back to article Vatican endorses Darwin, slights intelligent design

The Vatican gave the Creationist lobby a left right sign of the cross today, announcing it would stage a conference on Darwinism next month and declaring that it was one of the Fathers of the Church that thought up the idea in the first place. At one point the conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University wasn't going to …

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Boffin

@nagyeger

Sorry, you have been unable to qualify your argument sufficiently.

You must learn to back up your claims with hard evidence.

There will always be a healthy (unhealthy?) percentage of people who will firmly believe the god-myths. After all, it’s in our nature as children to wonder and imagine. However we can go far beyond that as adults.

Our understanding of science will progress, some people will change their mind about omnipotent beings, others will not.

I for one am delighted to have lived in such times, even if 200 years after the great man himself. I am extremely comfortable with evolution as science. I can read the facts and I can try and comprehend it in its entirety. Science is more than any 'god'.

A well-meaning or dictatorial god is not necessary for life, progress or enjoyment. In fact, quite the opposite is found. Without the god-hypothesis, life takes on real meaning!

Ahhh, science, real science, try it some time.

You know it makes sense.

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@ alan fleming

'The “scientific method” is as follows: Observe what happens; based on those observations, form a theory as to what may be true; test the theory by further observations and by experiments; and watch to see if the predictions based on the theory are fulfilled. Is this the method followed by those who believe in and teach evolution?'

Yes, exactly.

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@alan fleming

"DARWIN would, were he alive today, believe in a Creator."

Darwin DID believe in a creator ... In fact, at Cambridge he studied to become an Anglican clergyman. It wasn't until he opened his eyes to the reality of the natural world around him that he started questioning his religious background ... Have you ever even bothered to read "Origin of Species", or are you parroting the words of others?

And then there is the question of Alfred Russel Wallace, who independently came up with a natural selection theory similar to Darwin's ... He was a Darwin contemporary who DID NOT believe in a creator. Why don't the religious wingnuts badmouth him, instead?

Why is it that the creation myth believers refuse to read up on ANYTHING (including their own "good book"), but instead believe whatever the clergy shovel at them?

Daft questions, I know ... The answers are obvious to anyone who is capable of rational thought.

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@ jake

"Which of the various volumes of books, translated into various languages, and containing various additions and subtractions, are we discussing? Please be specific, I want to read this "greatest acheivement" for myself. BTW, isn't it I before E, and etc.? Except possibly in Koine Greek, or Aramaic, of course ..."

Gosh you really have the big clevers. Try reading the post, maybe following with your finger, specifically the sentence before the one you commented on.

My point was attempting to convey the idea that the Bible has been underpinning human development for a little less than 2000 years. In that time, no amount of mistranslation or Machiavellianistic meddling on the part of our early chuch leaders* has affected the fundamental messages that are the bloody guts of this great work. It matters not a jot whether Adam used a fig leaf or a banana leaf, or if he was really called Alan. The value of the words remains in spite of humanity's best and worst efforts to enhance or suppress them.

Your pedantic nit-picking of my comment is akin to what the Bible has had to endure it's whole life. (follow the shoe! No, follow the Gourd!) The Bible's purpose is to communicate values, ideas and (rather profound) philosophies. It is neither a cryptic crossword puzzle nor an affadavit to be scrutinized.

Those that have eyes to see, will see. Those that prefer pedantry to communication end up feeling smug, but lonely.

Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you.

*definition of a priest: A begger who can show another begger where to find bread.

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Boffin

What has the papacy to do with creationism?

They've got someone who stands in the place of Christ and apparently let us know that God has changed His mind. Check out their teaching on the move to worshiping on Sunday instead of Saturday.

Catholicism is a very broad church, but with all the dead people you can pray to, images, pomp, wielding of civil power and a human who sits in the place of God, it bears very little resemblance to anything described in the Bible. Well, not until you get to Revelation, but that's another story...

