Skip to comments."Evolution"
Posted on 04/28/2013 7:51:07 PM PDT by Alex Murphy
... in quotes, because the word is notoriously ambiguous. It is best broken down into component theses, as Alvin Plantinga once did in an essay (e.g. ancient earth thesis, common ancestry thesis, naturalistic origins thesis, etc., some of which there is evidence for, and others for which there is none whatsoever). But here this is beside the point, since nearly everyone seems to think of "it" as some sort of settled simplicity that any credible intellectual worth his salt must simply assume as a matter of course to be taken seriously (witness Ben Stein's well-known documentary).
As such, "it" has become a matter that just won't go away. A recent article by Carol Glatz, "Human evolution: Science, faith explore the mysterious emergence of man" (Catholic News Service, April 25, 2013), reports that the Pontifical Academy of Sciences recently brought together world-renown scientific experts, evolutionary biologists, paleoanthropologists, archaeologists, neuroscientists, theologians and philosophers to discuss the major physical and cultural changes that occurred during mankind's evolution. The article states:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Evolutionary science is still grappling with understanding how the human species, with its unique capacities for language, culture, abstract reasoning and spirituality, may have emerged from a pre-ape ancestor.Chancellor of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Bishop Marcelo Sanchez Sorondo, declared that theology and philosophy "must not engage in a losing battle to establish the facts of nature that constitute the very scope of science"; rather, they "should ask themselves how they can find a meeting point with and become enriched by the naturalist viewpoint of science, starting from the assumption that the human being is already a speaking, questioning being," he added.
The CNS article continues:
How that speaking, questioning being emerged from a 5 million-year-long lineage of other primates is still a matter of much debate."It is?" responds Rorate Caeli, in "The inerrant word of God does not 'evolve'" (April, 28, 2013), adding: "Sadly, even modern Churchmen have succumbed to the false religion -- and poor science -- of evolution. I say modern Churchmen, as the Church doctors never sat around wondering if their ancestors -- Adam and Eve -- lived in trees and ate bananas."
Rorate interestingly offers two links, adding: "Que this traditional, learned priest -- who is also a trained scientist. Give them a listen, and discuss:
Evolution: a False Religious World View Masqueraded as Science; and this:
Big Bang Fizzles, Moses Sizzles
...."Sadly, even modern Churchmen have succumbed to the false religion -- and poor science -- of evolution. I say modern Churchmen, as the Church doctors never sat around wondering if their ancestors -- Adam and Eve -- lived in trees and ate bananas."
Unfortunately, just about everyone on this planet has a different ‘idea’ of what the word ‘evolution’ means.
Of course, metaphorically the word "evolution" can refer to just about anything, i.e., "evolution of science", "evolution of automobiles", etc.
In biology, the theory of evolution begins with two confirmed observations (facts):
Attached to the basic idea of evolution are many other facts, theories and unconfirmed hypotheses -- some of which have been modified or rejected outright over many years.
Points of debate revolve around matters at the very limits of current knowledge, such as a possible natural origin of life itself -- many hypotheses, far fewer facts and theories.
Naturally, in any popular presentation of evidence, the many lines between facts and hypotheses get blurred or erased, and so we see in high-definition: huge dinosaurs battling for survival, while little mammals scurry for cover.
The fossils, the DNA, geological formations, etc. -- those are facts.
The interpretations are hypotheses, some only weakly confirmed.
For anyone with a serious love of God, none of this is problematic -- it simply shows us the likely how of creation described in Genesis.
But for others more devoted to doctrine, it creates many unanswerable questions: how could scientific ideas on evolution possibly be shoehorned into the biblical history and theology?
Perhaps some of these questions can never be answered, but the basics are not so difficult: Genesis shows us the first man and woman formed in the last day of creation, and fully awair of God's love, God's law and (the story's point), their own sinfulness.
It shows them planting crops and building cities.
All of this science tells us is of very recent origin and before that point, whatever pre-humans existed were just that: pre-human.