I’ve been meaning to catch up with the Catholic side of the controversy over Darwinian evolution, and now at last I have a moment: Recently, Pope Benedict XVI gave a talk in which he said explicitly:
“Man is not the fruit of chance or a bundle of convergences, determinisms or physical and chemical reactions,” he told a meeting of academics of different disciplines sponsored by the Paris Academy of Sciences and Pontifical Academy of Sciences.
Miller was upset because he knows as well as anyone that this and other instances of Cardinalspeak and Popespeak are a polite way of saying that the Catholic Church does not support materialist theories of evolution like Darwinism, a point made in 1996 by John Paul II, but widely misrepresented ever since. Clearly, Schoenborn did not believe Miller’s claim that Darwinism is not inherently atheistic. Indeed, he should not, when 87% of evolutionary biologists are atheists or agnostics (with 78% being pure naturalists).
But that’s well-trodden ground and I am not going there now.
The key question is what WILL the Church support, if not Darwinism – and a surprising answer has come up. A friend tells me that Cardinal Schoenborn’s own recent book, Chance or Purpose?, which I have ordered but not yet received or read, summarizes Jesuit paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin in a favourable way, quoting, …
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