In fact many creationists do actually believe in evolution, but not in a single common ancestor. There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind". You'll only get a cat from a cat, but it may be a lion or a household moggy.

Science does not need to be incompatible with God. There is nothing inherently anti-God in experimentation and observation of the natural order. You can even define science as the experimentation and observation of the natural rather than supernatural, and still not end up as anti-God. The conflict between "science" and God comes when you decide beforehand that God does not exist and then theorise on that basis. This is a philosophical choice above all else. It is also a financial choice because public funding for anything which might lead to the inference that there is a God, is banned well before any science has taken place. Of course, when the State takes upon itself to make education compulsory but then excludes not just the study of God, but anything which may infer God's existence, any theory which can meet that criteria will have to be accepted and is likely to become dominant.

If you want a less nutty creationist viewpoint, have a gander at http://creationontheweb.com/content/view/21

This is the internet of course so the Nazis get a mention, but hey, Creationists talking about Nazis - what more could you want for entertainment?

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve

"Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you" - Very christian... Twunt.

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@ Mac Phreak

Was that the only sentence you understood? silly cat

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Linux

@Adrian Barnet

I stated it is a Theory, which it is.

It was classified as fact a little while ago in the history of the planet that the heavenly bodies revolved around us.

In even less time it was stated as fact that the earth was flat.

It has also been stated that atoms are the smallest particles.

These have all been proven wrong with what we know now.

So why don't you read a book and do the intelligent thing and use it to base an opinion on rather than take what you read as absolute fact.

No scientist worth anything would state something is fact because unlike you they are educated enough to know that the theory only currently stands due to our limited knowledge.

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N/A

The Vatican did not "slight" Intelligent Design. It simply said it would discuss it along with evolution at the next meeting. A discussion of Intelligent Design is really not needed, as the existence of God is a crux of the religion.

There was nothing. Then there was a Big Bang, and a universe came into existence, complete with everything needed for everything that is. DNA code has been compared to computer code, except that DNA is much more complex. This needed a Designer. To absolutely state there is no God, implies a haughty pride, unwilling to admit a superior Being.

It has been said, "The greatest sadness of man is that he is not God."

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Organised religion is a lie

If we believe that "GOD" created us and passed us a message why do we require people to interpret his message for us?

Any thing that is so ostentatious that is cannot be understood by the meanest intelligence is not aimed at benefiting the individual but rather controlling them.

Evolution is so simple a message that even those that parrot "Survival of the fittest" ( Not Darwin ) have a clearer understanding of Evolution than most "believers" have of "Do unto others".

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@Mac Phreak

Definition of Theory as seen on Dictionary.com website.

****************************************************************************

the⋅o⋅ry

/ˈθiəri, ˈθɪəri/ Show Spelled Pronunciation [thee-uh-ree, theer-ee] Show IPA Pronunciation

–noun, plural -ries.

1. a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity.

2. a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural, in contrast to well-established propositions that are regarded as reporting matters of actual fact.

3. Mathematics. a body of principles, theorems, or the like, belonging to one subject: number theory.

4. the branch of a science or art that deals with its principles or methods, as distinguished from its practice: music theory.

5. a particular conception or view of something to be done or of the method of doing it; a system of rules or principles.

6. contemplation or speculation.

7. guess or conjecture.

***************************************************************************************

the·o·ry (thē'ə-rē, thîr'ē) Pronunciation Key

n. pl. the·o·ries

1. A set of statements or principles devised to explain a group of facts or phenomena, especially one that has been repeatedly tested or is widely accepted and can be used to make predictions about natural phenomena.

2. The branch of a science or art consisting of its explanatory statements, accepted principles, and methods of analysis, as opposed to practice: a fine musician who had never studied theory.

3. A set of theorems that constitute a systematic view of a branch of mathematics.

4. Abstract reasoning; speculation: a decision based on experience rather than theory.

5. A belief or principle that guides action or assists comprehension or judgment: staked out the house on the theory that criminals usually return to the scene of the crime.

