Skip to comments."Intelligent design" not science: Vatican paper
Posted on 01/19/2006 1:33:32 PM PST by peyton randolph
PARIS (Reuters) - The Roman Catholic Church has restated its support for evolution with an article praising a U.S. court decision that rejects the "intelligent design" theory as non-scientific.
The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano said that teaching intelligent design -- which argues that life is so complex that it needed a supernatural creator -- alongside Darwin's theory of evolution would only cause confusion...
A court in the state of Pennsylvania last month barred a school from teaching intelligent design (ID), a blow to Christian conservatives who want it to be taught in biology classes along with the Darwinism they oppose.
(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
He didn't deserve it (speaking from a 21st century perspective), but it was bad science. He said he could prove it and couldn't. He taught as fact that which was not provable as fact. He ticked off everyone he came into contact with, churchmen to professors to scientists, which is never a good course of action. He was right (partially--the Sun is the center of our solar system, not the Universe) but tried to make his case in the worst way possible.
"outdated and false..." ideas and making the same arguments that a 15 minute Google search could easily refute...
*The trial of Galileo in 1633 has been an anti-Catholic bludgeon aimed at the Church. Galileo has become an all-encompassing trump card, played whether the discussion is over science, abortion, gay rights, legalized pornography, or simply as a legitimate reason for anti-Catholicism itself.
*The myth of Galileo is more important than the actual events that surrounded him. Galileo represents the myth of the Church at war with science and enlightened thought.
*Most of the early scientific progress in astronomy was rooted in the Church. Galileo would attempt to prove the theories of a Catholic priest who had died 20 years before Galileo was born, Nicholas Copernicus. Copernicus argued for an earth that orbited the sun, rather than a fixed earth at the center of the cosmos.
*Copernicus died in 1543 and the Church raised no objections to his revolutionary hypothesis as long as it was presented as theory. The difficulty that both the Church and the leading Protestant reformers had with the theory is that it was perceived as not only contradicting common sense, but Scripture as well.
*The myth we have of Galileo is that of a renegade who scoffed at the Bible and drew fire from a Church blind to reason. In fact, he remained a good Catholic who believed in the power of prayer and endeavored always to conform his duty as a scientist with the destiny of his soul.
*In 1615, Cardinal Robert Bellarmine noted that if the Copernican theory was ever proven then it would be necessary to re-think the interpretation of certain Scriptural passages.
*In February 1616, a council of theological advisors to the pope ruled that it was bad science and quite likely contrary to faith to teach as fact that the sun was at the center of the universe, that the earth is not at the center of the world, and that it moves. *Galileos name or his works were never mentioned in the edict, nor was the word "heresy" ever employed. This led Galileo to believe that he could still consider the Copernican theory as hypothesis.
*Galileo met with Pope Urban VIII and believed he had permission to re-visit the Copernican debate.
*In 1632, Galileo published the Dialogue. The Dialogue could be read as a direct challenge to the 1616 edict, as it forcefully argued the truth of the Copernican system. It was greeted with skepticism from the Church and the scientific community of the day.
*In his trial in 1633, Galileo was found "vehemently suspected of heresy" in teaching as truth that the earth moves and is not the center of the world. He was found guilty in persisting in such teaching when he had been formally warned not to do so in 1616. His book was prohibited, he was ordered confined to formal imprisonment, to publicly renounce his beliefs, and to perform proper penance.
*The finding against Galileo was hardly infallible. The condemnation had little to do with defining doctrine. It was the finding of one canonical office, not a determination by the Church, that set out a clear doctrinal interpretation.
*While Galileo would continue to conduct important scientific studies and publish books on those studies the fact remains that his condemnation was unjust. The theologians who interrogated him acted outside their competence and confused the literary nature of Scripture with its theological intent.
*Galileo died in 1642. In the 19th century, "scientism" became its own religion. In an era where intellectuals viewed science and scientific method as the only means to attain truth, Galileo was resurrected and canonized a martyr.
*The trial of Galileo is most often portrayed in terms that it clearly was not: Galileo the scientist arguing the supremacy of reason and science over faith; the tribunal judges demanding that reason abjure to faith. The trial was neither. Galileo and the tribunal judges shared the view that science and the Bible could not stand in contradiction.
*The mistakes that were made in the trial came from Galileos own personality and acerbic style, the personal umbrage of Pope Urban VIII who believed Galileo had duped him, jealous competitive scientists, and tribunal judges who erroneously believed that the universe revolved around a motionless earth and that the Bible confirmed such a belief.
*Galileo had not succeeded in proving the double motion of the Earth. More than 150 years still had to pass before such proofs were scientifically established.
*"Theologians failed to grasp the profound, non-literal meaning of the Scriptures when they describe the physical structure of the created universe. This led them unduly to transpose a question of factual observation into the realm of faith." (Cardinal Paul Poupard in his presentation to Pope John Paul II on the results of the papal-requested Pontifical Academy study of the Galileo trial.)
