Go Home, Evolution, You Are Drunk

A website devoted to intuiting the rather whimsical telos of the Creator, but then laboring to rename Him “Evolution” because fear of the Spirit of the Age forces materialist to avoid considering the possibility of You Know Who.

“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” – Francis Crick, reciting his Creed at bedtime.

Yes. Constantly. There is no God but Darwin and Dawkins is his Prophet. Can’t even get a seat on one of the old beanbag chairs from the 60′s in the faculty lounge if you start going doolally about all that theism stuff. Play the Game, man. Do you want to lose your shot at tenure?

Some of us, however, see no conflict between creation and evolution and basically take evolution as an illustration of Thomas’ argument from design that points to You Know Who.

  • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

    I’ve noticed that 6 day creationists pretty much reject everything to do with evolution. The other religious approaches only reject parts of it.

    • Andy, Bad Person

      What part of evolution science does Catholicism reject?

      • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

        I would suggest the part that says what Mark mentions above. That’s not some crackpot extremist view. That’s open up the middle school science book stuff. Catholics, naturally, inject God into mix, a mix that doesn’t allow for God in it’s framing. Same with natural selection. When Catholics speak of this, it sounds a whole lot different than when your average ‘cosmos is all that is, was and will be’ evolutionist does. Same with Protestants by the way. Most – not all, most – accommodate the scientific framework for the universe somehow, trying to find ways to make it fit. Naturally. It’s not as easy as ‘whatever science says is spot on right…but God does too exist and make it happen.’

        • Andy, Bad Person

          What I am pointing out is that the evolution assertions that Mark points out about have nothing to do with science. They are based on more faith (and no revelation) than anything the Church has to offer.

          The actual science that backs evolution is encouraged by the Church.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          ‘cosmos is all that is, was and will be’
          Of course, that is not science, but a metaphysical stance (and not even one that is well supported in logic). The word ‘kosmos’ is the root of ‘cosmetic’ and carries an implication of having been arranged or (dare we say) designed.
          Natural selection was not even the only mechanism that Darwin supported. The singular drawback, as Popper noticed, was that for any trait one can spin a ‘just so’ story about how selection could have produced it, with no need to show that selection did in fact produce it by the proposed mechanism.

          • http://davidgriffey.blogspot.com/ Dave G.

            I think the problem is that’s taught as the official According to Hoyle ‘what Evolution really is’ in much of our society. I’m thinking of my boys’ biology test books. Far closer to what our friend Dawkins might say than what Mark or the Church are saying. So basically we say here is where the approach to evolution is wrong. Fair enough. My point was, I’m easy on 6 day creationists because they’ve simply taken the next step and concluded that all of the theory was based on, or filtered through, various metaphysical lenses. Therefore, the entire theory is suspect, at least as popularly presented. Not that I agree. But I’m less easier on the hardcore creationists than the atheists utilizing the theory as you point out. Which might be a factor of my own biases and beliefs.

            • Jmac

              How do you know that your boys’ biology books were written by non-theists? And what specifically do they say that makes you conclude they think as you say they do?

  • Subsistent

    Out of Crick’s own wording here screams the question, Why can’t what we see have been designed to evolve?

  • Lorenzo

    The precise point which evolutionists seek to assert – that there is no design. That is the thing of importance. Evolution seeks to exclude the possibility of a creator from human thought. That is what makes it incompatible with religion, and which makes religious attempts to compromise with evolutionists futile and rather sad. Evolution is atheist by nature. I can’t see what is so difficult about it. Even Dawkins gets it on this.

    Interestingly, it’s not comparable to other major scientific theories (like the theories of flight, gravity and relativity) to which its supporters always link it. These can be used to predict events, and are testable. Evolution is a theory about the distant past, unobserved and now unobservable.

    • Mark Shea

      Not true. “Evolution” seeks a telos, an end, which is what St. Thomas is talking about hin his argument from design: that things are made (by a Creator) to seek their end. The *study* of evolution keeps tripping over that fact and not knowing what to do with it, since the people doing the studying are frequently schooled in a thoroughly inadequate atheist materialist philosophy that denies that things are made by a Creator to seek an end. So many, though not all, evolutionists beg that question of whether things seek an end by saying, “Assuming things are not made by a Creator to seek their end, why is it that everything looks like it was made to seek an end.” Much hand-waving then ensues, in which atheist materialist evolutionists simultaneous invoke the fact that creatures have a telos (“This organism needed a defense *so* it evolved a shell”) while denying they are doing any such thing.

