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Author Topic:   The Roman Catholic Church and Evolution
Apostle
Inactive Member


Message 1 of 81 (65311)
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


It seems that there is some confusion concerning the Roman Catholic church's supposed support for the Theory of Evolution. This confusion became apparent shortly after an address Pope John Paul II gave to the Papal Academy of Science in 1996.

Newspapers, radio shows and various other parts of the press all made it seem as if the Pope gave his endorsement to evolution. The Pope was portrayed as a relativly enlightened religious figure certainly different from the igrorant Protestant fundamentalists.

But what did the Pope say? The Pope made three points. First he stated that the Theory of Evolution was more than a hypothesis because it has been supported by several independant lines of research. Second, he stated that there was more than one theory. And third he stated that the materialistic theories of evolution are contrary to the Church's teachings on humankind and nature.

Indeed for some time the Church has approved of one Theory of Evolution (variation and change) as a scientific hypothesis worthy of investigation. However, not unlike other Christian churches, the Roman church has continually opposed materialism.

The Pope's exact words were, "Theories of evolution which in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the spirit as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epipenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man."

These words were put somewhere in the middle of his speech. The Pope is often viewed as a dictatorial-like individual who imposes his views on abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, and women priests, on his one billion fellow Catholics. While I feel that these criticisms are unfair, I do think that he did not do enough to state his views on evolution. To leave no doubt, at the beginning of his speech he should have said that evolution as understood by Sagan or Asimov or Dawkins, or Lewontin or Futuyma and so many others is completely unacceptable to the Roman Church. Rather than put a rebuke in the middle as he did it should have been at the beginning.

However had he done this, the headlines the next day would have read, "Pope attacks Science," and an exponential number of opinion pieces would have reminded the world that the Church did after persecute Galileo.

Still I do expect more from the Pope. He is a man of great courage and for him to show such weakness makes me think that it would have been better for him not to comment at all.

Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman summed things up well. "When people ask me to talk about spirituality, I tell them to go see the people across the street." Perhaps the Pope feels the same, just about science.

Many evolutionists would agree with creationists that Pope John Paul II is a great man. Indeed he is, and perhaps great understates it, but he still should have been more clear in his opposition to evolution.
Thankfully, the Number Two man in the Roman Church, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is very clear. In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which he authored and the Pope forwarded, Ratzinger makes the following points;

1. God is the Creator of heaven and Earth, and all that is seen and unseen. (279)

2. Creation is the foundation of all of God's saving plans and is the beginning of the history of salvation.(280)

3. Creation is truly important for it concerns the very foundations of humans and life in general. (282)

4. Scientific discoveries invite us to an even greater admiration for the greatness of the Creator. (283)

5. The existence of God the Creator can be known through his works. (286)

Ratzinger makes about another 100 points on the Creation of everything. For another excellent overview of the Catholic position on Creation, I would recommend reading the 'Phantom' General's Biblical Creationism.

What is not at issue is whether the Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, or even the General are right. The purpose of this paper is to show that the Roman Catholic Church does support creation and not evolution.

Sincerely,
The Apostle


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by NosyNed, posted 11-09-2003 11:39 AM Apostle has not yet responded
 Message 3 by sidelined, posted 11-09-2003 11:46 AM Apostle has responded
 Message 4 by helena, posted 11-09-2003 12:09 PM Apostle has not yet responded
 Message 5 by Rrhain, posted 11-10-2003 9:46 PM Apostle has not yet responded
 Message 6 by Zhimbo, posted 11-10-2003 10:26 PM Apostle has not yet responded

NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 2 of 81 (65314)
11-09-2003 11:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Apostle
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


Please supply direct quotes from the Pope's speech to support what you say. I was lead to believe that it is the addition of human "spirit" that is separate from evolutionary theory and not nearly as strong a statement as you imply.

The statement you do quote is exactly what I was lead to believe he said.

We, on this forum, are arguing not with what some call "theistic evolution" or "evolutionary theism" but with this thing called "scientific creationism". The Pope's statements are clearly contrary to the ideas of scientific creationism.

Ratzinger's words can be read, I suppose, either way. They could mean evolutionary theism or scientific creationism. It would require the complete context and perhaps more explaination by he or the church to clarify that.

What did you think it was suporting?

added by edit
This seems silly but I just realized I have to ask. You didn't think that any of us thought that the Pope was saying God didn't have a hand in the creation of the universe and life did you? Of course, we understand that he believes that. What we are discussing is in what way he understands God chose to do it.

