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Friday, November 11, 2005

Pope argues that universe is an "intelligent project": Seen as partial response to Darwinism vs. design flap

Well, the Pope finally offered a bit more specific hint the other day, on where the Catholic Church stands re Darwinism. With Cardinal Schonborn in the audience, Benedict XVI
reaffirmed creation as the driving force of the universe Wednesday, describing the natural world as an "intelligent project" and rejecting scientific thought that regards the history of the universe as random and directionless.

So does that mean that the Pope embraced the intelligent design guys' ideas? No, certainly not, but don't believe the people who tell you it doesn't.

What I mean is, don't expect the American media to understand what is happening. In the first place, they are still trying to get Rewrite on the phone, as if it were all nothing more than a bad Hollywood script they can just fix. Expect, meanwhile, to hear from every faith-and-science boffin within earshot of the Vatican, telling you it all ain't true, and the Pope really is a good Darwinist.

Of course the Pope can't endorse Darwinism, because Darwinism is about unpredictable and natural evolution at best, if not unsupervised and impersonal evolution. The controversy was never merely about evolution as such. If it were, the Catholic Church would not have got involved.

For many years, Darwinists have equivocated, claiming that the Catholic Church "supports" evolution. So all that is really happening here is that Christoph, Cardinal Schonborn has been saying "not so fast." What the Darwinist means by evolution simply cannot be supported by a non-materialist institution like the Catholic Church.

Actually, the Catholic Church hasno particular reason to care much what Darwinist boffins think:

No other institution is left standing which carries the mind back to the times when the smoke of sacrifice rose from the Pantheon, and when camelopards and tigers bounded in the Flavian amphitheatre. The proudest royal houses are but of yesterday, when compared with the line of the Supreme Pontiffs. That line we trace back in an unbroken series, from the Pope who crowned Napoleon in the nineteenth century to the Pope who crowned Pepin in the eighth; and far beyond the time of Pepin the august dynasty extends, till it is lost in the twilight of fable. The republic of Venice came next in antiquity. But the republic of Venice was modern when compared to the Papacy; and the republic of Venice is gone, and the Papacy remains. ...

So Darwinist boffins need churches to be more compliant? So? Uh ..., whatever happened to all those churches that were compliant with whatever boffins wanted?

For the very same reason, the Catholic Church is not about to adopt any particular hypothesis like irreducible complexity or specified complexity, respectively put forward by ID guys Michael Behe or Bill Dembski. Why should it? The Church is free to insist that evolution is planned and purposeful and was intended to produce beings such as ourselves without tying itself to some American scientist's specific idea about where you can see evidence of design.

But again, don't expect the North American media to get that. Sorting this kind of thing out is why you read blogs, right?
If you like this blog, check out my award-winning book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

Roseville, California, lawyer Larry Caldwell is suing over the use of tax money by Darwin lobby groups to promote religious views that accept Darwinian evolution (as opposed to ones that don’t). I’m pegging this one as the next big story. See also the ruling on tax funds. Note the line that the “free speech” people take.
How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Christoph, Cardinal Schonbon is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that’s just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.

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