6. An assumption based on limited information or knowledge; a conjecture.

******************************************************************************************

Theory

The"o*ry\, n.; pl. Theories. [F. th['e]orie, L. theoria, Gr. ? a beholding, spectacle, contemplation, speculation, fr. ? a spectator, ? to see, view. See Theater.]

1. A doctrine, or scheme of things, which terminates in speculation or contemplation, without a view to practice; hypothesis; speculation.

Note: "This word is employed by English writers in a very loose and improper sense. It is with them usually convertible into hypothesis, and hypothesis is commonly used as another term for conjecture. The terms theory and theoretical are properly used in opposition to the terms practice and practical. In this sense, they were exclusively employed by the ancients; and in this sense, they are almost exclusively employed by the Continental philosophers." --Sir W. Hamilton.

2. An exposition of the general or abstract principles of any science; as, the theory of music.

3. The science, as distinguished from the art; as, the theory and practice of medicine.

4. The philosophical explanation of phenomena, either physical or moral; as, Lavoisier's theory of combustion; Adam Smith's theory of moral sentiments.

Atomic theory, Binary theory, etc. See under Atomic, Binary, etc.

Syn: Hypothesis, speculation.

Usage: Theory, Hypothesis. A theory is a scheme of the relations subsisting between the parts of a systematic whole; an hypothesis is a tentative conjecture respecting a cause of phenomena.

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@P.Lee

"In fact many creationists do actually believe in evolution, but not in a single common ancestor. There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind".

Then you really don't believe in evolution, just what supports your religious beliefs. Evolution isn't a buffet where you get to pick and choose what fits your particular beliefs.

That's the nice thing about science. It has to change to fit reality, even if it does take a while. Unless you worship the old gods, then they typically don't change or learn from mistakes. Seems to me that monotheism took a step back with this. That's why I never see it as a progression in religion when it's more like a simplistic regression.

Unfortunately, public funding does go to religious crackpot psuedoscience (in the U.S.) in the form of legal battles to show that it's not science (see Kitzmiller vs. Dover public schools).

Science is not pro/anti anything. It just is.

It's not a problem of science being incompatible with a god(s), it's a god(s) being incompatible with science.

I really haven't seen any science hypothesis or theory that states there isn't a god(s) in any of my math, chemistry or physics classes that I took while in college. Can you point some out for me (you know, people like Plank, Einstein, Curie...)?

As for schools teaching about god(s). That belongs in a religious studies or philosophy class, NOT A SCIENCE CLASS!

I may be an atheist, but the catholic church was the first christian cult to become a religion, mainly by wiping out the competition but also because intellectual christian pursuit didn't work with the masses. That would pretty much mean that the catholic church does have a say in what christians believe. You don't seem to approve of this version (given your comments), so which version of god(s) do you want in science and schools???

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jsp
Boffin

@P Lee

"There can be plenty of evolution, but only within a "kind". You'll only get a cat from a cat, but it may be a lion or a household moggy."

This is meaningless.

Domestic cats and lions are separate species. If you accept that they both came from a common cat-like ancestor then you support the concept of speciation. If you just try and move the boundaries by substituting "kind" for "species" then this is just another "god of the gaps" argument.

So how do you define "kind"?

Are all mice one "kind" and hence evolved from a single mouse ancestor?

Or are all rodents of one "kind" and derived from a single rodent ancestor?

Or are all mammals one "kind" and evolved from a single mammalian ancestor?

Or all animals?

Or all life?

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jsp
Boffin

@Jamie re. "theory"

"It is called the Theory of Evolution, not the Evolution or the Fact of Evolution."

This demstrates sameful ignorance of what the word "theory" means, as others have pointed out. If you are this ignorant, supid or dishonest, why should we listen to your opinion?