[This message has been edited by NosyNed, 11-09-2003]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Apostle, posted 11-09-2003 11:20 AM Apostle has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 81 (65316)
11-09-2003 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Apostle
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


Apostle

You seem to be under the impression that it makes any difference whatsoever that the Pope endorses evolution.Evidence is what supports evolution,not Sagan,Asimov,Dawkins et al.These people can err as all humans can but the data show the clarity of what evolution proposes.

------------------
"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."

[This message has been edited by sidelined, 11-09-2003]


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Apostle, posted 11-09-2003 11:20 AM Apostle has responded

Replies to this message:
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helena 
Suspended Member (Idle past 4017 days)
Posts: 80
Joined: 03-27-2008


Message 4 of 81 (65317)
11-09-2003 12:09 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Apostle
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


Looking at my edition of the bible: German edition officially endorsed by the honoraries of the Roman Catholic Church, I find a footnote for the book of Genesis:
[paraphrasing]"This chapter is not to be viewed as an actual account of creation but rather as a statement of God's relation with mankind".
Seems like a non-literal interpretation to me...
regards
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Apostle, posted 11-09-2003 11:20 AM Apostle has not yet responded

  
Rrhain
Member (Idle past 45 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


Message 5 of 81 (65720)
11-10-2003 9:46 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Apostle
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


Apostle, I think you need to re-read not only John Paul II's statements but also the statements of Pius XII which JP II referenced.

The basic thrust of the Catholic Church's opinion on evolution are that evolution is the only valid scientific description for how life diversified but that evolution does not account for the intellect and soul.

In other words, evolution accounts for your material body while god accounts for that which makes you "human."

------------------
Rrhain
WWJD? JWRTFM!


This message is a reply to:
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Zhimbo
Member (Idle past 4184 days)
Posts: 571
From: New Hampshire, USA
Joined: 07-28-2001


Message 6 of 81 (65739)
11-10-2003 10:26 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Apostle
11-09-2003 11:20 AM


The Catholic Church supports evolution. Catholic Schools teach evolution. The Pope's statement could hardly be more clear in its support of evolution.

It is only with regards to human spirit and soul that Evolution fails. And, depending what you mean, evolutionary scientists would agree.

Nothing in your post comes as any suprise to me, and is usually covered in some detail in any substantial treatment of the topic. Sorry, but there's nothing new to me here.

[This message has been edited by Zhimbo, 11-10-2003]


This message is a reply to:
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Apostle
Inactive Member


Message 7 of 81 (66585)
11-15-2003 12:21 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by sidelined
11-09-2003 11:46 AM


What I was discussing was whether or not the Pope does in fact endorse evolution. Whether or not you think his endorsement matters is not relevent to this topic. For my discussions whole purpose was to determine whether or not the Pope has given his okay to evolution.
Also, Sagan, Dawkings, Asimov et al may not matter to you but these are (and were) influential scientists so certainly their opinions on the issues are important to the scientific world. I agree that evidence should be what supports evolution, but for a man like Richard Dawkings, his first job is as an evangelist for atheism. With him, all other things come after that it seems. There are respectful evolutionists, real scientists. Roger Lewin, Shapiro, many honest men hold to the evolutionary belief but they are honest enough to say when they just do not know. For this I admire them.
A man like Dawkings starts with his beliefs and then finds evidence for them. Sometimes the evidence is also very questionable. For this reason I state occasionally that some evolutionists believe in evolution as a religion and not a scientific truth.
My problem is not that people disagree, it is that many scientists like Dawkings refuse to give fair treatment to scientific creationism. Their are many brilliant scientific creationists, Michael Behe for example, just as there are many brilliant scientific evolutionists. Why not treat both with respect?
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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 Message 9 by sidelined, posted 11-15-2003 12:40 AM Apostle has responded
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NosyNed
Member
Posts: 8842
From: Canada
Joined: 04-04-2003


Message 8 of 81 (66590)
11-15-2003 12:37 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Apostle
11-15-2003 12:21 AM


The "scientific creationists" will get respect for their science when they have some. There needs to be evidence and reasoning.

If they are so brilliant perhaps you would care to defend what they are calling "science"?

There are individuals like Dawkins who bring their personal views in and mix them with some of their science. This is something which most practicing scientists strive to avoid as much as they humanly can.

Unfortunately another flaw of the "brilliant" creation "scientists" is that the all and allways bring thosse beliefs into what they are doing.

There are thread discussing the idea of ID. If you have something to say you may do it there.

Is it only the ID'ers that you consider to have any valid science? Do you agree with the rest of thier views? Does that include the age of the earth and the so-called macro evolution that some of them recognize?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Apostle, posted 11-15-2003 12:21 AM Apostle has not yet responded

sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 9 of 81 (66591)
11-15-2003 12:40 AM
Reply to: Message 7 by Apostle
11-15-2003 12:21 AM


Apostle

What I was trying to instill in you when I mentioned those names was not to deny their influence but,rather,to point out that it does not matter whether a person is an expert but that his evidence backs up his statements.