      Evolution considered from the perspective of Thomistic Catholic belief, poses no big challenge and is thoroughly compatible with our faith. See the link to the piece by Mike Flynn. It is most emphatically *not* “atheist by nature”. It is one more way of saying that God uses secondary causes to create and that grace perfects nature.

      • Reactor

        Mark:

        “Evolution” seeks a telos, an end (…) atheist materialist evolutionists simultaneous invoke the fact that creatures have a telos (“This organism needed a defense *so* it evolved a shell”) while denying they are doing any such thing.

        But surely the whole point of evolution by natural selection is that it does indeed operate without a telos. There are no final ends, only prior causes. This particular organism didn’t evolve a shell because it needed to survive; rather, it survived because it happened to be able to evolve a shell.

        In natural selection, as described by the evolutionists, there is no direction towards a particular goal. There’s no upwards or downwards, forwards or backwards. If one accepts that evolution has occurred, it would indeed appear that the process has (broadly speaking) involved a development from the simple to the complex — in the case of humanity, increasingly large hominid brains which eventually reached a point where they somehow gave rise to language, art, ethics etc. But evolution only occurs due to the interaction between genetic variation and environmental pressures — so this increasing complexity is solely because the interaction between genetic variation and environmental pressures has so far happened to favour increasing complexity. There’s no teleological ‘ascent’ or ‘progress’ going on here. There is no reason why — should circumstances favour it — that evolution might not go into ‘reverse’ (so to speak), as simpler, stupider life-forms find themselves flourishing in the new conditions. In theory, the human race could devolve into shambling hominids chipping flints!

        • Mark Shea

          But surely the whole point of evolution by natural selection is that it does indeed operate without a telos.

          No. That’s the point of wishful atheistic materialism. The whole point of evolution by natural selection is that there are potentialities built by the Creator into time, space, matter, and energy that tend toward various ends and they play out in the unfolding (“evolution” means “unfolding”) of those potentialities over time. That which is unfolded has been folded. That which is unfolding has an end.

          Objection 3. Further, nothing is said to be complete to which many things are added, unless they are merely superfluous, for a thing is called perfect to which nothing is wanting that it ought to possess. But many things were made after the seventh day, as the production of many individual beings, and even of certain new species that are frequently appearing, especially in the case of animals generated from putrefaction.

          Reply to Objection 3. Nothing entirely new was afterwards made by God, but all things subsequently made had in a sense been made before in the work of the six days. …. Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning. ….

          – Thomas Aquinas, Summ.Theol. I, 73, 1, ad. 3 et resp. 3

          Thomas has the details wrong, but the core right. In the words of Mike Flynn:

          Now, Thomas was relying on science that we now know was wrong. Pasteur and others showed much later that living things do not in fact arise from non-living things. But the example is purely illustrative. Thomas clearly states that new species (implicit or potential in the old) are brought forth by purely natural powers; and this would be the case whether it really was the stars and the elements causing putrefaction or cosmic rays from the stars causing a mutation in an element of a genome. He did not suggest that new species arose because of a violation of natural law.

        • Ye Olde Statistician

          There are no final ends, only prior causes.
          But if that were the case, there would be no natural laws. Sodium and chlorine, when combined, might or might not lead to salt but to a Buick Skylark. A tiger cub might mature into a tiger lilly or into table salt rather than an adult tiger. There is no ratio why A would lead to B “always or for the most part” or in “the common course of nature” unless there were something in A that “pointed toward” B.
          Proportionate causation means that a specific telos cannot be assigned to a generic cause. That is, the telos of a generic chemical reaction cannot be said to be specifically salt, because there are a great many other reactions with different material, formal and efficient causes. Similarly, the telos of generic evolution cannot be said to be specifically H. sap., because there are a great many other evolutionary pathways with different material, formal and efficient causes.
          The telos of evolution as such would seem to be the multiplication of species, which Thomas thought (in Contra gentiles) was a positive good, being a participation by life in the infinitude of God. In effect: the more species, both in space and time, the better. In short: the telos of evolution per se is the origin of species. Someone should write a book with that title.
          The specific ends of a specific path of evolution is “greater fitness to a specific niche.” Rodents have evolved three times in the course of history. The present day true rodents, an earlier rodent-like mammal family now extinct, and an even earlier rodent-like reptile family, also now extinct. The morphological similarities are striking. Three groups of species competing in similar niches evolved toward the same general form. Hence, the teleological term “adaptation,” from ad- aptatus, “toward being apt.” But one must be apt at something.