Here is an analogy:

Gravity <=> Evolution

i.e. it exists: people "beileved in" (knew about) the fact of evolution before Darwin. He didn't "invent" it, or even discover it; he simply came up with the best explanation for the mechanisms behind it. So, in a sense:

Newtorn <=> Darwin

i.e. the theory is incomplete because, for example, Newton didn't know about relativistic effects and Darwin didn't know about genes. So:

Einstein <=> Darwin + Mendel

i.e. as more is discovereed about the natural world (by observation, measurement and experiment) we understand the underlying mechanisms better. What can you measure: the weight of your bible, perhaps?

Of colurse, there are still problems with the theory of relativity (it is only a theory, after all) and our current understanding of evolution. But in the same way that further developments in physics will have to accept that (a) gravity exists (b) Newtonian and Einsteinian physics works; any extensions to current theories of evolution will have to account for the fact that evolution occurs and extend what we currently understand.

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jsp
Boffin

@tfagan

"a cat can never be as large as a blue whale"

And the proof for that assertion is? What is the limit on the size of a cat? Can it be as large as, say, a tiger? I assume you think it can't be any bigger because there are no cats the size of a horse.

"macro-evolution is just an unproven theory, an idea, without any known proof whatsoever."

I think you meant "hypothesis" not "theory". But you would still be wrong. As wrong as you are ignorant.

Of course, the concept of "species" is rather fuzzy, being a man-made category. There is no clear definition of species, variety, sub-species, etc. Even the ability to interbreed (viably) isn't definitive. This is just one reason why your arbitrary distinction between micro and macro-evolution is bogus.

If your creationism or ID was a scientific hypothesis, then just a single counter-example would falsify it. A few links to examples of speciation below. Of course there are loads more in the fossil records but presumably you don't believe in fossils.

http://northernlightsonline.blogspot.com/2006/06/example-of-speciation-cichlid.html

http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VC1fEvidenceSpeciation.shtml

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/speciation.html

http://biomed.brown.edu/Courses/BIO48/23.Cases.HTML

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Boffin

When was the last time you heard.....

.....an atheist threaten to harm or kill someone who *does* believe in a god?

On the contrary, plenty of god-botherers (read: all religions) do the opposite!

Odd isn't it.?

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Flame

Don't make me laugh

"ok, we'll go along with a valid scientific hypothesis", said the Pope today," ...but then we'll go along with just about anything.". He continued by noting, "We are always going to remain firm in our worship of the virgin who give birth, the undead being who is going to save you and the bloke who made the world when he was bored one day."

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@Steve/AC

"Gosh you really have the big clevers."

How old are you Steve/AC? 14? 16?

"Try reading the post, maybe following with your finger, specifically the sentence before the one you commented on."

I did. However, since you ask, you wrote:

"IMHO, the Bible and it's stories can be distorted, dissected, disregarded, augmented, translated, questioned, etc, etc. and after all this time, still emerge as something greater than the sum of it's parts."

You can get the same "insight" out of your average Sunday newspaper. It all depends on how you decide to read it ... or more likely in your case, are told to understand it.

Then you added:

"It stands as one of the greatest acheivements of mankind for many reasons"

To which I asked which particular edition of this great work you subscribe to. You decline to state. Ashamed?

"as well as a scapegoat for some of our more atrocious activities."

My comments above stand unrefuted, so no need to repeat them.

"My point was attempting to convey the idea that the Bible has been underpinning human development for a little less than 2000 years."

Actually, the OT is quite a bit older than 2,000 years, but I'll agree to "about 2,000 years" for the sake of argument.

For most of that ~2,000 years it was a tool of suppression, torture, and vilification. Including today ... I suggest you study the history of christianity, might start with the Councils of Nicaea, the Dark Ages, the Crusades, followed by the reasons behind the reformation. Might want to take a quick gander at the suppression of Arab influences in science during the time frame, while you are at it. Maybe ask yourself "What would Galileo do?"