Now you seem to be quite hostile towards Richard Dawkins as this sentence shows.

"A man like Dawkings starts with his beliefs and then finds evidence for them. Sometimes the evidence is also very questionable."

Which evidence do you find questionable that Dawkins presents?

Also you post.

'Roger Lewin, Shapiro, many honest men hold to the evolutionary belief but they are honest enough to say when they just do not know"

In what instance did you find these men being honest in their assesment of what they do or do not know.

It is useful in science to distrust experts since that leaves you free to judge their work on the evidence and not the name so if you distrust Dawkins I have no qualms about it. That said now we will let you present your arguements against the arguements presented by Dawkins.

------------------
"Nature uses only the longest threads to weave her patterns, so that each small piece of her fabric reveals the organization of the entire tapestry."

[This message has been edited by sidelined, 11-15-2003]


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 10 of 81 (66596)
11-15-2003 1:34 AM


The Catholic church part of this debate seems to have been resolved and concluded. Things are moving elsewhere now.

I suggest Apostle take this new discussion to a more appropriate (sp?) topic, old or new.

This one closing down.

Adminnemooseus

------------------
Comments on moderation procedures? - Go to
Change in Moderation?
or
too fast closure of threads


Replies to this message:
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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 11 of 81 (68900)
11-24-2003 12:59 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Adminnemooseus
11-15-2003 1:34 AM


Topic re-opened
Quoting myself:
quote:
The Catholic church part of this debate seems to have been resolved and concluded.

I guess I was wrong. It's come up again, in another topic.

So, BUMP.

Adminnemooseus


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Apostle
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 81 (70488)
12-02-2003 12:16 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by sidelined
11-15-2003 12:40 AM


The purpose of this thread is to determine whether or not the Roman Catholic church supports evolution. Partly through my fault this has yet to be determined.

Does anyone have any evidence that the Church does support evolution?

I still feel that the most clear opinion given from the Church was that given by Cardinal Ratzinger in his 'Catechism of the Catholic Church.' In this he makes known the beliefs of his church. The dominant view that comes across is for Biblical Creation. It is not the Cardinal's job to make the case for scientific creationism, but as a theologian, he does an excellent job at outlining his churches beliefs on Creation. Has anyone else read the Catechism?

One may be able to find Catholic theologians, priests, bishops, even some cardinals that favor a thiestic evolution. But again this is inconsistent with Catholic teaching. It also contradicts the authorotative Catechism that Ratzinger wrote in 1996.

I feel that the evidence overwhelmingly shows that the Roman Church is officially against the evolutionary beliefs on origins and ascent as well as the importance of man.

Apostle


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Replies to this message:
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Asgara
Member (Idle past 475 days)
Posts: 1783
From: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 05-10-2003


Message 13 of 81 (70490)
12-02-2003 12:32 AM
Reply to: Message 12 by Apostle
12-02-2003 12:16 AM


Address of Pope John Paul II to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences (October 22, 1996)

http://www.newadvent.org/docs/jp02tc.htm

------------------
Asgara
"An unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates via Plato


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Apostle, posted 12-02-2003 12:36 AM Asgara has responded
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Apostle
Inactive Member


Message 14 of 81 (70492)
12-02-2003 12:36 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by Asgara
12-02-2003 12:32 AM


Stay Focused Pleased
I have read the Pope adress to the Papal Academy of Sciences already. I dealt with it already in Message 1.
Apostle
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Asgara
Member (Idle past 475 days)
Posts: 1783
From: Wisconsin, USA
Joined: 05-10-2003


Message 15 of 81 (70494)
12-02-2003 12:49 AM
Reply to: Message 14 by Apostle
12-02-2003 12:36 AM


Re: Stay Focused Pleased
Just as Rrhain said in post 5, the address also said:

Pius XII stressed this essential point: If the human body take its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God

He basically said that there were three separate philosophies of interpretation of the TOE, and if one of the three ...

theories of evolution which, in accordance with the philosophies inspiring them, consider the spirit as emerging from the forces of living matter or as a mere epiphenomenon of this matter, are incompatible with the truth about man.

Sounds to me that he is just keeping the magisteria separate, just as science does. Evolution is not incompatable with science, as long as science does not consider the "spirit" as coming from anything other than god.

Since science doesn't concern itself at all with "spirit", then it has nothing to worry about from the Catholic Church.

------------------
Asgara
"An unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates via Plato


This message is a reply to:
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