In contrast, American evangelicals tend to view Adam and Eve as actual living people, who were literally created by God as clay forms into which God breathed the breath of life
These two together create an impression that the Catholics believe only in God-created evolution. This is of course not so. I am Catholic in good standing and reasonably well informed in my faith and I don't believe in any evolution. I think that God created all species as they are today, unless they went extinct. God created them in groups that resemble one another, this is why we have horses look a but like donkeys, men look a bit like the apes, etc. Evolution, as science itself teaches us is an absurd idea of one species becoming another species through a series of birth defects. That intelligent people can believe that nonsense is a testimony of human gullibility.
A Catholic may believe God-created evolution. In fact the description that man was made from mud can be interpreted as pointing to evolution. Here, indeed one can discern the Catholic way of reading the Bible taking into account the cultural environment of the historical inspired author, and the ability of the Bible to speak truths that the inspired author had no rational knowledge about. But it is wrong to suggest that Catholics as a dogma of faith believe in anything in particular about the evolution. Some, yet not all, believe in it, -- I think it is naive, but they are good Catholics nevertheless.
Another problem with this juxtaposition of paragraphs is the possibility of concluding that Catholics do not believe in the single parenthood of Adam and Eve and the historicity of Adam and Eve. While I am happy to read that the Protestant Evangelicals "view Adam and Eve as actual living [in the past, I presume] people", I am also happy to report that so do all informed Catholics.
In short, the Church being our rule of faith, not our authority on zoology, does not teach much at all about the evolution. It all can be summed up in a short statement: the account of creation is inerrant; God created all things visible and invisible; Adam and Eve are our historical protoparents. If one wants to squeeze God-directed evolution in that, he is free to do so. If one does not want to believe in evolution, he is also free to do so. If one wants to deny historicity of Adam and Eve, or believe in evolution NOT directed by God, he is no longer Catholic.
Like you said, annalex. Thank you!
It's not an "absurd idea", it's an observed phenomenon called "descent with modifications".
Genetic mutations happen in every generation of every species.
Most mutations have no effect on the appearance or functions of an organism because they occur in regions sometimes referred to as "junk DNA".
And for perfectly adapted species, those mutations which do change an organism are almost invariably negative and are therefore weeded out of the gene-pool by "natural selection".
That's why many generations can pass by, with no obvious changes.
But when the environment itself changes (becoming cooler, warmer, wetter, dryer, a new predator, etc.), then some mutations will increase an individual's chance of survival and reproduction, and so the species can begin to evolve again.
So a new species arises (by definition) whenever two sub-species have been separated in different environments so long they no longer successfully interbreed.
And we can see this in the process of happening, amongst horses, donkeys & zebras, to pick just one example.
None of this is "nonsense", and there's no "belief" (in a religious sense) involved.
These are simply very careful scientific observations, confirmed through innumerable repetitions.
In short, they are facts.
annalex: "It all can be summed up in a short statement: the account of creation is inerrant; God created all things visible and invisible; Adam and Eve are our historical protoparents.
If one wants to squeeze God-directed evolution in that, he is free to do so.
If one does not want to believe in evolution, he is also free to do so.
If one wants to deny historicity of Adam and Eve, or believe in evolution NOT directed by God, he is no longer Catholic."
That is also more or less the teaching of most Protestant and Orthodox denominations -- by my estimate along with Catholics totaling 80% of all Christians.
"Youg earth", anti-evolution and really, anti-science, is a distinct minority doctrine, even among Christian churches.