that which I have always deemed as illogical." https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/the-pontifical-academy-of-evolutionists/#comment-309657 You have ignored and evaded everything in the above link. "No one on this site has argued more forcefully against theistic evolution—-no one. If you don’t believe that, just check out what they say about me at the ASA. One of its members has even established a special website dedicated to me in which he continually plays back one of our debates except the he records only what he wrote, leaving out all my refutations." False https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/the-pontifical-academy-of-evolutionists/#comment-309610 StephenB: BEGIN LINK QUOTE: For better or for worse, evolution, micro or macro, is no longer synonymous with atheism, at least not since Chardin hit the scene. While I could develop the point further and point to the more modern notion of macro-evolution and “front loading,” which can be reconciled with theism, I will leave it alone for now. The point is, we must now distinguish between “evolution” in general, which is not necessarily atheistic, and Darwinism, which, for all practical purposes, is. END LINK QUOTE For the record: I am without a doubt the number one enemy of TEism where I post regularly (the Talk Origins Usenet). The quoted excerpt of yours (above) contradicts your denial. I am at a complete loss to explain why you are unable to see this egregious contradiction. Evading my post #76 (link also posted above) is just as baffling since its main point is to show this egregious contradiction. "I contend that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the fantasy of Darwinian evolution...." I completely agree; that is why I am a species immutabilist. "I also contend that modern-day theistic [evolution] is an intellectual madhouse because it posits both guided and unguided evolution at the same time." (bracket added by R.M.) I completely agree. But the excerpt of yours quoted above exists in direct contradiction. So is your next quote. "On the other hand, the concept of a God-guided evolution is not inherently illogical nor is it a faith buster." Egregious contradiction. Again, you are utterly blind, catering. Again, in your message #80 the second to the last paragraph egregiously contradicts the last paragraph. Of course, like I have been saying, you are utterly blind to the fact. RayR. Martinez
March 24, 2009
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StephenB (#74, #80): I thought your remarks on evolution, Darwinism, theistic evolution, etc. were entirely correct, and well-explained. I also thought your tone and manner were entirely gracious. However, based on past experience, I predict that your noble efforts are not going to be rewarded by reasonable responses from Mr. Martinez. I tried the same arguments and the same gentle approach on a previous thread, and was angrily scorned, much as you have been. See the discussion on: https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/an-open-challenge-to-neo-darwinists-what-would-it-take-to-falsify-your-theory/ I would not recommend investing much more time on this thread. However, you made a remark which interests me. You wrote: “No one on this site has argued more forcefully against theistic evolution—-no one. If you don’t believe that, just check out what they say about me at the ASA. One of its members has even established a special website dedicated to me in which he continually plays back one of our debates except the he records only what he wrote, leaving out all my refutations.” Could you direct me to: (1) Places on the ASA site where people have responded to you; (2) the special website that you are referring to?Thomas Cudworth
March 24, 2009
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----"Ray: "Stephen is catering to ignorance, subjectivity and corruption (the entire spectrum) known as Theistic evolutionism. Why?" Ray, I hope that you will not disengage since we have not yet finished our business. In any case, I thought that surely you would read out of my words the meaning that was intended rather than to read into them your own personal convictions. I made it clear, and have always made clear, that theistic evolution, as it is understood today, makes no sense. What in the world prompts you to think that I am catering to that which I have always deemed as illogical? No one on this site has argued more forcefully against theistic evolution----no one. If you don't believe that, just check out what they say about me at the ASA. One of its members has even established a special website dedicated to me in which he continually plays back one of our debates except the he records only what he wrote, leaving out all my refutations. My point is that an illogical theist is not the same thing as an militant atheist. Indeed, I submit that the former does more damage than the