I’ve been trying to obtain a full transcript of last year’s Vatican conference on evolution, if only to confirm my fears that it had been hijacked by the ‘Darwin was right but that doesn’t mean that God doesn’t exist’ brigade. So far I have had to make do with a summary of the papers presented to the Conference, and, sure enough, it makes grim reading. Full details are available at www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0902/S000427, but suffice to say that they include contributions by the likes of Douglas Futuyma and Francisco Ayala.
On this evidence, the Pontifical Academy of Culture (which organized the conference) is worryingly unaware of both the latest developments in biochemistry, information theory and cosmology, and the authoritative teaching of Pope Pius XII in this area. In his 1950 encyclical, Humani Generis, that Pope made it clear that research into evolution must be undertaken ‘in such a way that the reasons for both opinions – that is, those favourable and unfavourable to evolution – be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure’. It would appear, however, that last year’s conference contained very little weighing and judging of the evidence pointing to intelligent design as the ultimate cause of mankind’s origins.
A papal encyclical is an authoritative document, and cannot (or rather, should not) be ignored – least of all by members of a Pontifical academy. Does anyone else share my concern?