Thursday, April 12, 2007

Benedict Reflects on Evolution

Writing in a new book, the pope states that neither a theory of creation that makes a mockery of science nor a theory of evolution that eschews any role for the Creator is acceptable. In his words:
"The question is not to either make a decision for a creationism that fundamentally excludes science, or for an evolutionary theory that covers over its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science."
The pope did not endorse intelligent design, which is surely a disappointment to the American evangelical right eager for a Vatican ally on this issue. As I noted recently, there is a need to keep separate "physics" and "metaphysics" and let not the experts in one domain claim knowledge over the other. Religious believers should stay out of the scientific debate. It is important to note that "intelligent design" does not merely postulate that God is the Creator of everything out of nothing and guides all of creation (sensible), but encroaches on scientific territory by holding that organisms appeared simultaneously (not so sensible). Likewise, the claim of some neo-Darwinists that evolution proves the non-existence of God is equally ludicrous, as they step rather indelicately beyond science and into theological speculation. As the pope says "I find it important to underline that the theory of evolution implies questions that must be assigned to philosophy and which themselves lead beyond the realms of science."

Remember, this is a key theme of Benedict's, that faith and reason are not at loggerheads.

(Tip: Rocco Palmo.)

2 comments:

Antonio Manetti said...

I wish I could feel sanguine about this issue but when the pope criticises evolution as

...[a] theory that covers over its own gaps and does not want to see the questions that reach beyond the methodological possibilities of natural science.

it seems he either gravely misunderstands how science works or is disengenously attempting to undermine acceptance of evolution and the scientific method in general.

As you've noted previously, it is not within the province of scientific theory to make conjectures dealing with the supernatural. It's not that science doesn't want to "see the questions that reach beyond" its methodological possibilities" but that any theory attempting to do so is not science.

Franklin Jennings said...

"Religious believers should stay out of the scientific debate."

Yes, only non-believers should take part in the sciences!!!

If you'd proofread you could avoid such asinine statements.