          This particular organism didn’t evolve a shell because it needed to survive; rather, it survived because it happened to be able to evolve a shell.

          Of course, that guts natural selection of any explanatory power. The whole idea is that the trait is “advantageous.” That is, it “points to” successful reproduction by resulting in what Darwin called “favored races.” (Fodor’s motive in attacking natural selection is that he thought natural selection was inherently teleological. Thus, does the revolution eat its young.)
          OTOH, one can point to all the other species that did not evolve a shell that also survived. It’s like cows and giraffes. If a long neck is advantageous to reproductive success, how do we account for the survival of deer and cattle from the same ancestral forms? They have middling to short necks, ne c’est pas?
          And that brings us (at least for the higher organisms) to another telos affecting evolution. And that is what the organism is trying to do. Organisms are adaptable in multiple senses. The self-same genome can unfold into rather distinct varieties depending on environmental cues, neighboring genes, the timing of expression, et al. In particular, a long-beaked bird that sucks nectar from flowers may by mutation give birth to a drastically short-beaked offspring. (Modern genetics has torpedoed the old “genes = atoms” thinking of early 20th century biology. Genetic change can be both massive and specific.) What happens to Short Beak? Well, sucking nectar is right out. But living things have a drive to go on living (and to reproduce) so Short Beak tries sucking (and sucks at it) then tries other ways to eat, like cracking nuts or pecking bark to get at insects. Let’s say nut-cracking proves successful. The evolutionists will look him over head to toe and exclaim over the way this new variety “adapted” to nut-cracking, although they may wonder at the lack of “transitional” types. But in reality there were no transitional types, and the environment did not select the bird. The bird selected the environment.
          + + +
          In sum:
          Four Causal Factors of Evolution
          1. Material Cause:

          the tendency to variation due to constant small random mutations in the genetic code; i. e., a variety of differing individuals within a species capable of transmitting their differences
          2. Formal Cause:
          the tendency of interbreeding population to reproduce itself in a stable manner and increase in numbers; i. e., the maintenance of type
          3. Efficient Cause:
          natural selection by the environment which eliminates those variants which are less effective in reproducing their kind; i. e., the agent determining in which direction species-change will take place
          Final Cause (telos):
          the flexibility of living things by which they are able to occupy new niches in the changing environment; i. e., a feed-back mechanism which guides the selective process toward a new type which can exploit new environmental possibilities
          Otherwise, as Blyth contended when he formulated natural selection, natural selection would ensure the fixity of species, not their evolution.

        • The Deuce

          There are a lot of different meanings of “Darwinism,” “natural selection,” and so forth, and whether those terms conflict with Christianity depends on what you mean by them. I think Reactor and Lorenzo have caught on to a real issue here, and I’ll elaborate on why, starting with Paley:

          Paley, in keeping with the mechanistic, materialistic, non-teleological view of Nature popular in his day (and still among biologists in ours) rejected the idea that organisms have an intrinsic telos or purposefulness. Instead, he envisioned them as consisting of dead mechanistic matter, with purpose and design imposed on it externally like a watch, at the hands of a divine watchmaker.

          Darwin *also* subscribed to that same mechanistic, materialistic view of nature, and he also thought of the purposefulness of organisms as something that was externally imposed on dead matter. Except instead of an actual watchmaker, Darwin proposed that the purpose or telos was imposed by a “designing” process that was actually itself mechanistic and devoid of telos (which he termed “natural selection”). This meant that the process was only a metaphor for a designer, and that the purpose or telos itself was therefore only illusory and not actual. The big accomplishment of this idea was that it was supposed to explain away teleology completely from the “scientific” picture of the universe by accounting for the appearance or rather illusion of design without a designer, and thereby complete the mechanistic revolution. The main problem with the idea is that it’s incoherent and therefore not even wrong, but that’s a discussion for some other post.

