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Wayne Rossiter: Darwin and the Pope

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Concluding our religion News coverage for the week, From Wayne Rossiter, author of Shadow of Oz: Theistic Evolution and the Absent God: at his book blog:

Over the weekend, I had a friend ask me about this story, in which Pope Francis has seemingly cast in with Darwinian evolution. Now, I have learned from previous experience, that pressing some Catholics on this will often result in some long response about the Pope being mis-interpreted. So, I’ll let others decide if this is really what the Pope said. But, let’s at least roll with what the story declares.

“The theories of evolution and the Big Bang are real and God is not ‘a magician with a magic wand’, Pope Francis has declared. Speaking at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, the Pope made comments which experts said put an end to the ‘pseudo theories’ of creationism and intelligent design that some argue were encouraged by his predecessor, Benedict XVI.”

Oddly, Pope Francis then supposedly said,

“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.”More.

Francis should not be addressing a nuanced subject like “the Big Bang” or “evolution,” especially in a time of ferment within those fields. For one thing, he probably does not even know about the ferment. While he connects well with people, he is not an especially good theologian, as Rossiter’s discussion implies. But who is to tell him?

See also: Wayne Rossiter: The dragon in Plantinga’s garage

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You're a rather typical internet materialist, rv. You take anything and everything for granted. Poof. You have DNA replicating and splitting itself up into cells, while you envision this to be some answer as to why life and diversity exists. You might want to keep in mind that the informational utility of DNA is a product of coordination, not dynamics. The capacity of DNA to carry heritable memory requires immediate coordination between the rate-independent sequence of bases in DNA and a specific set of non-integrable constraints (as well as a whole assortment of helpers to complete the system). Without the organization, the information goes away. Successful coordination is the only reason the system persists, and it had to be that way at the origin of the heterogeneous cell (i.e. it's the only way to specify the coordination). Edit: By the way rv, this information is the lessons learned from Pierce, Turing, von Neumann, Crick, Nirenberg, Zamecnik, Pattee and others. It's been in the record for quite some time. Oh, one more thing; the only other place we can identify a physical system that works this way is in written language and mathematics. Go figure. Upright BiPed
Hmmm, does the sperm cell have 23 chromosomes, and the ova 23 chromosomes, and do they not recombine in the gamete to form the 46 chromosome human compliment? DNA spits into various sex cells. When, like asauber, you desperately seek evidence for a global flood, to prove a mythical event, 'facepalms' are permitted:) Heh! rvb8
DNA splits into the various sex cells
facepalm Upright BiPed
Correct UB, DNA splits into the various sex cells, then has a happy meeting. My mistake, thanks for pointing it out. I'm glad you're here to keep me honest; good work! Could you point out to J-Mac, that although my error was incorrect, it was forgivable. His/Her belief in a global flood is just completely loony tune. You'll be good enough to back me up here? Or, are you suggesting that the 'big boat belief' is a more acceptable error than my mistake? rvb8
Francis should not be addressing a nuanced subject like “the Big Bang” or “evolution”
I totally agree with this. It's easy when you're a world superstar, to embellish your image of yourself with illusory abilities and false knowledge. Andrew asauber
DNA replicates
DNA does not replicate, rv.
I prefer facts
You run from facts. Upright BiPed
J-Mac, I hope you're not invoking Kirk Cameron's and Ray Comfort's ludicrous 'crocoduck' argument? You know, sure 'micro', but not 'macro'. As your post suggests you accept Biblical Inundation, I suppose you are in the Cameron/Comfort camp. "Will Larry Moran be ever able to evlove to fly?" Well, apart from from the tortured sentence structure, no, he won't. His far descendents might, but that would require a massive change in human terrestrial behaviour, and environmental factors coming into play. Likewise, we will probably never see the Coyne/Cat, although I'm sure he wouldn't be averse to being some kind of sentient feline, it may even be a fetish of his. Any more silly non-arguments refuting something evolution doesn't espouse? I could be nasty and bring up all of the physical impossibilities of a worldwide flood (covering Everest:), the impossibility of feeding, housing, mucking out, and the general silliness of such a silly, but entertaining tale; I could but won't. Let's just say this, DNA replicates and mistakes are incurred, these mistakes are generally harmful, some are beneficial, these beneficial mutations are passed on; change occurs, infinately slowly, so slowly our 75 year lifespan brains can't comprehend it, and thus invent easier explanations to explain diversity; floods, gods, and rewards, and what have you. Enjoy your perpetual security blanket, I prefer facts, less comforting, but they have the benefit of being true. rvb8
“Evolution in nature is not inconsistent with the notion of creation, because evolution requires the creation of beings that evolve.” What's new? All one needs to do is substitute the word evolution with change. How else would species change within a kind after the flood? Of course they changed within the limits set by the Designer for each kind. Will Larry Moran be ever able able to evolve to fly? How about Jerry Coyne evolving into a cat instead of cat-lover? Anybody getting the point? J-Mac
'For one thing, he probably does not even know about the ferment. While he connects well with people, he is not an especially good theologian, as Rossiter’s discussion implies. But who is to tell him?' He would not have to be an especially good theologian, News. I am not a theologian, period. But it didn't take me long to cotton on to the truth, just by following Uncommondescent and Cornelius' blog. And it was disappointing to hear those 'throw-away' lines from him, though I read of some time ago, surely a year or more. A man would not be chosen to head the Jesuit order, unless he were extremely smart - which Francesco undoubtedly is, also, judging from his endeavours to reform the Church, not least, the Vatican, hitherto in the grip of some very corrupt and obstinate characters operating from the Curia. Even the wretched Mafia had ties to the Vatican Bank, all those years after the P2 and Banco Ambrosiano saga. Axel

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