Wednesday, April 20, 2005

jesus christo on a popsicle stick...I am scared shitless

This is scary.

From Billy "god did it" Dembski's blog:

"I’m predicting that Bush and Benedict XVI will play much the same role in the distintegration of evolution (i.e., the ateleological materialistic form of it that currently dominates the West) as Reagan and John Paul II did in the disintegration of communism."

Clarification based on Cesare's insightful comments:

I'm not scared because this will necessarily happen, I mean, I think that the catholic church is pretty evolution-friendly in a weird roundabout way, but rather I'm scared about Dembski's language. It sounds like he's rallying the troops for a serious inquisition. Some heretic burnin, maybe some house arrest for more established evolutionary biologists.

Also, how much did Reagan and John Paul II really have to do with the 'disintegration of communism'? Wasn't it bound to happen in the USSR anyway? Wasn't their timing just right? Anyway...I don't think the timings right for evolutionary biology to be 'disintegrated', but it seems that the pope and the president of the US do have some pull as far as what counts as legitimate subjects to teach as science.


cesare pastorino said...

This seems really far-fetched to me, as it is now long time the catholic church came to terms with the theory of evolution in a rather sophisticated way (the non-literal exegesis of Genesis and the theory of literary genres for the interpretation of the Bible). And Ratzinger is a conservative, but also a very sophisticated theologian.
I'm no Catholic, but it seems to me that their positions on evolution are the most articulated you can reach coming from a non-materialist starting point. Of course they keep their copyright on soul, but honestly this is reasoanble.
(on the contrary, it seems easy to predict that Ratzinger will continue to be very strict on things like human embryo research)

Matthew D Dunn said...

I agree Cesare. The catholic church certainly respects the differences between science and religion and thank god (no pun intended) catholic schools have no problem teaching evolution as science and religion as religion.

BUT...lots of things are reasonable in that they are not inconsistent with other beliefs. Sure, god could have imbued humans with souls as soon as they weren't protohumans any more (whenever that was), because god can do anything he wants. Also, god either set the laws of nature 'in the beginning' so that evolution would eventually produce his worshippers or maybe, a la Asa Gray, he is a more theistic god (pun intended) and has been carefully tending the evolutionary process all the while. Why Ichneumon wasps and the Marburg virus evolved is beyond me.

But hey...god works in mysterious ways. He has a plan.

But I agree that it's reasonable they 'keep their copyright on soul'. That is a great line. Can I use it in a song? I mean, it's reasonable because if they gave it up they'd be out of a job!

cesare pastorino said...

funny, when I read your post, I didn't realize the passage you quoted was from a anti-evolutionist. I thought it was a criticism against the new pope, and not an expression of hope!
Yes, it seems that the catholic church has problems with present science in particular areas, but not -for what I am aware of- with "canonical" science. In general, as you say, they support a position which claim for the independence of science and religion (of course, ironically, this is more or less what Galileo was affirming).
It would be interesting to discuss the strenght of this claim. I always thought it is very problematic. Both from a religious and a scientific point of view. I guess the conflictual points related to contemporary research are there to testify this. I have to say that I do not have a precise position pro or con, in this respect. For instance, I see problems in the statement that "research is free" in any circumstance. I guess moral issues are often relevant. If this is true, it makes sense that non-scientists have their say as well. Conceptually, I don't like the idea that science is "independent" in any respect. As historians, we know this is not the case. But I'll stop this mumbling for now.
(and yes, please use the line, no copyright)

Stacey said...

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