          Now, to the extent that Darwinism means agreement with Darwin that purpose can be reduced to the illusory product of natural selection, where natural selection is taken to be mechanistic and ateleological, and that therefore telos is illusory, you simply cannot be both a Darwinist and a theist (even though a number of so-called “theistic evolutionists” try to do exactly that). So to that extent I agree with Lorenzo and Reactor.

          You can certainly approach evolution from a Thomistic viewpoint (and I’ll be right there with you, because I’m a Thomistic evolutionist myself). This has the added benefit that it’s actually a coherent viewpoint. It needs to be pointed out, however, that Thomism asserts the reality of intrinsic telos in organisms, and that this conflicts with the Darwinian attempt to account for the appearance of telos in a mechanistic, illusory manner just as much as extrinsic, Paleyian design does, even if the latter was Darwin’s primary target. When we talk about “natural selection” and so forth, we’re saying something different from what Darwin was saying (or what he was trying to say, since as I’ve asserted his argument wasn’t actually coherent), particularly when we talk about it having ends and so forth. To Darwin, the word “natural” in “natural selection” simply meant mechanistic and nonteleological (in keeping with the view of nature that had become fashionable since Newton and Descarte), even though it doesn’t mean that to us.

    • Kenneth

      “Evolution is a theory about the distant past, unobserved and now unobservable”…………

      If that were true, we would still be using the same few antibiotics we had in the late 1940s and early 50s to treat all of our infections.

      • Jmac

        But of course, that example and any others you can produce are only evidence of “microevolution”.

        Macroevolution has never been demonstrated and nobody knows what causes it (but it’s totally special creation, don’t let my thin veneer of secularism fool you), and I can move goalposts faster than you can come up with counterexamples.

        Checkmate, scientists.

      • Lorenzo

        Please. Don’t confuse adaptation within species – observable, undeniable fact – with evolution of species, a wholly different thing extrapolated from adaptation but not demonstrable in action.

        • Jmac

          I’m sorry, Lorenzo, but that statement really doesn’t hold water. If you had a good appreciation for what “adaptation within species” really amounted to biologically, you’d be a lot less likely to make sweeping claims about what can’t possibly be known. The entire fossil record disagrees with you, and as my rather sarcastic point above you pointed out, the whole microevolution/macroevolution tactic is shoddy goalpost-moving by creationists.

  • A Philosopher

    You know, there is a context for the Crick quote. His point is that biological systems typically don’t satisfy certain simplicity constraints that one might expect from a designed system, and that biologists are apt to fall into error if they import those expectations. That’s a perfectly reasonable point, and doesn’t have anything to do with some supposed desperate psychological need to suppress the obviousness of design.

    • Kenneth

      Yes, there is nothing about evolution as a model that says you must be atheist. What it does say is that the natural mechanism of evolution are sufficient to explain everything we have found in organisms so far, and explain them very well and consistently. Creationism asserts that this or that feature is “too complex” to have arisen from natural processes. It must have been personally made in God’s own tissue culture lab for that creature and no one else for the purpose of it’s “kind.”

      That claim has been demolished by evidence every time its put to the test. Evolution doesn’t preclude some grander design at some more fundamental level of creation. It doesn’t properly attempt to answer that question because it is utterly outside of its area of competence and methodology to test. Yes, there are prominent scientists who also are atheists, but nothing about evolution that commits one to that belief. All atheists (as far as I’ve seen) believe in evolution. Not all believers in evolution are atheists.

  • The Real Deal

    It’s very cute to see Roman Catholics try to reconcile their medieval superstitions with modern biology, but here’s the thing–you can add-on God to it as some kind of cheap cut-and-paste job, but evolution works just fine without God. There is no need for him in the hypothesis, period.

    • An Aaron, not the Aaron

      *Sigh* Read Mark’s second link.

    • Mark Shea

      Clearly, this one is not too familiar with St. Thomas.