*If there is a war between science and religion, it is not a battle based on any denial from the Church of the need for scientific progress. Rather, it is from certain segments of the scientific community that have adopted a religion of science that scornfully disregards religious faith. It is far more common today for certain scientists to declare war on faith, than faith to object to science and its search for truth.
Wow. There's a delicious irony in that....
Faith can never conflict with reason. The Pope's statement on Galileo and science/scripture conflicts. Excerpts:
The problem posed by theologians of that age [the time of the Galileo controversy] was, therefore, that of the compatibility between heliocentrism and Scripture.The Pope's 1996 statement on evolution. Physical evolution is not in conflict with Christianity. Excerpts:
Thus the new science, with its methods and the freedom of research which they implied, obliged theologians to examine their own criteria of scriptural interpretation. Most of them did not know how to do so.
Paradoxically, Galileo, a sincere believer, showed himself to be more perceptive in this regard than the theologians who opposed him. "If Scripture cannot err", he wrote to Benedetto Castelli, "certain of its interpreters and commentators can and do so in many ways".(2) We also know of his letter to Christine de Lorraine (1615) which is like a short treatise on biblical hermeneutics.(3)
In fact, the Bible does not concern itself with the details of the physical world, the understanding of which is the competence of human experience and reasoning. There exist two realms of knowledge, one which has its source in Revelation and one which reason can discover by its own power. To the latter belong especially the experimental sciences and philosophy. The distinction between the two realms of knowledge ought not to be understood as opposition.
It is necessary to determine the proper sense of Scripture, while avoiding any unwarranted interpretations that make it say what it does not intend to say. In order to delineate the field of their own study, the exegete and the theologian must keep informed about the results achieved by the natural sciences.Pope Pius XII's 1950 Encyclical, Humani Generis. Referred to in the 1996 statement. Excerpt:
Today, almost half a century after the publication of the Encyclical [see link & excerpt below], fresh knowledge has led to the recognition that evolution is more than a hypothesis. It is indeed remarkable that this theory has been progressively accepted by researchers, following a series of discoveries in various fields of knowledge. The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favour of this theory.
... the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter - for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God.
Nice work. Thanks for the compilation!
That's not actually true -- The Church does not object to many components of the theory of evolution. But, importantly, it does object to the theory that there was no creator, designer or God who is ultimately responsible for creation. In other words, if there was a Big Bang, it was God's Big Bang.
I figured you were lurking about somewhere. I went looking for you but I guess I just didn't turn over enough rocks. :^)
I find these arguments about people who are used simply as 'guilt by association' weapons completely useless and frustrating. If we are to debate currently debatable subjects then let's debate them on their merits, or lack thereof, not what some putatively associated individual may have done in the past and how he or she makes the current proponents 'look'.
In this case, whether or not Galileo deserved what he got does not make the Catholic Church's position, our position, the IDists position or the YEC's position any less correct or incorrect.
If this has simply turned into a debate about what really happened in the past then it isn't my kind of debate.
Isn't it a shade inconsistent to paint yourself as a champion of free inquiry when you would welcome legal judgments against teaching intelligent design as a viable explanation for the presence of organized matter that behaves according to laws?
All of this is to the great credit of the Church. They don't want to have a reputation as being anti-science. Their reputation suffered greatly over the past 4 centuries as a result of the Galileo affair (and over torching Bruno, etc.). They're gradually putting all of that behind them. That is why, unlike a few Protestant denominations, they are not anti-evolution. They have no intention of being something like the Flat Earth Society. They were wrong in the Galileo affair, they know it, they admit it, and they've cleaned up their act. Most commendable. It took them over 300 years, but I guess these things take time.
You probably did nothing to end it, these threads have their own life span. I believe you and CG just went off on your own sidebar which of course you have every right to do.
I was just hoping to find out where everyone else went. Making a humourous post as I did usually brings 'someone' out of the woodwork.
I don't think the Galileo affair is a sidebar in this thread, which is, after all, about the Vatican's position on ID. It all ties together. Science vs. scripture, and how to deal with such issues. The Galileo affair is the inevitable background to understanding the current position of the Church on such issues.
Only if it can be shown that the Galileo affair has had some impact on Vatican decisions of today. Is their treatment of Galileo reflected in this latest treatment of ID?
The thread has left it's original path of discussing the Vatican's current view on science and followed a new path to what the Vatican's view was almost 400 years ago without causally linking the two.
In any case I have no weapons to bring to bear to the debate about Galileo. I know nothing.
Asks the little troll.
I think it is, for the reasons I gave back in posts 385 and 391. Their position on ID is a result of what appears to be their institutional decision never again to be on the wrong side of what history will view as another Galileo affair. They were scientific boneheads once, but they're determined to avoid such a mistake in the future.
Why not? 400.