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Vienna cardinal draws lines in Intelligent Design row
Yahoo News / Reuters ^ | Sun Nov 20, 6:17 AM ET | Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor

Posted on 11/20/2005 5:32:28 PM PST by Chi-townChief

When Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn waded into a heated debate over evolution in the United States, his goal was not to persuade American schools to teach that God created the world in six days.

Nor was it to condemn Charles Darwin and his "The Origin of Species," a book that Schoenborn, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, considers a great work in the history of ideas.

His concern, Schoenborn told Reuters at his episcopal palace in central Vienna, was to stand up for common sense in a debate that had become ideological. He wanted to make clear where the Church thinks scientists overstep their bounds.

"The Church's task now is to defend reason," he explained, citing as his inspiration his former theology professor Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

"The theory of evolution is a scientific theory," he said. "What I call evolutionism is an ideological view that says evolution can explain everything in the whole development of the cosmos, from the Big Bang to Beethoven's Ninth Symphony."

Often tipped as a potential future pope, Schoenborn, 60, came under stinging attack by U.S. scientists after he published an op-ed article in the New York Times last July backing the "Intelligent Design" view of the world's origins.

The harsher critics charged he was a simpleton trying to replace science with creationism -- the view that God made the world exactly as laid out in Genesis, the first book of the Bible -- and throw American education back by a century.

Dismissing this censure with a smile, the cardinal spelled out a position that respects Darwin's achievements but rejects neo-Darwinist views he said go beyond what science can prove.

"The biblical teaching about creation is not a scientific theory," he said, restating a Catholic view that contrasts with the literal reading of some conservative U.S. Protestants opposed to Darwin. "Christian teaching about creation is not an alternative to evolution."

INTELLIGENT DESIGN

Schoenborn agrees with the Intelligent Design theory that the complexity of life clearly points to a superior intelligence that must have devised this system. He based this on reason, not science, as Intelligent Design theorists claim to do.

"The next step is to ask -- which intelligence? As a believer, of course I think it is the intelligence of the Creator," he said."

Asked about the debate on teaching Intelligent Design in U.S. schools, Schoenborn declined to comment directly. A Pennsylvania school board was voted out this month for backing Intelligent Design in science classes, but Kansas decided to teach it.

He thought private and state schools in Austria should include in their science classes a mention of the "intelligent project that is the cosmos," as Pope Benedict put it last week in apparent backing for Intelligent Design.

Schoenborn, a good-humored Dominican who was the editor for the Church's authoritative Catechism published in 1992, expressed surprise at the barrage of criticism he got for saying Darwin could not explain everything.

DEFENDS CRITICISM

"If this is a scientific theory, it must be open to scientific criticism," he said. "What I'm criticizing is a kind of strategy to immunize it, as if it were an offence to Darwin's dignity to say there are some issues this theory can't explain.

"There's a kind of ban on discussing this and critics of the evolution theory are discredited or discriminated against from the start," he said.

"What I would like is to see in schools is a critical and open spirit, in a positive sense, so we don't make a dogma out of the theory of evolution but we say it is a theory that has a lot going for it but has no answers for some questions."

He questioned neo-Darwinism, the scientifically updated version of Darwin's thesis first published in 1859, and its argument that natural selection -- the so-called "survival of the fittest" -- created life out of matter randomly.

"Can we reasonably say the origin of man and life can only be explained by material causes?" he asked. "Can matter create intelligence? That is a question we can't answer scientifically, because the scientific method cannot grasp it."

"Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself," he said. "It needs information to do that, and information is a manifestation of intelligence."

Although his reading on evolution has covered several scientific disciplines, Schoenborn stressed his objections to neo-Darwinism were essentially philosophical.

Like his mentor Pope Benedict, he is deeply concerned that materialism -- the science-based view that matter is the only reality -- is crowding out religious and spiritual thinking in modern man's perception of the world.

"It's all about materialism, that's the key issue," he said.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: evolution; goddoodit; pope; theoriesofevolution
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"If this is a scientific theory, it must be open to scientific criticism," he said. "What I'm criticizing is a kind of strategy to immunize it, as if it were an offence to Darwin's dignity to say there are some issues this theory can't explain.