      • Jared

        Or the Church. We’re older than medieval, thank you very much ;)

    • Ye Olde Statistician

      Duh. Auto mechanics work just fine without Darwin. So what? The error comes from mistaking the chosen methodology with a fact of nature, like a telescope-only guy who refuses to credit electricity. But let’s see what these medievals said:
      St. Albertus Magnus: “In studying nature we have not to inquire how God the Creator may, as He freely wills, use His creatures to work miracles and thereby show forth His power; we have rather to inquire what Nature with its immanent causes can naturally bring to pass.” [De vegetabilibus et plantis]
      St. Thomas Aquinas: “Species, also, that are new, if any such appear, existed beforehand in various active powers; so that animals, and perhaps even new species of animals, are produced by putrefaction by the power which the stars and elements received at the beginning.” [Summa theologica, Part I Q73 A1 reply3]
      IOW, Tom reasoned that if any new species ever appeared, they would do so by the powers God had given Nature. He once compared this to a shipbuilder who could give the power to the lumber to assemble themselves into a ship. Another analogy: new words, such as the French “le” existed beforehand in the Latin word “ille” given the powers of phonemic shifts, loss of syllables, etc.

  • Neil

    What’s even cuter is atheists who insist that St. Thomas’ fifth way is a “hypothesis”. Or that God is understood as simply one cause among many within the world.

  • Patrick

    I loved this headline.

  • Brian

    The observation that a system seems to work just fine without a creator is actually compelling evidence that it was created.

    If I showed you a car that could operate itself indefinitely without ever needing maintenance, you’d ask which company built it. You wouldn’t assume that it had always existed or that it spontanesously sprang into being.

    Neither the process of natural selection, the species it produces, nor the cosmos itself explains its own current or continued existence. For that you need an ultimate, self-necessary cause; not one efficient cause among many.

    • Kenneth

      Your first statement is hardly compelling evidence that a system was created. It establishes that no creator is needed to personally intervene at the observed levels. It leaves open the question of ultimate creation or the nature of that creator.

      Would we assume a car had always existed or spontaneously sprang into being. Well, not as we know cars, but if they were self-replicating and displayed clear descendence from one another, random variation and selection for those variations based on their operating conditions, then the need for a personal creator gets fuzzy.

      Even more so if we discover that cars were a highly likely, perhaps inevitable outcome of conditions that favor their existence, and if those conditions were a fundamental property of the universe which was in turn a fundamental outgrowth of subatomic quantum instability of vacuums. All that doesn’t preclude a designer, but it pushes the territory for that search to the edge and beyond of our ability to look for it within the tools of science.

  • Brian

    Kenneth:
    The theological tradition of which I am part has never considered the creator’s existence to be a hypothesis subject to empirical testing. Natural science can give us insights into God through the secondary causes he employs, but it has nothing to say about whether or not he exists.

    Claims regarding the creator’s existence based on appeals to evolutionary theory or quantum physics fail to address God in the proper sense of a transcendent, self-necessary first cause. Any attempt to prove or disprove God’s existence based on empirical evidence necessarily reduces the subject to one immanent efficient cause among others. It is often claimed that empirical observation is the only way to know anything with certainty, but that claim is a pre-rational bias based on circular logic (we don’t trust our senses just because our senses tell us to).

    My point remains that nothing in the observable universe: neither the species that populate it, the systems that produced them, nor the fundamental properties that govern those systems, are self-explanatory/self-necessary.

  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    Mark, being by no means as familiar with the works of St. Thomas as your goodself and other commentors on this thread, may I please put a simplistic tuppence worth into this debate?

    I believe that the reason that the missing link has not been found is that it does not exist, as Man was created in God’s image and likeness. That everything else might have evolved provides absolutely no proof that we evolved.

    We share something like 98% of our DNA with gorillas; but to suggest that men and gorillas must therefore be related to each other can be dealt with the the following proposition – “All cars have an engine and four wheels; sportscars have an engine and four wheels; therefore all cars are sportscars”. To my mind, that is the quality of logic behind supposing that humans are connected to apes on the basis of DNA similarities. DNA is a tool, a building block; does each and every building contractor use a different type of brick on each and every job? To think that God could have not made man without DNA is to doubt his omnipotence. God willed that man should have DNA ; end of story.
    Evolutionary biology is not science, but religion, in that it cannot be practiced without belief in evolution. That’s cool – not very scientific, perhaps, but cool – but the EB’s must then be willing to held to the standards of science; if they cannot prove empirically that man is related to apes by the production of some fossil or other artefact, I for one feel no embarrassment is refusing to believe that men are related to apes.
    Or to paraphrase ‘Jerry Maguire’, show me the monkey.