latter, but that doesn't change the fact that one must be distinquished from the other. If you think that I am tempted to compromise truth for the sake of popularity, you have not read my posts very carefully. In any case, I contend that there is no evidence whatsoever to support the fantasy of Darwinian evolution and I also contend that modern-day theistic is an intellectual madhouse because it posits both guided and unguided evolution at the same time. On the other hand, the concept of a God-guided evolution is not inherently illogical nor is it a faith buster. The fact that I don't believe it happened that way suggests that we have a lot in common. Still, remember this: Faith ignited by passion moves mountains, but faith hampered by fanaticism moves nothing or no one.StephenB
March 24, 2009
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Clive Hayden (#78): "Ray, do you think this sort of attack helps the discussion? Do you think it wise to impugn someone’s character for what you think are his motives?" Your comments contain no truth whatsoever. I argued position, not the man, that was the plain-to-see context. For you to want to imitate Judge Jones and censor me is disturbing. You cannot ban me since this is my last post (also known as a parting shot). Like Judge Jones and his fellow Atheists on the Federal bench, you are practicing the same corrupt business on the opposite side of the street. Neither I nor Atheist-evolutionist Allen MacNeill have done anything worthy of censure or banishment. To say what I wrote to somehow be illegitimate is an insult of intelligence. Ray Martinez, Protestant Evangelical, Old Earth-Young Biosphere Creationist-species immutabilist, Paleyan Designist, British Natural Theologian.R. Martinez
March 24, 2009
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R. Martinez, "Stephen is catering to ignorance, subjectivity and corruption.." "Apparently he cares more about being liked than he cares about the truth" Ray, do you think this sort of attack helps the discussion? Do you think it wise to impugn someone's character for what you think are his motives? You do this sort of thing often, which is why I put you on moderation. If you continue, I will delete your comments before they are posted, and then, if you continue, I will be forced to ban you. I'm being dead serious Ray, you can contribute all day long to the discussion as long as you leave insults out of it.Clive Hayden
March 24, 2009
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#76: "Your comment is awaiting moderation." I did not write this comment. It somehow appeared when I posted my message. RayR. Martinez
March 24, 2009
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StephenB (#74): "Ray, I am sympathetic to your insistence that truth should not be compromised...." As we shall soon see the comment above contains an invisible asterisk. "On the matter of evolution and atheism, you are correct that Darwinism rules out teleology in nature, which is another way of saying that it cannot be logically reconciled to Christianity." Arrow straight facts and logic; but they exist in the context of an invisible asterisk. "Still, other non-atheistic evolutionary concepts have been brought to the forefront in the 20th Century...." False. It was Darwin's theory of evolution that science accepted 1859-1879. Evolution was accepted as being caused by unintelligent and unguided material agencies even though natural selection was rejected by the majority. As we know the biological synthesis of the 1930s and 40s ratified natural selection as the main but not the exclusive cause of evolutionary change, thus vindicating Darwin. In addition, and most importantly, Darwin was arguing against Creationism (God involvement): independent creation of each immutable species (Darwin 1859:6). The point here is that the concept of "evolution" was accepted on the basis that Mind was NOT INvolved with biological production. This objective fact corresponds to a pro-Atheism position. Conversely, the INvolvement of Mind (= independent or special creation) corresponds to Theism, that is, the INvolvement of God in reality/biological production. Therefore the concept of "evolution" since acceptance is pro-Atheism: God is NOT involved. IF God is involved with biological production the same is called Creationism or Intelligent design. Based on these facts the concept of "evolution" CANNOT be propagated as being caused by Theos. The concept means "God is not involved." That is why it was proposed by Darwin (who self-admittedly became a Materialist by 1838 (Notebooks M and N)): God was judged to be absent from nature. Darwin accounted for God at the end of his book, placing Him in a deistic position, external to reality (1859:490). The placement sought to escape a charge of Atheism which was illegal to propagate in Victorian times (reference available upon request). "A....Catholic priest named