"There's a kind of ban on discussing this and critics of the evolution theory are discredited or discriminated against from the start," he said.

Pretty much nails it.

1 posted on 11/20/2005 5:32:29 PM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
"If this is a scientific theory, it must be open to scientific criticism," he said. "What I'm criticizing is a kind of strategy to immunize it, as if it were an offence to Darwin's dignity to say there are some issues this theory can't explain.

"There's a kind of ban on discussing this and critics of the evolution theory are discredited or discriminated against from the start," he said.

Evolutionism, as the Cardinal cites, is dogma, not science. Essentially, what we have in the scientific community is a binding article of faith, doubts notwithstanding. "If anyone denies the progression from goo to zoo to you, let him be anathama!"

2 posted on 11/20/2005 5:41:25 PM PST by Lexinom
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To: Chi-townChief

"Can we reasonably say the origin of man and life can only be explained by material causes?" he asked. "Can matter create intelligence? That is a question we can't answer scientifically, because the scientific method cannot grasp it."


3 posted on 11/20/2005 5:49:13 PM PST by victim soul
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To: Chi-townChief

What has amazed me the most about this topic, is that everyone
on the Darwinian side of this can not concede an inch to a creator.
But we are supposed to be open minded enough to see their side of the argument.

Typical libs...agree with me, but I'll never agree with you


4 posted on 11/20/2005 5:58:33 PM PST by ThreePuttinDude ()......Politically incorrect by Intelligent Design........()
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To: Chi-townChief

Just read Hebrews 11:3


5 posted on 11/20/2005 6:05:53 PM PST by buffyt (America will never seek a permission slip to defend the security of our people. Pres. George Bush)
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To: ThreePuttinDude

"everyone on the Darwinian side of this can not concede an inch to a creator. "

No shortage of those on FR.


6 posted on 11/20/2005 6:06:31 PM PST by PetroniusMaximus
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To: victim soul
"Can we reasonably say the origin of man and life can only be explained by material causes?" he asked. "Can matter create intelligence? That is a question we can't answer scientifically, because the scientific method cannot grasp it."
It's more like there's no reason matter cannot create intelligence, there's no evidence of some kind of separate supernatural organ called a "soul" that somehow produces a mind apart from the brain, there's a ton of evidence that thoughts are always accompanied by electrochemical changes in the brain, and there's a lot of clinical evidence that damage to the material brain causes many (usually damaging) effects to the nonmaterial mind.

Does that make it a "proven" case in a strictly deductive sense? No. But it's quite compelling, and it does put the onus on the believers in the existence of a "soul" thingy or some other non-material cause to put some positive evidence on the table.

7 posted on 11/20/2005 6:30:37 PM PST by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: Art of Unix Programming by Raymond)
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To: Chi-townChief

Our resident science PHDs will be here to debunk all the religion nonsense.


8 posted on 11/20/2005 6:35:44 PM PST by cynicom
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To: Chi-townChief; GatorGirl; maryz; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; livius; ...

+


9 posted on 11/20/2005 6:38:19 PM PST by narses (St Thomas says “lex injusta non obligat”)
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To: jennyp



"Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself,"


10 posted on 11/20/2005 6:49:24 PM PST by oldbrowser (A living, breathing constitution is a usurpation of the people's sovereignty.)
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To: Chi-townChief
Evolution is in trouble when they are reduced to praising "Fast" Eddie Rendell, Gov of PA and Kathleen Sibelius of KS and that hardly reputable magazine Newsweek, right here on Free Republic.

Tonight is the first time I ever saw the adoring praises of Newsweek for anything right here on FR.
11 posted on 11/20/2005 6:54:57 PM PST by Just mythoughts
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To: jennyp

If it's wrong to point to a gap and say, "God did it," it's also wrong to point to a materially-explainable phenomenon and say, "Since we see that the molecules did such and such, obviously God didn't do it."


12 posted on 11/20/2005 8:05:53 PM PST by guitarist
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To: PetroniusMaximus
I agree.