"In that time, no amount of mistranslation or Machiavellianistic meddling on the part of our early chuch leaders* has affected the fundamental messages that are the bloody guts of this great work. It matters not a jot whether Adam used a fig leaf or a banana leaf, or if he was really called Alan. The value of the words remains in spite of humanity's best and worst efforts to enhance or suppress them."

I don't need a random collection of codicies and palimpsests to help me with my ethics and ethos. You apparently do. Who am I to argue? Follow your bliss ... But try to open your mind to the reality that your God may (or may not) have manufactured this place specifically for your mind to try to understand it. You'll feel a right silly bastard if, in the afterlife (assuming), you are consigned to purgatory (or worse) because you aren't open to the wonders of the Universe.

Also consider that thanks to the many gods and goddesses that Man has invented^Wdiscovered^Wcome in contact with^W^W^W^Wwhatever, the chances of you actually worshiping THE Gawd/ess that created this dampish rock we live on are slim-to-nil ... I suspect that the god of the OT would be really, really pissed if you are worshiping the God of the NT, if they are, in fact, different $ENTITIES ... and what Cali might have to say when you slip your mortal coil doesn't bear thinking about. Probably better to say "I dunno" now, in life, and beg forgiveness when you get to the other side, no?

"Your pedantic nit-picking of my comment is akin to what the Bible has had to endure it's whole life. (follow the shoe! No, follow the Gourd!)"

Reductio ad absurdum? You really are young, aren't you? ... Pardon if I don't bite.

"The Bible's purpose is to communicate values, ideas and (rather profound) philosophies."

No, it is not. It was designed by a group of power hungry men, in order to help subjugate various groups of pagans, back at the beginning of what became the dark ages. In fact, a strong case could be made for the bible (and it's derivatives) being a major tool in the hands of the folks who caused the dark ages. Some would say various folks are STILL trying to use it to leverage the status quo of the ignorance of the Great Unwashed (cf. Kansas School Board, et alii).

"It is neither a cryptic crossword puzzle nor an affadavit to be scrutinized."

I never said it was a game, although discussing it can be. It's not me that thinks it's a legal document like an affidavit ... Do you know what "Projection" is, Steve/AC?

"Those that have eyes to see, will see."

Indeed :-) Mine are wide open to the wonders of the universe ... Yourself?

"Those that prefer pedantry to communication end up feeling smug, but lonely."

Thus your reply ... I do feel sorry for you, Steve/AC.

"Not anonymous this time because, well, fuck you."

And now ad hominem? Very nice, Steve/AC. Say it again, if it makes you feel better. (That's called "turning the other cheek", BTW ... something I've noticed that very few bible-thumpers are actually capable of ...).

"*definition of a priest: A begger who can show another begger where to find bread."

I very much prefer "a beggar who plans to steal from other beggars", see for example various "christian" ministries in the third world and parts of Latin & South America who demand alms^Wofferings and sometimes even tithes from their flocks.

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve

No. After your dogmatic, puerile diatribe, it's the only thing that stood out. <sarcasm>How could people as lowly as evolutionists/atheists ever match you morally superior knowledge?</sarcasm> What ever happened to turning the other cheek, which your moral guide (I take it you need one because you're too stupid to work it out for yourself) tells you to do. This is exactly why you delusional idiots should be locked up. These kinds of psychosis are a social problem that have been ignored for too long. Rather than getting angry, I feel sorry for you, knowing that there is no help for people with your condition. Even reason doesn't work...

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Anonymous Coward

@Steve

Good. Now rather than just copy and pasting that information, divulge it. Apply it. There you go! Are not the writings in revelations just theory/hypothesis? Unreasoned ones at that? There's a theory that the Easter bunny doesn't exist, and neither does Father Christmas, but how else do Easter eggs and christmas presents get there? (I use both those festivals knowing you will try and point out the irony. The truth is both were hijacked pagan festivals). Try and understand that whilst Evolution is still consider theory by those in the religious community, he scientific one sees it as the most likely explanation and as it has been widely accepted as fact, it's on of the cornerstones of medical, biological and zoological research.