    • Jmac

      “I believe that the reason that the missing link has not been found is that it does not exist, as Man was created in God’s image and likeness.”

      Being “created in God’s image and likeness” merely refers to the fact that we are beings with rational souls. That does not necessarily imply an act of special creation of a single pair, as I’ll let YOS explain: http://tofspot.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-and-ted-and-alice.html

      Secondly, which “missing link” are you referring to? There are dozens of links in the human evolution tree. Which one do you think is missing? Given the rates of fossilization, the amount of information we have is quite astounding, and the existing record confirms all predictions of evolutionary theory. This page is a pretty good introduction: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/homs/

      Thirdly, as a religious person quite enamored with science, I’m disappointed that you fall back on the old “evolution is a religion” canard. Common Descent is most certainly a testable prediction. If you could find an insect with a cell wall or a rabbit in the Cambrian, or a mammal that uses photosynthesis, evolution would be thrown on its head pretty much overnight.

    • Jon W

      Don’t put a simplistic tuppence worth into this debate until you’ve studied A. the theology, and B. the science. You’ll forgive me for observing that you boast your ignorance of the former and demonstrate your ignorance of the latter.

  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    JMac,
    “I’m disappointed that you fall back on the old “evolution is a religion” canard.”
    When one hears biologists referring to apes being related to humans, the evidence suggests that they are expressing an article of faith. The contention that evolution is a religion is therefore not inappropriate.
    “If you could find an insect with a cell wall or a rabbit in the Cambrian” –
    Hey, Archeopteryx appeared out of nowhere two years after the publication of the ‘Origin of Species’, so who knows what H.G. Wells described as ‘the ecord of the rocks’ might contain?
    Jon W,
    “Don’t put a simplistic tuppence worth into this debate until you’ve studied A. the theology, and B. the science.”
    Ah, I see that even evolutionary biology has its clericalists. Shut up and stay silent, ignorant person, and don’t question the revelations given to the white-coated priests of the gods Pince-Nez and Goatee! We are cleverer than you! We read the New York Times! And Psychology Today!
    “You’ll forgive me for observing that you boast your ignorance of the former and demonstrate your ignorance of the latter.”
    Although I am a devoted follower of the teachings of Professor Andersen of Copenhagen on evolution – I would particularly recommend his monograph ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes” – as I do not believe I boasted of anything I don’t consider there is anything to forgive; although I’ll be more than happy to forgive you, if you really feel you need my forgiveness.

    • Jmac

      Martin,

      I literally have no idea what you are arguing for now. Have you looked up the evidence on human evolution, such as the page I linked? If so, what do you think is “missing”? If not, what do you mean when you speak of evidence?

      And I have no clue what your Archeopteryx comment is supposed to do? Are you suggesting a conspiracy of science to produce fraudulent fossils? If not, please enlighten me on what you’re actually trying to say. If so, why couldn’t these same scientists have planted evidence to prove human evolution to your satisfaction?

      You’ll find no argument from me that many people draw philosophical or religious (or at least non-theist) conclusions from evolution, but please don’t make the mistake of thinking that has anything to do with the science available. It isn’t that nobody is allowed to question evolution, it’s just that nobody has yet been able to provide a satisfactory theory to compete with evolution. But maybe you have one. What do you actually believe? I’ve heard your potshots at modern biology, what better conclusions do you have?

