Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Pope Calls Intelligent Design's Bluff

If someone who regularly posts on Uncommon Descent were to suggest that the sun was shining, the first action I would recommend is to run outside and look up...

Lee Bowman posts comments on an article discussing Pope Benedict's recent "clarifications" regarding his views on evolution and creation. The IDists are clearly upset about the Pope's latest statements, but they've gotten so used to spinning negative statements about evolution (and faking outside support for intelligent design) that their automated responses to evolution news are simply Pavlovian in nature. Bowman begins with the following quote from the article:

“Paris - Pope Benedict, elaborating his views on evolution for the first time as Pontiff, says science has narrowed the way life’s origins are understood and Christians should take a broader approach to the question.

The Pope also says the Darwinist theory of evolution is not completely provable because mutations over hundreds of thousands of years cannot be reproduced in a laboratory… ”

...then discusses some historical points of interest about evolution, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn's statements, Ken Miller and Francis Ayala's request that the Church clarify its position, yada, yada...

Then Bowman summarizes with this:

According to an AP report, the Pope addressed the issue to a general audience in Rome on 11/9/05. He stated that the universe was made as an “intelligent project”, and criticized those who say that it is without direction or order.

Someone please tell me that Uncommon Descent isn't actually trying to spin the Pope's latest comments into an endorsement of intelligent design. Here are some more tidbits from the article conveniently left out by Bowman:

But Benedict, whose remarks were published on Wednesday in Germany in the book Schoepfung und Evolution (Creation and Evolution), praised scientific progress and did not endorse creationist or "intelligent design" views about life's origins.

Ok, everybody, say it together...did not endorse creationist or "intelligent design" views...

In the book, Benedict defended what is known as "theistic evolution," the view held by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainline Protestant churches that God created life through evolution and religion and science need not clash over this.

"I would not depend on faith alone to explain the whole picture,"

Whoa! Hold the phone! Is actually suggesting that there is something beyond faith?...something reasoned?....something logical?....something materialistic?

He also denied using a "God-of-the-gaps" argument that sees divine intervention whenever science cannot explain something.

"It's not as if I wanted to stuff the dear God into these gaps - he is too great to fit into such gaps," he said in the book that publisher Sankt Ulrich Verlag in Augsburg said would later be translated into other languages.

Ken Miller laid a knock-out blow to Dembski and Behe and the Pope just counted to ten! The premise of intelligent design is dependent upon actual science being unable to explain something...so that a designer can be "logically" inferred.

Ok, I'm not defending the Pope's entire statement (at least as currently reported). I actually find agreement with readers' comments at Uncommon Descent on thing: it's a religious figure making the proclamation, so who the hell really cares? The Pope is not a scientist and completely reiterated the same backward understanding of scientific proof, mutation, selection and random chance that almost every local preacher and conservative radio talk show host parrots to uncritically thinking sheep across this nation on a daily basis.

Still, the ID community can't be happy...and I'm going to go drink a beer!

6 comments:

Beau said...

I take it that the intent of the post wasn't to critique P16's actions, but merely a heads up, thrown out there to elicit comment, and apparently it did just that.

I assume that mention of the book, and its praising of science (for which I concur), and its exiguousness regarding an ID endorsement (for which I don't blame the Pope) could have been done, but sans a reading of that tome, I would think it premature to comment on it.

Finally, as you articulated, can the Pope be viewed as an authority regarding the scientific evidence for Darwinian evolution (or lack thereof)? Clearly not; no more than Judge Jones could in adjudicating the Dover decision. (I'll give him an affirmative regarding the boards religious motives, but a negative on defining science).

And yes, the ID crowd may be pleased, as I'm sure PZ Myers is, 'cause they so love to blog!

Best regards,
Beau Leeman (Lee Bowman)

Beau said...

Correction:

"I take it that the intent of the post wasn't to critique B16's actions ..."

... the sixteenth 'Benedict', not 'Pope'.

Kathyocds said...

I don't see how anyone can look at the inner workings of a cell, a baby, a sunset or the beauty of nature as a whole and not see that it is more logical to think there is an intelligence and designer behind it than to think it all just randomly evolved. As an artist I can't imagine a bunch of paint jumping onto a canvas randomly and coming out to look like a beautiful landscape, even more so with nature itself.

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