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Christoph Cardinal Schönborn in FIRST THINGS

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If you are interested in more information on Cardinal Schonborn, as well as his views and ongoing contributions to this debate, you might be interested in visited the site/blog I direct: http://blog.cardinalschonborn.com and http://www.cardinalschonborn.com thanks! Schonborn Site
I loved this quote from Pope John Paul II: “To all these indications of the existence of God the Creator, some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements and such marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us. In fact, this would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It would be to abdicate human intelligence, which would thus refuse to think and to seek a solution for its problems.” The Darwinists love to scream that the IDers say, “God did it”, leaving nothing more to be investigated. This is, of course, not true, and, as Pope John Paul pointed out, quite the reverse of the situation. Take for instance the case of so-called “gene recruitment”. According to the neo-Darwinists this means that a gene has been modified in some way and taken over by some other part, or organ, of an organism–the ‘modification’ and the ‘taking over’ all done by chance. End of story. But understanding that we’re dealing with an intelligence here, the natural questions that occurs to me are: Is there some kind of mechanism (cellular/genetic) that ‘modifies’ the gene? Is there some kind of regulatory system that is latent within the DNA, but which is now activated? The Darwinists, in the face of the ‘recruitment’ of genes, say, “Evolution did it” and move one. It’s the IDers who have the questions———but not the laboratories! PaV
Wouldn't it be great of Cardinal Schönborn weren't somehow invisible to the main stream media?! This article claiming to speak for the entire Vatican appeared in today's Houston Chronicle: Title: "Intelligent design theory not science, Vatican says" Subtitle: "Scholar laments return of arguing the insufficiencies of evolution on ideological terms" Writer: "By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press" I'll bet anyone who reads this blog can guess what it says. Nevertheless here is the link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/headline/world/3596919.html The article quotes "Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna". I'm not Catholic--except in the lowercase "c"--but it is my understanding that the Cardinal would be more of an authoritative spokesman for the Vatican than the professor. Man! That is actually one tolerant organization. Red Reader
To give an example, a mutation causing a furry animal to have a long, wooly coat would be favored by natural selection in an arctic tundra but not necessarily in the Amazon or some other environment where the coat would serve as a detriment to the animal's health. Patrick
This is the way I see it: The initial RM (Random Mutation) is obviously random but it's funneled through error correction, which is non-random. Then it's funneled even further by the environment aka natural selection. But natural selection itself isn't as static as the error correction since it depends on environmental factors, which can change. So in that sense natural selection is random to a certain degree. BTW, I use the word "funneled" to mean that the allowed mutation is kept within a certain range. Patrick
I've often wondered what it means to speak of natural selection as a "force". Surely it isn't a "force" in the sense of the force of gravity or electromagnetic force. If natural selection is in fact a force like gravity, what are its units? Can scientists isolate "natural selection" in the lab and measure it? It seems like natural selection is a principle more in the sense of Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" or Marx's "Dialectical Materialism". Adam Smith didn't discover the Invisible Hand but invented it as a philosophically useful fiction. Darwin seems to have done a similar thing with natural selection. He didn't discover it, but had the creative genius to invent it as a philosophical fiction that unified his experience of nature. "Natural selection" is not a particular force of nature, but a principle of thought that unifies our experience of nature, just like the "Invisible Hand" unifies economic experience. This doesn't mean that the Invisible Hand or natural selection are not genuinely useful concepts, but there is a danger in reifying them. It is nonsensical to discuss whether the Invisible Hand is random or non-random. It's neither one since it is actually nothing at all. It's merely a useful philosophical fiction that helps us makes sense of aggregate economic behavior. The same thing is true with natural selection. It's neither random nor non-random because it is nothing in itself. It's a useful fiction that helps us make sense of natural phenomena in the aggregate. Ernst Mayr, at least, seems to think this way, as he avoids describing natural selection as a force, and instead talks about it in terms of natural phenomena in the aggregate: "...the result of the favored survival of those individuals, generation after generation, who had the most efficient structures for vision.” Cheers, Dave T. taciturnus
Good article laying out the Catholic position. He makes several points: (1) Reason can recognize the existence of God the Creator (also stated clearly in Vatican Council I, cf. Romans 1:19-20), and sees design, purpose, or "finality" in nature; this is not merely a matter of "faith only" since reason precedes faith according to Catholic theology. (2) "Darwinian scientists" sometimes make theological or philosophical claims; these claims are "ideology, not science." (3) "Neo-Darwinian biology" is "simply random"; genetic mutation and natural selection are both "random." I think (3) is where he is mistaken. Dawkins and Mayr have pointed out that natural selection is not random. Dawkins answering the question "Is evolution random?" "This is a spectacular misunderstanding. If it was random, then of course it couldn't possibly have given rise to the fantastically complicated and elegant forms that we see. Natural selection is the important force that drives evolution. Natural selection is about as non-random a force as you could possibly imagine. It can't work unless there is some sort of variation upon which to work. And the source of variation is mutation. Mutation is random only in the sense that it is not directed specifically toward improvement. It is natural selection that directs evolution toward improvement. Mutation is random in that it's not directed toward improvement. The idea that evolution itself is a random process is a most extraordinary travesty. I wonder if it's deliberately put about maliciously or whether these people honestly believe such a preposterous absurdity. Of course evolution isn't random. It is driven by natural selection, which is a highly non-random force." (Dawkins, 4/28/2005 interview with Salon.com http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2005/04/30/dawkins/print.html) Ernst Mayr on evolution and natural selection: "There is a great deal of randomness (chance) in evolution, particularly in the production of genetic variation, but the second step of natural selection, whether selection or elimination, is an anti-chance process. The eye, for instance, is not a chance product, as so often claimed by anti-Darwinians, but the result of the favored survival of those individuals, generation after generation, who had the most efficient structures for vision." (Mayr, What Evolution Is [2001], page 120) Schonborn wants to defend reason, faith, good philosophy and God's providence, but when he delves too deeply into biology, he gets into trouble. I hope he has a Catholic biologist review his future book based on the catechetical lectures he is doing on the topic. Lectures here http://stephanscom.at/evolution/ Phil P PhilVaz

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