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Linux

@jsp

First of all you apparently cannot spell or grasp the basic aspects of grammar.

Second, it is a true sign of low intelligence when you attack the person rather than the argument.

As for the things you are stating as fact if you read my post you would notice that I have stated that they are all theories. So throwing more theories into the pot and stating they are fact does not help shore up your arguments.

With our current limits of knowledge on the Universe and our surroundings you cannot state what we currently know as fact. This is why all scientists class these options as theories, as they do understand the findings are based on our current limitations.

One last point to remember is that the purpose of higher education is not to let you read books and regurgitate the subject but to understand and think for yourself.

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Boffin

Survival of the Fittest

It makes a lot of sence, it's like leaving things to market forces.

Although, I can't help seeing the hand of someone meddling in both evolution and the market.

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Revelations

"Are not the writings in revelations just theory/hypothesis?"

No. Revelations is probably the syphilitic ravings of John the Apostle, describing what's going on outside his jail cell on Patmos. Read it in that context, you'll understand what I mean.

I am NOT an Xtian, but I have studied the bible. In several languages.

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jsp
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@Jamie

Sigh. What a pointless discussion.

>First of all you apparently cannot spell or grasp the basic aspects of grammar.

> Second, it is a true sign of low intelligence when you attack the person rather than the argument.

You don't see the irony in these two statements? Anyway, I wasn't attacking the person; I was simply questioning your misuse of the word theory (see below) and the possible reasons for it.

And, oh dear, there was a typo and I used some abbreviated sentences; therefore nothing I say is valid... I just went back and re-read your very first comment on this page. And guess what, it has some spelling and grammatical errors (which don't seem very relevant to me).

> As for the things you are stating as fact if you read my post you would notice that I have stated that they are all theories. So throwing more theories into the pot and stating they are fact does not help shore up your arguments.

But you are the one who doesn't have a clear grasp on the relationship between facts and theory. All these theories are based on the observation and measurement of actual physical events or changes. These latter are the only things I labelled facts.

To take one of yours, the planets *do* move in the sky - observable and measurable fact. One theory was that they moved around the earth in perfect circles. As more detailed observations were made this became untenable and the current theory is that we all move around the sun. This fits the observed facts so well that it is unlikely to be overturned.

I'm not sure anyone ever seriously believed the earth was flat - and there is no evidence that would support such a hypothesis anyway (despite those jokers at the flat earth society).

Similarly, gravity (or its effects) is an observable fact (apples actually fall from trees, we don't just theorise that they do). Newton and then Einstein came up with improved theories to explain gravity. Relativity isn't perfect and so we will probably more theoretical advances in this area.

Finally, evolution is seen to happen. Darwin came up with a better theory for how it happened. Older theories (e.g. Lamark) fell by the wayside because they didn't fit the observed facts well enough. Clearly, we still have a huge amount more to learn and understand - particularly about the way genetic and epigenetic factors are involved in evolution - but it currently looks unlikely that the central idea of natural selection will be overthrown. Rather it will be built on and refined (as has happened with Newtonian physics).

If ID or creationism could come up with a testable hypothesis then we could see how well these theories fit the observed facts. Just saying "it must be true because it says so in my book" or "wow, the world is just so amazing it must have been made by God" just won't wash.

> One last point to remember is that the purpose of higher education is not to let you read books and regurgitate the subject but to understand and think for yourself.

Weirdly, we seem to be on the same side... After all, you wouldn't want someone to read the bible (or creationist/ID literature) and then ignore what can be seen going on in the real world, would you?

Me are sure there will be sum more spillung and grammer errrers in hear but i cant be bothered to korrect they.

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Linux

@jsp

thanx for the discussion.

hehehehe

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