Vatican hosts Darwin conference

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The Vatican is sponsoring a five day conference to mark the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of Species.

The subject is the compatibility of evolution and creation.


More at the BBC

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0 thoughts on “Vatican hosts Darwin conference

  1. I know some people see this as a healthy sign, that the Vatican embraces evolution as good science. But honestly, evolution is valid science with or without their support, and they endorse evolution only with the caveat that their god played an essential role. So I just see this as another attempt by religions to co-opt and subvert sound science. Who cares if a bunch of virgins in dresses accept evolution? It’s validity never rested on their assent in the first place. Their opinion just shouldn’t matter.

    All religions, if they wish to remain relevant, must adapt their theology to fit the the findings of science. Scientists should just present the facts and let the supernaturalists decide how they want to spin it for the benefit of their flocks. But it should always be made clear that this struggle to adapt is their problem, and science will go on regardless of their admonitions and warnings. They don’t actually have anything to contribute to human knowledge, so they don’t get a voice at the judges table. They need to be reminded they are irrelevant. Any concession to their “wisdom” means they are receiving far more respect and influence than they deserve, which is none.

  2. Who cares if a bunch of virgins in dresses accept evolution?

    Because the “virgins in dresses” have international influence and power. There are large numbers of Catholic high schools and colleges. Catholics make up 30% of the U.S. Congress. The Vice President and the Speaker of the House are Catholic. And while American Catholics in particular tend not to be in lock-step with the Vatican, if the official position of the Church shifted from theistic evolutionism to creationism it would be an unmitigated disaster for science.

  3. I read the BBC article and I wanted to find somewhere to respond to its last two sentences.

    “The design of organisms is not what would be expected from an intelligent engineer, but imperfect and worse,” he said.

    “Defects, dysfunctions, oddities, waste and cruelty pervade the living world”.

    I’m completely non-religious and I’m an engineer. I don’t really know the speakers intent with “intelligent engineer.” I assume the idea is, an engineer who could create perfect things without “defects, dysfunctions, oddities, waste and cruelty.”

    I firmly believe that no engineer has ever matched the PERFECTION the pervade the natural living world. It seems like almost everything we ever created to solve problems or make our lives easier really just created other problems that then needed to be fixed. I reiterate, I don’t go to church and I’m an engineer by training and profession.

  4. Eli,

    I agree with you but that is not really what is being said here (a sentence or two does not convey the fullness of the argument)

    It is not simply that the ‘design’ we see in nature is imperfect, or even suboptimal or has room for improvement. It is utterly kludgy and bizarre in a way that cannot possibly be explained by design, but could be explained by a common ancestor giving rise to forms that are diversified by random mutations in the copy mechanism, with these random mutations then culled by the non-random process of selection. In other words, exploring the diversity of forms at the molecular level, the cellular level, the organ level, and the organismic level, is almost all you need to totally nail the case for evolution, that’s how kludgy, historically contingent, and story-like the ‘design’ is.

  5. …if the official position of the Church shifted from theistic evolutionism to creationism it would be an unmitigated disaster for science.

    No, it would be an unmitigated disaster for the Catholic Church, which is why it’s them capitulating and not the other way around. They need to remain relevant by adapting to the science. The reverse isn’t true.

  6. Hey Greg, I appreciated the further explanation of the argument. I can see that, as always, I took what I heard/read and ran with it in my own interpretation. Reading and rereading your further explanation of the argument brought a couple things to mind.

    I really mainly disagree with the “waste” statement in that original quote. To me only nature knows how to properly produce and use waste. But from your additions the idea is: the random mutations are wasteful. I don’t agree. That much patience to explore so many possibilities in finding a way to progress would be, to me, a sign of superhuman wisdom. We people just don’t have the capacity to do that. And to leave the occurrence of possibilities up to chance to boot. That’s awesome. I mean, don’t we use statistics to compare the assumptions we make about sets of observed data against sets of random data? And so many times it comes out that observed data are not much better than random data.

    Also, I can’t put it into words but somehow from reading your response I kept trying to think of how the whole natural selection theory is just an instance of order out of chaos – which is the name of a book isn’t it? I’ve never read it. I think it has to do with chaos theory – and that of course is way beyond me. I know literally nothing of it. But someone pointed out to me once how things like tornadoes are the highly structured things that are produced by all these chaotic forces. Well I guess humans are too right?

    Well anyways I probably just showed how ignorant I am. Sorry for the long post. Its an interesting topic.

  7. H.H.:

    decide how they want to spin it for the benefit of their flocks

    You mean for the benefit of themselves, surely? πŸ˜‰

  8. Genesis 1:27, “So God made man in his own image”.
    Genesis 2:7, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground.”
    Genesis 2:21-22, “And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, Γ’?Β¦the Lord had taken from man, made he a woman, & brought her unto the man”.
    From the above verses, it is obvious that God created man/woman directly instead of transforming from apes.

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