Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

More tales of the tone deaf: Catholic intellectuals who say that Thomas Aquinas would not have supported ID


Carlo Crivelli 007.jpgFrom Robert Larmer at Sophia:

Contemporary Thomists, by and large, have been very critical of the intelligent design movement. Their criticism raises two important issues; the first being whether such criticism is well-founded, the second being whether it is consistent with the views of St. Thomas, from whom they claim to take their direction. I shall argue that their criticism typically misses the mark and that they are mistaken in their representation of Thomas’s views as regards intelligent design. (paywall) More.

Readers unfamiliar with philosopher and theologian Aquinas (1225–1274) should read his views on the mind at First Things and ask whether he sounds in any way like a typical Christian evolutionist anxious to accommodate naturalism at any cost.

Nothing says “Darwin snob” like indifference to the mess that the entire concept of speciation is in and nothng say Aquinas snob like efforts to disassociate him from design in nature.

See also: Thomas Aquinas contra Transformism

For the sake of clarity regarding the teaching of the Catholic Church for those who may not be familiar with it: It is a dogma of the Catholic Church that God “can be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason.” If the Universe and everything within it came into existence through the Word(1), and continues to exist through the Word(2), and His providential care of it is “concrete and immediate” right down to the very “least things,” including the activity of each and every subatomic particle, such that He has “absolute sovereignty over the course of events,”(3) including acting upon that which He brought into being not just indirectly through “secondary causes,” but sometimes in a direct way that demonstrates His personal “primacy and absolute Lordship” over it all(4), then Catholics ought to agree with atheist Richard Dawkins that “the doctrine of creation requires a Divine Tinkerer.” Although we wouldn’t put it quite that way, Dawkins’ point is well taken. God holds the Universe in existence from instant to instant and manages it in a “concrete and immediate” way that sometimes includes His direct, supernatural intervention. If atheists who are intelligent enough to investigate the world “have no excuse” for failing to find its Author, and failing to see that it is the work of a supremely intelligent Master Artificer(5), then Catholics ought to be able to explain why they find belief in God utterly reasonable. We should be a light to those with the “darkened” minds of which St. Paul spoke.(6) The Universe and the life within it shout to those who will but listen that that they were intelligently designed by the ultimate Master Craftsman and Artist Who reveals Himself to us through His works. This is the belief of orthodox Catholics.(7)(8) (1) … the Word was God. … Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. — John 1:1,3 (2) God created the universe and keeps it in existence by his Word, the Son “upholding the universe by his word of power” (Heb 1:3), and by his Creator Spirit, the giver of life. — Catechism of the Catholic Church, #320 (3) The witness of Scripture is unanimous that the solicitude of divine providence is concrete and immediate; God cares for all, from the least things to the great events of the world and its history. The sacred books powerfully affirm God’s absolute sovereignty over the course of events … — Catechism of the Catholic Church, #303 (4) And so we see the Holy Spirit, the principal author of Sacred Scripture, often attributing actions to God without mentioning any secondary causes. This is not a “primitive mode of speech,” but a profound way of recalling God’s primacy and absolute Lordship over history and the world … — Catechism of the Catholic Church, #304 (5) Yes, naturally stupid are all who are unaware of God, and who, from good things seen, have not been able to discover Him-who-is, or, by studying the works, have not recognized the Artificer. … let them know how much the Master of these excels them, since He was the very source of beauty that created them. And if they have been impressed by their power and energy, let them deduce from these how much mightier is He that has formed them, since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures we may, by analogy, contemplate their Author. … they have no excuse: if they are capable of acquiring enough knowledge to be able to investigate the world, how have they been so slow to find its Master? — Wisdom 13:1,3-5,8-9 (Jerusalem Bible) (6) For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them: ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and his everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind’s understanding of created things. And so these people have no excuse: they knew God and yet they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but their arguments became futile and their uncomprehending minds were darkened. While they claimed to be wise, in fact they were growing so stupid … — Romans 1:19-22 (Jerusalem Bible) (7) If anyone says that the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema. — Vatican Council I, can. 2 § I (8) … The existence of God the Creator can be known with certainty through his works, by the light of human reason … (Cf. Vatican Council I, can. 2 § I) — Catechism of the Catholic Church, #286 harry
Aquinas entire project was against the theistic evolutionists of his day. It was popular to claim the realm of natural reason (Aristotelianism) and religion were entirely independent from each other. Aquinas' goal was to integrate Aristotle's philosophy and scripture, to show the two impacted and informed each other. EricMH
Does this relate to the topic? https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2017/06/a-map-of-the-soul Dionisio
Catholic Intellectual
I'm like Pavlov's Cynical Dog, where the mere appearance of these kind of trigger phrases set me off in immediate loud snarky barks. I'm going to go weep for my Church now. Andrew asauber
Highly recommended on this topic Aquinas and Evolution by Fr Michael Chaberek https://www.amazon.com/Aquinas-Evolution-Fr-Michael-Chaberek/dp/0991988051/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499031592&sr=1-2&keywords=Michael+Chaberek Anaxagoras

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