Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

“Intelligent Project”

arroba Email

Discovery Institute Welcomes Pope’s Embrace of “Intelligent Project”

Seattle – Discovery Institute president Bruce Chapman hailed an impromptu statement Wednesday by Pope Benedict XVI embracing the “intelligent project” that lies behind nature. “Fooled by atheism,” the Pope said, many people today “think, and try to demonstrate, that everything is without direction and order…”

Instead, said the Pope, “Through sacred Scripture, the Lord awakens the reason that sleeps, and tells us that in the beginning is the creative word, the creative reason, that has created everything, that has created this intelligent project of the cosmos.”

In attendance at the Pope’s regular Wednesday audience where the comments were made was Christoph Cardinal Schönborn of Austria, a friend and collaborator of the Pope who has written a number or articles critical of scientific materialism and defending tradition Catholic concepts of the intelligibility of design in nature. “It may be that the Pope was implicitly showing support for the Cardinal’s work,” said Discovery Institute President Bruce Chapman in Seattle. Many of the scientists active in the intelligent design movement are affiliated with Discovery Institute.

“Scientists exploring the idea of design in nature,” said Chapman, “are bound to be encouraged by yet another indication that Pope Benedict is standing firm on the church’s traditional opposition to materialist philosophy in science and other fields. The Pope’s statement about ‘the reason that sleeps’ shows that he, like Cardinal Schönborn, sees the crucial issue as not whether one can know the order in nature by faith, but whether human reason is capable of grasping design.”

“Further, he seems to be cautioning those who have been claiming Church endorsement of the full-bodied, design-defeating version of Darwin’s theory of evolution, which, after all, is often little more than philosophical materialism applied to science,” added Chapman.

Chapman noted that in his very first homily as Pope, Benedict XVI had rebuked the idea that human beings are mere products of evolution, and that, like his predecessor, John Paul II, the new Pope has a long record of opposition to scientific materialism.

Chapman also said that the Pope’s latest statement is likely to call further attention to the series of nine catechetical lectures on evolution and creation that Cardinal Schönborn is in the midst of delivering.

See also http://www.cwnews.com/offtherecord/offtherecord.cfm?task=singledisplay&recnum=3211.

Thank you truthseeker for an honest reply. First, it is fairly obvious that Dr. Meyer never studied theology. Evolution claims that organisms evolve due to "factors". God is all knowing, and all powerful. It is equally likely that God controls the "factors" of evolution or the evolution itself. Therefore, two problems with Dr. Meyer's dilemna. 1. Evolution does not claim to be undirected 2. God could control any aspect He wished. In response to your question The fact that the world exists at all would suffice for my belief in a Creator. The problem with proposing that certain evidence must be intelligent is thus: We have not truly invented anything, we have simply discovered interactions that already were possible in this reality. i.e. God invented the combustion engine...we simply put it together. Therefore to claim that any information is more indicative of God would be useless.. since all information can be indicative of God puckSR
Re the question: "If God created a system for organisms to evolve over time…is that ID or Darwinism?" It helps to be a little more precise. Dr. Dembski's [current] definition of ID as " ... the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence" is useful. I prefer a definition of evolution as "the undirected process of change in generations of living organisms over time". Quite some time ago I heard Dr. Stephen Meyer identify the basic logical flaw in theistic evolution, "How can God [or any logically consistent being] direct an undirected process?" Read about the dilemma of the "KM Darwinists" in Dr Dembski's monograph "The Vise Strategy" available on this web site. I will pose a further question, "Are there indications of intelligent action, identifiable by additional information in the record of nature, since the Great Clockmaker started things off way back when? truthseeker
I believe the statements of the Pope are being slighly misunderstood. The Pope is referring to a designed reality. In fact...this is what almost all religious people believe in...theist,deist,christian,hindu. In other words, he is defending ID. He is defending ID however from a theological perspective. With a few exceptions(think Galileo Galilei) the Catholic Church has had a long standing tradition of respecting, yet avoiding science. St. Thomas Aquinas made some rather strong arguments for this belief. Let me try and posit a question to you, that may help in understanding what Pope Benedict is actually supporting about ID. If God created a system for organisms to evolve over time...is that ID or Darwinism? puckSR
iboz3131, "can anyone clarify..." I think the Pope takes the long view that Christianity supercedes ID. ID might be promoted by Christians now but as soon as it becomes popular, all kinds of people are going to use it, claim it. I'm sure there is already a push for Pagan Design. The Pope has to try to keep the focus on the Catholic estate. pmob1
When are they going to excommunicate Miller for heresy? Then I'll believe the Catholics mean business. jaredl
Here is another view I read recently: http://www.firstthings.com/ftissues/ft0510/opinion/barr.html ajl
"can anyone clarify" Perhaps the Pope is striving for a "big tent" approach, in which he is accommodating the widest possible range of views for catholics -- both within the church hierarchy, and in the laity. For instance, his statements seem to be compatible with both a young-earth creationist perspective, and (toward the other end of the non-atheist spectrum) a directed-evolution perspective. Any perspective believed to be compatible with the scientific evidence supports is fine with him, provided it doesn't contradict core church doctrine (e.g. the existence of a God who created the world). Econman
John Paul II's legacy won't be quick or easy to overcome. The anti-religion libruls of Panda's Thumb are still in denial that Benedict is really the pope now. DaveScot
im wondering about the conflict i seem to see here. the article says the pope cautions (or did it say the cardinal was cautioning) against those who support the full fledge ID argument against evolution. that doesnt make sense, if he also kept mentioning the design in nature and such as being the only position suitable. well, he wasnt exactly saying that, but you get the picture. i saw the vatican cosmologist (or was he just an astronomer) who debated on cspan and went thru the design features throughout the cosmos, yet he said that ID isnt science. seems odd, because ID would be more bilogy and chemistry, not cosmology which shows design as well...but not part of evolution in this sense. yet, this cardinal and the pope talk about design and against materialism. im seeing contradictions all over the place. from this article itself in saying design design design yet cautioning against full fledged ID...and the position of the vatican astronomer who says ID isnt science. can anyone clarify the contradictions that seem to be in place here? any knowledge im missing on the position of the vatican? and why the one astronomer for the vatican kept saying on cspan that ID isnt science and that its even bad theology. i cant imagine a liberal catholic at the vatican?! jboze3131
"What Christian doubts the agreement between God's work and word, or the confirmation of both as His which is found in this agreement." Take for instance the Periodic Table of the elements. It is a sublime organization of the chemical elements by periods and valances. Take for instance, the family of halogens. Florine is used to prevent tooth deacy. Chlorine is used to sanitize pools, Bromine to sanitize hot tubs, and Iodine to disinfect cuts and scrapes. Salt is the very type of preservative. If you say that there are so many more commercial and industrial uses of these elements and therefore this application is minimized, yet the books also have much wider application also. The Bible books are also to be arranged in what I have termed "The Peridic Bible," where the Pentateuch is the mold from which the structure is cast. Now there are five such Pentateuchs, and are arranged in 5 rows and 5 columns, each row and each column is characterized by the meaning of the number of the rank and file of each of the parts. For a thourough introduction into the meaning of the numbers and how they apply in characterization of the Bible books go to: http://www.newble.co.uk/grant/nsb/preface.html If Intelligent Design is unscientific and does not belong in science curriculum, it follows that science does not belong in school curriculum, but theology belongs in its place. Witness
John 1:1 comes to mind. Benedict has about 1700 years of top notch Catholic science scholarship behind him. And he knows it. pmob1

Leave a Reply