Evolution and Intelligent Design: July 2005 Archives

We're on a roll here, so I figured I'd post my pet peeve about Anti-Evolutionism. I know I do so at my peril as I'm hitting two hot buttons at the same time: Evolution, and Language Usage, but here goes...

I'm really tired of hearing Anti-Evolutionists say things like "Even scientists think that Evolution is just a Theory, not a Law." Well, if you omit the "just", then that is entirely accurate. However, scientists mean something very different by "theory" and "law" than the common usage.

I don't intend to blog primarily about evolution, etc. But this poll is too interesting not to point out, no matter what your views are on the topic. Here are a couple of interesting bits:

...a new national survey shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) agree with the basic tenet of creationism, that "human beings were created directly by God."

At the same time, approximately one-fifth (22%) of adults believe "human beings evolved from earlier species" (evolution) and 10 percent subscribe to the theory that "human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them" (intelligent design). Moreover, a majority (55%) believe that all three of these theories should be taught in public schools, while 23 percent support teaching creationism only, 12 percent evolution only, and four percent intelligent design only.

This part is also interesting:

Evolution and the Pope

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There often seems to be some confusion about what the Roman Catholic church thinks about evolution, so it was with some interest that I read yesterday's editorial in the New York Times by Christoph Schönborn, a Roman Catholic cardinal and the archbishop of Vienna. Here's the introduction:

Ever since 1996, when Pope John Paul II said that evolution (a term he did not define) was "more than just a hypothesis," defenders of neo-Darwinian dogma have often invoked the supposed acceptance - or at least acquiescence - of the Roman Catholic Church when they defend their theory as somehow compatible with Christian faith.

But this is not true. The Catholic Church, while leaving to science many details about the history of life on earth, proclaims that by the light of reason the human intellect can readily and clearly discern purpose and design in the natural world, including the world of living things.

Schönborn goes on to quote Pope John Paul II fairly extensively, including this bit:

"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."

The editorial makes pretty clear that neither Pope John Paul II, nor the current Pope, see purely naturalistic evolution as a viable option. Apparently, in his famous "more than just a hypothesis" statement, John Paul II was pointing to evolution as a means (or mechanism) , not the cause. In other words, although evolution might have been how life got here in its present form, even if it was the "how", God was behind it as the "inventor".

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