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Darwin's Divisions

Martin Hilbert

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The Pope, the Cardinal, the Jesuit & the Evolving Debate About Origins

It makes no obvious difference to our salvation whether the geometry of our universe is Euclidian, whether quantum mechanics is the last word in atomic physics, or whether the Big Bang is the correct model for the development of the universe. These theories witness to the power of the human intellect, but few would claim that they bear on questions of faith and morals.

Evolution, on the other hand, says something about the origin of man, and in this way can, at least in theory, conflict with religious dogma. And so, although the Catholic Church seldom speaks about scientific theories, from time to time it breaks the silence to address the question of biological evolution. It does so when it perceives that some Catholics accept as true a scientific theory that denies some important Christian teaching about man and his origins.

Darwinism has famously become just such an alternative creation account. Both the classical theory and the enhanced neo-Darwinist synthesis (which includes genetics, statistics, and molecular biology) claim that apparent design can result from blind forces. Although some Darwinists and neo-Darwinists might protest that their scheme does not banish God from the picture, most are, whether they know it or not, crass materialists.

Both (the distinction does not make a difference at this point) assert a materialistic explanation for the realities that Christians know as the creation and the fall. They assume that human intelligence, will, and even morality can be fully explained in terms of material causes. Their theory provides its own explanation of why man is violent and lustful, and it understands death as part of the process that created us.

Read the entire article on the Touchstone Magazine website (new window will open).

Posted: 04-Jun-06



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