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Thursday, April 15, 2010

THE GOLDEN EVOLUTION (Part 27): THE CHURCH ON EVOLUTION





The following continues the serialization of Chapter 5 on Religion from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Humanity:


The Church on Evolution


I continue to be amazed at what gets published. But my astonishment here is in the wonderment that there are serious writers out there who reinforce my general point of view that has been on exhibit all through this chapter. Two recent books deal with this subject of science and religion:


o Lewis Wolpert wrote Six Impossible Things Before Breakfast: The Evolutionary Origins of Belief, suggesting that there is a God gene and goes into the evolution of beliefs. From early motive development through language capability to an ability to create what might not even be true now, the human brain has homed in on religion as a safety mechanism. Religion was earlier mentioned to be one of the reasons why our human species might have survived and dominated, so the logic is consistent with that school of thought.


o Daniel Dennett wrote Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, telling it like it is, in that, in the U.S., the red states are religious and the blue are generally not. Religion is described as merely a matter of biological fitness to survive and conquer.


Nature magazine reviewed both publications and generally applauded Wolpert’s presentation. However, Dennett is described as a notorious non-believer and decries his attitude about religion being all smoke and mirrors.


This leads to what the Church, and for this discussion let us focus on the Catholic Church, thinks of Darwin. From all reports, Pope Benedict XVI is is apparently still confused about what to do about Intelligent Design. He is trying to square religion with evolution, all remains unsettled. Pope John Paul II de-excommunicated Galileo and declared in 1980 that there was no contradiction between the two…but what did that really mean? Benedict has already said that “we are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution,” so how then to reconcile with reality?


Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schonborn said in 2005 that the church does not support creationism and that the idea that the biblical account of the creation of the world in six days should be taken literally. Yet, in the same Catholic News Service article, he said:


o Darwin’s theories on evolution deserve to be studied in schools, along with the scientific question marks that remain.

o It is right to teach the science of Darwin, not ideological Darwinism.

o In a 2005 New York Times article wrote that there is overwhelming evidence for design in biology, which was blatantly pro intelligent design.

o That Darwinian theory and faith can coexist.


If you have been keeping score, you should be as confused as I am.


In September of 2006, Pope Benedict convened a retreat on “Creation and Evolution”: to which Cardinal Schonborn was invited. Well, on April 13, 2007, Pope Benedict XVI, in his first official release on the subject, said that Darwin’s theory cannot be proven. From all reports, the Church will be further clarifying, or muddying, its position. Stay tuned.


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The Dow Jones Industrials rose 21 to 11,145 as world markets were mixed, with Europe up and the Orient down. The Japan Nikkei settled to 11,122. Gold remained unchanged at $1158 and crude oil edged down to $85/barrel.

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