Teilhard de Chardin.... proposed a teleological brand of evolution that, while theistic...." And his proposal was DOA (dead-on-arrival) based on the above facts. See Daniel Dennett, "Darwin's Dangerous Idea" (1995) in support of this fact. Again, the concept seen in "theism" and the concept seen in "evolution" are antonymic and oxymoronic. "It was Chardin that got the ball rolling for what we think of today as theistic evolution." William Dembski has argued vehemently against TEism ("Intelligent Design" 1999). Again, every fact argued above exposes the invalidity of TEism. "For better or for worse, evolution, micro or macro, is no longer synonymous with atheism, at least not since Chardin hit the scene. While I could develop the point further and point to the more modern notion of macro-evolution and 'front loading,' which can be reconciled with theism, I will leave it alone for now. The point is, we must now distinguish between 'evolution' in general, which is not necessarily atheistic, and Darwinism, which, for all practical purposes, is." Hence the "invisible asterisk." "Darwinism" and "evolution" are synonyms. StephenB departs objectivity thus negating the straight thinking that began his message. Stephen is catering to ignorance, subjectivity and corruption (the entire spectrum) known as Theistic evolutionism. Why? Answer: Apparently he cares more about being liked than he cares about the truth (which, as we have seen, he knows). OBJECTIVE FACTS: IF Theos is INvolved with nature the same is called Theism, Creationism, Intelligent design, God-did-it. IF Theos is NOT INvolved with nature the same is called Darwinism, evolution, Materialism-Naturalism, Atheism, God-didn't-do-it. RayR. Martinez
March 24, 2009
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Am I the only person that has found this thread to be extremely troubling? There are too many things I want to say. I apologise if this seems disjointed: @ Iconofid: “If you took 80 distinguished scientists at random, the chances are they all would be “evolutionists”” This is misleading, as it assumes the scientists have been chosen at random. Stephen Hawking wasn’t there because he won a raffle. The point is that there is no balance in terms of the views being represented. ID theorists weren’t excluded because they weren’t lucky enough to be included as part of some probability sample. There was a definite, conscious effort to exclude these ones. The comments on racism and catholicism are frightening, in my opinion, and should be cause for concern. @ AmerikanInKananaskis “If you have some evidence that shows that ID is sexist, I would like to see it.” I think the fact that you issued this challenge indicates the problem. ID can’t be sexist for the same reason that the theory of gravity can’t be sexist. ID is a proposition that states that certain aspects of the universe are better explained by a designer, than by unguided processes. Obviously there is nothing inherently sexist or racist about that. However, how is the theory of evolution inherently racist? How is the proposition that the current diversity of plant and animal life is the result of random mutation and natural selection inherently racist? Or sexist? Let me also put forward the following: Suppose that ID is correct. If there is design in nature, it stands to reason that such design can be emulated by human beings (as ID doesn’t specify that the designer is omnipotent, omniscient etc). In the year 2040, scientists suggest that human beings are sub-optimal, perhaps due to the degradation of the original design over time. It is further reasoned that there should be only one race (as racism is a major cause of division in moder society). Scientists thus come to the conclusion that genes should be manipulated (or whatever), so as to ensure that there is only one race. Is that not racism? The fact that is hasn’t happened is no impediment to its possible occurrence. The world didn’t need Darwin to justify their racism. (incidentally, I don’t disagree that Darwinism was a necessary but not sufficient cause for the holocaust). @ R.Martinez “Since you were advocating evolutionary theory to NOT have objective claims, that evolution (= Materialism) is compatible with Theism (= Ken Millerism), you are incredibly ignorant, or a slow student or even worse (”but I would rather not consider that”).” I’m slightly shocked by this. At least at first you were only applying your position to Catholics. Now you state that theism is incompatible with evolutionary theory? Huh? Firstly, how do you define theism, and how do you define evolution? Does common descent = materialism? So Mike Behe is now a materialist? Is theism not simply the opposite of atheism? Your statement that Catholics who accept evolution are under the control of Satan is irresponsible. Anyone reading this thread would immediately be turned away from intelligent design if they were to read that. It reminded me of those Zeitgeist conspiracy theorists. You’re essentially stating: 1)I’m right 2)Those that disagree are under the control of Satan Does that sound like a position conducive to debate? This is especially irresponsible due to the fact that you haven’t properly and clearly stated what you meant by “evolution.” You didn’t even use the accepted “Darwinism.”NSM
