Monday, July 11, 2005

Cardinal Carifies Catholic Position on Darwinism

Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna takes strides toward clarifying the Catholic Church's position on evolution, a position which has been rather murky in the public mind since John Paul's remarks on the relation of science and religion in 1996. Schonborn's entire editorial in the New York Times is important and shouldn't be missed by anyone interested in this issue, but the key passage, in our view, is this:

Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense - an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection - is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.

This is indeed the heart of the matter, the crux that so many who comment on this controversy simply overlook or ignore. Intelligent Design theory, regardless of what some of its supporters and opponents may think, does not require that we reject evolution. There very well may have been descent through modification in the history of organisms, but the key point is that however life came to be here, as Cardinal Schonborn insists, it did not arise through blind impersonal chance. To the extent that physical processes were involved in bringing about the complexities of living things they did not act solely by themselves. They served at the pleasure of a transcendent mind. This is the position of many, if not most, ID theorists. One can deny these assertions but doing so takes one out of the realm of scientific competence and into the realm of metaphysics. In other words, no scientist qua scientist has any business denying that intelligence played a role in the development of life.

It is surprising that some Catholic scientists appear to be upset by the Cardinal's essay. What reason is there, after all, for being a theist, let alone a Catholic theist, if one believes that God plays no role in creation? What is the difference between this kind of Catholicism and a Jeffersonian deism?

Cardinal Schonborn points out while discussing a 2004 document of the International Theological Commission that:

Commenting on the widespread abuse of John Paul's 1996 letter on evolution, the commission cautions that "the letter cannot be read as a blanket approbation of all theories of evolution, including those of a neo-Darwinian provenance which explicitly deny to divine providence any truly causal role in the development of life in the universe."

Furthermore, according to the commission, "An unguided evolutionary process - one that falls outside the bounds of divine providence - simply cannot exist."

Yet this is exactly what the Neo-Darwinians believe. They are willing to allow that there is a god out there somewhere, but he's a god who has never done anything and in fact has nothing to do. We might ask of such evolutionary theists, however, what exactly the difference is between this sort of god and no god at all.

Thanks to Uncommon Descent for the tip on the Cardinal's essay.

Sandra Day O'Connor

Charles Krauthammer argues eloquently that the encomiums being thrown in Sandra Day O'Connor's direction are largely undeserved. Lacking any underlying judicial philosophy she was more of a legislator and mediator than an accomplished jurist.

Ann Coulter arrives at the same conclusion in typically more pungent prose.

Perky Economic Numbers

We don't hear much anymore about the terrible economy for which Bush is responsible. That might be because it's hard to argue that people are suffering when the job numbers are better than they've been since before 9/11. Things may not be great but they're good and getting better.

Sort of like Iraq.

Read all about it here.

Disturbed Souls

This level of looniness has to be seen in order to be believed:

The bombings in London seem to make little sense for Al Queda [sic] so instead we ask the question: Who really benefitted [sic] from today's attack? Bin Laden? "The Hook?" or George Bush?

The above was followed by this comment:

Al-Qaeda is the wet-dream brainchild of the CIA/Mossad/MI6. The Perfect Enemy. Cui Bono? The lying, mass-murdering THUG, BLAIR. A very, very sick THUG - a psychopath.

I know that anybody can write anything on the internet, but that there are people so dimly lit that they would write something as moronic as this is as pathetic as the sentiments they express are disgusting.

Nor is this all. Check out the rantings of one Brent Herbert, an apparent escapee from a London asylum.

There are evidently lots of disturbed souls who walk among us. We should do more to help them.

Thanks to Michelle Malkin for the tip.