Pope: science and religion are compatible

And Darwin's 197 years young

The Pope moved to soothe the increasingly fractious science versus religion rumpus on Friday, saying the two are compatible in the Christian faith. His Holiness told the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican: “The Church joyfully accepts the real conquests of human knowledge.”

The 78-year-old German-born Pontiff said an understanding of science should help believers understand “the mysteries of life on Earth”, while helping them to see "the logic of faith in God". His comments come in time for yesterday's 197th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.

The event has been marked with talks and debates including Reverend Michael Dowd's speech at the University of Tennessee entitled, “Why Jesus loves Darwin and you could too”.

Sermons supporting Darwin's work were given in moderate churches across America, and natural selection was taught in Sunday schools.

'Evolution Sunday' organiser and biology professor Michael Zimmerman told the Denver Post: “Those very shrill, shrieking voices of the Christian fundamentalists we hear so often are not speaking for all Christians.”

Responding, Robert Crowther of intelligent design lobby group the Discovery Institute shrieked: "We think it's hypocritical and essentially a PR stunt to get attention for an idea that is clearly losing favour with the public."

The recent Dover, Pennsylvania, trial over whether intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution in science classes found in favour of the esteemed naturalist, but does not seem to have cooled the debate. ®

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