Jerry A. Coyne doesn’t want us to celebrate the pope’s happy thoughts about evolution, and he seems upset that the pope isn’t an atheist:
As for evolution “requiring the creation of being that evolve,” note that the word “creation” is still in there. But what Francis is saying here is a bit ambiguous. It’s not clear whether that “creation” was simply God’s creation of the Universe through the Big Bang, which then went on to produce Earth, life, and humans through purely naturalistic processes. Alternatively, perhaps Francis means that God created the first living form itself which then, according to His plan, evolved naturalistically, giving rise to humans and other species. Or perhaps Francis even means that the human lineage itself was specially created (“He created human beings and let them develop according to the internal laws. . . “).
What is clear is that creationism of some sort is still an essential part of Francis’s view of life. Although the media, besotted by a supposedly “modern” Pope, is all excited about what Francis said, his views don’t differ in substance from that of his recent predecessors. As usual, Francis appears to be a voice for modernity but still clings to old dogma.
That Pope Francis, seemingly so modern, yet so attached to belief in an intervening God. So unexpected. So disappointing. Will we never have a pope who openly subscribes to atheistic materialism?
By the way, if Coyne really thinks that belief in the human soul flies in the face of science, as he says elsewhere in the piece, then either he doesn’t understand science or he doesn’t know what that metaphor means.