I wonder how many of them are "deep trolls" from DU.

13 posted on 11/20/2005 8:09:47 PM PST by mr. mojo risin (I trained my puppy on the LA Times.)
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To: mr. mojo risin
I wonder how many of them are "deep trolls" from DU.

I have been wondering how many creationists on FR are "deep trolls" from TVC.
14 posted on 11/20/2005 8:42:20 PM PST by gcruse (http://gcruse.typepad.com)
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To: Chi-townChief

"Vienna cardinal..."


WTF?


First: Cardinal ought to be capitalized when referring to a specific man.

Second: He is either a Viennese Cardinal (any cardinal originally descendant from the people of Vienna), or more likely he is the Cardinal of Vienna. "Vienna Cardinal" is a nonsensical pairing of two nouns.


15 posted on 11/20/2005 8:47:59 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Chi-townChief

Nevermind. It's Reuters. [spit]


16 posted on 11/20/2005 8:48:40 PM PST by Petronski (Cyborg is the greatest blessing I have ever known.)
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To: Chi-townChief
"Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself," he said. "It needs information to do that, and information is a manifestation of intelligence."

As with so many things from relativity to quantum theory, common sense is wrong.

17 posted on 11/20/2005 8:51:04 PM PST by js1138 (Great is the power of steady misrepresentation.)
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To: Chi-townChief
SCHÖNBORN, O.P., Christoph (1945-

Birth. January 22, 1945, Skalsko, diocese of Litomerice, Bohemia, Czechoslovakia. Son of Maria Hugo Damian Adalbert Josef Hubertus von Schönborn and Eleonore von Doblhoff. His baptismal name is Christoph Maria Michael Hugo Damian Peter Adalbert. His family moved to Austria in September 1945. Besides his native German, he speaks English, French and Italian.

Education. Joined Order of Preachers, 1963. Dominican houses of studies in Walberberg, Bonn, Germany; Le Saulchoir, Paris (doctorate in theology). "École Practique de Hautes Études", La Sorbonne University, Paris; "Institute Catholique", Paris.

Priesthood. Ordained, December 27, 1970, Vienna, by Cardinal Franz König, archbishop of Vienna. Further studies, 1970-1974. Chaplain to university students, Graz, Austria, 1973-1975. Faculty member, University of Fribourg, Switzerland, 1976-1991. Member of International Theological Commission, 1980-1991; of Foundation "Pro Oriente", 1984-1991. Attended II Extraordinary Assembly of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, November 24-December 8, 1985; assistant to special secretary. Faculty member, Superior Philosophical School of Cisterciense Abbey of Heiligenkreuz, Vienna, Austria. Secretary of the commission of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to edit the new Catechism of the Catholic Church (1987-1992).

Episcopate. Elected titular bishop of Sutri and appointed auxiliary of Vienna, July 11, 1991. Consecrated, September 29, 1991, Vienna, by Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër, O.S.B., archbishop of Vienna. Promoted to archbishop coadjutor with right of succession of Vienna, April 13, 1995. Succeeded to metropolitan see of Vienna, September 14, 1995.

Cardinalate. Created cardinal priest in the consistory of February 21, 1998; received the red biretta and the title of Gesù Divin Lavoratore, February 23, 1998. President of Austrian Episcopal Conference, 1998-. Attended II Special Assembly for Europe of the World Synod of Bishops, Vatican City, October 1 to 23, 1999. Participated in the conclave of April 18 to 19, 2005.

Links. Photo, arms and biography, in German; and genealogy, 8a, 2g.

18 posted on 11/20/2005 9:44:49 PM PST by A.A. Cunningham
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To: oldbrowser
"Common sense tells us that matter cannot organize itself,"

Until we look at some water turning to ice crystals... :-/

19 posted on 11/20/2005 9:45:42 PM PST by jennyp (WHAT I'M READING NOW: Art of Unix Programming by Raymond)
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To: Sun

Bump for logic!


20 posted on 11/20/2005 11:04:59 PM PST by Sun (Hillary Clinton is pro-ILLEGAL immigration. Don't let her fool you. She has a D- /F immigr. rating.)
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