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Thursday, July 28, 2005

Schönborn Corrects the Record on Evolution

[Original posted 2:47 PM, Saturday, July 9]

Memorial of St. Augustine Zhao Rong and companions

In a Thursday op-ed, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn corrects the continuing misunderstanding of the compatibility between faith and evolutionary theory, which was extended by Lawrence M. Krauss in a May article, by clearly stating that while evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not.

The truffle passage of the essay, however, cites an extended quote from John Paul the Great that better captures his thinking (and the truth) than the oft-cited 1996 passing reference that evolution is more than just a hypothesis:

All the observations concerning the development of life lead to a similar conclusion. The evolution of living beings, of which science seeks to determine the stages and to discern the mechanism, presents an internal finality which arouses admiration. This finality which directs beings in a direction for which they are not responsible or in charge, obliges one to suppose a Mind which is its inventor, its creator. ...

To all these indications of the existence of God the Creator, some oppose the power of chance or of the proper mechanisms of matter. To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements and such marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us. In fact, this would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It would be to abdicate human intelligence, which would thus refuse to think and to seek a solution for its problems.
In other words, denying intelligent design as a product of normal science ceases to be science qua science. As expected, the Predictable are all suitably concerned with this reality being advanced. Now, who are the ideologues again?

Related:

Catholic Analysis has more. Also see IDtheFuture.

Update:

Zenit has an interview (part 1 and part 2) with Fr. Edward T. Oakes re the controversy.

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