March 24, 2009
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----Ray: "Evolution, since Darwin 1859, was accepted on the presupposition that God is absent from reality and that only material causation exists (= Materialism). These are round earth facts that explicitly say Atheism is true and that the Bible and Christianity are false." Ray, I am sympathetic to your insistence that truth should not be compromised, and I believe that this laudable conviction shapes the substance of your correspondence. On the matter of evolution and atheism, you are correct that Darwinism rules out teleology in nature, which is another way of saying that it cannot be logically reconciled to Christianity. Still, other non-atheistic evolutionary concepts have been brought to the forefront in the 20th Century that proposed both cosmic and biological evolution. A rogue Catholic priest named Teilhard de Chardin, for example, ignored the teachings and admonitions of his own church, and proposed a teleological brand of evolution that, while theistic, appeared to compromise the doctrine of original sin. To put the matter in an obscenely simplistic fashion, Chardin posited that mankind was the axis of evolution into a higher consciousness and suggested that a supreme consciousness, God, must be drawing the universe toward him. Like many fads, it caught on with the intellectual elite because it seemed to facilitate a belief in both God and evolution. It was Chardin that got the ball rolling for what we think of today as theistic evolution. As a point of interest, I would point out that the Catholic Church condemned this heretical world view. In keeping with that point, theistic evolutionists almost always end up sacrificing many of their Christian beliefs at the altar of scientific speculation. In any case, many scholars and even some clergy got caught up in this foolishness. Indeed, it is the primary reason that some Catholics have bought into Christian Darwinsim, unaware that they have made the subtle transition from religious heresy to practical atheism. The point is, though, that Chardin’s evolutionary scheme was NOT atheistic, which is why so many Christians fell for it. For better or for worse, evolution, micro or macro, is no longer synonymous with atheism, at least not since Chardin hit the scene. While I could develop the point further and point to the more modern notion of macro-evolution and "front loading," which can be reconciled with theism, I will leave it alone for now. The point is, we must now distinguish between “evolution” in general, which is not necessarily atheistic, and Darwinism, which, for all practical purposes, is.StephenB
March 23, 2009
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Allen MacNeill wrote (#69): "As this thread seems to be winding down I will withhold further comment here." Once again continuing the pattern of refusing to engage poor old Timaeus (see #52). Sigh. On a previous thread, it was the "I've got the flu" excuse. Above, it was the "I'm trying to reply, but I can't through because I'm being moderated" excuse (#63). Now it's the "this thread seems to be winding down" excuse. I've seen much more creative dodges from undergraduates who are late with their essays. Surely a Cornell lecturer can come up with more sophisticated pretexts for failing to respond to reasonable criticism. T.Timaeus
March 23, 2009
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William Dembski: "QUESTIONS: Why are all 80 members of the PAS evolutionists?" Obviously a very good question since their conclusions are not in doubt---being entirely predetermined. RayR. Martinez
March 23, 2009
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William Dembski: QUESTIONS: Why are all 80 members of the PAS evolutionists? If you took 80 distinguished scientists at random, the chances are they all would be "evolutionists"iconofid
March 23, 2009
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StephenB (#67): "R. Martinez and I may disagree about Catholicism...." I have been quote-mined mercilessly. My position is as follows: IF ANY Church (includes Protestant churches) accepts or advocates evolution for any reason then they correspond to Judas. Evolution, since Darwin 1859, was accepted on the presupposition that God is absent from reality and that only material causation exists (= Materialism). These are round earth facts that explicitly say Atheism is true and that the Bible and Christianity are false. RayR. Martinez
March 23, 2009
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