    • Jon W
  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    JMac,
    You are suggesting there is evidence that humans evolved. People like Sir David Attenborough agree with you, which is why he’s never off the gogglebox whenever a fossilised lemur gets dug out of a Frankfurt sandpit, or whatever The Next Big Thing that invariably turns out to be The Big Nixed Thing might be. The lack of actual, you know, evidence, preferably of the meatily irrefutable hard variety, in support of some of his views doesn’t stop him from stating that humans are related to apes; and in the light of the actual evidence, or more properly the lack thereof, one is surely within one’s rights to point out that he is not stating a proven fact but iterating an article of faith; and as the Venerable Fulton Sheen put it far better than I could, faith cannot operate in alienation from reason.
    Who mentioned fraud? Not me. I merely mentioned Archeopteryx as an example of what the fossil record can uncover. For all we know, there may indeed be Cambrian rabbits down there waiting to be dug up, possibly turning our understanding of the history of life on its head. As far as theories of human evolution are concerned, I am merely being a good Keynesian, basing my views on the facts and remaining willing to review them as the facts change. The facts provide no proof that humans evolved; and faith can therefore follow reason. Once more, with feeling; show me the monkey.
    What a suspicious mind you must have, if you think I was inferring that any worthy person of science would ever commit a fraud upon the public if it would help advance their case (or their shot at tenure, or their funding). What do you think I am, a climate change denier?
    I stated my position on evolution in my first comment, but I’ll state it again. It’s OK for animals if the evidence suggests it, but not for us; firstly, on account of the lack of evidence that that’s what happened; and secondly, because of what we are taught about having been created in the image and likeness of God (mere sentience is not enough to make us like God; the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge imparted only knowledge, not divinity). Having been taught that, I for one am not prepared to cross-examine God as to His purposes; and the requirement that faith operate in conjunction in reason means it’s perfectly reasonable to also believe that the Universe is as old as radio astronomy can suggest, and that the Earth is as old as the carbon-dating of rocks can suggest, and that other species evolved, as the very fact of the existence of the platypus can suggest.
    Jon W,
    A cute link, for sure, and wryly droll (or drolly wry, I can’t decide which phrase looks better). As it happens, my own qualifications are in law, not philosophy. This perhaps explains that stubborn attachment to the production of evidence in support of the view that Jon, and not God, is expounding. Neither does it actually refute the ‘all cars are sportscars’ critique of belief in human evolution that I expounded earlier; but it’s still funny, I’ll grant you that.

    • Jmac

      Martin,

      As I said, I had no idea what the hell you were trying to say. That would be why I asked for clarification. Nor am I “suggesting” there is evidence for human evolution. I’ve pointed out plenty of pages where you can go and educate yourself on the evidence for human evolution. If you want to debate specifics about the evidence available, be my guest. Otherwise, I have no interest in this discussion. And while you are perfectly right that there MAY BE Cambrian rabbits buried somewhere, I have no more reason to posit their existence than I do a sunken city of Broccoli-men. Likewise, while there MAY HAVE BEEN an act of special creation of humanity, I have exactly no reason, theologically or scientifically, to believe that happened. The evidence that it didn’t is too strong.

      So please, spare us both, and look up the actual evidence for human evolution. There’s quite a bit of it. If you want to let me know exactly what part of it you have an issue with, please do. Because I’ve yet to see any evidence that you’ve done any research in the appropriate areas.

      Oh, and nobody uses carbon dating on rocks, it’s only got a half-life of a few millennia.

    • Jon W

      I wasn’t attempting (nor was the cartoonist) to refute anything but the assumption that you have any right to a position until you have answered to the people who are the experts in that particular area of human knowledge. That goes for theology, and it goes for biology, too. You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about. Go seek out those who do.

      I say again: you have no right to take a particular position until you have answered or, at the very least, listened to those who are experts in the field.

  • http://martinkelly.blogspot.com/ Martin

    Jmac,
    I shall leave you in bondage to your Broccoli (sic – and even though I say so myself, there’s a very clever play on words in there).
    Jon W,
    Thanks for pointing me to the experts, and for reminding me that I have no right – your words – to a position. Yes, indeed, the experts always know best.

    • Jmac

      So you don’t want to talk about the actual evidence. Somehow, that’s what I expected.

  • Catholic Creation

    If you see no contradiction between Catholicism and Evolution you need to go back to school: http://www.kolbecenter.org/the-traditional-catholic-doctrine-of-creation/

    • Mark Shea

      Yet, curiously, when the Pope held a recent conference on evolution, real scientists, but not the Kolbe Center, were invited.

  • Faithful

    Trying to fit St. Thomas into an approbation of evolution is like trying to make pigs fly. Not scientific: http://www.faithfulanswers.com/the-traditional-catholic-doctrine-of-creation/


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