Vatican endorses Darwin, slights intelligent design
Creationism is a cultural phenomenon - like Paris Hilton
The Vatican gave the Creationist lobby a left right sign of the cross today, announcing it would stage a conference on Darwinism next month and declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place.
At one point the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University wasn't going to give Creationism or Intelligent Design a hearing at all. But apparently the organisers have relented, and will consider Intelligent Design as a "cultural phenomenon" rather than as a valid scientific theory, giving US-based IDers the chance to be smirked at by a room full of Monseigneurs, Cardinals and Bishops.
Previewing the conference yesterday, Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, head of the Church's Pontifical Council for Culture, conceded the Church had been hostile to Darwin on occasion. But, he said, the Church had never formally condemned Darwin, and he noted that in the last 50 years a number of Popes had accepted evolution as a valid scientific approach to human development.
Indeed, he said, evolution could be traced back through Scholastics such as St Thomas Aquinas to St Augustine in the fourth century, who had noted that "big fish eat smaller fish".
Augustine is probably more famous for praying "God, make me good - but not yet." Which also has some evolutionary overtones if you think about it.
Marc Leclerc, a natural philosopher at the University went further, saying Creationists were mistaken in arguing that that Darwinism was "totally incompatible with a religious vision of reality".
The conference, and the Church's endorsement of Darwin, represents another curve ball from the Holy See at other, arguably more fundamentalist, streams of Christianity. In December Pope Benedict tipped his hat to Galileo - who definitely was condemned by the Church - while simultaneously going all New Age by blethering on about the Solstice.
Last May, the Vatican astronomer really went out on a limb, claiming there was nothing incompatible between being a Catholic and believing in Aliens. He even suggested Aliens could be free of the stain of original sin, the stubborn blemish that has condemned humanity to a progressive decline from the Garden of Eden, through slavery, the dark ages, religious strife, atomic war, and now, the credit crunch and Simon Cowell.
But a wholesale worldview rejig this is not. Other branches of modern science get shorter shrift, with genetic manipulation fairly high on the Vatican's current don't-like list. ®
thanx for the discussion.
Sigh. What a pointless discussion.
>First of all you apparently cannot spell or grasp the basic aspects of grammar.
> Second, it is a true sign of low intelligence when you attack the person rather than the argument.
You don't see the irony in these two statements? Anyway, I wasn't attacking the person; I was simply questioning your misuse of the word theory (see below) and the possible reasons for it.
And, oh dear, there was a typo and I used some abbreviated sentences; therefore nothing I say is valid... I just went back and re-read your very first comment on this page. And guess what, it has some spelling and grammatical errors (which don't seem very relevant to me).
> As for the things you are stating as fact if you read my post you would notice that I have stated that they are all theories. So throwing more theories into the pot and stating they are fact does not help shore up your arguments.
But you are the one who doesn't have a clear grasp on the relationship between facts and theory. All these theories are based on the observation and measurement of actual physical events or changes. These latter are the only things I labelled facts.
To take one of yours, the planets *do* move in the sky - observable and measurable fact. One theory was that they moved around the earth in perfect circles. As more detailed observations were made this became untenable and the current theory is that we all move around the sun. This fits the observed facts so well that it is unlikely to be overturned.
I'm not sure anyone ever seriously believed the earth was flat - and there is no evidence that would support such a hypothesis anyway (despite those jokers at the flat earth society).
Similarly, gravity (or its effects) is an observable fact (apples actually fall from trees, we don't just theorise that they do). Newton and then Einstein came up with improved theories to explain gravity. Relativity isn't perfect and so we will probably more theoretical advances in this area.
Finally, evolution is seen to happen. Darwin came up with a better theory for how it happened. Older theories (e.g. Lamark) fell by the wayside because they didn't fit the observed facts well enough. Clearly, we still have a huge amount more to learn and understand - particularly about the way genetic and epigenetic factors are involved in evolution - but it currently looks unlikely that the central idea of natural selection will be overthrown. Rather it will be built on and refined (as has happened with Newtonian physics).
If ID or creationism could come up with a testable hypothesis then we could see how well these theories fit the observed facts. Just saying "it must be true because it says so in my book" or "wow, the world is just so amazing it must have been made by God" just won't wash.
> One last point to remember is that the purpose of higher education is not to let you read books and regurgitate the subject but to understand and think for yourself.
Weirdly, we seem to be on the same side... After all, you wouldn't want someone to read the bible (or creationist/ID literature) and then ignore what can be seen going on in the real world, would you?
Me are sure there will be sum more spillung and grammer errrers in hear but i cant be bothered to korrect they.
"Are not the writings in revelations just theory/hypothesis?"
No. Revelations is probably the syphilitic ravings of John the Apostle, describing what's going on outside his jail cell on Patmos. Read it in that context, you'll understand what I mean.
I am NOT an Xtian, but I have studied the bible. In several languages.