Loading
Scientist calls Cardinal Schonborn’s evolution editorial a ‘much needed clarification’ on Church teaching

.- In light of a recent firestorm over a New York Times editorial by Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schonborn discussing the Church’s stance on evolution, Dr. Michael Behe, professor at Lehigh University and one of the nations leading scholars on intelligent design told CNA that he thinks the Cardinal’s piece was a “much needed clarification” of the often misrepresented Church teaching. Dr. Behe says he disagrees with critics who say that Cardinal Schonborn’s article was a break from the thinking of Pope John Paul II, who taught that many aspects of evolution are not in conflict with the Catholic Church.

Instead, Behe told CNA, “it’s a much needed clarification.”

“For years,“ he said, “Darwinists have been spinning John Paul’s words to their own benefit…interpreting it in ways he did not mean.”

While noting John Paul was certainly open to certain aspects of evolution like common ancestry, the professor said he was not, “open to the idea that evolution is random and unguided.”

Dr. Behe even alluded to Pope John Paul’s 1996 letter to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, in which he famously said that evolution may be more than just a theory.

Behe said that nothing is really wrong with the letter, but many evolution advocates frequently opt to pick and choose “headline-grabbing phrases”, from the document and ignore the rest.

In his article, Cardinal Schonborn stressed that “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.”

Confusion of words

Dr. Behe noted that one of the major problems in the evolution debate, and a tremendous source of misunderstanding of the Church’s position, is that many see the ideas of intelligent design and creationism as synonymous, which, he says, they are not.

Creationism, he clarified, is the literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis which suggests seven 24-hour days and an earth which is less than 10,000 years old. He said that this mode of thought starts with the Bible, and seeks to back it up in nature.

“The Catholic Church,” he noted, “has never [definitively] taught that.”

Intelligent design, on the other hand, Behe said, starts with the facts of nature, and seeks to understand what caused them.

In this context, the Church can reasonably accept evolution on certain terms as John Paul and Cardinal Schonborn agree, and as Washington DC’s Cardinal Theodore McCarrick said earlier this week, “as long as there is room for a creator.”

Cardinal Schonborn chose to look beyond the 1996 letter of the late John Paul II, and quoted a portion of a 1985 general audience, in which he said: “To speak of chance for a universe which presents such a complex organization in its elements and such marvelous finality in its life would be equivalent to giving up the search for an explanation of the world as it appears to us.”

“In fact, this would be equivalent to admitting effects without a cause. It would be to abdicate human intelligence, which would thus refuse to think and to seek a solution for its problems."


Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic
Apr
19

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10

Gospel
Date
04/19/14
04/18/14
04/17/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »

Saint
Date

Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10

Homily
Date
04/19/14
04/18/14
04/17/14

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
     HTML
Text only
Headlines
  

Follow us: