The Deacon's Bench
Where a Roman Catholic deacon ponders the world
Hey, let’s ask some experts: the Miss USA contestants!
CLICK HERE TO "LIKE" PATHEOS CATHOLIC ON FACEBOOK
This is scary. It also saddens me; underlying nearly all their comments is the misguided notion that belief in evolution and in the Divine are inherently incompatible.
Two things: 1. Let’s give a huge shoutout to the young woman from Minnesota who made the GREAT point that Evolution and Catholicism can co-exist, and that JP II had no problem with it. 2. The science curriculum of our country, especially in our Southern states, really needs to be beefed up.
Of course. I grew up in Kingsport, Tennessee (Tennessee being the land of the Scopes Trial) in the 40s and 50s. At that time we had one of the best school systems (public) in the south. Our superintendent was Jewish. Our High School was geared for college prep. The science and language (4 yrs of latin) as well as French and German were outstanding. The theory of evolution was taught despite the influence of the Scopes trial decades before . Our Dominican priest told us there was no conflict with evolution and Catholic doctrine as long as we accepted that God in some point in time gave each of us a soul made in His image and likeness at birth. It has never been a issue with me and I am amazed at how prevalent the creationist thought is today by many Catholics. Who is dumbing down our Catholic laity and clergy? And Why???
I could only get through three minutes.
Fairly typical, actually. The strange views that these women express concerning the antithetical relationship between evolution and creation are actually quite indicative of views among college kids nation-wide. The only thing separating these contestants from my own students is the crazy amount of make-up.
We need to remember, however, that the ‘dumbing down’ of the issue involving the relationship between God and science is coming more from secular academic sources than from religious/evangelical ones. These strange views are actually quite admirable, given the options *presented* to students. Given how evolution is presented and taught, I actually have more respect for the person who rejects it, for it shows not so much a commitment to dogma as evidence of some metaphysical heavy lifting on the part of the student. These contestants, that is, along with a majority of college students who DO see an antithesis, are smarter than we think.
Why don’t “they” ever ask if global warming is real or a hoax?
“We need to remember, however, that the ‘dumbing down’ of the issue involving the relationship between God and science is coming more from secular academic sources than from religious/evangelical ones.”
I strongly disagree with this. The dumbing down is a direct result of efforts to interfere in public school education by creationists. Catholics are not immune from this:
The strange views of creationists are not admirable. They are a violation of the Eighth Commandemnt.
I also have to disagree with Nate, strongly. I’m a convert to Catholicism and grew up in a strong evangelical family, and was well “catechized.” I never knew anyone in my church family, in the missions organization I grew up within, or on both sides of my extended family, who believed in evolution or believed that it was possible to believe the Bible (therefore: be a Christian) and also believe in evolution. (I began to be reconciled to evolution in high school, when I read C.S. Lewis.) This was in the 80s and 90s — it is still largely the same, though throughout this past decade more conservative Protestants, largely the “new evangelicals”, have begun to *suggest* that it’s *possible* to abandon that false dichotomy. Disbelieving in evolution was seen as an aspect of our identity *as* Christians, because it was synonymous with believing the Bible as literal truth. I know a number of individuals who actually left our (non-demoninational, independent) church when they discovered certain people, including the interim youth minister, believed that it was possible to reconcile evolution with the Bible. Of course, with the form of ecclesiology that my church implicitly encouraged, there were people who left for much less serious reasons, too — but this was considered a theological reason. It is treated as a litmus test for many, many evangelicals, and fighting evolution in public schools and public forums is encouraged, particularly for young people. I laughed and cringed all the way through this video… but it made me sad.
A tangential point:
As I have previously posted, the first one to posit the big bang theory was a Catholic Priest:
(the i should have an “accent circonflexe”)
Just another example of Faith and Reason not being mutually exclusive.
At the heart of the evolutionary theory is natural selection and the belief that random chance created the conditions for the emergence of life. Natural adaptation accounts for the development of amino acid chains into living cells. Animals evolved from lower forms by random mutations, natural adaptations in response to the environment and survival of the fittest. Where is God in all of this? Not needed according to most evolutionist scientists, we are just the result of blind chance, gene transmitting machines. So how is that compatible with Catholic belief?
Er — just to be clear — I was disagreeing with Nate that the secular/evolutionist camp is more responsible for this dumbing-down than the religious/evangelicals. I do agree with him that, given the false dichotomy with which they were presented, the women who disagree with evolution are making the better choice… for themselves. The idea that “both sides” should be taught in public schools just shows even more clearly how all parties in this debate don’t understand the difference between a scientific theory based on natural evidence, and a dogma held within a specific faith. Creationism fails as a science, because science is limited in the conclusions it is allowed to draw. That is the *point* of science.
The history of this question is rooted in American Christian history. Christians naturally struggled with questions about the world’s origins from the moment Darwin upset traditional natural science. Certain Protestants, particularly those evangelical/low-church folks who gave birth to the fundamentalist movement, relied on such a reductionist view of both the Bible and human knowledge in general (particularly, their denial of our ability to use reason/philosophy/tradition/any knowledge outside what is contained in Scripture, to interpret Scripture), they had no where else to go without losing their faith. So it’s understandable that they clung to it so, but a tragedy in terms of doctrinal Christianity and proper belief. The politicization of the issue is even worse. And while initially both parties misconceived the issue, I actually place more responsibility at the feet of the evangelical movement. They are the ones that are responsible for explaining what they as Christians believe and why they believe it. *Especially* now, when non-Christians live in a culture where they learn nothing about Christianity except what comes out of the mouths of Christians, it is the evangelicals who have instructed both their children and the children of secular people that evolution is incompatible with faith. And it is very much the evangelical and fundamentalist parents watching over their kids’ shoulders, and not the biology teachers or the scientists who write textbooks or go about their research, who have made this a political issue for Miss America pageants. God forgive us for causing such misunderstanding and reducing the faith to this.
I am embarrassed just listening to many of them.
My children’s faith instructor (a sweet nun) taught them Genesis as a metaphor in the Jewish tradition, theistic evolution, and I almost kissed her.
Sadly, when I shared that with other Catholic moms, they freaked that their children’s faith was being undermined.
#3 Magy Stelling, your experience with your Dominican priest instructor reflects my instruction in a Catholic grade school and later a Catholic college; that there is no conflict between science and faith. #9 Rudy asked “Where is God in all of this?” How about as the creator and source? He could set creation in motion in any way He chose to, including natural adaptation, and the development of amino acid chains.
Creationism is an embrace of savage, medieval ignorance.
“At the heart of the evolutionary theory is natural selection and the belief that random chance created the conditions for the emergence of life. Natural adaptation accounts for the development of amino acid chains into living cells. Animals evolved from lower forms by random mutations, natural adaptations in response to the environment and survival of the fittest. Where is God in all of this? Not needed according to most evolutionist scientists, we are just the result of blind chance, gene transmitting machines. So how is that compatible with Catholic belief?”
Nothing about evolution precludes the existence or a role of God. It simply says (very convincingly), that natural processes are sufficient to account for the rise and divergence of species and for the fundamental mechanisms of life.
Catholics, and a great many other faith traditions, are able to envision a creator who is grand enough that he/she/it would not NEED to hand-craft each species to accomplish the greatness of creation.
I as well, could only handle about 3 minutes. As a science major many moons ago in college, the more I studied the more convinced I was that God can do anything. We do have scientific evidence of evolution, but Who started the process, only God. Scientists are always searching for the so-called “missing link” where man became man. I don’t think that science will ever discover it. God created everything in such a beautiful way, with each creation leading to another, one cell to many (the same way a baby is formed). But at some point He put His life into a man, making him a human, in the image and likeness of Himself. What a beautiful story science and math can tell, and it only convinces me that there has to be an amazing Creator behind it all.
Perhaps God used evolution to get us to this point in time. Yes, IMO, it should be taught in science classes—public schools. As for teaching “Creationism” in school? Again IMO this should be done in schools that are connected to a church—–whether Catholic, Protestant or others. I do think that even in a religious school evolution could be introduced also. That would be up to the religion. I couldn’t watch the entire thing either—starting off with Miss Alabama—-I knew what she would say before she opened her mouth! Spent a LONG time in that state.
Follow Patheos on