Sunday, April 28, 2013


... 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:


I am not Spartacus said...

For fear of being thought benighted, there are not a few Christians who have surrendered to the Darwinian lies to such an extent that GOD is more Acronym (God's Our Darwin) than Triune Being.

So what if for macroevolution to be true, it would require that the offspring of a set of progenitors had to have two or more organs neither of his progenitors had?

The G.O.D. Squad will simply claim that is the mysterious way G.O.D. operates.

Ever since science successfully sued for divorce from Sacred Theology it has produced numerous bastard children whom we Christians rush to raise and praise.

MP said...

What a kooky blog post. Must we rely on interpretations of scripture that continue to pose the absurdly untenable position that the earth is only a few thousand years old - defying reson? No.

Pertinacious Papist said...


Let's take you seriously, starting with your erudite opening salvo:

"What a kooky blog post."

This shows us that, whatever erudite arguments you may have in store, you start with your best foot forward by presenting, not an argument, but a bit of ad hominem name calling. Thank you.

Let's move on to your next towering intellectual salvo:

"Must we rely on interpretations of scripture that continue to pose the absurdly untenable position that the earth is only a few thousand years old - defying reson?"

This shows us several things:

First, that you are continuing to lob ad hominems such as "absurdly untenable" without any arguments to back them up.

Second, that you either (a) haven't understood the principal thesis of the post, which is that "Evolution" isn't a simple theory or hypothesis, but a conglomeration of multiple assumptions and theses, loosely and often incongruously held together like a precarious bubble; OR (b)
haven't even read the post, with it's supporting linked pages, such as Alvin Plantinga's demonstration that "Evolution" is a complex issue with diverse "component theses," some of which may be accepted (like the Ancient Earth Thesis) by those who reject other less-demonstrable components (like the Common Ancestry Thesis or Naturalistic Origins Thesis).

Third, that you apparently understand little of the tenuousness of modern "science" itself, which is often based on unexamed non-scientific assumptions accepted as Gospel by epistemologically unreflective and oblivious "scientists" like Dawkins, who pontificate on the metaphysical implications of their "scientific" assumptions without the least awareness of their lack of epistemic support in doing so. Why is it, do you think, that modern "scientists" reject the Thomistic designation of theology as the "queen of sciences"? Because St. Thomas' views have been shown to be utterly fatuous and intellectually untenable. Hmmmm. What about the whole Positivist movement inspired by Comte which has let to the modern assumption of the unity of science thesis, which supposes (1) that there is one -- and only one -- method for any "science" worthy of the name, and (2) that this method consists of mathematical empiricist reasoning based on mechanistic-causal experimentation rejecting any notions of formal and final causality? And what about the fact that, since the 1960s, this entire presuppositional edifice has been demonstrated to be unsupportable by the likes of Michael Polanyi, Thomas Kuhn, Stephen Toulmin and Paul Feyerabend? And what if, as a consequence, that prevailing dogma of contemporary biological scientists, "Evolution," has been shown to be something as "fluffy" and whimsical as what these "scientists" have often disparaged, namely, ancient myths and religions? The animating bias of many of "Its" proponents, as Dawkins himself has admitted, has been that "It" has had the pervasive effect of seeming to make it intellectually respectable to be an atheist, finally. Finally, that is, until those mean, killjoy debunkers like Polanyi and Kuhn came along and crashed the underlying supports.

Pertinacious Papist said...

The statement about St. Thomas' views is intended as rhetorical, not literal. I'm suggesting that moderns reject Thomas' view of theology as a "science" because they think it's "fatuous and intellectually untenable," not that I think so. I think the opposite, in fact. Modern "science" is like spectacle of a triple amputee who has learned to skillfully tap dance with only one leg and without the benefit arms to help maintain his balance. It's impressive as far as it goes, but rather macabre and pitiful in many respects.